Why is Obama Blocking Weapons to Kurds Fighting ISIS?
Arab states reportedly furious at lack of strategy by US administration, considering going solo in fight against ISIS.
Arab and European states have been unable to provide Kurdish fighters with badly-needed weapons to fight ISIS – because the US is blocking the weapons transfers.
According to the UK’s Daily Telegraph, the Obama administration’s hesitation and lack of clear strategy means that US commanders, who are directing the anti-ISIS coalition efforts, are not authorizing moves to directly arm Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria. This, despite the fact that the Kurds have proven by far the most effective force in fighting ISIS, having taken and held territory from the jihadists in northern Iraq and Syria, despite being outgunned.
Citing “high level officials” from the Gulf Arab states involved in the fight against ISIS, the paper claimed some are becoming so frustrated with Washington’s lack of leadership in the campaign that they are preparing to “go it alone” and directly arm the Kurds in spite of US opposition.
Backed by coalition airstrikes, both the Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq and People’s Protection Unit (YPG) in northern Syria have scored significant victories against the jihadists – in stark contrast to the relative ineffectiveness and disarray of Iranian-backed Shia Islamist militias in southern Iraq, and pro-regime forces in Syria.
But Kurdish commanders lament that while the collapse and surrender of the Iraqi army flooded ISIS arsenals with advanced US weaponry and armored vehicles, they themselves are largely forced to rely upon light, Soviet-era weapons and only a tiny number of anti-tank or heavy weapons.
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