Peshmerga Getting 'Some' Help with U.S. Arms, But 'It's Not Enough'
A spokesman for the Peshmerga told CNN today that the Kurdish forces had received "some weapons from the United States," but "it's not enough, very little" to be able to defeat ISIS.
Brig. Gen. Hazhar Ismail said they are now "gaining ground" again versus the Islamic State in part thanks to U.S. airstrikes intended to protect Irbil.
"It's very little, but it helped us a lot. So now, day by day, we are gaining ground, and we have a plan to re-control and defeat our enemy, our common enemy, the international enemy, is, and all the area, to save the area from is. You know they are threatening the civilian people," Ismail said. "They killed many peoples in Sinjar, in Sinjar Mountain. They kill Christian, Yazidi, Kurd, Arab. There is no difference. So we have a plan with help and support with our friend, the U.S., and some countries."
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Tuesday that "in addition to support from the U.S., and the central government of Iraq in Baghdad, seven additional nations - Albania, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom - have committed to helping provide Kurdish forces urgently needed arms and equipment."
"Operations have already begun and will accelerate in the coming days with more nations also expected to contribute," Hagel said in a statement. "...This multinational effort, which is being coordinated with the Government of Iraq in Baghdad, will greatly assist Kurdish forces in repelling the brutal terrorist threat they face from ISIL."
Ismail said Baghdad is stalling shipments, saying it wants to check everything going to the Kurds first.
"For a week, we did not receive anything from U.S. or from other countries. The problem, Baghdad. So we need U.S. and other countries to tell Baghdad, you have to solve some bad policies you're created in the past. It is a good chance to solve the problems now," he said.
He stressed that the U.S. arms that did get through "helped us a lot to stop ISIS and to re-control the area."
"But believe me, it's not enough, because we have a very long border with ISIS. We have 1,050 kilometer border with ISIS. We're fighting terrorist country, not terrorist organization or small group. So we need to have weapons, ammunition, equipment, everything as army," Ismail said. "We are part of Iraqi defense system, but unfortunately, they did nothing for us, with budget, with training, with weapons, with ammunition, with everything. So even for eight years, they did not pay the Peshmerga forces even $1."