Iraqi security forces lost 2,300 U.S.-supplied Humvee armoured vehicles, among other spoils of war, when ISIS seized the northern city of Mosul a year ago, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi admitted on Sunday. This revelation comes as Kurdish fighters in the north clamor for more weapons, but receive only a small amount because the Obama administration insists on funneling weapons through Shia-controlled Baghdad.
“In the collapse of Mosul, we lost a lot of weapons,” Abadi said in an interview with Iraqiya state TV. “We lost 2,300 Humvees in Mosul alone.”
While the exact price of the vehicles varies depending on how they are armoured and equipped, it is clearly a hugely expensive loss that has boosted Isis’s capabilities.
Last year, the US State Department approved a possible sale to Iraq of 1,000 Humvees with increased armour, machine-guns, grenade launchers, other gear and support, which was estimated to cost $579 million.
So, doing the math, the loss of 2,300 Humvees could be worth a hair-raising $1 billion or more.
Clashes began in Mosul, Iraq’s second city, late on June 9, 2014, and Iraqi forces lost it the following day to Isis, which spearheaded an offensive that overran much of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland.
Since then, the jihadists have used the Humvees to gain ground in Iraq and Syria. And this is just one example of ISIS seizing U.S. weaponry among many.
Even though these cataclysmic losses of U.S. weapons and vehicles to ISIS keep happening, the Obama administration continues to funnel the weapons to the Kurdish fighters through Baghdad “to avoid undermining the Shia-dominated central government.”
A top Kurdish official complained in April that Kurdish peshmerga forces were only receiving a fraction of promised U.S. military support.
“President Obama’s Iraq train-and-equip fund, which comes to $1.6 billion, gave us great hope that American weapons would be delivered in early 2015,” said Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s representative to the U.S., said at a Bipartisan Policy Center event.
“But since the passage of the law approving the train-and-equip fund, the vast majority of those weapons have not been delivered.”
Rahman said the peshmerga has contributed the “lion’s share of the fight against ISIS” in Iraq and blamed the lack of support on the Obama administration’s decision to send weapons to Baghdad instead of directly to the Kurds.
Rahman said “political friction” was leading to a slow and unfair distribution of weapons to Kurdish units.
What’s the definition of insanity again?