New resolution urges US to arm Peshmerga
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Two members of the US House of Representatives introduced a resolution on Thursday, urging the State Department to provide necessary equipment and training to Peshmerga in the fight against the extremists.
US Rep., Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairperson of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, introduced H.Res 682. It urges the US State Department to arm the Kurdish Peshmerga and provide military training as they are one of the most effective ground forces in the fight against the Islamic State (IS).
They also called on the State Department to help the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to fulfill the needs of 1.8 million refugees and the internally displaced persons (IDPs). The two members also encouraged Peshmerga to protect minorities who flee violence from other parts of Iraq and Syria and shelter in the Kurdistan Region.
“The Kurdish Peshmerga have been an extremely effective fighting force against ISIS [IS] yet continue to be at a disadvantage because of their outdated weapons and low ammunition stocks. As ISIS continues to wreak havoc across Iraq and Syria, the State Department should be doing everything it can to ensure the Peshmerga have what they need,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
“I urge State to provide the necessary equipment and training to the Peshmerga in the most expeditious manner possible while helping the KRG meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of minorities, displaced persons, and refugees who are fleeing the brutality of ISIS,” she added.
Moreover, Sherman stated that Peshmerga are fighting extremists in the first front and called on the US to support their efforts in defeating IS.
“Both the Assad Regime and the Islamic State are creating regional instability and need to be confronted effectively. While the United States continues to focus on ISIS alone, the Kurdish Peshmerga have been front and center in confronting both evils, and we should support their efforts,” Sherman stated.
He continued, “That is why we urge that the Peshmerga continue and expand their efforts to protect ethnic and religious minorities that have had to flee these conflicts and urge the President to order significantly increased military support.”
Peshmerga, meaning ‘‘those who face death,’’ are the military forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region, governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), under authority granted by the Iraqi constitution.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said, ‘‘The Kurdish Peshmerga have been exactly what we have been looking for in this whole fight in Iraq and Syria, namely a capable and motivated force that we can enable.’’Since the emergence of IS in Iraq in June 2014, over 1,400 Peshmerga have been killed, and thousands more have been injured.
Since the emergence of IS in Iraq in June 2014, over 1,400 Peshmerga have been killed, and thousands more have been injured.
Peshmerga continue to suffer the lack of military and financial support from the international coalition. Kurdish officials often call for more weapons and ammunition.
The Kurdistan Region shares over 1,000 kilometers (622 miles) of its border with IS.
Reporting by Mewan Dolamari
Editing by Ava Homa