A chief goal of the Obama administration’s Iraq war policy is to train and arm the Iraqi army so it can retake territory, especially in the Islamic State stronghold of Sunni-dominated western Iraq.
According to Washington Times, Kurdish officials say Baghdad is the obstacle on Kurds’ receiving weapons. Iraqi government alone decides what weapons get transferred from the capital to the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, officials said.
“All equipment goes to the government of Iraq, and the government of Iraq distributes it,” said Army Col. Steve Warren, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq. “We do provide advice, but the final decisions are theirs.”
Baghdad is known for being leery of providing the Kurdistan Regional Government with front-line weapons, which it fears could be used in a war for full Kurdish independence.
The equipment shortage leaves the Peshmerga outgunned and facing waves of terrorist-operated American military vehicles rigged with powerful explosives.
The Kurdish officials said the Peshmerga owns only a handful of front-line anti-armor weapons, such as the European MILAN missile. It has hundreds of Swedish-designed, shoulder-fired AT-4s — a light, unguided weapon.
Peshmerga fighters say what they need are heavier, guided missiles, such as the longer-range U.S. TOWs and Javelins, with which they could kill armored vehicles at a safe range. They have received none, according to Kurdish sources.