By John Lee.
As Barack Obama pledges to send more security assistance, including arms, advisers and possibly more air strikes to the KRG, The Wall Street Journal has reported renewed confidence displayed by KRG aligned forces.
The famed Kurdish Peshmerga, no strangers to combat having once resisted Saddam’s forces, have reportedly re-taken the villages of Gwair (north of Kirkuk) and Makhmur.
While ISIS are well armed, they face a monumental challenge if their aim is to seize Erbil, given that they are up against a competent and numerically superior opponent of at least 100,000 Peshmerga forces.
Furthermore, the current situation sees a much stronger Peshmerga than in 2003, and Iraqi Security Forces are now coordinating with KRG forces, in addition to US advisers.
In an echo of past US air power-Peshmerga cooperation during the invasion of Iraq, an un-named US official was quoted in the WSJ report, noting:
“ISIS is starting to realize there are consequences to using heavy artillery and equipment near Erbil. It’s going to slow them down and give the Pesh time to fortify lines with supplies they’re getting from [the Iraqi military] and from the U.S.”
Referring to heavy artillery,the official was most likely referring to captured 155mm guns, a fearsome prospect if left unchecked but easy targets for ongoing US airstrikes.
(Source: Wall Street Journal)