US Considers Arming Peshmerga

A resolution was introduced to the US Congress that would authorise the US government to supply military equipment, weapons, and training directly to Kurdistan Regional Government Peshmerga Forces.

House Resolution 5747, a bi-partisan resolution, was introduced into the House Foreign Affairs Committee by Chairmen Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel. The bill authorises the US administration to directly equip and train KRG peshmerga forces, as well as issue export licenses for US companies exporting military equipment to the Kurdistan Region and accept End Use Certificates approved by the KRG.

Currently, all military equipment provided to the KRG must go through Baghdad, resulting in delays and restricting the flow of the heavy offensive weapons needed to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, ISIS.

Dr Fuad Hussein, Chief of Staff to President Masoud Barzani, and Minister Falah Mustafa, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations, concluded their four day visit to Washington on Thursday with meetings with senior US administration officials and members of Congress. Throughout the week the delegation had conducted numerous meetings with members of Congress and were pleased to see the bill introduced to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the last day of their visit to Washington.

Dr Hussein said, ‘We applaud Congress on the introduction of this historic bill, which not only demonstrates American commitment to fighting terrorism, but reaffirms the long-standing alliance between the US and people of the Kurdistan Region.’

On Thursday the delegation met with senior US administration and defence officials. These included advisors and staff of the National Security Council Phil Gordon, Robert Malley, and Andy Kim, Department of Defence Deputy Assistant Secretaries Alyssa Slotkin and Matt Spence, and officials from the Department of State, including Assistant Secretary Puneet Talwar and Deputy Assistant Secretary Brett McGurk, who also serves as a Deputy Special Envoy to the US President on Combating ISIS.

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