US blocks attempts by Arab allies to fly heavy weapons directly to Kurds to fight Islamic State

US blocks attempts by Arab allies to fly heavy weapons directly to Kurds to fight Islamic State, The Telegraph (UK), Defence Editor, July 1, 2015

Barack-Obama-_3361379bPresident Barack Obama pauses speaks at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Nashville Photo: AP

The United States has blocked attempts by its Middle East allies to fly heavy weapons directly to the Kurds fighting Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, The Telegraph has learnt.

Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.

They now say they are willing to “go it alone” in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad.

High level officials from Gulf and other states have told this newspaper that all attempts to persuade Mr Obama of the need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to take on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have failed. The Senate voted down one attempt by supporters of the Kurdish cause last month.

The officials say they are looking at new ways to take the fight to Isil without seeking US approval.

“If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating Isil, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” said a senior Arab government official. “With Isil making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face.”

Kurdish-weapons_3361377bKurdish Peshmerga fighters train on a weapon during a training session with British military advisers

The Peshmerga have been successfully fighting Isil, driving them back from the gates of Erbil and, with the support of Kurds from neighbouring Syria, re-establishing control over parts of Iraq’s north-west.

But they are doing so with a makeshift armoury. Millions of pounds-worth of weapons have been bought by a number of European countries to arm the Kurds, but American commanders, who are overseeing all military operations against Isil, are blocking the arms transfers.

One of the core complaints of the Kurds is that the Iraqi army has abandoned so many weapons in the face of Isil attack, the Peshmerga are fighting modern American weaponry with out-of-date Soviet equipment.

At least one Arab state is understood to be considering arming the Peshmerga directly, despite US opposition.

The US has also infuriated its allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf states, by what they perceive to be a lack of clear purpose and vacillation in how they conduct the bombing campaign. Other members of the coalition say they have identified clear Isil targets but then been blocked by US veto from firing at them.

“There is simply no strategic approach,” one senior Gulf official said. “There is a lack of coordination in selecting targets, and there is no overall plan for defeating Isil.”

Western leaders increasingly accept that the “war on Isil” has not gone well, from the moment last year Mr Obama called the group a “JV [junior varsity] team” of jihadists compared with al-Qaeda. At that point, Isil had seized Fallujah, which US forces took in a bloody battle in 2004. It went on to take much of western Iraq and large areas of Syria, and in May took Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province.

Britain is moving closer to expanding its role in the war. The Government on Wednesday gave its strongest indication yet that MPs will be given a new vote on whether to bomb Isil in Syria.

Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said it was “illogical” that British planes were able to hit extremists in Iraq but not across the border.

Any decision to bomb in Syria would have to be approved by MPs. In 2013, the Prime Minister lost a vote for British military action in Syria. However, Mr Fallon said: “It is a new Parliament and I think new Members of Parliament will want to think very carefully about how we best deal with Isil, and the illogicality of Isil not respecting the borderlines.”

Mr Fallon suggested that a bombing campaign could be mounted in revenge for the terror attacks in Tunisia if a link could be proved between the killer and Isil in Libya. Britain would only take military action in Libya “where we think there is an imminent threat, a very direct to British lives or, for example, to British hostages”, he said.

Senior Whitehall sources did not distance themselves from Mr Fallon’s comments but insisted there was no immediate prospect of military action.

The Telegraph understands that Mr Cameron is concerned that Labour might force the Government into another defeat over Syria.

Explore posts in the same categories: Arab nations, Foreign policy, Gulf states, Islamic State, Kurds, Libya, Middle East, Obama, Obama's America, Peshmerga, Saudi Arabia, Terrorists

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4 Comments on “US blocks attempts by Arab allies to fly heavy weapons directly to Kurds to fight Islamic State”

  1. Mark Says:

    Hussein continues his betrayal of all Western allies.

    What else is new?

  2. wingate Says:

    The present US administration is flying air attacks against ISIS hordes for
    several weeks now, the effect is ? ZERO ! ( BHO is working hard to weaken the US military, but this cant be the reason at the moment)Arab states want to support the Kurds – the present US administration tells them not to do so…..! Wow, the present US administration seems to support not only the muslim brotherhood but even ISIS…..Folks in the USA, it looks pretty much as if you are in dire need to replace your present ( illegal ) president and his administration…Or do you think its OK that the USA is supporting terrorists and fights / forsakes the Kurds, Israel……You dont care ? Gone fishing ? Thats what I thought…..But keep in mind – the guys in the WH dont like the american people too, so one coming day you wont be able to further ignore your problem with the ( illegal ) team BHO…

  3. joopklepzeiker Says:

    Turkey , obama best friend .


  4. Reblogged this on Boudica2015 and commented:
    US blocks attempts by Arab allies to fly heavy weapons directly to Kurds to fight Islamic State


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