Iraqi Kurds issued a message to the Obama administration: heavy weapons are needed to defeat the Islamic State group.
Kurds on the front lines against the radical Sunni terror group say they need helicopters, tanks, artillery and an assortment of heavy weapons if they plan on mounting successful offensive military operations.
“We cannot fight with these weapons that we have. We need different kinds of weapons. Without these weapons, I think it will be difficult for us to continue this fight, or at least we cannot liberate other areas,” Fuad Hussein, chief adviser to the president of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, Massoud Barzani, told The Wall Street Journal Thursday.
The Journal reported that the Pentagon has sent light arms to Iraqi Kurds, but has refrained from sending much more beyond rocket-propelled grenades and rifles. The Islamic State group’s military assets include armored vehicles and tanks.
“Certainly we understand their need for more weapons,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said, The Journal reported.
U.S. officials told the newspaper that there were concerns that giving the Kurds too much firepower might prompt them to seek independence from Iraq. Mr. Hussein countered that the Kurds are singularly focused on just surviving at the moment.