- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 8, 2015

Roughly $300 million in U.S. military equipment was donated to Iraq in 2014, and some of it is turning up in the hands of Iran-backed Shiite militias.

Lawmakers and senior officials in the Obama administration told Bloomberg News Thursday that military equipment is being funneled to militias guilty of human rights violations.

One official told Bloomberg that the U.S. is in a catch-22 — if it doesn’t supply the weapons to Baghdad, then the Islamic State terror group benefits; if it does supply weapons, then some of it will wind up with forces commanded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Roughly $1.2 billion in U.S. training and equipment was authorized last month in an omnibus spending bill, Bloomberg reported. Evidence as to where some of that hardware is going can be found on the Facebook pages of Iraqi Shiite militias. In one such instance, a militia member poses with a Hezbollah flag over an M1A1 Abrams tank.

“The Iranians are now, to a large degree, through the Shia militias, in the absence of a capable Iraqi military, doing most of the fighting against [the Islamic State]. That cannot be in the U.S. interest,” Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, told Bloomberg.

White House spokesman Alistair Baskey told the news outlet that there was “no reason to believe” that the Iraqi government was sending U.S. equipment to Iranian-backed militias.

SEE ALSO: U.S. sending Iraq 10K rifles within weeks for Islamic State fight

Defense News reported Tuesday the U.S. will send 10,000 M16 rifles, 12,000 sets of body armor, and counter-IED equipment to Iraq within weeks. There are currently about 2,100 U.S. troops training Iraqi security forces, but that number will jump to 3,000 due to orders announced Nov. 7 by President Obama.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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