Iraq: Germany set to arm Kurdish forces

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Iraq: Germany set to arm Kurdish forces

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Germany is to send weapons to Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State extremists in northern Iraq, effectively pushing aside a post-World War II ban on arms shipments to conflict areas.

Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said the shipments of military equipment and humanitarian aid by Berlin would likely include arms.

Kurdish Peshmerga forces have pleaded for additional military resources to fight the jihadists, who have swept across much of the northwest in recent weeks.

Troops say they are overstretched and outgunned due to a sporadic supply of arms from Baghdad because of internal squabbles.

Steinmeier said Berlin would consider how to best support Kurdish forces.

“In close agreement with our European and international partners, we want to do this (send weapons) to an extent which supports and strengthens the Peshmerga’s ability to defend itself. We know about the risks connected with this and we will therefore show great judgement regarding the type and quantity of the shipments.”

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday to meet Iraq’s leaders. He’s due for talks in the Kurdish region too.

Back home, parliament is discussing whether the government’s proposal to supply arms to the Peshmerga should be put to a vote.