WASHINGTON DC - US senator and possible 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul called for direct arms supplies to Iraqi Kurds fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) and said the Kurds should have their own homeland.
“The arms are going through Baghdad to get to the Kurds and they’re being siphoned off and they’re not getting what they need,” Paul said in an interview with Breitbart News. “I think any arms coming from us or coming from any European countries ought to go directly to the Kurds.”
The United States and several European countries are supplying arms to the autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, but nearly all of the weapons are routed through the central government in Baghdad.
Kurdish officials have repeatedly complained about Baghdad’s reluctance to deliver arms sent by coalition forces for their Peshmerga forces.The central government fears that any strengthening of the Peshmerga would fuel ambitions of independence among the Kurds.
The US State Department reiterated last month that arms for Peshmerga forces will continue to be routed through the central government in Baghdad.
Paul said it was about time the Kurds were given their own homeland.
Suggesting a change in US policy, which has been staunchly opposed to Kurdish independence, he said: “I would draw new lines for Kurdistan and I would promise them a country.”