Peshmerga forces. Rudaw Photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov briefly mentioned on Tuesday that Moscow had sent some arms to Iraq's Kurds, shortly after they were threatened by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists.After ISIS infamously seized Mosul and large parts of Iraq's northwest back in the summer of 2014, Russia sent arms to Baghdad, including Su-25 attack planes.
Lavrov said other weapons were sent to Erbil to help the Kurdish Peshmerga defend their territory. "We took into account the Kurds' need in the supplies of our arms to Iraq, but these supplies were made through the central government, through Baghdad," Lavrov said, according to the TASS news agency.
"We fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said. His emphasis on the fact they sent arms to the Kurds through Baghdad is reflective of the fact that Russia, like the United States, strives to uphold the so-called One Iraq policy.
Many in Erbil believe that to be counterproductive, since it slows down the transfer of weapons allotted to Erbil and also prevents Erbil from independently choosing what weapons it needs or wants to buy.
Russia was not the only one to provide Iraq's Kurds with arms at that time.
In August 2014, when ISIS threatened Erbil, the US military began to bomb the militants and Iran sent a delegation and arms to ensure that Erbil did not fall.
Iran, too, is for a One Iraq, but due to the imminent threat at that time it sent weapons right away to help the Kurds mount a defense of Erbil.