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Rudaw

Iraq

US congressmen to reconsider separate funding for Iraqi Kurds

By Associated Press 3/5/2015
United States Congress. AP file photo.
United States Congress. AP file photo.
BAGHDAD  — Congress may reconsider a provision in an upcoming bill funding the training of the Iraqi army that would send weapons separately to Arab Sunnis and Kurds, a congressman visiting Baghdad said Sunday.

Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security visiting Baghdad with seven other members, said he realized the priority in the country was the defense of Baghdad and the provision could threaten Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's position.

"If Baghdad falls, so does the entire country, so this is why we have to go back to that provision to see if we can change that," McCaul told The Associated Press ahead of his meeting with the prime minister.

On Wednesday, influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose militia was once a major force, threatened to attack US interests if the provision, which would divert 25 percent of the $715 million defense bill to train the Iraqi army, passed.

Al-Sadr's statement precipitated a cascade of condemnations by members of the Shiite-dominated government and its allied militias.

Al-Abadi said he brought up the issue with Vice President Joe Biden in a phone conversation, warning that such a provision would undermine the country's sovereignty, according to the prime minister's website Sunday.

The provision stems from concerns that the Iraqi government is keeping weapons from the Kurdish peshmerga forces, which are bearing the brunt of the fight against the Islamic State in the north.

The US would also like to see Sunni tribesmen armed and brought into the fight but the Shiite-dominated government doesn't trust them.

The United States has already spent billions arming and training the Iraqi military, but it performed poorly last year when Islamic State militants swept across western and northern Iraq, routing four divisions.

For the US to bypass the central government in distributing weapons, however, was seen by critics as a threat to the country's national unity.

President Barack Obama has also expressed his opposition to the move.

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Dawan | 3/5/2015
We still have no friends but the mountains.... This is proven time after time and this will not change apparently...
Mazlum Dogan | 3/5/2015
They don't want to give us any weapons, the reason? Because it means game over for arabic domination over kurds. They can't stop the inevitable. May all kurds around the world rise up and unite, because together nothing can stop us. Biji Kurdistan!
Kurdistan Supporter | 3/5/2015
The USA was, once, a great Superpower. Its enemies would crumble before the might of their armies. That time has passed! Now USA crumble before little pathetic threats. They fear China, they fear Russia, they fear Iran. They will not anymore support their allies. They are afraid of hurting Turkey's feelings. So let syrians and kurds die, let ezidis be exterminated, They cannot hurt Iraqi shias fellings! They do not dare to step in Ukraine, because they cant' hurt Russia's fellings. They are just like Europe before the Second World War! Let the Germans that Poland, we cant hurt their feelings!
Anas.Brwari.Chicago.U.S | 3/5/2015
Who can trust Arabs whether shiite or sunni.In Iraq died country no one trust the other. So the best solution divided this dead body, maybe one of those bodies comes to life normal life in regards that human life more valuable than all other things. If some especially Arab nationalist dreamer persist on the unity of this sick country (Iiiraq) so there should be a 3 real, federal system under secular constitution far 100% from the word religion, and all proxy ideas whatever they are, finally solve all kinds of militants whichever political parties belong to.
Gazi B Zibari, MD, FACS | 3/5/2015
It is well known that Baghdad does believe on centralization of government. Kurds and Sunni Arabs would not have asked for direct supply of weapons If Baghdad has been fair & transparent. By arming the Peshmerga, I believe the USA is taking a right step to defeat the enemy of mankind. If Baghdad 's intends are good, she should not worry about arming the very same Peshmerga who are and have been fighting ISIS like tigers. I hope president Obama will not cave in to Baghdad pressure. It is about time to do the right thing. Peshmerga are not defending Kurdistan & Iraq alone but rather they are defending the world. Peshmerga deserve USA support.

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