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Rudaw

Iraq

Denmark Sending Arms to Kurdish Forces

By Rudaw 26/8/2014
Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said his country is helping arm the Kurds in their fight with the Islamic State. Photo: AP.
Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said his country is helping arm the Kurds in their fight with the Islamic State. Photo: AP.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark is joining the international effort to arm Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) forces in their fight against Islamic extremists, though some leaders are concerned that the weapons will fall into the hands of Kurdish rebels.

Denmark has decided to send a 55-person military team in a Hercules aircraft carrying emergency aid and weapons to fight the Islamic State (IS/formerly ISIS) in northern Iraq.

Denmark, which is coordinating with the United States and the United Nations, initially indicated that it would only transport aid to help the hundreds of thousands of people who have fled IS threats but has decided to send weapons, ammunition and other equipment.

Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard received strong parliamentary support to join US-led military and humanitarian operations.

"The government has received very broad support to increase our efforts in Iraq, which is partly a humanitarian contribution to the 1.5 million people who are in need in Iraq at the moment and partly the aircraft, which will transport ammunition and light weapons to the Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting against IS,” Lidegaard said in a press release.

Some Danish politicians, however, are skeptical that the Danish involvement could inadvertently support the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the European Union (EU) labels a terrorist organization.

Since IS captured about a third of Iraq in June, the PKK, which is based in Iraqi Kurdistan, has become part of the war. The PKK’s affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, are fighting IS alongside the KRG’s Peshmerga troops.

The PKK’s de facto involvement has been an issue for several European nations. France, Britain and Germany are sending weapons to the Peshmerga, but there are concerns that the arms could fall into the hands of groups affiliated with the PKK.

The situation is also complicated for the United States, which designates the PKK as a terrorist organization and is carrying out airstrikes on IS positions in support of the KRG. 

Soren Espersen, foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish opposition party The Danish People’s Party, said it “confuses me that we somehow now need to be allied with the PKK.”

“The PKK is on our own terror list. The United States and France now want to supply arms to the organization and that seems strange to me,” Espersen said.

Zana Kurda, an advisor for the KRG’s European Union mission, pledged that weapons from the EU would not be delivered to the PKK.

"The EU countries have no reason to worry. Everything will be transparent and in accordance with international law," Kurda said.

Nikolaj Villumsen, a Danish MP with the opposition Unity List, rejected Espersen's concern.

"The PKK militias have made ​​great efforts in Yezidi areas. Additionally, the PKK and the Turks have been negotiating peace for over a year, so we should work to remove the PKK from the terrorist list," Villumsen said. 

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Kurdoz | 26/8/2014
espersen said what? so only because turkey is afraid of pkk, thousands and thousands should die like the massacre on Shengal Mt. ow how I hate such heartless dogs!!
SWEDEN | 26/8/2014
GOOOOOOOOOD NEWSS, THANK YOU DENMARK, FROM SWEDEN
Kurdish | 26/8/2014
No more Arabs in kurdistan!!!!!!
Flaminco | 26/8/2014
The US had to use CIA to bypass Baghdad and send weapons directly to Erbil, the European countries who keep bragging about helping Kurds fight IS have not done that, they have "coordinate with Baghdad" when they perfectly well know that Baghdad is not allowing any weapons through to the Kurdish forces, they have OK-d a few flights containing none lethal old garbage from these countries but that's it. So all this hot air from the Europeans is 1. for show 2. to appease their American ally, "look we 're helping!". Later when it is proven that no weapons reached the Kurds they will just blame Baghdad.
Kabrai Duam | 26/8/2014
Rudaw enough of this crap you know that's not true. How come no other news outlet says Kurds have been receiving weapons and how come peshmerga keep saying they have not received anything
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