News / Middle East

US: 7 European States to Arm Kurds in Iraq

Kurdish Peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in a village on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh near the border province of Dohuk, Iraq, Aug. 9, 2014.
Kurdish Peshmerga troops participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in a village on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh near the border province of Dohuk, Iraq, Aug. 9, 2014.
VOA News

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says seven European governments have agreed to join the United States in supplying weaponry to Kurdish forces battling Islamic State extremists in northern Iraq.

A Pentagon statement Tuesday said Britain, Canada, Albania and Croatia will join Denmark, Italy and France in providing "urgently needed" arms and equipment to the Kurds.

Islamic State jihadists overran large areas of northern and western Iraq in June. Earlier this month, they pushed Kurdish forces back toward their regional capital, Irbil.

Also Tuesday, Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Barzani, speaking in Irbil alongside the Iranian diplomat, said Iran is the first country to provide military aid to Kurdish fighters since the Islamic State offensive was launched.

Separately, high-level diplomats from Iran and Saudi Arabia — two regional powers separated by steep sectarian divides — met for talks that officials say included the rising threat posed by the Islamic State militancy. Iran's deputy foreign minister described the talks as "positive and constructive."

The visit to Jeddah by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian was the first high-level meeting between the two countries since Iran elected Hassan Rouhani president last year. Rouhani has pledged to thaw Iran's diplomatic ties with its Arab neighbors.

Earlier Tuesday in Baghdad, a car bomb explosion in a mainly Shi'ite neighborhood killed at least 10 people and wounded 31 others. The blast hit the New Baghdad area during the morning rush hour.

On Monday, a series of blasts in Iraq killed at least 20 people, including 11 at a Shi'ite mosque in the same neighborhood as Tuesday's bombing.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comments
     
by: Patrick from: Ca
August 27, 2014 3:26 AM
Way to go France, remembering your allies, where's Germany? Playing in the park?

by: Not Again from: Canada
August 26, 2014 11:28 PM
Good to see that the Kurdish reason will be stabilized; let us hope that the weapons supplied, and other help, do the job. The Kurds will need training, to ensure they can use the weapons efficiently, and will require assistance wrt intelligence, operational planning, and logistic support. In due course,the Kurdish people should be able to do most of the work themselves.
I just hope that no social engineering initiatives are compulsolry with the acceptance of the weapons and other help. People and nations must be allowed to develop and progress at a pace that is consistent with their traditions, and is not intendeed to destroy their core values; overtime, the Kurdish people will develop into a democracy at par with other Western based democracies; they are already quite advanced in their political and social engagements, and are a beacon for tolerance, that others in the region should emulate.

by: Uncle Ben
August 26, 2014 10:23 PM
When are they going to arm Ukrainians alike? Don't be afraid of Russia.

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