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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

House Foreign Affairs Committee votes to directly arm Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria against ISIS.


House Foreign Affairs Committee votes to directly arm Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria against ISIS. (TheHill).

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday passed a bipartisan bill by unanimous voice vote that would authorize the U.S. to directly arm and train the Kurdish peshmerga in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"Kurdish forces in northern Iraq have been some of our closest partners in the fight against the ISIS," said Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) at a hearing to mark up the bill.

Royce said current law requiring all U.S. military assistance for the Kurds to flow through Baghdad, which is controlled by Shiites, has led to delays in providing Kurdish forces the weapons and training they need to fight ISIS.

"This legislation removes those roadblocks," Royce said. Authorized weapons would include anti-tank missiles, armored vehicles and long-range artillery.

The measure, while authorizing and not requiring the president to provide arms to the Kurds, is controversial since it authorizes the U.S. to sidestep the government in Baghdad, which opposes direct arming of the Kurds since it could undermine its control and authority. Read the full story here.

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