This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Canadian-Supplied Arms to Peshmerga: At A Snail's Pace

"Supplier states must ensure that stockpiles are secure and well managed and not at risk of diversion or theft."
"[The agreements] will help ensure adequate controls are in place to govern the use of the equipment."
"This should involve strengthening controls over each stage of the arms transfer process, including transportation, delivery mechanisms, stockpiling, end use and eventual decommissioning."
Canadian legal agreement to be co-signed by Baghdad and Iraqi Kurds
A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier guards an outpost on Zardek Mountain, northwest of Erbil, in northern Iraq. (Murray Brewster/CBC)

Lessons learned always create problems. When the United States, France, Britain and Canada along with other NATO members created a safe air corridor in Libya they did not foresee the eventuality that weapons stockpiles belonging to the government of Moammar Ghadaffi, abandoned by the Libyan military in their battle against tribal dissidents supported by the West, would result in terrorists looting those stockpiles, the weapons ending up in places like Mali, to fuel a jihadist insurgency there.

Much less that many of those advanced weapons eventually fell into the hands of Islamic State along with other terrorist groups in the Middle East and North Africa. And nor did the United States imagine that weapons and military rolling stock supplied to the Iraqi military which had undergone extensive, rigorous training by American military trainers, would be abandoned by hastily retreating Iraqi military troops, frightened witless by the advance of Islamic State on the city of Mosul and surrounding areas, leaving it all for the terrorists to take advantage of.

Now, the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, receiving training from Canadian trainers in their battle against ISIL, have long been promised arms to replace their stockpile of old rifles and other outdated arms, but while the promises are repeated, none of the promised small arms, ammunition and optical sights have yet materialized. Not only are authorities in Canada concerned that they could end up in the hands of terrorists, but there is also the concern that the Iraqi Kurds plan in time to confront the government of Iraq with demands of a sovereign state of their own.

Since it is the Kurds in Iraq and Syria that have proven to be superior fighting forces pushing back against the ruthless inhumanity of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, NATO nations have focused on supporting them in light of the observed fact that the Iraqi and Syrian militaries have failed to demonstrate their defensive, let alone offensive capabilities convincingly.

Baghdad has given the permission that Canadian authorities sought, to supply the Peshmerga with the promised weapons to include rifles, machine guns and light mortars. The lingering concern of the Kurds eventually using those weapons to help achieve their goal of independence remains. But the far more urgent task of countering and finally defeating the aspirations of the Islamic State caliphate takes precedence.

Little wonder that the Kurds must be impatient at the continued delays, despite aging promises. Last week an Amnesty International report claimed weapons originating from the U.S., Russia and Iran were in use in the commission of war crimes in Iraq. Some of the weapons, it was pointed out, which were initially provided for Kurdish use, since ending up with paramilitary groups and used in abductions and murders.

The Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) provides Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) with military training such as shooting, movement, communications, and mission planning, as well as employment of various weapons systems against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Photo: CANSOFCOM.

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