NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel reported that both Kurdish fighters and American advisers are upset with the lack of support provided by the United States in the fight against ISIS on Friday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC.
“We went out with Kurdish forces, we went to their newest, most front line position, not far from the Mosul Dam. And while we were there, we saw a very meager base with light weapons, just some berms that were put up made of sand, and the Kurdish fighters were complaining that they are not getting the amount of support they need from the United States. They say they are close american friends, they are in this fight, unlike some other ground allies, I’m thinking Syrian rebels and others. The Kurds really are in this fight, yet they’re complaining they’re not nearly getting the weapons, the training, the manpower, the number of airstrikes, drone support, almost everything you could imagine, to take the battle forward” he stated.
Engel continued, “I’ve spoken with some American advisers, they are very frustrated. They feel they were sent here on a mission to help the Kurds, to help fight against ISIS, but the weapons just aren’t coming and that there’s not a full commitment for a variety of geopolitical reasons that means the weapons and the support aren’t coming here.”
He concluded that the problem is “we talk about a larger war against ISIS, with a grand international coalition, with Jordan and the Arab world now up in arms after the burning of the pilot. It doesn’t really work that way. You have so many different pieces of the puzzle here. The Kurds, where we are, they want an independent country, they want Kurdistan, and that’s the reason why the US isn’t sending them a lot of weapons, because Baghdad, which is also fighting against ISIS, sort of, they’re not doing a lot of fighting, they don’t want Kurdistan to be an independent country, and the weapons that are supposed to come here are still going through the central Baghdad government, even though Kurdistan really feels like it has nothing to do anymore with the Baghdad government, and that is just one of the complications that we are seeing in this general war against ISIS, the broader coalition. The US is trying to burn both ends of the candle, support the Kurds, and give them some weapons, but not give them enough so that they upset Baghdad and give Baghdad the impression that the US wants the Kurds to break away. So, the Kurds are getting some of the weapons, but not enough so that they could arm themselves and break away, which leaves the fight against ISIS hanging in the battle. The Iraqi Army is still incredibly weak, it is still incredibly corrupt, it is viewed as a Shiite militia, increasingly, it is just the Shiite militia who are backed by Iran, that are running the Iraqi Army, not this unified, independent army that is ready to take on ISIS, that is a myth.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett