Iraqi Kurdish leader appeals to Germany for weapons




BERLIN: The leader of Iraq’s Kurds appealed to Germany for weapons to help Kurdish fighters battling militants of the Islamic State, and said foreign powers must find a way to cut off the group’s funding. The European Union on Friday gave a green light to EU governments to supply arms and ammunition to the Kurds if it has the consent of the government in Baghdad. Germany has shied away from direct involvement in military conflicts for much of the post-war era and a survey conducted for Bild am Sonntag newspaper indicated that almost three quarters of Germans were against shipping weapons to the Kurds. But Germany’s defence minister has said the government was looking into the possibility of delivering military hardware. Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, said the Kurds needed more than the humanitarian aid that Germany began sending on Friday to support people forced to flee their homes by the militant group’s advance. “We also expect Germany to deliver weapons and ammunition to our army so that we can fight back against the IS terrorists,” Barzani told German magazine Focus. He said they needed German training and what they lacked most were anti-tank weapons. Proclaiming a ‘caliphate’ straddling parts of Iraq and Syria, the radical Islamists have swept across northern Iraq in recent weeks, pushing back Kurdish regional forces and driving tens of thousands of Christians and members of the Yazidi religious minority from their homes. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen sought to temper Kurdish expectations, saying on Friday that forces in Iraq were trained on Soviet-designed weapons that Germany did not have and could not deliver.

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Aaj Kal