Arming the Kurds, even if their interests were to collide with US interests in the future, is still the best way to proceed, given that the
alternative is to hope they can defeat IS without US military aid. That is a pretty big gamble, considering that if northern Iraq were to fall,
defeating IS would prove more problematic. That is not to say that all US strategic plans would be handicapped by such a change in the current
military geography, but it would mean that we would have to expend more resources to achieve the objective of eradicating IS. This could potentially
mean the loss of an increased number of US military personnel and materiel. Therefore it makes more sense, if the resources have to be spent
regardless, to reduce our energy expenditure and the potential loss of soldiers by letting the Kurds fight. That may be an inhumane way of appraising
the situation, but that is the technical situation as it currently stands.
Do those who disagree with arming the Kurds think that the US should not have helped the USSR defeat Nazi Germany? Churchill and Roosevelt both knew
the threat that was likely to emerge after WWII ended, given Stalin's behavior before and during the war, yet these leaders and their staffs realized
that the alternative was unacceptable...So at present, like it was then, it is about analyzing the situation and determining which is a greater
threat...the current enemy, or a potential future enemy. The Kurds will not behave like a terrorist group such as IS or Al-Qaeda. It is in their best
interest to behave like a civilized nation, which they have pretty much done thus far. Had anyone gone to Iraq in the last decade or so they would be
struck by the Westernization of many Kurdish cities, and despite the carnage raging across Iraq it would be seen that Kurdish regions were still
intact and functioning up to Western standards. Not all regions of course, but some Kurdish regions look nothing like the rest of Iraq. The Kurdish
values are different from those of the militant groups currently at odds with the US, and even differ greatly from the values in countries like Iran.
It is still likely that the Kurds would be a US ally in the region.
The idea that they want to annex portions of Turkey, while true, is considered by some to be justified considering the presence of the large Kurdish
population. It just depends on how each person looks at it. Personally I do not feel that the Kurds would attempt to annex debated regions by force,
but that is yet to be seen. Plus, the US need not send advanced military hardware to the Kurds. They are likely in need of small arms and supply more
than anything. While IS does possess some pieces of more advanced hardware, I appraise the situation as follows: the Kurds, if supplied with ample
ammunition and small arms, as well as stand-off weapons like mortars and artillery, they would be in a very favorable position and could thus defeat
IS in northern Iraq. I do not know what the Kurdish military objectives are, but I imagine they are limited to pushing IS far from Kurdish territory,
and not defeating IS outright. They do not possess the resources to do this, and the US should not supply them with such an objective in mind. What I
am getting at is that the US could supply such weaponry without fear of such weapons playing a vital role in a future conflict. Plus, the US could
supply weapons chambered so that resupply would not be as easy, meaning that without US ammunition supplies it would be difficult for the Kurdish
forces to continue to use these small arms in mass numbers. I do not know how easily they could acquire smaller calibers like the 5.56, but we do know
that a more common caliber in the region is 7.62. Again, I don't know how much of a difference this would make, but it is something that could be
considered. Edit to add: I just did some quick research, and besides the large stockpiles of US ammunition and small arms that have fallen into the
hands of IS, there are 5.56 rounds coming from nearby regions as well. So while the AK-47 might still be popular in the Middle East, there have been
increasing numbers of other caliber weapons finding their way into places like Iraq. The defeated Iraqi military units are responsible for much of the
losses of weapons and ammunition to IS. It is easy to see how weapons and ammo used by IS could find its way to Kurdish forces in the future, and how
Kurdish forces could easily find whatever ammunition they needed from nearby nations, whether they acquire them legally or illegally.
3/20/15 by JiggyPotamus because: (no reason given)