On April 19, the US Department of State approved the sale of $295.6 million worth of military equipment for Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
The equipment will fully outfit “two Peshmerga infantry brigades and two support artillery battalions,” according to a statement appeared at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s website.
“These artillery battalions and infantry brigades will operate under the Kurdistan Regional Governments Ministry of Peshmerga (KRG MOP) with the concurrence of the central government. Requested equipment includes the following: (4,400) M16A4 rifles; (46) M2 50 caliber machine guns; (186) M240B machine guns; (36) M1151 HMMWVs; (77) M1151 up-armored HMMWVs; (12) 3 Kilowatt Tactical Quiet Generator sets; body armor, helmets, and other Organization Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE); small arms and associated accessories including tripods, cleaning kits, magazines, and mounts; mortar systems and associated equipment; Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) detection and protective equipment; dismounted and mounted radio systems; commercial navigation equipment including compasses, binoculars, and Geospatial Position System (GPS) limited to the Standard Positioning System (SPS); M1142 HMMWVs; medical equipment; Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP); cargo and transportation equipment, including light tactical vehicles, medium tactical vehicles, water trucks, fuel trucks, and ambulances; (36) refurbished M119A2 105mm howitzers; spare parts, training and associated equipment related to the mentioned vehicles and artillery systems. The total estimated program cost is $295.6 million,” the statement reads.
The statement added that “This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States.” In other words, the United States sees the Kurdish autonomy as a tool of their foreign policy in Iraq.
It’s interesting to note that Peshmerga forces have not been involved in the storm of the main Iraqi ISIS stronghold of Mosul. So, all military equipment received by Kurdish forces will be used in order to strengthen the autonomy’s independence from the Baghdad government.