Under US law, foreign military aid is supposed to be provided directly to foreign governments. Efforts to arm up various factions in Iraq, including the Peshmerga and Sunni tribal militias, have thus long had to go through a central Iraqi government with limited interest in seeing those groups get too powerful.
Today, the Pentagon announced it has plans for direct provision of weapons to Sunni tribal factions inside Anbar Province, aiming to bolster them amid recent ISIS gains.
Direct arms shipments are going to have to get permission from the Iraqi government, likely, though Congress is also trying to circumvent this restriction with the new military funding bill declaring Sunni tribes to be their own country.
Pentagon officials have conceded in the wake of the loss of Anbar capital Ramadi that the Sunni tribes haven’t been directly involved in US training programs for Iraq, and appeared unclear on how much of the aid sent to Iraq’s government to distribute actually made its way to them.
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