Even though Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi spent this week’s Paris summit complaining about the lack of aid deliveries, US officials say that the Pentagon had already begun its massive new shipments of armament to the Iraqi military, and that the first deliveries were made two weeks ago.
The shipments are the first part of the $1.6 billion “Iraqi Train and Equip Fund” that Congress created last year, and shipments delivered so far have included grenade launchers, mortars, and machine guns. Iraqi officials are still complaining about the slow rate of shipment.
Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Elissa Smith says that there will be a number of additional arms shipments in the coming weeks, including some direct provision of arms to the Iraqi Kurdish paramilitary force the Peshmerga.
That’s been a contentious subject with the Iraqi government. Under US law, shipment to forces inside a country have to be approved by that country’s central government, and the Iraqis aren’t keen to see the Peshmerga get too powerful because of Kurdish secessionist ambitions. Pentagon officials, however, have indicated the arms shipping will continue irrespective of Iraqi objections.
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