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Defense Ministry Sources: Tehran Withholding Further Armament for Kurdish Forces in Iraq | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Kurdish peshmerga forces sit on top of a tank on the outskirts of Kirkuk April 18, 2015. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed

Irbil-Iran has been called out for stopping artillery supply convoys scheduled for delivery to Iraqi Kurdistan four months ago, sources at the Iraqi ministry of defense confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

Iraqi Kurdish lawmaker Shakhawan Abdulla accused the Iraqi ministry of defense of purposely hindering arms delivery to the Kurdistan region, which was the result of stockpiling weapons in Baghdad storages.

Abdulla told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that over five tons of weaponry promised to Irbil have not yet been delivered despite procedures being finalized.

The Iraqi ministry of defense had caved in under Iranian pressures for withholding arms delivery to Irbil.

The Kurdish lawmaker stated that the Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi had personally stood behind suspending delivery.

“The minister of defense’s action comes despite his own family residing in Irbil, and is protected by the Peshmerga forces–the minister also belongs to Mosul which daily witnesses Peshmerga forces fighting against ISIS and freeing most towns; that alone should have served as a reason for the minister to do all that is possible in order to facilitate further armament of Peshmerga forces. Nonetheless he now serves as the main obstacle,” Abdulla added.

Abdulla pointed out that the main reasons behind the suspension of arms delivery is that Baghdad fears the very arming of the paramilitary group. He said that “the Iraqi government sees that arming Peshmerga forces will cause a future concern. There are no other evident reasons. Baghdad is well aware that the first ISIS defeat was served at the hands of the Peshmerga forces.”

MP Abdulla carried on explaining that the partiality Peshmerga forces experience is highlighted most by denying them their just portion of incoming artillery to Iraq.

Based on the cabinet distribution, the Iraqi Kurds would be entitled to twenty tons of arms from each incoming 100, nonetheless if battlefield ranges are taken into consideration, the Peshmerga’s portion would be somewhere around 30-40 tons given that they are currently fighting ISIS across a 1,100 km premise.