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Gulf States Consider Arming Kurds Fighting ISIL Despite US Opposition

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Some US allies in the Middle East are considering sending arms directly to Kurdish Peshmerga forces, fighting the Islamic State jihadist group (ISIL) in Iraq, despite Washington’s requirement that all weaponry be channeled through Baghdad authorities, sources in Gulf states told the Telegraph on Thursday.

A fighter of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fires an anti-aircraft weapon from Tel Tawil village in the direction of Islamic State fighters positioned in the countryside of the town of Tel Tamr February 25, 2015

MOSCOW (Sputnik)– Last month, the US Senate refused to support the Kurdish cause, voting down a bill that would have allowed for Kurdish fighters to be armed directly without Baghdad’s supervision.“If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating ISIL, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” a senior Arab government official told the outlet.

He added that the Gulf states “cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face.”

Baghdad and the Kurds maintain an often tense relationship, which has prevented the delivery of more advanced weapons systems provided by the US-led coalition – including anti-tank weapons — to Kurds to counter ISIL militants, who have seized huge swaths of land in Iraq and Syria.

The IS is being countered by Syrian and Iraqi government forces, Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, as well as the US-led international coalition. The Peshmerga, the military forces of Iraqi Kurdistan, have been responsible for rolling back Islamic State militants in Iraq’s northwest.