Arming Iraq’s Kurds: Fighting IS, Inviting Conflict

Arming Iraq’s Kurds: Fighting IS, Inviting Conflict. International Crisis Group. May 12, 2015.

According to the report, loosely organised in an ad hoc coalition, Western countries rushed military aid to Iraqi Kurds in the face of a lightning assault by the Islamic State (IS) in June 2014. They failed, however, to develop a strategy for dealing with the consequences of arming non-state actors in Iraq, a country whose unity they profess to support. Rather than forging a strong, unified military response to the IS threat, building up Kurdish forces accelerated the Kurdish polity’s fragmentation, increased tensions between these forces and non-Kurds in disputed areas and strengthened Iraq’s centrifugal forces. Delivered this way, military assistance risks prolonging the conflict with IS, worsening other longstanding, unresolved conflicts and creating new ones. A new approach is called for that revives and builds on past efforts to transform Kurdish forces into a professional institution, says the report. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 44 pages, 3.54 MB].

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