Kurdish Peshmerga soon with own air force? ©Inge Wallumrød

Is a Kurdish Air Force on Its Way?

Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan – As part of the United States’ commitment to continue supporting Kurdistan and its armed forces, the Peshmerga, the possibility of a brand new Kurdish air force cannot be ruled out, says a Kurdish MP in Baghdad.

Shakhwan Abdullah, who is a member of the Iraqi parliamentary committee for defense and security affairs, says that Washington is well aware of the Iraqi government’s shirking to share international military aid with the Kurdish army, which is considered the most effective force against the terrorists of the so-called “Islamic State.”

Smoke rises during clashes between Peshmerga forces and ISIL militants in Daquq town south of Kirkuk.

Considering the Peshmerga’s role in the war against ISIS, Abdullah believes that a Kurdish air force is possible in the future and that the US will agree to provide Erbil directly with warplanes and other heavy arms. Therefore he also calls on the Peshmerga ministry, Kurdistan’s Defense Department, to train pilots and establish bases for the future air force.

In mid-July, the United States and the Kurdistan Region signed a military Memorandum of Understanding, which provides the Peshmerga with the necessary funds to keep on the fight against terrorism in the Middle East. The MoU comes as Washington loses hope in the Iraqi central government to shoulder its responsibilities towards its Kurdish minority in the north.

Baghdad however, tries to prevent international military aid to be delivered to the Kurdistan Region as often as possible. Last Wednesday the Iraqi government prevented Kurdish representatives from taking part in an anti-ISIS meeting in Washington. Kurdish leaders were not amused.

Peshmerga forces fight ISIS with old Soviet-era tanks.

Despite fighting the terrorists of ISIS on the forefront of the battlefield, the Kurdish Peshmerga have not received sufficient modern weapons; especially heavy weaponry is missing. The Kurds are mostly fighting with old Soviet-era weapons against modern American weapons, which ISIS managed to capture from the Iraqi army in 2014.

Kurdish officials blame Baghdad for withholding Erbil’s share from the international aid delivered to Iraq, including military, financial and humanitarian assistances.

Leave a reply