WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), on Thursday met with the new Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Representative to the United States, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, about continued U.S. assistance to the Peshmerga. Inhofe gave his support for their request for more weaponry from the United States to continue to fight ISIL.
“The Kurds in Iraq have proven themselves to be fierce fighters in combatting ISIL. Providing them with the necessary weapons and equipment will be key to enabling them to successfully defeat this well-funded and organized terrorist organization,” Inhofe said. “However, I am concerned by the varying reports I have received from the Obama Administration about the equipment and support that has been provided to the Kurds to date.
“As the Department of Defense develops a plan for the 'Iraq Train and Equip' fund provided by the recently passed defense authorization bill, I strongly urge that sufficient resources be directed to the Kurds so that they are fully empowered to defeat ISIL. Resources should include, at a minimum, training, light and heavy weapons, vehicles, counter-IED support and support equipment so that the Kurdish refugee population can safely return to their homes that were previously occupied by ISIL. This is not solely the duty of the United States. I urge our Allies to increase their support so that together we can ensure the Kurds receive the resources they need to fight this radical extremist organization.”
In the meeting with Inhofe, the Kurds requested assistance to continue to fight against ISIL to include countering the growing IED threat. The Kurds have already received some MRAPs from the U.S. through the Iraqi government. This request can be efficiently granted by allowing Kurds to acquire additional equipment no longer needed by U.S. forces departing Afghanistan and by providing maintenance through the equivalent of “end user certificates” so that contractors and the Kurdish military itself can repair and refurbish these vehicles.
As Ranking Member of SASC in the 113th Congress, Inhofe supported a provision in the FY’15 National Defense Authorization Act for the "Iraq Train and Equip Fund." On Nov. 24, 2104, Inhofe sent a letter to Secretary Hagel seeking an explanation into how the Administration plans to spend the requested $1.6 Billion “Iraq Train and Equip Fund” in support of the mission in Iraq. No response has been received to date.