Kurdistan’s “Blackwater” Center!

I challenge you to watch the above video, and tell me the majority of the tactics, gear, people, and location couldn’t have been easily mistaken for a large training center in the United States, such as Gunsite, Blackwater. The Erbil Training Center (ETC) claims to be the largest training facility within Iraq, and autonomous Kurdistan (northern Iraq). ETC boosts numerous short and long distance ranges, a CQB maneuver house, rappel tower, in addition to a wide variety of other establishments and shooting facilities. The Center appears to be much more specialized within the PSD and special operations capacity training than strict infantry material, or what the majority of the Peshmerga is engaged in when it comes to fighting Daesh. Indeed, with previous videos of Kurdish “SF” groups, I can recognize some of the background at this facility.

ETC – Erbil Training Center, is the only license Kurdish provider of tactical training solutions, for governmental units or private security companies. We believe that the right combination of training and support will enable security forces, governmental & private, to create and maintain safe environments for our nations to thrive in. As a result, we are committed to sharing best practices through cutting-edge training, complex program management, and logistic support.

Our 63-acre training center, located 25 minutes south of Erbil, is the largest privately-owned training center in Kurdistan and Iraq. This training center boasts many training facilities, including classrooms and accommodations for over 40 personnel and other training support activity centers.

ETC – Erbil Training Center offers also a variety of training options for civilians and individuals. Drawing on the same capabilities of our instructors that guide our government and corporate clients, ETC provides training programs for individuals that range from introductory firearms courses to defensive driving, close protection officer or/and private military contractor and all the individual courses are provided year-round at ETC training center.

To build all of this, bring the actual experience levels of instructors (some I guarantee are Kurds from the UK/European armed forces that came back home), and even manage a large facility like this this requires a large amount of resources and pure financial backing. I would not at all be surprised if there was some Israeli support involved in this project, as Israel has been a very prominent and outspoken supporter of Kurdish independence efforts. Another very important note about the ETC is that the website is all in English, and not Kurmanji or Sorani dialects of the Kurdish language, although the video ends with a sentence in Sorani, in addition to a pamphlet about the center also in Sorani . This implies to me that the website is primarily for English speakers, or essentially the financial backers of the project (presumably Israeli, European or American), while the dissemination of the video is for actual Kurds, as a sort of display of Kurdish nationalism.

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Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


  • Riot

    The trailer doesn’t seem that impressive tbh.

    • laks

      It’s probably targeted towards the wealthy middle easterner crowd. Bad taste is mandatory.

      • Mr Silly

        More gold plating would help.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    however hateful this will sound, but part of me prefers sites like this to exist in the US, Europe, Israel, and other developed places, with true democratic values.

    • bob


      These people will be the enemies of tomorrow. Do not teach them to be better killers.

      God help us if we start getting terrorists with some actual shooting skills.

      • Grijnwaald

        You’re speaking from a position of total ignorance, maybe learn more about the region, the people and the situation, then come back with something insightful to add.

      • tts

        You know nothing of the Kurds or what they’re fighting for and against.

        I’d suggest you at least google the history of the Kurds. Even if its only a wiki you read you’ll be far more informed than you are now.

      • Jonathan

        I don’t know which Kool-aid you been drinking. Kurds have fought the Islamic State terrorists at a great cost.

        • Mr Silly

          Nonsense. they have a very good propaganda machine courtesy of step mother Israel, which can turn KPY-=Peschmerga inaction or nastiness into virtue. Nevermind the fact the Kurds have oppressed Christians, Muslims (Shia and Sunni) and confiscated land from Syrians and Iraqis. They are not markedly dissiimilar to IS.
          The ones who have fought IS empirically, factually and veritably are Syrian Arab Army with extreme cost- with undeniable valiance, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia.

          USA, Israel and others have barley shot the scraps. You don’t destroy what you spent billions creating.

          You also don’t get to rewrite historic fact to suit Zionist agenda.

    • Jason Culligan

      I’d rather this in Kurdish regions over anywhere else in the Middle East. The Kurds have shown to be far more secular and willing to adopt Western values than other groups in the region. If there’s anyone that deserves an independent state today, it’s the Kurds.

      • Mr Silly

        Sadly, Kurds are nomadic. Always have been and even their name sake Kurd is Pashto and Farsi for “nomad”. Kurds never had a settled civilization, ergo never had a boundaried, fixed territory- but freedom of passage through others’.
        The analogy is granting the Gypsies sovereignty over the entire EU, or granting California to the hippies. The concept is absurd and based on deliberate simplification of the matter to the US public by Zionist vested interests.
        While talking about the USA- why don’t known agrarian Amer-Indians get their own country inside the US as US treaties have repeatedly promised? Why not allow Hawaii to be free from “US oppression”? Same for Costa Rica, Guam, Saipan etc? Well- whatever US’ reasons- US’ own arguably untenable positions will be used against it by an anti-Kurdistan opposition and similarly the UNSCO (UK re Gibraltar, Falklands, Faroes, Carribean, France similarly dubious claims of ownership under international law to external “possessions- will be challenged.
        A sovereign Kurdistan, would never be tolerated in the region- especially among Iraqi Shia and Sunni- it would create the one wedge issue that would unite them (bad move for historic US Divide et Impera tactic). It would unite normally nominally belligerent states such as Saudi Arabia & Iraq, to co-operate with Iran-Syria to eradicate a majority population opposed and EXTERNAL division of their sovereign territory- as all will lose resource rich parts of their soveriegn territory and put a very pro- Israeli puppet in their midst. Simply intolerable for them.

        Bear in mind this is the same Mr Silly who predicted in 2011, FSA would be defeated by a Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah alliance within 5-7 years with a return to status quo pro bellum and the end of US isolation of Iran for US own economic reasons. I also predicted Trump would win the day he announced his candidacy. Not clairvoyant- but simply able to see both sides of the argument- and what is geo-poltically acceptable to all actors, as I have no personal pro or con position.

        • Mikial

          Your point is . . . what? That Kurds don’t deserve their own country because the Sioux don’t have one? A sovereign anything outside mainstream Muslim/Arab groups such as Hashemites or the various Sunni and Shia majorities in various places are not tolerated. Go to Jordan sometime and engage a Jordanian Hashemite in a conversation about the Palestinians and you will hear a diatribe more racists than anything you would ever hear in a US or EU conversation on the topic of racial differences. Likewise, ask a Palestinian in Jordan how they are treated.

          Having spent time in Erbil, Jordan, The West Bank, Lebanon, Iraq and many other garden spots, there’s no one else in the entire region I would trust except the Kurds.

    • int19h

      What makes you believe that Kurds don’t have “true democratic values”?

      • Elvis

        Because they have Barzani values.

        They are still good folks, and I like them, but they are tribal.

        • int19h

          When I’m looking at what they did in Kurdistan, I see pretty much the only non-sham democratic republic with rule of law and due process in the region, aside from Israel.

          So, what are those tribal values, and what exactly do they manifest in?

          • Mr Silly

            Your premise is Israel is a “true” democracy. I suggest you look up the term gerrymandering.

          • int19h

            I didn’t use the word “true”. I said “non-sham”. Sham democracy is the one where you have elections, but how people actually vote doesn’t matter, even in aggregate. Russia is a good example of a modern sham democracy.

            Conversely, if the way everyone votes does affect the results, it’s not a sham democracy. It may well be non-perfect in a sense of ignoring some votes, or assigning them different weights, or not providing enough meaningful choices – but those are all quantitative metrics that can be gradually improved upon. The difference between sham democracies and the real thing, on the other hand, is qualitative.

    • Jonathan

      Lol that must be why US and Europe militarily aid “developed places with true democratic values”, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Egypt, Colombia…

      • Mr Silly

        Plea to emotion. Logical fallacy. Grant the Americans freedom from their own tyrannical government first.

  • USMC03Vet

    So operator I just received direct deposit danger pay. Thanks, TFB.

    • PVW 20

      That’s all very high speed/low drag and operator-ish and everything……..now go kill some daesh.

  • Don Ward

    So is this the place where Iraqis learn to surrender M1 Abrams tanks, and billions of dollars of other weaponry, to a bunch of dudes in Toyota HiLux pickup trucks?

    Or is that a different training center?

    • Winslow88

      Kurdish Peshmerga did not leave equipment behind, that was the Iraqi Security Forces. Do some basic research next time.

      • Don Ward

        So it’s a different training center then, like I asked.

        Next time hone up on your basic reading comprehension.

        • The_Champ

          Oh I think he comprehended your original comment just fine 🙂

        • iksnilol

          And you should realize that Kurds =/= Iraqis.

      • Mr Silly

        The US ordered them to.

    • Jonathan

      You mean those Iraqis trained by American advisors? The folks who finally got their act together when Iranian special forces began training them?

      • 11b

        Lol. You’re thinking of the Shia militias which were only very recently an official government entity. They were ‘effective’ because they basically had no ROE and were actually paid, unlike much of the Iraqi Army. Morale and corruption were the main issues, not training.

  • The_Champ

    The big difference between this school and most American ones is that the Kurdish students have a good chance of actually needing these shooting skills 🙂

    • Mikial

      Amen to that!

  • billyoblivion

    Isn’t that Chuck Norris at the 30 second mark?

  • Infanterist2013

    Look for AP Tac or Alex Pineschi on Facebook. He’s the guy that seems to run the ETC. He fought alongside Peshmerga forces against ISIS. One of the few foreign volunteers that was allowed to fight on the frontline. He also trained with PeshmergaNOR and PeshmergaSWE.
    okay, enough with the fanboyism

    • Mr Silly

      So he’s a mercenary scumbag who profits in others’ misery?

      • Infanterist2013

        There’s not much profit in fighting with the Peshmerga. And the Kurdish forces don’t really take anyone. (Except that one bataillon where everyone could join and stayed inside the barracks)
        I guess the Kurds wanted a training center in their area and put a man in charge they could trust. Their SOF train there as well

        Many US Americans tried to join or actually joined as well. You can look up Scott Wolf on facebook as well.

  • Mr Silly

    Strongly suggests IDF influence as well. Kurdistan is very much darling of Israel and USA. Probably some British freelancer scumbags assisted in this as well- the dubious yet ubiquitous SAS-ers and SASR’s (ranks of ex personnel strangely not correlate/tally with actual muster rolls). Not shocked, but not impressed. Blackwater should not exist- sub contracting out CIA wetwork is cowardly. A State should have the moral fortitude to engage with candour and not hide behind from its own laws.