According to the National Post, the Canadian government will begin supplying elements of the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq with small arms and light weapons. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously announced Canadian material support for the Peshmerga a year ago, but only recently made good on the promise this month. Germany has a history of supplying small arms to the Kurds, but recently stopped according to the article, after German rifles were found for sale on the Iraqi black market. Both countries are currently providing much training and support through troops deployed to the region, but this is the first official announcement that Canada would be providing material. From the National Post-
Canada will provide long-range sniper rifles and anti-tank weapons to the Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State (ISIL) in northern Iraq, the Department of National Defence said Wednesday.…The list included .50-calibre sniper rifles equipped with silencers, 60mm mortars, as well as Carl Gustav anti-tank systems. Details about the numbers of each type of equipment were withheld for security reasons.
Other gear includes grenade launchers, pistols, carbines, thermal binoculars, cameras, scopes and medical supplies.
“It should include weapons, military equipment and devices for the size of a battalion — everything, not including vehicles,” Brigadier General Hajar Ismail, director of coordination and relations at the Kurdish Ministry of Peshmerga told Rudaw, a Kurdish media outlet. “The paperwork is done, Baghdad has signed off.”
Germany’s latest shipment included 1,500 rifles, 1 million rounds of ammunition, three armoured vehicles and 100 MILAN guided missiles.
Within the past year, we have had reports from ARES that NEA (Canadian AR company) PDW CCS’ were sold to the Kurds, both in black and tan finishes. These wire stock, 7.5-inch barrel carbines have also turned up on the illegal markets in Iraq by the dozens. However, I can imagine that the original purchase order from NEA to the Kurds was in the good graces of the Canadian government, as a sort of, “We support you, but can’t provide actual material yet, so we’ll let this NEA order go through”. Another point to note here is that the Canadian government appears to be dealing through the Iraq government and directly with the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, than the Peshmerga in eastern Turkey. The future political ramifications between Turkey and Canada could severely be jeopardized if this material was used against the Turkish armed forces by the PKK, something Canada wants to try and avoid.