U.S. To Fully Equip Peshmerga Battalions Through FMS

The State Department and Department of Defense have announced a planned sale of almost $300 million of defense materials through the Republic of Iraq to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Peshmerga. The article specifically states that the deal is to equip two infantry battalions and two supporting artillery battalions of Peshmerga troops. Although this isn’t a U.S. Army T/O complete Brigade Combat Team (Or U.S. Marine equivalent Battalion Landing Team), the equipment numbers marry up perfectly with similar amounts in the U.S. Army, practically stripping this Peshmerga unit of anything other than Infantry and supporting artillery assets. Case in point is the amount of Colt M16A4s (Colt mentioned as being one of the suppliers) being ordered with a number of 4,400 rifles. A T/O complete U.S. Army Brigade Combat Team has an authorized strength of 4,413 soldiers, essentially on the dot of what the Peshmerga one will be. In addition the M16A4s, the planned order also specifies 46 .50 BMG M2s, and 186 M240B medium machine guns as far as small arms are concerned. I’m sure there are handgun allotments, possibly Glock 19s thrown in but too insignificant to be mentioned in the article. Of course, a number of armored vehicles and 105mm howitzers are within the bounds of the sale as well.

The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of the equipment necessary to fully outfit two full Peshmerga Regional Brigades of light infantry, as well as the equipment necessary to outfit two artillery battalions that will ultimately provide support to those regional brigades. These artillery battalions and infantry brigades will operate under the Kurdistan Regional Governments Ministry of Peshmerga (KRG MOP) with the concurrence of the central government. Requested equipment includes the following: (4,400) M16A4 rifles; (46) M2 50 caliber machine guns; (186) M240B machine guns; (36) M1151 HMMWVs; (77) M1151 up-armored HMMWVs; (12) 3 Kilowatt Tactical Quiet Generator sets; body armor, helmets, and other Organization Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE); small arms and associated accessories including tripods, cleaning kits, magazines, and mounts; mortar systems and associated equipment; Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) detection and protective equipment; dismounted and mounted radio systems; commercial navigation equipment including compasses, binoculars, and Geospatial Position System (GPS) limited to the Standard Positioning System (SPS); M1142 HMMWVs; medical equipment; Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP); cargo and transportation equipment, including light tactical vehicles, medium tactical vehicles, water trucks, fuel trucks, and ambulances; (36) refurbished M119A2 105mm howitzers; spare parts, training and associated equipment related to the mentioned vehicles and artillery systems. The total estimated program cost is $295.6 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States, by supporting Iraq’s capacity to degrade and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Iraq will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

There are a number of contractors involved in this effort, including but not limited to AM General, Oshkosh Defense, Navistar Defense, Harris Radio, and Colt Corporation. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

As we’ve seen on TFB the Peshmerga arsenal consists of a potluck of small arms to include German G36s, U.S. M16A2s, various Kalashnikov copies, and the recently mentioned Serbian M93 anti-material rifles. Not only does this present a myriad of logistical issues, but these small arms are wearing down and becoming unserviceable as the fight against the so-called Islamic State continues into it’s fourth or fifth year depending on whom you ask. Arming an entire Brigade with everything it needs for the business of warfighting is no small task or intention. Just the presence of it might not balance the favor of warfare with the Kurds but it certainly can’t be a disadvantage provided it is properly employed and trained.



Miles

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. You can also follow us on Twitter- @Silah_Report

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


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  • we should have done this 25 years ago…now if they can only upgrade ALL the Peshmerga battalions to this standard…

    • Patriot Gunner

      Yes lets give even more American taxpayer money away! It’s not like we’re in debt or anything.

      • GD Ajax

        If the American taxpayers are stupid enough to elect the party of debt and Great Depression 2.0. They deserve to lose their money.

        • Rogertc1

          Hillary Lost

      • int19h

        Well, US has just approved almost $4 billion / year of military aid to Israel for the next 10 years. And Israel isn’t fighting ISIS. If you want substantial cuts, that’s where I’d start. This is chump change in comparison.

        • Patriot Gunner

          Yeah I agree, if it were up to me I would get rid of ALL foreign aid in an instant. And that includes all monies that go to nebulous NGO’s such as world trade organization, united nations, etc. Even if we had zero debt the case for foreign aid is weak at best, but considering the amount of colossal debt that we’ve accumulated over the years it is downright criminal at this point.

      • Rogertc1

        “State Department and Department of Defense have announced a planned SALE of almost $300 million of defense materials through the Republic of Iraq.” This was done before Trump came to office.

  • Max Müller

    Because nothing bad ever happened after we gave weapons to the enemies of our enemies. Oh wait…

    • Malthrak

      To be fair, the Kurds are vastly different from many groups we have similarly supported in the past, they’re not Afghani Mujahadeen or Contras or Syrian wackos. You can go to Erbil in Kurdistan and go to dance clubs, bars, shopping malls, etc that all look like they came right out of the US or Europe, they’re building a distinctly different and modern nation in their corner of Iraq, and have fielded some of the most effective local fighting forces in the conflict thus far, and have been working earnestly with the US for decades.

      If we *are* going to arm anyone over there, they’re the best bet. And, more to the point, they already have gobs of weapons, this is really more of a refitting and logistical streamlining than arming a new group.

      • UWOTM8

        Kurdistan and Jordan should be our BFFs, the rest are sketchy as all get out.

      • micmac80

        Actualy not ,it just lots of goldplated PR ,educate yourself a bit iraq kurdistan is a dictatorship like much of the region , Barzani the dictator in charge eagerly supported Saddam in gasing his oponents when oprotune,They fight each other as much as anyone else , were ISIS main trading partner and are actively ethnicaly cleansing territory right now by razing whole vilages.
        Are piss poor soldiers . .

        But at the moment they are being lionised darlings of the west , but that was no different with jihadis in Afganistan and ”valiant warrior bin laden” that was then lauded a hero.

        • Malthrak

          I’ll just state that my personal experience in Erbil is very different from your assertions.

          • micmac80

            Check some facts on Barzani and Ethnic cleansing they are doing at the moment.

        • int19h

          You know, even if it is a dictatorship as you say, it’s still vastly preferable to the average kind of state in the region. I’ll take a secular dictatorship that cares enough about its public image to generally behave over a theocratic monarchy or sham democracy. Stable government that doesn’t have to bet on religion as ideology to keep the masses in check will evolve into a democracy eventually anyway. In the meantime, it’ll keep its citizens fed, educated, and occupied with decent paying jobs – and overall enjoying their lives too much to take the jihadi bait en masse.

  • 22winmag

    Makes you wonder if CON-gress is going to write another fat check to Kiev.

  • b0x3r0ck

    Shipping weapons to this region has worked out so well so far.

  • xebat

    You know what’s funny, the Peshmerga have attacked the Yazidis that were abandoned by them recently. All because they are Turkeys pawns. The US should support the YPG/SDF instead. They are in the real fight against ISIS now ! The Peshmerga are sitting around doing nothing in comparison !

  • John

    It also shows Turkey that the U.S. likes Kurdistan.

    Expect Erdogan to throw a fit at supporting “terrorists”.

    • Ark

      Well, for now. The US has a proven track record of backing the Kurds when it was convenient and abandoning them to the wolves when they became inconvenient.

      • noob

        The history of the Kurdish sorrows with violent conflict and the proud Kurdish martial tradition goes back a long way. Did you know Saladin, who took the holy city of Jerusalem during the Crusades was Kurdish?

        After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and WW1 the Treaty of Lausanne split the land of the Kurds into three parts and embedded them in three countries without autonomous rule. These three countries would eventually go to war with each other with the Kurds in the middle.

        In spite of all of that the Kurds remain organised, cohesive and not to be underestimated. If you can convince them it is in their interests to fight beside you, they are a most capable ally. Cross them and you will taste their revenge. They say “The Kurds have no friends, but the mountains.”

        • CavScout

          Did you know the ‘Crusades’ only happened because Muslims, to include Kurds, were violent invaders? We need to stop arming the enemy. And it’s a new group that turns on us like every 10 years.

          • noob

            Well yes. And that is part of the reason why they do not have a united Kurdistan today. In my more cynical moments I think that we are just trying to get everyone in the region to fight each other so they can’t unite into a new, efficient caliphate and go back to those days of expansion again. Unfortunately, with modern technology one guy can blow up and do more damage than ten men in the days of sword, so when they turn their weapons on us the damage is proportionally larger at lower dollar expenditure.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Well from what I’ve heard the Kurds have proven more reliable than most of the “moderate” rebels we’ve given guns.

    • Ergo

      I was stationed in Kurdistan during my 1 year sabbatical in Iraq. When we went into the town the Peshmerga would pop up on rooftops and cover us. The civilians treated us like rock stars. They are the only muslims worth a dam.

  • tsh77769

    I am generally against this kind of thing. However, the Kurds are very worthy and deserving. They are reliable.

    • Robert Kalani Foxworthy

      we should go head and arm what is left of the christian community.

      • tsh77769

        Yes. You hear about the last few Chrsitians in Egpyt, the last few Chirstians in Syria, the Christians in Lebanon and so forth scattered around in tiny numbers. There used to be lots and lots of Christians and Jews and a few Zoroastrians (mostly in Iran) all through the Middle East. So, what happened? Muslims have all but wiped them, these poor souls are well on their way to extinction. Lebanon used to be a majority Christian nation (perhaps still is by some barest of margins?) then they took in more muslim migrants and refugees. Then the muslims took over and started trying to wipe out the Christians, and that is how the US ended up in Lebanon in the 80’s.

  • mosinman

    we should have been doing this instead of arming those moderate beheaders

  • Docduracoat

    This is great news !
    Remember that during the entire 10 year occupation of Iraq, not one U.S. soldier was killed in the Kurdish zone
    The Kurds share our values of woman’s rights, minority rights, capitalism and democracy
    You never hear an Aloha Snackbar from them when watching combat videos
    Want to see how the Pesh have engaged Isis, go search for Peshmerganor and Peshmergaswe
    These are a Norwegian and Swedish army vets of Kurdish heritage who fought with the Peshmerga all the way to Mosul

    • HAROLD SPAULDING

      You made me spit all over my screen with the Aloha Snackbar! Hahaha, God bless the Kurdish nation, and God bless Masoud Barzani!

  • micmac80

    Not realy Kurds are ethnicaly cleansing territory they hold and they often clashed with jezidis ,

    • GD Ajax

      Trukish propaganda. Erodagan must be sending checks out early.

  • Ark

    Well, hopefully the Kurds will be less likely to throw all their shiny new weapons on the ground in front of advancing extremists and/or sell them off to extremists under the table.

  • tony

    train them to use sights first!!!!!

  • Ranger Rick

    MAGA, more American arms means more American jobs. Though I do wonder how long it will be till the PKK has some of these weapons?

  • Rico Balagbag

    >US arms Kurds
    Turkroaches on suicide watch

  • rengo zeb

    What a hypocrite Western world ! The Syrian people have been slaughtered for six years And The United States and Europe are barring access to any A defensive weapon in which the Syrians can defend themselves Then say and look surprised in your eyes Why do they hate us? !!! shame on you Long live the Syrian people Free Palestine

    • UWOTM8

      lmao get a load of this one

    • int19h

      Oh right, like we’re going to arm Jabhat al-Nusra or Ahrar al-Sham. When Syrian opposition has a tangible secular (not just in name only) force, wake me up.

      Even then… as I recall, last time US tried to arm some FSA unit that was ostensibly secular, a bunch of them defected to Nusra with those arms, and the rest was captured by ISIS.

  • int19h

    “As we’ve seen on TFB the Peshmerga arsenal consists of a potluck of small arms to include German G36s, U.S. M16A2s, various Kalashnikov copies, and the recently mentioned Serbian M93 anti-material rifles. ”

    The earlier video to which you link is from Syria, so that would be YPG. This one is about Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan. My understanding is that the latter is generally much better equipped, and is more of a professional army and less of a grassroots militia. Not that they couldn’t use some quality guns…

  • cruzo1981

    Another stupid idea. Send firearms to countries that don’t have anything to do with our problems. Lets create more enemies abroad and endanger our future generation of soldiers.

  • CJS3

    Can’t think of a better way to go to war with Turkey. Just need to send some “advisors” and air strikes to get the Turks to start buying oil from ISIS again.

  • Buck

    Should have been done a few years ago. Christ is the son of GOD . Buck 🇺🇸⚔🇺🇸 100% disabled Vietnam veteran Christian Right wing republican lifetime member NRA friend to Israel

  • Glen Bowers

    So, when do they use those arms against us?

  • Keme Lochesh

    every problem in mordn europe can be trace back to turks.

  • Guido FL

    Why is the US involved at all ? By being in these countries the US becomes the invaders. I say let these fractions kill each other off !~