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house Bill H.R. 1654

Does the U.S. Need to Arm the Kurdish Peshmerga in their Struggle Against ISIL?

Argument in favor

The Kurdish Peshmerga are arguably the most effective combat unit fighting against ISIL on the ground today. Providing the Kurds with American weaponry will give them an advantage in that struggle, and help lead to the defeat of ISIL.

operaman's Opinion
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02/19/2016
Seems like a simple answer. Why hasn't our impotent POTUS given the OK years ago? Looks like he wants the US to be floundering in the Middle East until he leaves office. Let's face it, Obama is just a community activist.
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BTSundra's Opinion
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02/20/2016
If not stopped, ISIS will continue its attacks and move to the United States. We must stop this problem before it takes off.
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John's Opinion
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04/19/2016
Lets look at the Kurds and what they stand for. When the world had a hay day criticizing America, they released a video saying thank you America, they are the most Democratic in that region with the exception of Israel, they are known to have America flags throughout areas in Iraqi Kurdistan as they have pro Us and pro Israeli views, they have been described as being more pro US than most Americans by several high ranking American military personal, they have a Christian battalion within their military and have sided with the US in every single conflict in the Middle East Region's. They have the ability to crush terrorism in that part of the world. I don't even understand why this is even a debatable bill.
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Argument opposed

Providing American weaponry to the Kurds will inflame tensions with the Iraqi and Turkish governments, both of which have an interest in preventing the emergence of an independent Kurdistan.

Tracie's Opinion
···
03/07/2016
While I want us to fight ISIS and help out the victims, every time we arm someone they turn into terrorists. Maybe we need to give help that doesn't involve arming them.
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Sterling's Opinion
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03/02/2016
We did this exact same thing in the 80's to fight the Russians in Afghanistan we armed the Mujahideen. That group is now called the Talliban, AQI, and other afghan terror groups. We don't know who were arming and what they intend to do with our weapons
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Manuel's Opinion
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02/21/2016
Usually armming rebels comes back to bite us in the ass. Can we support them in some other way? Food? Medical supplies? Etc.?
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What is House Bill H.R. 1654?

This bill would give the President temporary authority to provide U.S. weapons to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Kurdish Peshmerga that is fighting against the so-called Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.

The provision of any weaponry or training to the KRG would be prohibited unless the KRG agrees that it will not:

  • Provide any weaponry, defense services, or training to anyone who is not an officer, employee, or agent of the KRG;

  • Use or permit the use of any weaponry or training for purposes other than those it was provided for unless the President provides their consent.

Congress also expresses that its desire to see this legislation enacted and aid provided to the Kurds is based on several factors:

  • Defeating ISIL is critical to maintaining a unified Iraq in which all faiths and ethnicities receive equal protection and integration into the government and society;

  • The people of Kurdistan face a deadly threat from ISIL that the Iraqi Security Forces (of which the Peshmerga are a component) are currently unable to match in weaponry;

  • Any lingering issues between the Iraqi government and the KRG should be resolved quickly to allow for a resumption of normal relations;

  • ISIL’s continued growth presents an imminent threat to Iraqi Kurdistan, the rest of Iraq and the Middle East, in addition to international security at large.

Impact

The Kurdish Peshmerga; U.S. military personnel; businesses that produce or export weaponry and military training; the DOD; and the President.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1654

$500.00 Thousand
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) introduced this legislation to provide the Kurdish Peshmerga with vital weaponry and equipment to use in their fight against ISIL:

“Our critical partner in the fight against ISIL is in great need of heavy weapons and armored vehicles. We haven’t gotten Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga’ forces what they need.  Even so, they have proven to be the most effective ground force currently fighting ISIL.  It is critical that the Administration provide Peshmerga forces with the weapons they need.  This legislation streamlines the process to better aid this reliable U.S. partner as it continues its fight against ISIL.”

This bill was passed unanimously by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and currently enjoys the support of 51 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, including 15 Democrats and 36 Republicans.


Of Note: The Kurdish Peshmerga and its approximately 300,000 troops have been on the frontlines of the conflict with ISIL, and have endured the use of chemical weapons against them. They have helped stop and reverse ISIL’s advance into Iraq, and played an instrumental role in retaking the Iraqi city of Sinjar. U.S. Special Forces have frequently assisted the Peshmerga during their operations against ISIL during the course of the conflict.

While the U.S. committed to arming the Peshmerga in their fight against ISIL as early as 2014 and those efforts have continued, the Iraqi government has delayed the delivery of the equipment while Iran has also expressed its displeasure. Turkey has also raised concerns about weapons deliveries to the Kurds, and accused Syrian Kurds of using U.S. weapons against civilians. These tensions have ethnic roots, as most Kurds are Sunni Muslims and the governments of Iraq and Iran are both run by Shiite Muslims, while the Turkish government battles a Kurdish insurgency within its borders.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Kurdishstruggle)

Official Title

To authorize the direct provision of defense articles, defense services, and related training to the Kurdistan Regional Government, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedMarch 26th, 2015
    Seems like a simple answer. Why hasn't our impotent POTUS given the OK years ago? Looks like he wants the US to be floundering in the Middle East until he leaves office. Let's face it, Obama is just a community activist.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    While I want us to fight ISIS and help out the victims, every time we arm someone they turn into terrorists. Maybe we need to give help that doesn't involve arming them.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    If not stopped, ISIS will continue its attacks and move to the United States. We must stop this problem before it takes off.
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    We did this exact same thing in the 80's to fight the Russians in Afghanistan we armed the Mujahideen. That group is now called the Talliban, AQI, and other afghan terror groups. We don't know who were arming and what they intend to do with our weapons
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    Usually armming rebels comes back to bite us in the ass. Can we support them in some other way? Food? Medical supplies? Etc.?
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    The Kurds have already stated they are able to take control of Isis towns, but they don't have the supplies to hold them. The Kurds are our "boots" on the ground. Our own troops know this. Supplying the will help end this war in our favor.
    Like (6)
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    Lets look at the Kurds and what they stand for. When the world had a hay day criticizing America, they released a video saying thank you America, they are the most Democratic in that region with the exception of Israel, they are known to have America flags throughout areas in Iraqi Kurdistan as they have pro Us and pro Israeli views, they have been described as being more pro US than most Americans by several high ranking American military personal, they have a Christian battalion within their military and have sided with the US in every single conflict in the Middle East Region's. They have the ability to crush terrorism in that part of the world. I don't even understand why this is even a debatable bill.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    The Peshmerga have been fighting for their land for centuries. They are the only nation in the Middle East that has consistently fought tyranny and complete psychopaths like ISIS/L. Some american veterans have even flown over to assist with their operations against ISIS/L.
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    If Iraq and Turkey aren't willing to do the job, then the Kurds can. Arm them up!
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    We should support these fighters and endorse their right to self determination. Too long have we depended on the Kurds without endorsing their basic human rights. I believe a sovereign state of their own is the only way to guarantee the safety and rights of Kurds throughout the region.
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    A Kurdistan would be a good thing and they should be allowed to defend themselves
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    ISIS has to be stopped. To accomplish this will require more boots on the ground this is a way to accomplish the task without committing as many US troops in that equation.
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    Unlike other groups the US has armed in the past, the Peshmerga are an organized and government controlled army, not a terrorist organization.
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    I support this however, the government cost estimate of $500,000 seems awfully low.
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    NO MORE ARMING UNKNOWN MUSLIMS!! It's tube some reason we Jace chaos
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    If they are willing to fight we should do whatever it takes to help them do it successfully
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    Usually I would say absolutely not; especially since our lessons with the Mujahideen in the 80's. However, the Kurdish people fought alongside us during our conflicts in the Middle East and should— at the vary least— support them with weapons, aid, etc.
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    I support the Kurds and their fight against ISIS because they are vehemently against ISIS. You guys don't want our boots on the ground? Then you should support the groups fighting ISIS like the Kurds.
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    The Kurds have been our friends even though we have left them holding the bag/ short end of the stick many times. Why they trust the US government is beyond me. But they are willing to fight so let us help them and give them something to fight with. If Turkey doesn't like it, let them finance their own military for a change.
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    The Kurds have repeatedly shown that they are both trustworthy and absolutely ferocious fighters. If any long term good can come from the fight against ISIL, I feel strongly that it will be a free and independent Republic of Kurdistan.
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