Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Continues Efforts to Directly Arm Kurdish Forces

December 10, 2015
Press Release
Washington, DC—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the statement below following unanimous approval by the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) on H.R.1654, legislation that she is an original co-sponsor of, that would authorize and expedite providing necessary military equipment, weapons, and ammunition directly to the Kurdish Peshmerga to defeat ISIS:
“The Kurds have proven time and again to be our most loyal and effective ground force in the fight against ISIS.  I have long advocated for the U.S. to provide Kurdish Peshmerga forces with the heavy weaponry and equipment they need to continue to be successful in this fight,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “When I met with Kurdish leaders in Erbil earlier this year, they reiterated the need for direct military assistance and more advanced weaponry like anti-tank missiles and armored vehicles to defeat ISIS.  Our current requirement to send all U.S. military assistance to Kurdish ground forces through Baghdad is both inefficient and ineffective, and has allowed the Shiite-led Iraqi central government to withhold vital aid from our allied forces. Kurdish ground forces urgently need our direct assistance to continue to be successful in the fight against ISIS, and we can no longer wait to take action.
“This legislation would remove these roadblocks and allow the U.S. to provide direct assistance to Kurdish ground forces. I am encouraged by the bipartisan progress made to pass this legislation through committee, and will continue to push for a vote to pass this bill on the House floor.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is an original co-sponsor of H.R.1654. The bill was unanimously approved in an HFAC markup yesterday and now awaits action on the House floor. This summer, the congresswoman met with President Masoud Barzani, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, other leaders from the Kurdistan Regional Government and community in Erbil to discuss continued coordination in the fight against ISIS. In 2014, she sponsored bipartisan legislation to directly arm Kurdish Peshmerga Forces, and also co-sponsored an amendment to the FY16 NDAA to immediately provide weapons and equipment to the Kurdish Peshmerga. 

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