The Trouble with Being a Leader

…is that it’s necessary actually to lead.

High level officials from Gulf and other states have told this newspaper [The Telegraph] that all attempts to persuade Mr Obama of the need to arm the Kurds directly as part of more vigorous plans to take on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) have failed. The Senate voted down one attempt by supporters of the Kurdish cause last month.

The officials say they are looking at new ways to take the fight to Isil without seeking US approval.

“If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating Isil, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” said a senior Arab government official. “With Isil making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face.”


At least one Arab state is understood to be considering arming the Peshmerga directly, despite US opposition.

On the other hand,

One of the core complaints of the Kurds is that the Iraqi army has abandoned so many weapons in the face of Isil attack, the Peshmerga are fighting modern American weaponry with out-of-date Soviet equipment.

You’d think that if the Iraqi army didn’t want the guns, they’d at least send them on to their allies, the Kurds. Oh, wait….

2 thoughts on “The Trouble with Being a Leader

  1. No doubt the Turks are very chary of an armed bunch of Kurds in their territory. There are differences, though, between the natures of the PKK and the Pershmerga.

    Too, the Turks did open a cross-Turkish route from Iraq to Kobani so Kurdish forces with serious weapons could reinforce the Kurds holding on there and eventually drive the Daesh out of the city.

    It’s becoming more likely, I think, that Turkey would see a Kurdistan carved out of Iraq as a means of relieving the pressure applied by Turkish Kurds. The latter certainly don’t want to leave, but with the partition, they’d at least have a place to go.

    To your point, though, the US could mitigate the effects of Turkish obstinacy by arming the Kurds directly. And we’d be arming the Peshmerga, not the Kurds of direct interest to Turkey.

    Eric Hines

  2. It seems most likely that Turkey is blocking or at least strongly opposing arming the Kurds, out of a fear that they’ll attempt to establish a Kurdish state, which would cause major unrest among the Kurdish population in eastern Turkey.

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