Lynch Urges Support for Kurdish Regional Government’s Request for Equipment and Intelligence

Aug 8, 2014

BOSTON, MA – Today, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging support for the Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) request for U.S. military equipment and intelligence assistance. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) recent attacks in the north and west of Iraq are a significant threat to Iraqi and regional stability. The KRG security forces, or Peshmerga, have played an essential role in defending Iraqi populations against ISIS attacks, and are now running dangerously low on vital armaments.

ISIS’ most recent advances have been especially alarming.  They are seeking to control the Mosul Dam, which could be used to threaten Iraqis all the way down the Tigris River to Baghdad.  They have doubled down on their attacks on ethnic and religious minorities, such as the Yahzidis, who they drove into the mountains with no food, water or shelter.  These extremists are extremely well-armed and have shown themselves to be capable of unspeakable violence.

“I support the President’s decision to provide the KRG with U.S. military equipment to take on ISIS.  While the targeted U.S. airstrikes will provide crucial backing, ISIS can ultimately only be defeated by the Iraqis on the ground.  The KRG wants to be, and must be, part of this national effort,” said Congressman Lynch. “I urge the President to ensure that the KRG is given the armaments and intelligence assistance it needs to do its part.”

 

The text of the letter is below:

August 8, 2014

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, D.C.  20006

 

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to express my support for the Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) request for U.S. military equipment and intelligence assistance in its efforts against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Like you, I am extremely disturbed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s recent incursions in Iraq and, in particular, by the speed with which it has been able to wrest control of areas away from national security forces.  Unfortunately, these militants are well-trained, experienced and extremely well-armed with equipment that makes them a significant threat to Iraqi and regional stability.  The recent attacks in the north and west, and ISIS’ attempts to capture dams and other vital infrastructure, must be taken as a signal that the U.S. needs to provide prompt and meaningful assistance to prevent further ISIS advances.

Since June, the KRG security forces, or Peshmerga, have been stepping in and defending Christians, Yahzidis and other Iraqi populations against ISIS attacks.  Unfortunately, their resources are quickly dwindling, and the loss of the force multiplier provided by the Peshmerga can be potentially disastrous in staving off these militants.

I am aware that the KRG recently has requested lethal military equipment, as well as intelligence, to help them in their offensive operations against ISIS.  I believe that providing such assistance is appropriate:  the Peshmerga have fought alongside U.S. forces for many years and the KRG has demonstrated competence and willingness to cooperate with the U.S.  

I support your decision to provide emergency assistance to the Iraqi and Kurdish forces in light of the ISIS approach on Irbil.  I urge you to ensure that the Peshmerga receive the prompt and robust military equipment assistance they need to take on ISIS.

 

Sincerely,

Stephen F. Lynch

Member of Congress

 

Cc:  Secretary of State John Kerry