Germany resumes arms supplies to Iraqi Kurds

Iraqi Kurdish fighters. © Ari Jalal
The German military has resumed weapons shipments to Iraqi Kurdistan, which were suspended in January after media reported that some of previously supplied weapons ended up on black market.

The shipments were resumed after the Kurdistan Regional Government vowed to ensure that the arms would not get into the hands of any third parties, Deutsch Welle (DW) reported, citing German military sources.

The new shipment includes 1,500 rifles, 1 million rounds of ammunition, three armored vehicles and 100 Milan guided missiles. Milan missile systems designed to act against tanks are expected to be used by Kurdish Peshmerga forces against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) suicide truck bombers, according to DW.

The weapons were delivered to the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. The shipment was accompanied by an end-user agreement that obliged the Kurdish government not to hand the weapons over to any third parties.

Germany started supplying Iraqi Kurds with arms in September 2014 and sent more than 2,000 tons of weapons in more than 30 shipments since that time. However, it halted the shipments in January after media reports emerged showing that some of the German weapons sent to Kurds were sold on the black market.

The Iraqi Kurdish government launched its own investigation following the reports and found that 30 out of 28,000 weapons delivered by Germany were lost or illegally sold. Several people were arrested as a result.

However, in January, the German parliament also agreed to increase the number of German military trainers working with Peshmerga forces in Iraq to 150 from 100. Kurdish forces have also been trained in Germany.

Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State both in Syria and Iraq are one of the major forces fighting against the terrorist group on the ground. Iraqi Kurds are particularly actively taking part in the in a major offensive against Islamic State near the city of Mosul in northern Iraq.

On August 14, Kurdish forces seized five villages east of Mosul, which has been held by Islamic State since 2014. On August 12, Kurdish fighters in Syria took part in the liberation of the city of Manbij from Islamic State as a part of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).