Kurdish commander: ‘If [the Americans] plan to help they had better do it now’

McClatchy reports: Jet aircraft attacked Islamic State positions outside the town of Kalak, 25 miles northwest of Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, a resident of Kalak told McClatchy early Friday.

The resident, reached by phone from Irbil, said she had seen the aircraft and had heard the explosions coming from behind Islamic State lines, which are slightly more than a mile away. The resident said because it was dark she could not see any markings on the aircraft.

Kurdish television reported that the bombers were American. There was no confirmation from U.S. officials in Washington.

The reported bombing came after a day of panic in the Kurdish capital following Islamic State militants’ seizure of four strategic towns on a key highway and their advance to positions just minutes from Irbil.

Hundreds of Kurdish peshmerga militiamen built earthen berms near Kalak on the highway that links Irbil with Mosul, the Iraqi city whose fall to Islamic State militants in early June touched off a sweep across northern and western Iraq that until Thursday had spared Kurdish areas.

But that quiet appeared to be over, with the Islamic State boldly saying in an Internet posting Thursday that it intended to capture Irbil, a city previously thought so secure that the United States two months ago chose it as one of two Iraqi cities safe enough to receive scores of staffers evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

“The Americans keep saying they will help us,” said Rosg Nuri Shawess, a top Kurdish military commander who was overseeing the defensive preparations. “Well, if they plan to help they had better do it now.” [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “Kurdish commander: ‘If [the Americans] plan to help they had better do it now’

  1. Syd

    This is getting ridiculous. The last estimate I’ve seen of the peshmerga is that they number 200,000. The highest estimate I’ve seen of ISIS is 15,000. The previous story says that the peshmerga are “stretched thin across several fronts in Iraq.” But even if that’s true, and you include ISIS many alliances of convenience, ISIS has to be stretched much more thinly than the Kurds. ISIS is taking on the Lebanese, Assad, al Nusra, the FSA, the Shiites around Baghdad, and the Kurds all at the same time.

    Something doesn’t smell right. I can’t believe that all these forces surrounding ISIS can’t stand up to them.

  2. Paul Woodward

    The political complexity of this situation can’t be overstated. The peshmerga aren’t just fighting ISIS along a 1,000 km border — they are defending an emerging state. The Iraqi government supports the Kurds efforts to fight against ISIS but not their struggle for independence. And the Kurds have no air force. My guess is that all the parties — the Kurds, Iraqis, Turks, and Iranians want the U.S. to take a leading role in attacking ISIS because they realistically fear a widening regional war.

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