Posted: Aug 11, 2014 3:35 AM by Lolita C. Baldor
Updated: Aug 11, 2014 3:35 AM
Source: Associated Press
SYDNEY, Australia - Senior U.S. officials say the Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in Iraq.
The U.S. previously had insisted on only selling arms to the Iraqi government. The officials wouldn't say which U.S. agency is providing the arms or what weapons are being sent, but one official said it isn't the Pentagon. The CIA has historically done similar arming operations.
Officials say the administration is close to approving plans for the Pentagon to arm the Kurds. Recently the U.S. military has been helping facilitate weapons deliveries from the Iraqis to the Kurds, who had been losing ground to the Islamic State.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the operation publicly.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron is under pressure to do more on Iraq, with some members of his own party urging him to recall Parliament from its summer break to take up the matter.
Lawmaker Conor Burns is leading the charge, insisting that airdropping supplies to groups besieged by Islamic militants in the north of the country is not enough to prevent the slaughter of minorities.
London Mayor Boris Johnson, a prominent member of Cameron's Conservative Party, has also urged Britain to do more, writing in the Daily Telegraph that action is needed to prevent "the Ebola-like spread of the fanatics."
Ex-Army chief Richard Dannatt told the BBC on Monday that it may be necessary to put British troops on the ground to direct air support.