Global Support for Peshmerga Forces
Following the June of 2014 ISIS assault on Mosul and other regions in Iraq, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) leadership called upon the international community for increased civilian and military assistance. Peshmerga forces of the KRG received military support from various governments in the fight against ISIS. Contributions arrived primarily under the auspices of the US led coalition participating and aiding the fight against ISIS. While the coalition primarily consists of European, North American, and other Western governments, aid also arrived from non-affiliated parties such as Iran. Additionally, most governments delivered equipment to the KRG via Baghdad.
Global support for Peshmerga forces arrived in multiple forms, including airstrikes, intelligence support, logistical assistance, special training, military operational advising, lethal military weapons, non-lethal military aid, and medical assistance. In this regard, a number governments including the United States and Germany provided full spectrum support while while others aided singular aspects of Peshmerga forces.
The bulk of donations from contributing governments arrived in the later half of 2014. Deliveries from Eastern European states consisted largely of surplus weapons caches from the Cold War era. Meanwhile, Western European governments, the United States, and Canada contributed modern military equipment. The transfer of military equipment from smaller contributors slowed into 2015 while transfers from larger western states continued and to an extent strengthened. As the fight against ISIS continues donated resources will continue to expend. That being said, the KRG will undoubtedly continue to request additional aid from allies and supporters throughout 2015.
Resources reportedly contributed to KRG Peshmerga in alphabetical order:
- Donated weapons and munitions to Peshmerga forces, including 22 million rounds of 7.62 millimeter bullets, 15,000 hand grenades, 10,000 Kalashnikovs, and 32,000 artillery shells of different calibers.
- Committed medical support for wounded Peshmerga fighters to the KRG.
- Participated in coalition airstrikes against ISIS in support of Peshmerga forces.
- Flew Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster to transport weapons and military supplies from donor countries to the KRG.
- Dispatched military advisors to assist KRG Peshmerga; sent trainers to aid Peshmerga forces.
- Participated in coalition airstrikes against ISIS in support for Peshmerga forces. Claimed to to have undertaken approximately 5% of the coalition sorties.
- Dispatched a small contingent of military advisors to the KRG.
- Offered medical support for wounded Peshmerga.
- Donated lethal military equipment to Peshmerga forces including undisclosed firearms and various types of ammunition.
- Participated in coalition airstrikes against ISIS in support for Peshmerga forces.
- Support of Peshmerga by transport of donated military equipment using Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CC-177 Globemaster and CC-130J Hercules.
- Dispatched special forces advisors to assist Peshmerga operations and target airstrikes; provided combat trainers.
- Provided non-lethal military support including 6 mine clearing robots and 200 pairs of night vision goggles to Peshmerga forces.
- Supplied Peshmerga with surplus Soviet-era weapons. Arms likely light machine guns and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG).
- Offered bomb detecting and defusing training to KRG security personnel.
- Donated 5,000 anti-tank missiles, 5,000 RPGs, hand grenades, and over 15 million rounds of ammunition for various machine guns to Peshmerga forces.
- Participated in coalition sorties against ISIS in support for Peshmerga forces.
- Sent a C-130 Hercules to Erbil to support Danish transport operations.
- Dispatched a contingent of Danish soldiers to assist coalition training of Peshmerga forces.
- Donated a million rounds of ammunition including 7.62mm and 39mm rounds.
- Engaged in coalition airstrikes against ISIS in support of Peshmerga forces.
- Dispatched military advisors to the KRG; assisted in the training of Peshmerga forces.
- Transferred lethal arms to Peshmerga forces including MILAN anti-tank systems, DSKA machine guns, and M23 missiles.
- Participated in coalition airstrikes ISIS in support of Peshmerga forces.
- Assigned military advisors to the KRG; assisted in the training of Peshmerga forces.
- Provided multiple shipments of lethal weapons and munitions to Peshmerga forces including: MILAN and Panzerfaust 3 launchers, hand grenades, G3 assault rifles, G36 rifles, Walther P1 pistols, and various types of ammunition.
- Contributed non-lethal military goods including: a number of Dingo 1 transport vehicles, WOLD jeeps, 3 ambulances, radios, night vision, protective eyewear, flare guns, illumination rounds, and medical kits.
- Committed to supplying up to 150 troops to a guard a training center in the Erbil region of the KRG.
- Sent weapons and ammunition to Peshmerga forces prior to any other countries amidst the.
- Dispatched military advisors to aid Peshmerga forces, particularly in the Diyala province.
- Flew reconnaissance missions over Iraq providing intelligence to Peshmerga forces.
- Provided lethal weapons to Peshmerga forces including: RPG-7, RPG-9, the Folgore anti-tank weapon, various machine guns, 5.56 nato rounds and various Soviet era rounds.
- Assigned military personnel to KRG in contributon to coalition training of Peshmerga forces.
- Committed to providing 4 Chinook helicopters the transfer of Peshmerga forces from the frontlines to medical care.
- Committed to the construction of a military hospital in Erbil.
- Committed to the support and training of Peshmerga forces.
- Conducted airstrikes on ISIS locations in support of Peshmerga forces.
- Dispatched military personel to participate in coalition training of Peshmerga combat forces, particularly in the handling of explosive ordinances.
- Provided non-lethal military equipment such as combat helmets and bullet-proof vests.
- Sent military advisors alongside an Australian contingent to train Peshmerga forces.
- Dispatched military personnel to train Peshmerga forces particularly in close combat fighting and bomb defusal.
- Arranged the delivery of an undisclosed cache of arms.
- Donated nonlethal aid, including 15 pickup trucks, tents, and night vision goggles to Peshmerga forces for support in the fight against ISIS militants.
- Provided military personnel to train Peshmerga Forces.
- Permitted a transit route from the KRG to Kobane to allow for Peshmerga forces to assist Syrian Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Kobane.
- Participated in coalition airstrikes against ISIS in support of Peshmerga forces. Provided intelligence through aerial surveillance.
- Transported lethal and nonlethal military equipment on behalf of the United Kingdom and coalition states to Peshmerga forces.
- Dedicate special forces to train Peshmerga forces; dispatched military personnel to advise Peshmerga combat operations.
- Provide lethal weaponry including anti-tank weapons, Browning M2 machine guns, and various ammunition.
- Issued non-lethal military equipment including night-vision goggles, body armour, ration packs, helmets, and 1000 counter-IED VALLON detectors.
- Donated various medical supplies to assist wounded Peshmerga fighters.
- Conducted the majority of coalition airstrikes in support of Peshmerga operations.
- Provided intelligence to Peshmerga forces through the use of drones and planes.
- Supported the aerial transport of coalition aid including weapons and ammunition to Peshmerga forces.
- Allocated special forces contingents to train Peshmerga forces battlefield tactics and the usage of sophisticated weaponry. Co-planned the establishment of three new KRG brigades of up to 6500 Peshmerga. Dispatched military advisors to assist Peshmerga combat operations.
- Supplied lethal weapons, including AT4 anti-tank launchers, a variety of Mortar pieces, 12 gauge shotguns, M9 pistols, M3 Car Gustav anti-tank rifle, M2 .50 Cal machine guns, and M4 rifles.
- Provided nonlethal aid including helmets, masks, trailers, chemical detectors, binoculars, gloves, first aid kits, body armor, mine rollers, MRAP mine resistant vehicles, and M1089 Wreckers.
Initial support from coalition and non-coalition governments for Peshmerga fighters came from a significant variety of governments. The diverse group of donors highlights a broad range of interests of neighboring and global states in the KRG and the fight against ISIS. As the war with ISIS continues, military support for Peshmerga will come primarily from governments within the US-led coalition against ISIS. The largest contributors of aid to the KRG in 2015 will come from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and France.
Meanwhile, much of the equipment delivered in the 2014 year of aid was surplus equipment, particularly on behalf of Eastern European governments. That being said, as hostilities continue into 2015 the number of donors will become more limited in scope as surpluses become smaller.
Guido Weiss contributed to this article.