Rüdiger Rossig | Journalist | Novinar

German aid

Germany is supporting the fight against the jihadist militant group Islamic State. On Sept. 25 a German transport plane landed at Baghdad airport carrying a payload including assault rifles, machine guns, pistols, anti-tank weapons and hand grenades. Also on board: helmets, body armor, ballistic safety glasses, night-vision devices and mine-detection systems as well as radio equipment. Logistics support in the form of trucks, utility vehicles, tents, and field kitchens were also part of the shipment.

After inspection by Iraqi authorities, the plane flew on to Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, where it was unloaded and the weapons delivered to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

A German government spokesperson said the first shipment was sufficient to equip a fighting force of 4,000 troops. A total of 10,000 Kurdish fighters are to be armed from Bundeswehr stocks, at a cost of €70 million ($89 million). The Peshmerga are being trained to use the equipment by German soldiers in northern Iraq.

Earlier, on Sept. 5, some 80 tons of defensive military material from Germany had arrived in Erbil. The Bundeswehr aims to deliver two more shipments totaling 600 tons by the start of October.

The Peshmerga were most interested in anti-tank weapons to combat the armored vehicles that IS has looted from the Iraqi army. Berlin agreed to the request, delivering 30 Milan anti-tank systems with 500 guided missiles and 200 shoulder-held missile launchers with 2,500 rocket-propelled grenades. Around 30 Peshmerga are to be trained in their use in Germany.

In addition the Kurds are getting 40 German army machine guns with one million rounds of ammunition; 16,000 assault rifles along with six million rounds; flare guns, hand grenades, 700 field radios, 4,000 helmets, 680 night vision devices, 4,000 pairs of goggles, 125 tents, 25 field kitchens, 30 mine detectors, medical supplies, 60 four-wheel-drive vehicles, 40 unimog trucks, a tanker-truck, as well as five older armored vehicles. The German foreign ministry is adding 4,000 protective vests.

Germany had already been providing humanitarian aid worth nearly €50 million since mid-August to ease the situation of hundreds of thousands of refugees in the region who have fled from IS militias. The decision to supply lethal military equipment to the Peshmerga was made Aug. 31, after the Kurdish regional government, with the agreement of the central government in Baghdad, requested help from Germany. RR