Canada sending sniper rifles, anti-tank weapons, mortars to Iraqi Kurds

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters march near Mosul in October 2016.

Kurdish forces will be fielding a slew of new weapons and equipment supplied by Canada, according to the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND).

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making good on his year-old promise to arm the Kurds, with an impressive list of arms and equipment ranging from 84mm anti-tank weapons to Minimi (C9) light machine guns and Toughbook laptops.

The gear has everything a battalion of fighters could need, covering even minute details such as holsters and lanyards for pistols.

DND spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier told the Vancouver Sun that while the equipment is on its way, the logistical details are still being worked out.

“We are currently working through the administrative, legal and various supply arrangements to enable the delivery of equipment,” Le Bouthillier said Wednesday. “Exact delivery dates will depend on the Government of Iraq, as well as the availability of the identified equipment for delivery.”

However, the Kurds report that the equipment will be en-route to their battlespace within a month.

“It should include weapons, military equipment and devices for the size of a battalion- everything, not including vehicles,” Brigadier General Hajar Ismail said. “The paperwork is done, Baghdad has signed off.”

While Kurdish troops have been trained by Canadian special forces, the arming of the Kurds has been highly controversial, both at home and in Iraq. Kurdish leadership openly admits that they eventually want to become an independent state by eventually breaking free from Iraq.

As a result, it comes as no surprise that it took nearly a year for Iraq to approve Canada’s arming of the Kurds, though Iraqi Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the delay was more one of bureaucracy than political pressure.

Aside from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, Germany has also armed the Kurds, leading to a surge of G36 rifles in Kurdish hands- a rifle that the German military dropped due to its inability to shoot accurately in hot conditions. Germany’s latest shipment offloaded 1,500 rifles, three armored vehicles and 100 guided missiles.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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