Iraq agrees to help Kurds battling Sunni extremists

Iraq agrees to help Kurds battling Sunni extremists

BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday ordered Iraq’s air force to support Kurdish forces fighting Sunni extremists in the north.
It was the first overt effort by Iraqis and Kurds — whose security forces are known as the pesh merga — to work together militarily since Iraq was thrust into the crisis in June when militants with the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria captured Mosul.

But there was no sign that the order signaled any broader reconciliation between the Shiite-dominated government and the Kurds, who are pushing for independence from Iraq and have been at odds with Baghdad for some time over distribution of the country’s oil revenue.

Instead, the deployment of the Iraqi air force to help the Kurds fight ISIS seemed only to reflect the dire situation on the ground, and came just after Kurdish forces were routed by militants from three towns in northern Iraq over the weekend.

After losing Sinjar and two other towns, Kurdish officials vowed to mount a major counteroffensive against ISIS. But it was unlikely that Iraqi air support for the Kurds would prove decisive. For months, al-Maliki has waged a failed air campaign against ISIS in Anbar province.

Iraq agrees to help Kurds battling Sunni extremists 08/05/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 12:01am]