Paul Mirengoff of PowerLine marvels that Team Obama won't arm the Kurds, who are now facing down ISIS along a new 650 mile border. I guess for this administration (sorry, "administration") it's akin to arming the Syrian rebels - it's complicated, so maybe later.
The NY Times tells us that ISIS is now pushing into Kurd controlled area, and includes this background:
The gains over the weekend by ISIS heightened the problems faced by American officials in Washington as they weigh how to respond to the crisis in Iraq. But decisions about a possible broader American military role in Iraq have been largely put off as Iraq’s politicians struggle to form a new government after April’s national elections.
The Kurds, who have been longtime American allies, recently asked for military assistance from the United States to fight ISIS. American officials, determined to keep Iraq together as one country, are reluctant to supply weapons to the Kurds without the approval of the central government in Baghdad. That is unlikely to happen given the worries by Iraq’s Shiite-dominated leadership that the weapons would further embolden the Kurds to form a new state.
Instead, American officials are hoping to see Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a Shiite who is struggling to secure a third term, replaced by someone who could persuade Iraq’s Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to form a national unity government. According to Iraq’s constitutional timeline, Iraq’s Shiite parties must choose a nominee for prime minister by Friday. The prime minister would then have 30 days to form a new government.
Oh, right then - by Friday we may, or may not, start a thirty day clock ticking, after which we might just maybe be able to help prop up the Kurds. I just hope ISIS is polite enough to wait.
Since no one is asking, let me just note that in an alternate reality from that inhabited by Team Obama (i.e., this one, the one that includes people like Putin), our covert operators would give a nod and a wink to someone and a shipment of, for example, Polish arms would arrive in Kurdistan (or do you prefer Bulgarian weaponry?). But I'll bet that the people who couldn't figure out how to arm the Syrian rebels won't figure this out either. Maybe that solution is insufficiently nuanced.
BELABORING THE OBVIOUS: Of course the Kurdish defense people will exaggerate the urgency of their requirements. That doesn't mean that the right answer is to do nothing. And we reportedly have US observers in Kurdistan - surely they can deliver an informed opinion?