The U.S. military’s plan to arm civilians in Iraq, with the help of international donors, has already generated some backlash.
In a series of articles, Human Rights Watch accused the Pentagon of failing to meet its pledge to provide basic supplies and equipment.
The U and NATO countries that have been arming Iraqi security forces have raised concerns over the military’s reliance on private contractors.
And the Obama administration is considering an arms embargo on Iraq, according to Reuters.
Now, an effort by a group of Iraq war veterans is seeking to change that.
They’re calling for a military armament program that would not only empower civilians but also give them the means to fight the war.
The group, called The Coalition of Iraq Veterans, says the military needs the funds now to rebuild its infrastructure, repair roads and build up its command and control structure.
The coalition says it has raised more than $10 million in donations to help pay for the project.
It’s aiming to start construction of the armament center in the first quarter of 2020.
Iraq has about 5,000 civilians in its military.
The US military’s current plan to equip the Iraqis would have brought a total of nearly 200,000 troops to Iraq by the end of 2020, according the U.N. In April, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced a plan to bring in as many as 2,000 soldiers to Iraq.
That would have given the Iraqis a fighting force the size of the U .
Now a coalition of veterans is calling for an arms program that includes both civilian and military training and that would provide the Iraqis with the necessary tools to fight alongside the U S. military.
“The Coalition of Iraqi Veterans wants to be able to use the weapons we provide to help the Iraqi people defend themselves against ISIS and other extremist groups,” said Chris McDaniel, a spokesman for the coalition.
McDaniel said the group’s goal is to get as many of the Iraqis trained and armed as possible.
“We have been working with the Iraqi government to ensure that we are able to provide these weapons to them in a manner that will allow them to protect themselves,” he said.
The Coalition says the current plan would cost an estimated $100 million per year.
In addition to the weapons, the coalition wants to train and equip Iraqi troops, the Peshmerga forces and other elements of the Iraqi security services.
The organization says it would also build up a security force that would include the Iraqi army and local militias, who would have to fight ISIS and al Qaeda in Iraq.
McQuade said the U s plan to provide military assistance would allow the Iraqi military to build up “a robust, self-sufficient force that can defend itself and provide support to the people of Iraq.”
In May, the United States signed a $6.6 billion arms agreement with Iraq, including the delivery of 2,700 M1A1 Abrams tanks, 2,300 M1 Abrams armored personnel carriers, and 2,400 Humvees.
“This deal is a critical first step towards bringing the Iraqi Army, which is the backbone of the country’s defense, into the 21st century,” Carter said.
However, the U military has been criticized by some in the Us Congress for its use of contractors, and the group says the money that has been raised so far is not enough.
“A lot of the funds that we’ve raised have been diverted to pay for a program that is not supported by the U of S or the U, and we don’t want to continue to be paying for this program when the Iraqi Government is making progress in providing their own needs,” McQuadesaid.
Mcquade said he was unsure if the Coalition would accept the $100 billion aid.
“It’s going to take time to get to that point, and it’s going, as I say, to be an open process.
We will look at every avenue to bring this program forward, but if we don’ t see an agreement with the U [government], we won’t be moving forward,” Mcquadesaid, adding that he had asked the US Secretary to provide a timetable for getting the program funded.
He said the coalition is also looking to partner with other nations and nations in the region to bring the Iraqi forces closer to the U’s control.
The United States has also been working on a $15 billion arms deal with the Saudis.
McQueens said he expects that to be finalized in the coming weeks.
McQueen said he hoped the military would begin construction on the armaments center in May and that the coalition would eventually provide the Iraqi militiamen with a list of weapons they need to fight.
“But we’re not going to do that until we have a better plan for how we’re going to provide that, and then we’ll work with our partners in the Arab world to get it done,” McQueesaid.
Posted by World at 12:24 PM