According to ABC News, Germany will send high-end rifles, tank-busting weapons and armored vehicles to aid Kurdish fighters battling Islamic extremists in Iraq, officials said Sunday.
Germany’s defense minister said the arms would be sent in three shipments, starting next month, and would initially be enough to equip a brigade of 4,000 Peshmerga fighters.
Deutsche Welle states that Germany has shipped more than 100 tons of aid deliveries to help refugees in the country. In addition to humanitarian aid, Germany is also going to send military equipment to help support Kurdish fighters. The first package has already been put together. It contains defensive equipment such as helmets, body armor and walkie-talkies but not weapons.
There are six soldiers based at the German consulate general in Erbil that have been tasked with delivering military equipment. If needed, they will also coordinate instructions on site, according to the website of the German armed forces.
There are some critics in Merkel’s government coalition. Opposition Left party is critical of arms transfers to crisis areas; the Green opposition party has not yet expressed a party view on the issue.
The German government has announced that they will let parliamentarians vote Monday on sending weapons to Kurds in Iraq, even though the government doesn’t have to follow this procedure from a formal point of view. It’s widely expected to achieve a majority in parliament.
However, according to a recent poll, two thirds of Germans are against weapons deliveries.
Since the beginning of June, the United States has helped peshmerga fighters and the Iraqi army by carrying out air strikes and supplying military equipment. Other countries have said they intend to send weapons and ammunition as well, including Albania, France, the UK, Canada and Croatia. Denmark wants to provide a cargo plane. Iran delivered weapons last Tuesday.
Update: German intelligence estimates at least 400 Germans have joined the ISIS.