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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/6/16

How the Islamic State Obtains German Weapons

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Message Said Al-Khalaki

Germany has been supplying weapons to Iraqi Kurdistan since October 2014. That was a crucial moment that determined the further foreign political course of Germany. Feeling pressure from the United States, the German cabinet lifted a ban on weapons and military vehicles' supplies to crisis war-torn regions.

According to German government officials, Germany realized the Kurds could stand up to ISIS terrorists. "The Kurdish fighters are manning the front line against the Islamic State," German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen stated. At the same time, Washington celebrated its victory as well: the White House had coerced the Germans to dance to the U.S. tune.

However, it became known last January that black markets in northern Iraq openly sell German weapons. Berlin demanded that the Kurdish leadership account for using supplied armory. The report revealed that a part of the weapons delivered by Germany to the Kurds fell into the hands of terrorists.

Inside Syria Media Center focused on this issue, deciding to find out the way military cargoes were delivered to Iraqi Kurdistan.

Very Important Person

Our activists in Erbil found out that Dilshad Barzani (a brother of Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan) was responsible for organization of weapons supplies from Germany. He has been living in Germany for a long time and now he represents the Kurdish government and the Kurdistan Democratic Party in that country. The biggest Kurdish diaspora in Europe, which includes about 1,000,000 people, in fact is under his control.

Dilshad Barzani has close trust-based relationships with Angela Merkel and he often visits various events of the ruling Christian Democratic Union party as VIP.

"The main Kurd of Germany" has an armored car and the agents of Federal Intelligence Service (BND) usually escort his vehicle. He also enjoys encrypted-communications equipment that enables him to get in touch with the Federal Chancellor or any government member at any time.

Dilshad Barzani is certainly a very powerful person in Germany.

Germany -- Bulgaria -- Kurdistan

Now, let's have a look at the way the arms are delivered from Germany to the Middle East.

Sure, Germany cannot supply Kurdistan with arms in a direct way because this does not comply with international law. But the west or its special services have never had a trouble with launching a specific cargo delivery at any corner of the world via mediate countries.

As Germans and Bulgarians have agreed to send some amount of Soviet-made weapons stocked at the Bulgarian depots to the Kurds, it would be reasonable to transfer all weaponry through the same country. For the record, details of this traffic had been studied since the beginning of 2015, though Berlin was realizing this was not a perfect deal. As Bulgaria is a NATO member country, it's not convenient to conduct the operations like that.

So, they considered another way, via Ukraine, that looks the most appropriate in the context of secret traffic of semi-legal cargoes. In 2015, Kurds representatives came to Kiev several times in order to work out an alternative traffic way. Major General Sirwan Barzani, Iraqi Kurdistan president's nephew, and Brigadier General Hazhar Ismail were among the delegates.

Nevertheless, the situation has dramatically changed. After Russia launched operations in Syria, Kiev and Ankara began closing their positions. In particular, this is characterized by widening of bilateral military and technical cooperation as well as by intensified exchange of intelligence information. As Peshmerga leaders worried that secret data about weapons delivery to the Kurds could be handed to the Turkish special services, the idea to supply arms via Ukraine was rejected.

Finally, they opted for Bulgaria as a main mediator of the military cargoes' delivery to Kurdistan while the American side took responsibility to provide security and control of the whole operation.

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freelance journalist, activist from Syria
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How the Islamic State Obtains German Weapons

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