US Defense Secy to visit Iraqi Kurdistan after Baghdad

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter plans to visit Irbil, capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish Republic of Iraq, before he leaves Iraq. He will hold talks with the KRG president Massoud Barazani and other Kurish leaders. DEBKAfile: The main purpose of his talks in Irbil is to determine whether the US will provide the peshmerga with heavy weapons, including warplanes and combat helicopters, for grappling with Islamic State’s assaults on their doors. Obama has until now turned down Kurdish requests for this hardware, mainly because of Iranian and Iraqi objections. The Kurds maintain that their army is the only effective force fighting in the field capable of routing ISIS. 

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