E.U. steps up response to Iraqi crisis

Aug 15, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT
KIRKUK, IRAQ - JULY 03: A soldier with the Kurdish peshmerga pauses at an outpost on the edges of the contested city of Kirkuk on July 3, 2014 in Kirkuk, Iraq. On Thursday the president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, asked Members of Parliament to start making plans for an independence referendum. American leaders and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's have urged the Kurds to back away from seeking independence. Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The European Union gave approval on Friday to member states seeking to supply weapons to Kurdish forces who are currently battling ISIS militants in Iraq. 

According to Reuters:

EU foreign ministers holding an emergency meeting in Brussels on the Iraq and Ukraine crises welcomed the decision by several EU governments to send weapons in response to an appeal by Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani.
 
The United States is already supplying weapons to Peshmerga fighters from Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, who are struggling to stem advances by militants from the Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot.
 
France and the Czech Republic have said they will send weapons to the Kurds. Britain and the Netherlands have said they would consider doing so.
 
Some EU members such as Sweden and Austria said they would not supply weapons, but the EU avoided a repetition of the dispute that split the 28-nation bloc last year over whether to arm Syrian rebels.
 
The E.U. is not the only international organization moving to put pressure on ISIS forces; the U.N. Security Council is also taking aim at the militant organization, as Al Arabiya reports:
 
The 15-member council unanimously adopted a resolution that aims to weaken ISIS and al-Qaeda's Syrian wing Nusra Front, Reuters reported. 
 
ISIS has long been blacklisted by the Security Council, while Nusra Front was added earlier this year. Both groups are designated under the U.N. al Qaeda sanctions regime.
 
The resolution is under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes it legally binding for U.N. member states and gives the 
council authority to enforce decisions with economic sanctions or force. However, it does not mandate military force to tackle the insurgents.

 

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