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Military Experts: Want to Defeat ISIS? Arm the Kurds


MAKHMUR, Kurdistan – In the wake of the terror attacks that shook Paris, many military experts are saying one of the best strategies against ISIS is to "arm the Kurds." That effort still has a long way to go.

The Kurdish military secured one of its biggest victories recently by retaking the strategic Iraqi town of Sinjar. Still, the overall challenge in confronting the Islamic State is daunting.

The Kurdish military, known as the Peshmerga, hold a more than 600-mile line against ISIS. That includes key towns like Makhmur, which controls access to Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan.

One fighting force holding its own against ISIS is here. Retired U.S. Col. Richard Naab has worked with the Kurds for nearly 25 years.

"Look, the PKK affiliate in Syria are the ones that are doing the heavy lifting there too, from Kobani all the way west," Naab told CBN News. "They're the ones doing the effective fighting. It isn't anybody else. It isn't the guys that we trained up."

Naab said it's in America's interest to support the Kurds.

"Surely they're an ally of the U.S. that we need," he said. "They love America more than I think some Americans do. They're good people and good people to have in our corner."

"And they're very important for this region," he continued. "I would support the Kurds. The Kurds are going to be the main stream. They're going to be the guys that can deal with Iran, they can deal with Syria. They can do it for us."

Despite those positives, the Kurds still haven't received the kind of heavy arms they've requested from the United States.

"It has to do with some funky diplomatic legality, which is irrelevant here," Naab continued. "These people are fighting for their lives. And in a way, they're fighting for our lives in the future because they can kill this radical Islam here that doesn't migrate to the States. That doesn't become more popular. It's pretty popular now."

CBN News talked with Mahmoud, a Kurdish sniper, about the lack of advanced weapons. He responded with a message for Americans.

"The Americans should realize that we're fighting an Islamic caliphate state. It's not easy. Even though we're suffering from a lack of advanced weapons, we've stood against ISIS," he explained.

"They should realize that with our limited military resources, we can fight them and will keep fighting them," he said. "It's very important for them to know that we also need their help, their military support."

Mahmoud said the Kurds are standing in the gap for the free world.

"You know the Kurds proved to the whole world that they're the only force that can stand against ISIS," he continued. "We're stopping them on the front lines so they won't cross the border – because if they cross the border, the free world will be attacked by ISIS. We're fighting ISIS on behalf of the whole free world."

Naab said Americans need to know strength makes a big difference in this part of the world.

"I think they need to know the Middle East needs a strong U.S. presence, a strong, forceful presence," he said. "Part of that is – we can exhibit that – by supporting the Kurds, our friends here. But we are weak here and when we are weak, the whole thing comes around. Now you see the Russians come into Syria. Now things are not getting better but worse."

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