WASHINGTON (AP) — For years, Kurdish officials have beseeched the Obama administration to allow them to purchase American weapons. And for just as long, the administration has rebuffed the Kurds, America's closest allies in Iraq.
U.S. officials insisted they could only sell arms to the government in Baghdad, even after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO'-ree ahl-MAHL'-ih-kee) broke a written promise to deliver some of them to the Kurds.
Now, the administration is confronting the consequences of that policy.
The Islamic State, which some American officials call "a terrorist army," overpowered lightly armed Kurdish units in an assault that threatens the peaceful Kurdish region of Iraq and the American personnel stationed there.
A growing number of voices are calling for the U.S. to begin openly and speedily arming the Kurds.