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Fmspatriotic Union of Kurdistan


Submitted By rlraines
Words 650
Pages 3
Introduction Selling weapons to foreign militaries has many aspects, and many of us come at it from different perspectives and experiences. I was exposed to an aspect of foreign military sales—as it relates to a tactical level set of tasks—in my capacity as an Ammunition Officer in the Middle East. This article will attempt to define the program, provide some background on its origins, and then highlight my tactical level interface with it to help shed more light on the program from that perspective.
What is FMS?
Foreign Military Sales (FMS) is used by the United States as means to achieve strategic security cooperation with foreign nations. One of those nations is Iraq, where the United States uses FMS programs as a diplomatic and military instrument of national power to influence political-military action, and train the forces within the borders, to include Iraqi Security Forces and Peshmerga Kurds. The Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq runs the FMS program under U.S. Chief of Mission-Baghdad authority with the oversight and advice from personnel in Washington, D.C., including the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The U.S. FMS program originated from the Arms Control and Disarmament Act (ACDA) and U.S. Foreign Assistance Act (USFAA) of 1961. The purpose of the ACA is to control and reduce the worldwide population of destructive armaments, including nuclear weapons, and prevent another world war. On the other end of the spectrum is the USFAA, which was created to promote foreign policy, security and welfare of the United States by aiding foreign nations in developing economically and socially, coupled with developing external security assistance. If you have seen the USAID logo, then you have seen USFAA because they are the governing agency. The main focus of FMS in Iraq is to support the counter-terrorism fight.
Who are we providing FMS to?
We currently provide FMS to many countries throughout the world, including both the Iraqi Security Forces and the Peshmerga. The focus of this article will surround a trip to Erbil, Iraq in support of the Peshmerga, and briefly touch on the experiences encountered relative to FMS and the author’s role in it. The Peshmerga, whose name translates as “those who face death,” are the Kurdish fighters that number around 190,000. These fighters have their roots in groups of loosely organized tribal border guards dating back to the late 1800s, but were formally structured as the national fighting force of the Kurdish people after the the Ottoman Empire fell, in the wake of World War one.
“Throughout the 1990s and in the aftermath of the Anfal campaign, despite huge losses the Peshmerga continued to battle Iraqi forces against the backdrop of the First Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm. However, internal tensions continued to build and turned to war between the two rival Kurdish factions, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Massoud Barzani, son of the Kurdish nationalist leader Mustafa Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Jalal Talabani, who would eventually become Iraqi president. During this period, female fighters were also incorporated into the Peshmerga to bolster the forces' numbers in the fight against Saddam Hussein. After reconciliation between the two opposing Kurdish factions was sealed by the 1998 Washington Agreement, the US Special Forces deployed CIA agents to Kurdistan, the start of a relationship of co-operation between the Peshmerga and the US, both pitted against Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government. The role of the Peshmerga was key in the eventual toppling of Saddam Hussein.”2


Defense Security Cooperation Agency. “Foreign Military Sales.” (accessed February 02, 2016)
Sullivan, Marissa. “Maliki’s Authoritarian Regime.”
Institute for the Study of War. http://www.understanding January 29, 2016)

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