Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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US Approves $295.6 Million Weapons Sale to Kurdish Peshmerga

ISIS nemesis

(Photo : Peshmerga) Kurdish Peshmerga infantry.

The battle hardened soldiers of the Kurdish Peshmerga -- a name that literally translates into "Those Who Face Death" -- are set to receive a massive inflow of modern weapons from the United States.

Widely recognized as the best soldiers fighting ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, the Peshmerga have been described as "the West's toughest and most reliable bulwark against ISIS in Iraq."

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Their links to the west, specifically the United States, go back to 1998 when CIA agents and operators of the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) were deployed to Kurdistan to train and arm the Peshmerga in their war against the late Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. The Peshmerga played a key role in deposing Saddam Hussein during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Peshmerga, which today number over 190,000 fighters (both men and women), are the military forces of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan responsible for defending the land, people and institutions of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Last week, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) informed Congress it had approved the sale of $295.6 million worth of military hardware to the Kurdish Peshmerga.  

DSCA is a unit of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that provides financial and technical assistance; transfer of defense materiel; training and services to allies and promotes military-to-military contacts.

Congress is expected to quickly approve the weapons sale, which has been approved by DSCA.

Here's what the Peshmerga want to buy from the U.S.

* 4,400 M4 automatic rifles

* 186 M240B light machine guns

* 46 M2 .50 caliber heavy machine guns

* 36 refurbished M119A2 105 mm howitzers

* 36 M1151 HMMWVs ("Humvees")

* 77 M1151 up-armored Humvees.

The Peshmerga also want large quantities of body armor, helmets, radios, mortars and small arms. They also want an unspecified number of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles; light and medium tactical vehicles; ambulances and trucks.

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