Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce called for military aid to the Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in the wake of American journalist Steven Sotloff’s beheading Tuesday.
“I am disgusted by what appears to be another horrendous killing of an American journalist at the hands of ISIS,” he said. “My thoughts and prayers are with Steven Sotloff’s family. Sadly, ISIS is bringing this barbarity across the region – beheading and crucifying those who don’t share their dark ideology.” (RELATED: ISIS Beheads American Journalist Steven Sotloff)
ISIS released the video of Sotloff’s murder early Tuesday afternoon, the transcript of which can be read here. Sotloff’s beheading came just weeks after fellow American journalist James Foley’s, who was killed on Aug. 19.
“The threat from this group seems to grow by the day,” Royce continued. “Working with key allies, the United States needs to be acting urgently to arm the Kurds on the ground who are fighting them, and targeting ISIS from the air with drone strikes.”
In the video of James Foley’s beheading, his killer threatened that Sotloff would be killed next if the U.S. did not stop bombing Iraq: “Any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.” (RELATED: ISIS Told Foley’s Family About Planned Execution A Week Before It Happened)
While the Defense Department announced last week that the U.S. is “supporting” the Kurdish forces, the current nature of that support is unclear. “In addition to support from the U.S, and the central government of Iraq in Baghdad,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “seven additional nations – Albania, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom – have committed to helping provide Kurdish forces urgently needed arms and equipment.”
On Sunday Germany announced its intention to arm and train the Kurds, committing 70 million Euros ($92 million) of anti-tank missiles, assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, according to the Telegraph.
“We now have the chance to save lives and prevent further mass killings,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “This is an opportunity we must seize.” The decision breaks a longstanding German policy against sending arms to conflict zones.
“This isn’t an easy decision for us, but it’s the right decision in a situation that is difficult in every way,” German’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier explained. “The terror group Islamic State is a deadly threat for hundreds of thousands.”