Dutch will not send heavy weapons to help Kurds combat IS

The Netherlands will not send heavy weapons or ground troops to help Kurdish fighters in their battle against the fundamentalist Muslim IS group, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.

The Dutch effort is likely to be confined to light military material such as helmets and night-vision aids, the paper says. A majority of MPs are in favour of such a move and a cabinet decision is expected this week.

The Volkskrant appears to base its claim on an analysis of what weapons the Dutch have available.

‘I do not know what heavy weapons the Dutch could send because we have sold a lot,’ Jean Debie, chairman of the military union VBM told the paper.

‘As far as I am aware, we don’t have a weapons depot with a stockpile of guns or munition which would be suitable for the Kurds,’ retired army chief Kees Homan is quoted as saying.

France, Italy and the Czech Republic have already agreed to send weapons, as has Britain.

Foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans is currently studying the options, although the cabinet does not yet have any concrete plans for military intervention.


However, ‘if you look at what other countries are planning, the Netherlands cannot be left behind,’ Homan, who is now attached to the Clingendael Institute, said.

Mark Verheijen, an MP for the ruling VVD, would like to speed up the process. ‘It is time for action. The Netherlands should wait no longer but offer active military help,’ he told the paper.

The coalition Labour party PvdA also supports arming the Kurds with ‘non-deadly’ equipment.

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