Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani.
The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on the ground beside.
Although it is unclear what was the bundle shown in the video, the militant explains that “this is some of the military equipment that was dropped by American forces.”
“These are the bombs that the American forces dropped for the Kurdish parties,” he says. “They are spoils of war for the Mujahedeen.”
US Central Command admitted that originally there had been 28 deliveries, and a “stray bundle” had to be destroyed “to prevent these supplies falling into enemy hands.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights meanwhile said that the weapons dropped by the US may have ended up in the hands of the militants, AP reports. No independent verification has yet been made of the video showing munitions, hand grenades, and other weaponry.
The video itself caused quite a stir on the social media landscape with users “thanking” Washington for delivering the arms into the wrong hands, something the US has in the past vowed to avoid.
White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes meanwhile insisted US cargo always reaches the correct destination and people.
“We feel very confident that, when we air drop support as we did into Kobani… we’ve been able to hit the target in terms of reaching the people we want to reach,” Rhodes told CNN on Monday.
The latest weapons claimed by the Islamic State militants will add to the vast arsenal of US weaponry that IS seized in Iraq in a sudden sweep in June. IS launched its offensive on Kobani on September 16 sparking a massive exodus of some 200,000 refugees into Turkey and worldwide protests of Kurds and their supporters.
But Mr. Obama cannot permanently terminate those sanctions. Only Congress can take that step. And even if Democrats held on to the Senate next month, Mr. Obama’s advisers have concluded they would probably lose such a vote.
“We have been clear that initially there would be suspension of any of the U.S. and international sanctions regime, and that the lifting of sanctions will only come when the I.A.E.A. verifies that Iran has met serious and substantive benchmarks,” Bernadette Meehan, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said Friday, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency. “We must be confident that Iran’s compliance is real and sustainable over a period of time.”
But many members of Congress see the plan as an effort by the administration to freeze them out, a view shared by some Israeli officials who see a congressional vote as the best way to constrain the kind of deal that Mr. Obama might strike.
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat, said over the weekend that, “If a potential deal does not substantially and effectively dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program, I expect Congress will respond. An agreement cannot allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear state.” He has sponsored legislation to tighten sanctions if no agreement is reached by Nov. 24.
A leading Republican critic of the negotiations, Senator Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, added, “Congress will not permit the president to unilaterally unravel Iran sanctions that passed the Senate in a 99 to 0 vote,” a reference to the vote in 2010 that imposed what have become the toughest set of sanctions.
But it is clear that along with the fate of Iran’s biggest nuclear sites — Natanz and Fordow, where uranium fuel is enriched, and a heavy-water reactor at Arak that many fear will be able to produce weapons-grade plutonium — the negotiations have focused intently on how sanctions would be suspended. To the Americans, the sanctions are their greatest leverage. For many ordinary Iranians, they are what this negotiation is all about: a chance to boost the economy, reconnect with the world and end Iran’s status as a pariah state.