(Associated Press) For years, Kurdish officials have beseeched the Obama administration to let them buy U.S. weapons. For just as long, the administration has rebuffed America’s closest allies in Iraq.

U.S. officials insisted they could only sell arms to the government in Baghdad, even after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki broke a written promise to deliver some to the Kurds. Their peaceful, semiautonomous northern region had been the lone success story to come out of the 2003 U.S. invasion.

The U.S. has resisted arming the Kurds because Washington’s aim is to keep Iraq united. A strong Kurdish army could hasten independence for the Kurds.

Now, the Islamic State group, which some American officials have branded “a terrorist army,” has overpowered lightly armed Kurdish units, threatening the Kurdish region and the American personnel stationed there.

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