IRBIL, Iraq — Each day, Kurdish security forces* in northern Iraq skirmish with fearsomely armed Islamic State militants along their new, nearly 650-mile border. The Kurds have held their own so far. But without fresh arms supplies or financial assistance their fight is unsustainable, a senior Kurdish official said.
Masrour Barzani, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s intelligence and security chief, described his forces as “overstretched.” In an interview this week, he called on the United States to provide direct military assistance to his semi*autonomous region, which he complained has been left to fight the extremists unaided.
For the Kurds, the Islamic State’s blitz across northern Iraq in recent weeks has in some respects been a boon. Iraqi military forces* rapidly withdrew from the north, enabling the Kurds to seize areas where they had disputed control with Baghdad, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.