April 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department has approved the possible foreign military sale of infantry and artillery supplies for Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq.
If approved by Congress, the equipment will be sold to the government of Iraq and then supplied to the Kurdish fighters. Kurds in Iraq live in a semi-autonomous region of the country, and have been praised by several U.S. lawmakers as effective ground troops in the fight against the Islamic State, a terror group also referred to as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.
Peshmerga authorities requested supplies to outfit two light infantry regional brigades as well as two artillery battalions to support them on the battlefield. Infantry-related requests include new rifles, machine guns, armored vehicles, body armor and other supporting equipment.
Artillery systems include M119A2 105mm howitzers, spare parts, training and associated equipment.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency estimates the sale will cost approximately $295.6 million.
State Department officials maintain the proposed sale will advance U.S. foreign policy interests in the region, which has been marked by sectarian conflict since the Islamic State began engaging Iraqi and U.S. forces in 2014.
Contractors involved with the pending sale include AM General, Oshkosh Defense, Navistar Defense, Harris Radio and Colt Corporation.