The president of Kurdistan’s regional government on Wednesday backed off a long-held demand that the United States directly supply arms to the northern Iraqi region he heads in the war against Islamic State extremists, otherwise known as ISIS.

The direct arming of Kurdish forces is a contentious issue.

The central Iraqi government in Baghdad has opposed direct sales to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters over concerns Kurdish leaders will eventually use the aid to break away from Iraq and create a new country. The Kurds, meanwhile, accuse Baghdad of failing to distribute their share of U.S.-supplied weapons as they take on the brunt of the fighting against the Islamic State in northern Iraq. […]