Wednesday, 01 August 2007, 11:35 GMT
Peshmergas to protect city of Kirkuk

Kurdish army guards in Kashan Valley, northern Iraq

The Globe- Erbil

Iraqi government has asked Peshmarga to protect the oil city of Kirkuk.

The Iraqi government has asked the Kurds to send their Peshmarga fighter forces to protect places near the disputed oil city of Kirkuk.

Two weeks after asking for 6000 Peshmarga troops to patrol the oil pipe lines around Kirkuk, the Iraqi government has formally asked to recruit an extra 12000 Peshmarga soldiers.

A high ranking official from the Kurdistan regional Government (KRG) told a local paper earlier this week that the Iraqi ministry of defense has asked the Peshmarga to prepare an extra 12000 troops set to protect the northern oil pipelines between Shirgat (in south of Mosul) and the Turkish borders.

The KRG official who did not want his name be mentioned said that the Erbil would most likely agree to the request and added that the KRG has already agreed on deploying 6000 Peshmarga soldiers.

He also added that the budget for the those 12000 Peshmarga forces which are formally known as "Region Guard forces" will be paid by the Iraqi ministry of defense and the Iraqi army will provide them with 60% of their necessities of uniforms, weapons and ammunitions.

Khalaf Aliyan, a Sunni leader, said that the Peshmarga forces played an active role in protecting the Iraqi capital. He said this during a meeting with the Kurdish leaders, he urged that Peshmarga to protect further places.

Two brigades (the 1st and 2nd) of the Iraqi army which are about 6000 soldiers and all Kurds took part in the Baghdad security plan earlier this year.

Commander of the Iraqi army 2nd brigade based in Kirkuk said on Saturday that the Peshmarga forces which are going to be deployed in parts of Kirkuk province will be under the commander of his brigade.

Commander of the 2nd brigade general Anwer Hama Amin announced this at a press conference at the Kaiwn headquarters of the Kirkuk military operation Center.

"The coming of the Peshmarga troops is within an agreement signed by the general commander of the Iraqi forces, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani," Hama amin said and explained that the role of these forces is protecting the electricity lines and the oil establishments between Kirkuk city reaching Beji in southwest of Kirkuk.

Earlier, the Kurdistan Guards forces spokesman general Jabar Yawar announced that the Iraqi prime minister and the Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani agreed to send 6000 Peshmarga forces to protect electricity and oil fields located between Kirkuk and Beji. But he did not reveal about the date of deploying these forces.