Thursday, 31 December 2009, 05:01 GMT
Peshmarga forces unify
By The Kurdish Globe

Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani pushes forward efforts to reorganize the Region's Peshmarga forces in a united structure within the frame of KRG Ministry of Peshmarga Affairs.

General Jabar Yawar, General Director of the Ministry of Peshmarga Affairs, announced that a committee has been formed and soon will inaugurate mechanisms suggested for the reconstruction of Kurdistan Region's Peshmarga forces.

Affairs of the Kurdistan Peshmarga have been run by two high commandership boards belonging to the Kurdish governing parties, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). During last few years, the two parties continuously negotiated putting all their forces under a governmental frame, the Ministry of Peshmarga. The talks last year resulted in unifying the KRG two ministries of Peshmarga, and currently their efforts seek lower-level unifications.

"There shouldn't be two Peshmarga forces in Kurdistan Region," stated President Barzani, commander-in-chief of Peshmarga, in a meeting on Sunday with KRG Minister of Peshmarga Affairs Shekh Jafar Mustafa and member of the KDP and PUK high commandership boards.

Barzani approved a report prepared by the commanderships and ordered for hastening in applying its contents for bringing all the Peshmarga troops within the Ministry, according to Gen. Yawar. "Nothing can hinder the unification of the forces; the Region Presidency, Council of Ministers, and the Ministry of Peshmarga have ended with their decision about it," noted Gen. Yawar.

Kurdistan Region has nearly 100,000 Peshmarga soldiers basically related to KDP and PUK in the matter of funding, recruiting, and organization.

The Iraqi Constitution recognizes the Peshmarga forces as part of the national defense system for protecting Kurdistan Region, said Gen. Yawar. But, he criticized the federal government in Baghdad for not committing to earlier agreements on allocating a budget for the Peshmarga forces.

He explained that top leaders from the KRG and the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, after several meetings in 2007, agreed to regard the Peshmarga as part of the Iraqi military system. The multinational forces and the United States and British embassies were aware of the agreement, he added.

"In the law of general budget, Article 17 clearly refers to the Peshmarga budget and the way of spending it; but during those years, the Iraqi federal government didn't act according to the legal agreement signed between both sides," said Gen. Yawar.

The Peshmarga official also criticized the low rate of Kurdish participation in the security forces. He explained that Kurds now make only 8.2% of the Iraqi security forces, while the rate must be 20%.