Posted on August 20, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Military, Politics, Politics
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan. Photo: AFP
HEWLÊR-Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Kurdish forces will remain under the order of the Peshmerga Ministry and “not the command or control of the Iraqi government” the Peshmerga Ministry in Kurdistan Region said on Friday.
“The Peshmerga is not under the command or control of the Iraqi government. According to the Iraqi constitution, the Peshmerga is part of Iraq’s defense system, but the Iraqi government has not supplied the Peshmerga with weapons or military training and they have not taken any responsibilities towards the Peshmerga,” read a statement by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Peshmerga Ministry.
The statement was in response to comments made by the Deputy Spokesman of the US State Department Mark Toner who told Rudaw in a press conference that the Peshmerga “need to be under the command and control of the Iraqi government.”
“I think it’s absolutely important, and we’ve emphasized this all along, that the Peshmerga and all the various fighting groups in Iraq need to be under the command and control of the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi military.” Toner told Rudaw during Thursday’s press briefing.
“I think that there just needs to be closer coordination between – and we’ve encouraged that and, indeed, it has taken place. Thus far, there have been these meetings as they look towards Mosul, and frankly, the next steps in liberating Iraq from ISIL [Islamic State / ISIS].” he added.
The Peshmerga ministry’s statement went on to say that, “The Peshmerga proved to the whole world that they are the only force who could face the must barbaric terrorist group.”
Despite this, the statement added, the Peshmerga is still willing “to support or coordinate with officials from the Iraqi Army to face and defeat terrorists and they have practically proved that.”
“We are thankful and appreciating the help from the international coalition against ISIS,” the statement also said.
Iraq’s government is once again insisting that Kurdish Peshmerga forces withdraw from areas regained from Islamic State forces as the push towards Mosul intensifies.
Saad Hadisi, spokesman for the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office, said Friday that officials in Baghdad reject claims by a number of Kurdish political and military officials that areas should go under Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) administration.
Spokesperson of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Safeen Dizayee said on Thursday that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces will not withdraw from areas they have liberated from the Islamic State in the Nineveh Province, responding to earlier comments from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Also earlier this week, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that Peshmerga forces must not advance towards Mosul when the battle for that city is launched.
“No other force will enter the city of Mosul,” except the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Abadi stressed on Tuesday.
The Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan are not unified forces, and considered as militias loyal of the ruling parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP led by Massoud Barzani and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK led by Jalal Talabani.