ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Despite Iraq passing a bill for the 2017 budget in early December 2016 where Peshmerga’s share was discussed, the forces have not received a penny from Baghdad.
On Dec. 4, 2016, the Iraqi parliament passed the 2017 federal budget bill including the constitutional share of the Kurdistan Region and the salaries of the Peshmerga forces.
During the parliament session, the Kurdish lawmakers were divided into two parts.
Some voted for the bill as an achievement, claiming the Kurds’ financial rights were guaranteed in the draft law.
Meanwhile, the other members left the session, stating the bill had not included numbers, hence the Peshmerga budget would not be guaranteed.
Following the approval of the budget, both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region (KRP) issued statements regarding the bill’s lacks of transparency.
The reports complained to the federal government of Iraq for deciding on Kurdistan’s budget share unilaterally without any consolation with the KRG.
“Issues regarding the budget of Peshmerga is not something new,” President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani stated.
“Since 2005, the federal government of Iraq has not enacted the financial rights of Peshmerga and the Kurdistan Region by making up different excuses,” he added.
The KRG warned of a serious political conspiracy against the Region.
“[The bill contains] the same text as the previous years but, for unknown reasons, it has never been implemented,” read the KRG statement.
“In 2017’s bill, the share provided for the Peshmerga and the number of Peshmerga forces receiving salaries [from the Iraqi government] had not been mentioned,” the KRG report continued.
On Sunday, the Kurdish Member of Parliament and head of Iraq’s parliamentary security and defense committee told Kurdistan24 they predicted this outcome, so they voted against the bill.
“Of course, it is in the hands of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi but, if we [Kurds] could have put it properly in a legal framework, we could have achieved something,” he said.
Moreover, he mentioned all Iraqi defense, military, and intelligence members had received salaries except for Peshmerga forces.
Mala Qadir, another Kurdish MP from the Kurdistan Patriotic Union Party (PUK), told Kurdistan24 the KRG could submit a complaint against Abadi through the Supreme Court of Iraq.
Former US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter previously stated Peshmerga were one of the most effective forces defeating the Islamic State (IS).
In 2014, Peshmerga stopped IS infiltrating northern Iraq after the Iraqi army collapsed and fled their posts.
The federal budget share is one of the main disputes between Erbil and Baghdad.
The Iraqi government cut the budget share of the Kurdistan Region at the beginning of 2014, accusing the KRG of selling oil independently.
The KRG refused the allegations and claimed it was the constitutional right of the autonomous region to administer its resources.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany