ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish Peshmerga forces are part of Iraq’s military and security system, the country’s Defense Minister said on Monday in a press conference following his meeting with the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga Minister.
Iraqi Minister of Defense Najah al-Shammari met with a delegation from the Ministry of Peshmerga, headed by Minister Shoresh Ismael, in Baghdad to discuss ongoing efforts to integrate the Peshmerga forces to Iraq’ National Security apparatus.
Al-Shammari affirmed that the “Peshmerga forces are part of Iraq's organized security, we have discussed minor issues in the process; however, they are not difficult to solve. Our first and last priority is safekeeping the security of Iraq.”
“The Peshmerga are a part of Iraq’s security, and we need to unify and coordinate the activities of Iraq’s Security Forces (ISF) and Peshmerga to stand against the threats of the terrorist Islamic State group, who are still active in certain areas,” the minister stated.
Al-Shammari also mentioned that, based on the request of commander-in-chief and Iraqi Prime Minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party Masoud Barzani and Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Masrour Barzani confirmed they would “aim to combine the two forces and to eliminate the Islamic State threat once and for all.”
Minister Ismail agreed “there is a mutual will to resolve outstanding issues with Baghdad, based on Iraq’s Constitution, and since Peshmerga forces are part of Iraq’s security apparatus, they must be guaranteed their constitutional rights.”
Following clashes between the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces in the wake of the Kurdistan Region’s referendum on independence late 2017, Islamic State fighters have taken advantage of the hostility and lack of proper cooperation between the two, namely in and around the disputed territories, to regroup.
Over the past nine months, Kurdish and Iraqi military delegations have conducted meetings in both Erbil and Baghdad to further coordination and cooperation against the extremist group, but have been unable to incapacitate the group despite Iraq declaring its military victory against it at the end of 2017.
Editing by Nadia Riva