Kurdistan committed to Peshmerga reform, unification, President Barzani says
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – President Nechirvan Barzani reaffirmed on Tuesday the Kurdistan Region’s commitment to the Ministry of Peshmerga reform project that seeks to unify and de-politicize the region’s armed forces.
“We have to...establish an organized and trained force and remove the obstacles that hinder reforms in the Peshmerga ministry,” President Barzani said during a speech at the graduation ceremony of a new batch of Peshmerga fighters in Zakho.
There is about 240,000 Peshmerga in the Kurdistan Region. Unifying the forces has been a key concern for the Peshmerga ministry over the past decade as most fighters are aligned and under the direct command of either one of the two leading Kurdish parties: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
The Peshmerga have, nevertheless, been labeled one of the most effective ground troops in helping defeat the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Barzani said the presidency of the Kurdistan Region would apply all efforts to achieve the unification goal.
“The region needs a unified military force and works in accordance with humanitarian principles and international agreements and away from partisanship.”
The Kurdish leader noted that a special committee had been formed to reorganize the administrative and legal aspects of the ministry and to review its structure and the Peshmerga forces.
According to the Iraqi Constitution, the Peshmerga are part of Iraq’s defense system but have often complained of neglect and marginalization by the federal government.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany