Salaries from Coalition assistance to be distributed to Peshmerga
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs announced in a statement on Tuesday, that after receiving a grant from Coalition forces, the salaries of the Peshmerga forces will be distributed on Thursday.
The Ministry of Peshmerga has more than 180,000 Peshmergas, of whom 44,000 have been reorganized into 15 joint brigades, a goal the US-led Coalition has long sought. Prior to the current impasse, the United States was spending approximately USD$25 million on salaries for Peshmergas as part of the joint units.
The Peshmerga forces are affiliated with the two major political parties: Unit 70 is associated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) while its counterpart, Unit 80, was under the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) command.
Moreover, Shorish Ismail, the KRG Minister of Peshmerga Affairs, on Nov. 27 returned to his office after more than a year-long absence, reportedly due to internal PUK disputes.
The military force has long been criticized by international partners, viewing its faction-based allegiance as a foundational problem.
Unifying and modernizing Peshmerga forces are at the “core” of the reform program of the Ninth Cabinet, senior KRG officials have said on many occasions.
The program is supported by Coalition members, particularly the US, the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands that similarly assist and enable the forces to fight ISIS remnants.
More than a thousand Kurdish troops were killed in the fight against ISIS over a tense three-year period beginning in the summer of 2014. While the terror group was pronounced territorially defeated in Iraq in 2017, it has survived by setting up hideouts across the country, launching guerilla warfare and “hit-and-run” style attacks on Kurdish and Iraqi forces.