A Peshmerga soldier stands watch in the fight against ISIS. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Kurdistan Region’s armed forces are set to reshuffle and better organize senior positions within the Peshmerga ministry.
“Some changes are due to the rank of the officer not being compatible with their position,” Gen. Qaraman Sheikh Kamal, the deputy chief of staff of operations in the Ministry of Peshmerga, told Rudaw.
Some 60 posts could be affected.
It is often difficult to determine an officer’s actual command when there are so many with the title of “General.”
“For example, he has a high rank, but his position isn’t so. Some officers have remained in their posts for too long, and change is needed,” said Kamal.
The third reason, according to the general, is that some officers may not have been suitable for their assignments.
The change will also encompass the deputy chief of staff, director general, deputy director general and other directorates within the ministry.
Efforts have been underway to merge all Peshmerga forces under the Kurdistan Regional Government’s relevant ministry in order better structure and unite the forces and break the yoke of partisan control.
The two dominant Kurdish factions, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) maintain
formidable Peshmerga units, well over 100,000 that are not part of the ministry’s official enlistees.
The US-led international coalition has trained and equipped Peshmerga units, as they have worked to professionalize Peshmerga forces.
In 2017, the US provided the KRG with $415 million to cover Peshmerga salaries during the height of the war against ISIS in Mosul. For 2018, it has included $365 million for the Peshmerga in its draft defense budget bill. The 2019 bill passed the House of Representatives, but still must go through the Senate before concrete figures on Peshmerga funding can be deduced.
All Peshmerga forces are officially under the command of Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani since the since parliament delegated the authority following the end of President Masoud Barzani’s term in November 2017.