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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Peshmerga ministry dissolves two Yezidi units, cuts salaries

By Rudaw 5/12/2017
The two Yezidi units have a combined 13,000 Peshmerga fighters on their payroll. They stayed in their positions in the Yezidi areas even though they received orders to withdraw to KRG-controlled areas. File photo: Rudaw TV
The two Yezidi units have a combined 13,000 Peshmerga fighters on their payroll. They stayed in their positions in the Yezidi areas even though they received orders to withdraw to KRG-controlled areas. File photo: Rudaw TV
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Region has dissolved two Peshmerga units that were tasked to protect areas in and around the Yezidi town of Shingal following the deployment of Iraqi forces to these places, officials told Rudaw.

The two affected units are Ezidkhan Protection Units and Shingal Command who jointly had more than 13,000 Peshmerga fighters prior to the withdrawal of the Peshmerga from the disputed areas in mid-October.

The Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi has its own Yezidi force and has been in control of Shingal and most other Yezidi areas since then.

A Yezidi Peshmerga commander, who asked not to be named, told Rudaw that a number of their commanders decided not to confront the Hashd al-Shaabi forces when they advanced on Shingal. He said those commanders argued that the Hashd fighters are also Yezidi and they did not want a Yezidi-Yezidi fight to take place.


It added that they reached an agreement with the Yezidi members of the Hashd al-Shaabi to prevent bloodshed.

The Peshmerga Ministry asked its forces to retreat. Only 500 did so, however. The rest remained, the Peshmerga commander said.

He added that former Kurdistan Region president Masoud Barzani, who had been commander-in-chief of the armed forces, stated days after the withdrawal that the Shingal Command had been dissolved.

The Shingal Command was formed on an order from Masoud Barzani after the liberation of Yezidi areas in Shingal in late 2015.

Sheikh Saeed Sileman, who was in charge of the financial department of the command but is now in Germany, stated on his Facebook page that there were 8,250 Yezidi Peshmerga on their payroll before the October 16 events, costing the ministry more than $2 million a month. Each fighter received $300 monthly.

He said the Peshmerga withdrew from many of the disputed areas and Shingal was not an exception. He argued that the Peshmerga ministry should continue to pay their salaries.

Haidar Shasho, another Yezidi commander whose Ezidkhan Protection Force was incorporated into the Peshmerga ministry earlier this year, told Rudaw that his forces who are still stationed in Yezidi areas, have had their salaries cut by the ministry. He said they cannot withdraw because that would create a security vacuum that would endanger local populations.

Peshmerga spokesperson Halgurd Hikmat confirmed that the Shingal Command had been dissolved.

He said the Peshmerga had an order to withdraw from Shingal in mid-October, but Haider Shasho and Qasem Shasho decided to stay.  He said the two commanders made their decision independent of the Peshmerga ministry and "it is now up to them to take responsibility for their decision.”

With regard to the Shingal Command, Hikmat said those who still take orders from his ministry will be absorbed into other units and will receive their salaries.

Comments

 
duroi | 5/12/2017
It is not a good idea to create medieval military battalions and brigades based on a geographical location or a political party in the first place. KRG needs to reorganize the whole army to create mixed units selecting its soldiers randomly from different regions of Kurdistan in addition to ending the bad practice of brigades affiliated with a political party.
I am sad and ashamed! | 6/12/2017
What a SHAME!
Muraz Adzhoev | 6/12/2017
Unfortunately I have not been in Kurdistan for a long time and do not have reliable and enough information about this particular situation concerning the Shingal Peshmerga Kurdish-Ezidi units, but hope that the KRG, the Peshmerga ministry will do their best to avoid mistakes and unreasonable decisions. “It’s always easier to destroy, than to build”.
Jay | 6/12/2017
How stupid those Yazidis are! Iran and shiite despise Yazidis and accuse them of killing Hussein. Hashd is an Iranian force, funded and led by Iran, so how could Yazidis join them or remotely trust them!
guest2002 | 6/12/2017
just because they were not cowards and remained,is not a good excuse to cut their salaries. actually,the ones who left and did not fight ,need to be terminated and their salaries cut. what a crazy world we live in!!!!

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