A member of the Kurdish Peshmerga force in Makhamur front. File photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Kurdish Peshmerga ministry says a meeting that was held between them and a delegation from the coalition forces on Saturday was to lay the foundation of a professional and reformed Peshmerga army through a project that would last ten years.
Chief of Staff of the Peshmerga Ministry who attended the meeting told Rudaw that the plan of the coalition forces includes unifying all Peshmerga forces under the ministry and that that is only one part of their overall agenda.
Yawar said that reforming the Peshmerga forces and its structure is on the agenda as well. He added the idea for these reforms and restructuring of the Peshmerga forces first came about during the visits of German and British defense ministers to Erbil.
“The coalition forces have through working with the Peshmerga seen some weaknesses and have therefore proposed reforms,” he said, adding that the Peshmerga ministry also proposed some changes.
The proposed plan contains 35 points, Yawar explained, and it will be put into practice by a special committee set up for this purpose inside the Peshmerga ministry.
According to Yawar the council of ministers has thrown its weight behind the proposals and asked the ministry to embark on the plan.
The delegation that met the Kurdish prime minister and Peshmerga officials was led by US, British and German military advisers.
Yawar said that the outcome of Saturday’s meeting would be studied by the prime minister’s office, then discussed at the cabinet and sent on to Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani as commander of all armed forces for his consideration.
“The Americans, German and British have promised us that not only do they make recommendations for change, they will also stay with us and help us implement every point of the plan,” Yawar revealed.
“They don’t mean something temporary, it is long term and strategic.” Yawar said of the coalition project.
He added that these countries told the Kurdish officials that they "are prepared for a period of five to ten years to support the Peshmerga ministry implementing this reform."
The US, UK, France, Germany and Canada have worked with the Peshmerga forces in the fight against ISIS since August 2014. They have provided arms and training in addition to direct air support.