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Rudaw

Kurdistan

US State Dept.: Peshmerga need to be under Iraqi government command

By Rudaw 19/8/2016
A Kurdish Peshmerga firing doshka machine-gun into an ISIS-controlled village on the Khazir front east of Mosul. Photo by Farzin Hassan
A Kurdish Peshmerga firing doshka machine-gun into an ISIS-controlled village on the Khazir front east of Mosul. Photo by Farzin Hassan

WASHINGTON DC- Following a controversial statement by the Iraqi prime minister earlier this week that Kurdish Peshmerga forces must not advance towards Mosul when the battle for that city is launched, Mark Toner, deputy US State Dept. spokesperson said that the Peshmerga must be under the command of the Iraqi government.


“I think it’s absolutely important, and we’ve emphasized this all along, that the Peshmerga and all the various fighting groups in Iraq need to be under the command and control of the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi military.” Toner told Rudaw at a press briefing on Thursday.


“I think that there just needs to be closer coordination between – and we’ve encouraged that and, indeed, it has taken place. Thus far, there have been these meetings as they look towards Mosul, and frankly, the next steps in liberating Iraq from ISIL.” Toner added.


The deputy state dept. spokesperson went on to acknowledge the vital role the Peshmerga forces have played in the wear against the Islamic State (ISIS) in the last two years.


He said: “There needs to be that coordination mechanism. But we certainly recognize, and we’ve said so many times, the vital role that these groups, including the Peshmerga, play and have played thus far and showed tremendous courage in liberating parts of Iraq that have been under the control of ISIL.”


Toner explained that US efforts continue to bring the Kurds and Iraqis together into a united front for the battle of Mosul.


“We engage regularly with Kurdistan Regional Government and Baghdad to advocate and encourage a unified front in the face of the continuing threat of Daesh or ISIL, and in fact, we hold and have held joint planning sessions between the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Barzani and the national security advisor for the Government of Iraq, and I think one took place last week.” Toner said. “It was the second, I believe, of these meetings, and the intent here of those meetings is to try to build that kind of partnership and to work through some of the challenges as Iraqi forces writ large look towards the liberation of Mosul.” 

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Muraz Adzhoev | 19/8/2016
“I think it’s absolutely important...", said Toner. He can express his own personal viewpoints at home, for instance during morning family breakfast
Nav | 19/8/2016
That's not going to happen in a million years and they know it, they're saying that because they want the Shia militias reigned in and under the control of the central government (instead of Iran) that's not going to happen either. Best case scenario is something in that order might happen on paper, and on paper only.
blend | 19/8/2016
Baghdad owes Peshmerga salary and their share of arms, gear and ammunition since 2003, we're talking about at least 100 billion $. When they pay what that we can discuss some kind of arrangement, maybe a federation deal or something.
FAUthman | 19/8/2016
Don't tell us the Kurds just went on their own to clear those villages east of Mosul without US air support and that the US did not bother to let the Iraqi army command know what they were about to do together with the Kurds. Now we have political b.s. coming from Abadi that the US needs to support because it cannot afford to undermine its only hope for unity in Iraq: PM Abadi.
Ibrahim Ariyan | 19/8/2016
Under the so called "constitution", Peshmerga forces are under Iraqi Defense Forces, but Maliki and Abadi have certainly not treated them as such. They have withheld and even obstructed any support and most assistance (militaryand ffinancial) international coalition has tried to provide to Peshmerga. More importantly, the Peshmerga salary and other budgetary needs are supposed to be paid by Baghad, but has not happen since 2005. So it is an absolutely long shot to ask Peshmerga to be under Iraqi command.

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