Kurdistan Region Vice President: Peshmerga ministry brigades paid three full salaries under Coalition pressure

Vice President of the Kurdistan Region Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa (File)

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SULAIMANI — Vice President of the Kurdistan Region Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa said on Thursday (February 25) that the decision to disburse three months’ worth of salary to fourteen Peshmerga brigades under the control of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs occurred because of pressure from the “Americans.”

On Sunday, the ministry announced that it would make the payments to its brigades, which are ostensibly non-partisan. Other Peshmerga units fall under the direct control of either the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) or the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

A veteran PUK Peshmerga commander, Sheikh Mustafa made the remark to a media outlet affiliated with the KDP.

Meanwhile, the Rapporteur of the Kurdistan Parliament’s Peshmerga Committee Rzgar Muhammed told an outlet affiliated with the Change Movement (Gorran) that the condition for aid from the US-led International Coalition is that the Peshmerga unify and depoliticize.

“By uniting the Peshmerga forces and making them a national force, the people of Kurdistan, both political parties, and all those forces will benefit,” he argued.

During his interview, however, Sheikh Mustafa said that the two ruling parties are unable to agree to that condition.

Political control of the Peshmerga and the other parts of the security apparatus, such as the police and Asayish, not only provide the KDP and PUK with the means of violence to put down protests and other forms of dissent, but also allow it to dispense patronage.

Despite their rhetorical commitment to reform, the parties have consistently dragged their heels in actually implementing it.

(NRT Digital Media)