US Congress Abandons Bounding Peshmerga Aid to ‘Unified Iraq’
In the final version of a national defense legislation released on November 8th, the US Congress has omitted a condition which had bounded US military aid to Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces to “contingent upon KRG’s participation in the government of a unified Iraq”.
The US Department of Defense has asked for $365 million in stipends and sustainment for Peshmerga in 2018.
Instead, the advisory report language accompanying the bill addresses the recent clashes between the Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga forces by calling on “all parties to defuse tensions.” It specifically points the finger at the predominantly Shiite militias fighting alongside the Iraqi state, as reported by al-Monitor.
“The conferees are alarmed by reports of clashes among the security force elements over control of contested areas in Iraq and especially alarmed by reports of engagements between the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iranian-backed paramilitary forces,” says the report. “The conferees emphasize the significant contributions the Kurdish security forces have made to countering [the Islamic State (IS)] and condemn Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs.”