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 Iraqi Kurdistan calls on Baghdad to recognize Kurdish Peshmerga forces

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Iraqi Kurdistan calls on Baghdad to recognize Kurdish Peshmerga forces  14.8.2012 
By Karim Abd Zayer - Al Monitor

Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers look on at a guard post during a deployment in the area near the northern Iraqi border with Syria, which lies in an area disputed by Baghdad and the Kurdish region of Ninawa province, August 6, 2012.  Photo: Reuters/Azad Lashkari. See Related Links
August 14, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Imad Ahmed said that a governmental project is currently underway to legalize the status of the Peshmerga forces. This step came amid increasing disagreement with the Baghdad-based central government over the role of the Peshmerga within the Iraqi security system.

In a statement issued by the KRG, Ahmed said, “We are working hard to reorganize the Peshmerga forces according to legal means. We attribute great importance to training, weapons and supplies so that we will be able to effectively defend the gains of our people, and the security and stability of our citizens in the future.”

According to the official, part of the project has already been completed. In its next phase, the KRG will work on organizing the Peshmerga forces on a legal basis so they would be able to defend the Kurdistan region and perform their national duties.

The statement also quoted Ahmed addressing Peshmerga forces based near the city of Kirkuk, an area disputed between the KRG and the Baghdad-based government. “It has become your duty to defend and preserve the security and property of citizens, particularly in the disputed areas. You must defend them against terrorists and the enemies of the people,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed also said that the KRG considered itself responsible for providing security and other provisions for residents of disputed zones. The Peshmerga forces will play a key role in defending civilians against potential terrorist attacks on the areas, he added.

Ahmed called upon the Baghdad-based government to fundamentally reconsider Peshmerga issue once and for all. He also urged the central government to take into consideration the budget allocated to the forces according to the constitution, which stipulates that the Peshmerga forces are part of the Iraqi defense system. He noted that the Baghdad-based government has refused to fund the budget of the forces. The KRG has taken up this task instead, he added.

On another note, according to security and medical sources, three policemen and two members of Iraq’s Sunni Religious Endowment were killed in two separate attacks in Baghdad and southern Baghdad on August 12.

Three policemen were killed in a bomb explosion that targeted their fuel in Jurf al-Sakher in southwest Baghdad. Then, the chief of police in Jurf al-Sahker and two other policemen were killed in another blast soon after their arrival at the site to check on victims.

Jurf al-Sakher is located inside the so-called “Triangle of Death” in south Baghdad. Since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, this area has witnessed acts of violence and murder on daily basis.

In Baghdad, according to a source affiliated with the Interior Ministry, two members of the Sunni Endowment were killed in a gun attack on their car while passing through the Jihad neighborhood of west Baghdad. The assailants reportedly used silenced weapons.

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