August 31, 2009

Peshmerga - By Harem Karem

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during early 20th century and in particular when Shekh Mahmud started to oppose the British rule and fighting for
Kurdish autonomy and independence, Peshmerga have emerged. During these days Peshmerga were equipped with horses, rifles etc. Regardless of some failures in its decades of fight for a free Kurdistan,

Peshmerga have always been highly regarded by the Kurds, it literally reserved a special place in the hearts of every Kurd. After going through many stages Peshmerga is now one of the best organised army in the region with approximately 200,000 brave soldiers, also one of the three militaries in the Middle-East with females. It has had the possibility to expand and purchase new kinds of weapons recently.

After Ibrahim Ahmed and his son in law Jalal Talabani, separated from Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in 1966, and when the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) was founded in June 1975 Peshmerga have appeared loyal to a specific political party rather than a united Kurdistan security force, however despite different ideologies, Peshmerga’s main priorities were the right of self-determination for the Kurds, democracy, human rights and recognition of national and cultural identity.

Peshmerga forces fought side by side with coalition forces in the 2003 Iraq war and thereafter have taken the full responsibility for the security of south Kurdistan “North of Iraq”, the autonomous region which leads Iraq in growth and security.

Almost a decade past in 21st century and yet still PUK and KDP have controls over their own Peshmerga forces separately to a large extent rather than Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). From 2003 upwards most Peshmerga veterans have been offered certain political posts while there are far more qualified Kurds to take on these posts and the general public are not particularly happy about the Peshmerga’s stranglehold on power, believing veterans will not be able to carry out administration post effectively.

The longer the PUK and KDP are monopolising power in south Kurdistan, the more criticism they are facing by the Kurds and possibly heaver punishments than Slemani when they voted for “Gorran” Change List in July 09 election. What KRG desperately need during this sensitive time of economical and political development are technocrat people to be brought forward to run the new government.

Furthermore PUK and KDP have carried out an unlawful campaign recently by sacking and transferring members of Peshmerga and police forces to different parts of the region who have not been voting for them. According to the former presidential candidate Dr Kamal Mirawdeli tens of Peshmerga and security officers who had not voted for “Gorran” Change List but voted for him still have been sacked. This will clearly have a major impact on the public relation with the government and may lead to a civil conflict.


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