A total of 65 Kurdish military police officers from the Zeravani were selected to undergo a 6-week training event conducted and supervised by the Italian military. The goal of the training was to fine-tune the Zeravani’s capabilities in matters such as close protection, protest containment, and force protection operations. The Zervanai Command’s Brigadier General Dedawan Khurshid, who is the lead member of their media department, stated that, “We continue to receive training and equip Peshmerga forces with knowledge and skills so they can become more active in protecting apparatus and the Kurdistan Region as a whole,” in reference to the training program the Zeravani officers had just completed.

In total, over thirty different nations have conducted foreign military training operations with Kurdish military forces to some extent. The United States, Germany, and France are among the leading countries as far as training operation go. The Kurdistan Regional Government are the exclusive controlling authority for the Zeravani Peshmerga. The Zeravani is a police force in form and function despite their Peshmerga name, they specialize in manning checkpoints and securing government facilities.

The Italian government sent their own military police force to oversee the training. Identified as the Carabinieri, the instructors provided for the Zeravani forces were stationed at key positions around the various consulates in Kurdistan. The Zeravani, as well as the 1st Peshmerga Brigade, are responsible for the security of the autonomous region’s oil facilities.

Zeravani Brigadier General Khurshid claimed that the trainees attended 4 separate courses. These courses included the establishment of checkpoints, close protection details, direct action raid and search operations, and crowd control tactics in relation to protests. Khurshid said that, “The Peshmerga were trained very well. Since there is no certainty that ISIS is gone, the coalition partners have pledged to maintain their assistance to the Peshmerga.”

Kurdistan’s armed forces have modernized drastically over the last few years thanks to programs such as this. Several NATO nations have come and given similar instruction to the various sections of the Kurdish military. Currently, the Ministry of Peshmerga is conducting a reformation of its command structure in an effort to further streamline the Kurdish military. A big part of this will be eliminating the various politically aligned Peshmerga units and bringing them all under one command element; which will be the Ministry of Peshmerga.

Featured image: Female Zeravani soldiers, who are a branch of the Peshmerga, attend a three-week basic infantry skills course intended to improve their tactical knowledge to aid in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. | U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jessica Hurst