The Kurdish Peshmerga military forces have been added to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Peshmerga had been left out of an earlier draft, and this had drawn concern from various parties, citing Iraq’s withholding of Kurdish shares in the past. On several occasions, the Iraqi government has withheld U.S. aid from Kurdistan’s military and government. This has taken the form of financial contributions, military equipment, and essential human resources.

The document, having been amended to include the Peshmerga, read as,

It is the sense of the Congress that the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to the United States-led campaign to degrade, dismantle, and ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq. A lasting defeat of ISIS is critical to maintaining a stable and tolerant Iraq in which all faiths, sects, and ethnicities are afforded equal protection and full integration into the Government and society of Iraq. In support of counter-ISIS operations and in conjunction with the Central Government of Iraq, the United States should continue to provide operational sustainment, as appropriate, to the Ministry of Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq so that the Peshmerga forces can more effectively partner with the Iraqi Security Forces, the United States, and other international Coalition members to consolidate gains, hold territory, and protect infrastructure from ISIS and its affiliates in an effort to deal a lasting defeat to ISIS and prevent its reemergence in Iraq.”

The initial draft of the NDAA was released in February and did not mention the Peshmerga as a benefactor in regards to monetary aid. It primarily targeted the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), a long time project for the United States’ Department of Defense. The original version would seek $850 million for continued advisory and training efforts as well as supplied equipment. Presently the request is for a lump sum of $716 billion, that still needs to get approval from the U.S. House of Representatives’.

Featured image: Peshmerga soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 1st Regional Guard Brigade, stand in formation during the Modern Brigade Course 2 graduation ceremony at the Menila Training Center, Iraq. Representatives from the U.S. Army, which provided equipment, and the Coalition trainers who taught the course attended the graduation to show their support for the battalion. | U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kalie Jones

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