A high ranking Islamic State member, Abu Obaida, was killed on Saturday by Peshmerga commandos. Abu Obaida oversaw logistics and financing for all ISIS operations. The raid took place at night in the city of Makhmour, it was coordinated operation with United States led coalition forces via air support and Special Operations advisers. Furthermore, several other militants were killed near Mt. Qarachogh simultaneously, the Peshmerga were able to discern the ISIS fighters’ movements and whereabouts through intelligence provided by U.S. military drones. The operation started Sunday evening around 1800 hours local time and at least three Islamic State fighters were killed in total. Makhmour and Mt. Qarachough are both located nearly 60 kilometers to Erbil’s Southwest.
The Kurdish Peshmerga, despite having been kicked out of disputed territories such as Makhmour and Kirkuk are still doing their best to combat Islamic State threats wherever they are able. The Peshmerga were forced away from the forefront of the constantly evolving conflict in October when Iraqi paramilitary forces moved in. Many are calling for the return of the Peshmerga and suggesting cooperation between the two entities. Iraqi forces are not nearly as eager to accept these conditions and have rebuffed the idea at every formal occasion or meeting held between local officials.
The Peshmerga conducting joint operations with coalition and U.S. assets is nothing new, in fact most of their operations during the ISIS conflict have been done this way. They have also received vast amounts of training and funding from the United States over the last few years. Primarily the billions of dollars contributed to the Kurdish military have been to pay the salaries of the Peshmerga since the central Iraqi government has not been up to the task. Congress has already approved next year’s contribution to the Iraqi and Kurdish forces which will be broken up into smaller payouts over the year to prevent misuse.
Featured image: Kurdish and U.S. Special Forces take out terror leader said to be in charge of the group’s natural resources operations. | Spc. Jessica Hurst/U.S. Army