Bagh­dad re­fuses to pay Pesh­marga bud­get for seven years

Kur­dish MPS vow not to vote for a bud­get that ex­cludes Pesh­mar­gas

The Kurdish Globe - - EDITORIAL -

Kur­dish blocks at the Iraqi Coun­cil of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Par­lia­ment, ar­gue with­out al­lo­cat­ing bud­get for the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s Pesh­marga forces in the coun­try’s na­tional bud­get for 2013, they would not vote for the draft.

Min­istry of Fi­nance and Econ­omy of the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government (KRG) ar­gues that the bud­get of Pesh­mar­gas has not been paid since 2007 till 2013, which amounts to IQD 7.7 tril­lion (ap­prox­i­mately US$ 6.4 bil­lion), is still with the cen­tral government and Bagh­dad has con­tin­u­ously re­fused to pay that to KRG.

Qas­sim Mo­hammed mem­ber of the Iraqi Par­lia­ment on the Kur­dis­tani Bloc, states that all Kur­dish blocks at the par­lia­ment agree that with­out the Pesh­marga bud­get, they would not vote for the bud­get draft.

“Now all the Kur­dis­tani blocks, in­clud­ing Gor­ran Bloc, are in agree­ment that Pesh­marga bud­get should be made clear in the bud- get, rather than keep­ing it like an ad­vance pay­ment,” said MP Mo­hammed in an in­ter­view with the Kur­dish Globe. “Oth­er­wise, we will not vote for the 2013 bud­get of Iraq.”

MP Mo­hammed also added that both KRG and Bagh­dad government should reach an agree­ment about the Pesh­marga is­sue in the draft bud­get of 2013; and the Iraqi government should see Pesh­marga forces as part of the coun­try’s de­fense sys­tem, and in ad­di­tion to the bud­get it should have share in the sup­plies, war equip­ment and in the weapon pur­chase con­tracts.”

Ac­cord­ing to Para­graph 5 of Clause 13 of the draft Iraqi bud­get of 2013, based on the mu­tual agree­ment be­tween the Iraqi min­is­te­rial coun­cil and its Kur­dish coun­ter­part, all the bud­get, ben­e­fits, rain­ings, equip­ment and arms that have not yet been paid since 2007 will be spent on the ba­sis of ad­vance pay­ments.

MP Muayyad Tayyib, spokesper­son of the Kur­dis­tani Al­liance Bloc at the Iraqi Par­lia­ment re­it­ereated that the Pesh­marga bud­get was among the most prom­i­nent pend­ing is­sues be­tween Re­gion and Cen­ter and said “this should be agreed upon once for­ever and we should not have the same prob­lems ev­ery year.”

In an in­ter­view with the Kur­dish Globe MP Tayyib said we want to in­clude Pesh­marga bud­get into Iraq’s bud­get to stop post- pon­ing it year af­ter year, as it has been over­looked for many years now while Pesh­marga Forces are part of the Iraqi de­fense sys­tem.”

Kurds have a uni­fied voice

Latif Sheikh Mustafa, mem­ber of the Iraqi Par­lia­ment on the Kur­dish Gor­ran Bloc, ar­gues that his bloc is in agree­ment with all other Kur­dish blocs about the is­sue.

“We [Kur­dish blocs] will be uni­fied in Bagh­dad es­pe­cially about the Pesh­marga bud­get, since this money is for the peo­ple of Kur­dis­tan Re­gion and we de­fend it,” MP Mustafa told the Globe. “Bagh­dad has to pay Pesh­marga bud­get.”

In a press con­fer­ence early Fe­bru­ary, Kur­dish Pesh­marga Min­is­ter Jaa­far Sheikh Mustafa said the num­ber of Pesh­marga forces is 200,000 while Bagh­dad wants them to be only 70,000. Ac­cord­ing to the Wikipedia the num­ber of Iraq’s armed forces reaches 820,600.

Hal­gurd Mala Hik­mat, Di­rec­tor of Me­dia at the KRG Pesh­marga Min­istry, told the Globe that ac­cord­ing to the con­sti­tu­tion and the law Pesh­marga is part of the Iraqi de­fense sys­tem, but this can­not be seen in prac­tice and the Iraqi government is not keen to re­solve this is­sue.”

Com­ment­ing on the ad­vance pay­ments al­lo­cated by the cen­tral government, Hik­mat says his min­istry has not re­ceived any ad­vance pay­ments from Bagh­dad, but rather they are com­pletely funded by the KRG.

Kur­dish pesh­marga drive tanks with Kur­dish flag dur­ing a mil­i­tary ma­neu­ver.

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