From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ActiveEarly 1920s–present
AllegianceKurdistan Regional Government(disputed, see Structure)
Size410,000(disputed, see Structure)
MarchEy Reqîb[source?]
Commander-in-ChiefMasoud Barzani
Minister of Peshmerga AffairsMustafa Sayid Qadir

Peshmerga (Sorani Kurdish: پێشمەرگە, romanized: Pêşmerge, lit.'Before death') are the military forces of the federal region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Peshmerga and other Kurdish security forces are responsible for the security of the regions in Iraqi Kurdistan.[1][2][3][4] These forces include Asayish (intelligence agency), Parastin u Zanyarî (assisting intelligence agency) and the Zeravani (military police). The peshmerga was started in 1943, but built upon a traditional, strictly tribal pseudo-military border guard under the Ottomans and Safavids.[5]

The regular Iraqi army is forbidden to enter Iraqi Kurdistan,[6][7] so Peshmerga forces are the only security forces in the area.

Formally the peshmerga are under the command of the Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs. In reality the peshmerga force itself is largely divided and controlled separately by the two regional political parties: Democratic Party of Kurdistan and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Unifying and integrating the peshmerga has been on the public agenda since 1992 but the forces remain divided due to factionalism which has proved to be a major stumbling block.[8]

In 2003, during the Iraq War, peshmerga were said to have played a key role in the mission to capture Saddam Hussein.[9][10] In 2004, they captured key al Qaeda figure Hassan Ghul, who revealed the identity of Osama Bin Laden's messenger, which eventually led to the attack that killed Osama Bin Laden.[11][12] In 2017 Peshmerga troops were part of the coalition that took back Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Summary of the most important tasks of the Ministry of Peshmerga". Ministry of Peshmerga. 12 November 2012. Archived from the original on 12 January 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  2. Newton-Small, Jay (31 December 2012). "Destination Kurdistan: Is This Autonomous Iraqi Region a Budding Tourist Hot Spot?". Time. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  3. Druzin, Heath (29 September 2013). "Rare terrorist attack in peaceful Kurdish region of Iraq kills 6". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  4. Krajeski, Jenna (20 March 2013). "The Iraq War Was a Good Idea, If You Ask the Kurds". The Atlantic. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  5. Lortz, Michael (2005). "Willing to Face Death: A History of Kurdish Military Forces - the Peshmerga - From the Ottoman Empire to Present-Day Iraq". Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations. 1038: 108. Archived from the original on 27 July 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  6. "Iraqi PM criticizes Kurdish region for barring army from Syrian border area". Xinhua News Agency. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  7. "Information about Kurdistan". Kurdistan Development Organization. 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  8. van Wilgenburg, Wladimir; Fumerton, Mario (16 December 2015). "Kurdistan's Political Armies: The Challenge of Unifying the Peshmerga Forces" (PDF). Carnegie Middle East Center. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  9. Rai, Manish (6 October 2014). "Kurdish Peshmerga Can Be A Game Changer In Iraq And Syria". Khaama Press. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  10. "Operation Red Dawn's eight-month hunt". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 December 2003. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  11. Ambinder, Marc (29 April 2013). "How the CIA really caught Bin Laden's trail". The Week. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  12. Roston, Arom (9 January 2014). "Cloak and Drone: The Strange Saga of an Al Qaeda Triple Agent". Vocativ. Archived from the original on 25 June 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2015.