US to Stop Paying Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga Fighters’ Salaries

Peshmerga Accuses US of Making Move in Retaliation for Referendum

Faced with the possibility of a joint Iraq, Iran, Turkey war against them, Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga has lost its foreign funding, with the Pentagon confirming the US has stopped providing such payments and has no intention of resuming them.

The Obama Administration made a deal to fund the Peshmerga for the sake of the ISIS War, and US officials are presenting that deal as simply having been expired and not renewed, though technically it was a 12-month deal that lasted from July of 2016 until September.

Kurdish officials say they believe the cutoff is specifically related to last month’s Kurdish referendum on independence, which overwhelmingly passed. The US has expressed opposition to Kurdish independence, saying they favor a united Iraq.

Peshmerga officials say they even had a deal all but finalized with the Trump Administration on renewing the funding before the referendum took place, but that in the lead-up to the referendum, all talks were broken off and money and weaponry dried up.

The US may be gambling on the possibility of a regional war breaking out over Kurdistan, and having come out against their independence, they’re decided they don’t want to be still subsidizing Kurdish forces.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.