US Paying Iraqi Kurds to Fight in Mosul

New Plan Includes $415 Million in Cash for Kurdish Peshmerga Units

With the Iraqi military’s own offensive around Mosul almost immediately stalling, US hopes to eventually see the city recovered from ISIS are resting more heavily on the idea that the Kurdish Peshmerga will succeed where Iraq’s military has failed. That’s not coming cheap.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter revealed today that as part of the latest US escalation in Iraq, $415 million in cash has been set aside for certain Kurdish Peshmerga units, to unsure that those groups keep fighting against ISIS.

Though the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) clearly has some interest in seeing ISIS expelled from the area around Mosul, their interests are likely more directly on defending their own territory, including not-insignificant territorial gains they’ve made during the war, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Instead of leaving the Pesshmerga to its own, already subsidized devices, the Pentagon seems to have decided that overt bribery is in order, to make sure the Peshmerga’s involvement in the fight is centered on offensives where the US wants them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of