In a move that potentially could have significant repercussions on America’s long cozy relationship with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, the House Armed Services Committee’s version of the military spending bill has declared military aid to the Kurdish Peshmerga to be contingent on the KRG remaining part of Iraq.
The language is non-binding, rather stating Congressional intent than official policy, but will doubtless loom large over the upcoming referendum in KRG territory about the possibility of seceding from Iraq, a referendum expected to pass by a large margin.
Congress provides hundreds of millions of dollars annually to support the Peshmega, which is mostly done with an eye toward using them to fight against ISIS. With the ISIS fight in Iraq winding down at any rate, the Peshmerga’s funding wasn’t necessarily going to continue anyhow.
It also probably isn’t going to do serious harm to secessionist ambitions in Kurdistan, which long precede the US alliance. It may, however, impact the US-Kurdish relationship going forward, which could be particularly important if the region becomes formally independent against US wishes.