KRG Prime Minister, Deputy dispute over Peshmerga Minister appointment

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — The ongoing disputes between Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and his Deputy Qubad Talabani regarding the appointment of a Peshmerga Minister have heightened and are now drawing the attention of coalition forces.

Last week, Barzani and Talabani mismatched over the selection of a minister for the Peshmerga Ministry within the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

During a meeting with Major General Joel Vowell, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, and his delegation in Erbil, Prime Minister Barzani discussed the urgent need for reforms within the Peshmerga Ministry, as well as efforts to unify and reorganize the Peshmerga forces.

Barzani emphasized the importance of expediting the unification process of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) forces within the ministry, in line with the Ninth Cabinet’s reform agenda. He expressed concerns about the potential interference of political parties and personal interests within the ministry.

“We also stressed the need to support our efforts to appoint a new minister capable of implementing the government’s rigorous reform agenda,” PM Barzani added.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Talabani, following his meeting with MG Vowell, confirmed their mutual agreement on the appointment of an acting Peshmerga Minister to facilitate progress within the ministry. However, he refrained from disclosing the name of the PUK party’s nominee.

Both Barzani and Talabani have voiced their concerns with the coalition delegation, citing frustration with the slow pace of reforms within the ministry. Talabani attributes the delay in the reform process to the absence of a Peshmerga Minister.

The Peshmerga Ministry was assigned to the PUK party during the formation of the Ninth Cabinet of the KRG. However, at the request of the PUK, Minister Shorsh Ismael has been absent from the ministry for the past ten months.

The Kurdistan Parliament’s inactivity has hindered the PUK’s ability to nominate a new minister. In recent weeks, the PUK has attempted to nominate Dara Rashid for the position. Still, Prime Minister Barzani’s assertion that the selected minister must be “capable of implementing the government’s rigorous reform agenda” suggests his disagreement with the PUK’s choice.

This dispute emerged only four months after the PUK ministerial team ended their seven-month boycott of KRG Council of Ministers meetings. The disagreement over the Peshmerga Minister position appears to reignite tensions among the top government officials.

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