HEADLINES:

US Defense Department to allocate $260 million for Peshmerga forces

PM:11:54:28/12/2021

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SULAIMANI — US President Joe Biden on Monday (December 28) signed his country's defense budget bill for 2022, which would allocate $260 million for Peshmerga forces in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and $177 million for Syrian Kurds and another force called al-Thawra.

The Voice of America published a report and said Biden's signature directly makes the project lawful. In other words, the Department of Defense (DOD) can start spending the $771 billion allocated to it next year.

This time, the Pentagon’s budget will increase by five percent due to inflation. The budget of defense department employees will increase by 2.7 percent next year.

Details of how the budget will be spent in the Middle East have been published in a DOD appendix. and it is written $5 million will be allocated to the Peshmerga to buy Puma drones.

AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma is an American company in California that builds drones for spying or data collection, not attacking.

More money for Peshmerga, less for Baghdad

The US aid for the Kurdistan Region is three times the amount the US has provided for the other part of Iraq. The entire Iraqi and the Kurdistan Region portion put together is $345 million, but if $260 million is subtracted from the total, only $85 million remains for Iraq.

This could be due to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) dissatisfaction with Baghdad’s refusal to send the entire Region's share of the budget, and perhaps why the US has reduced Iraq's share in return.

"The Ministry of Peshmerga in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq continues to play a fundamental role as part of Iraqi security forces in the operations against ISIS forces,” the defense department stated. "Peshmerga is a strong northern front that prevents ISIS from entering the Kurdistan Region,"

At least 1,700 Peshmerga have died and more than 10,000 have been wounded in the fight against ISIS.

Funds provided for Syrian Kurds

The money provided to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and for Syria in general is $23 million less than last year's $200 million.

Most of the US funds [$78 million] will be distributed as monthly salaries to Kurdish-led SDF fighters.

Sinam Mohammed, a representative of the Syrian Democratic Council in Washington, told the VOA, "The Syrian Democratic Council thanks President Biden for leading and signing the defense ministry's budget law. The Biden administration and the US Congress clearly acknowledge the important role the SDF has with the US against ISIS."

What remains is $177 million, which is for logistical support, training and military equipment. Only $2 million has been allocated for infrastructure repair and renovations.

The duty of the US Department of Defense in Syria remains the permanent destruction of ISIS, as written in the DOD's appendix.

The budget law specifically noted that the US should have a "diplomatic strategy" to repatriate the families of foreign ISIS militants, most of whom are in the al-Hol camp in Syria.

(NRT Digital Media)