WASHINGTON, DC, USA (us.gov.krd) – President Donald Trump has signed the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 which recognizes the contributions of the Peshmerga Forces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in the ongoing fight to dismantle and defeat ISIS in Iraq.
The legislation contains specific language expressing the Sense of Congress that the Peshmerga forces have made “significant contributions” in this important and essential fight, and calls for the US to continue to provide operational sustainment to the Peshmerga.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman welcomed this and thanked the Congress and Administration for recognizing the sacrifices and role of the Peshmerga forces.
She said, “The KRG is proud to work alongside US and Coalition forces in the the fight against ISIS in Iraq. This fight is ongoing and evolving – we must continue in our efforts and adapt to emerging threats. The Peshmerga forces remain ready to assist the Coalition where and when needed to defeat the scourge of ISIS in Iraq and the entire Middle East.”
She added, “On behalf of the KRG, I would like to thank members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who appreciate the role of the Peshmerga and who have been steadfast in their recognition of that.’
Kurdistan and the Peshmerga and security forces have resolutely responded to ongoing ISIS attacks and proudly sheltered refugees and the displaced, including the majority of Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities. The US has been a key partner in these efforts and we are grateful for the US’s commitment to Iraq and Kurdistan.
Since 2014, Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces have fought against ISIS with support from US and Coalition forces. This support has been critical in liberating territory from the terrorists and protecting the 1.8 million people who fled to the Kurdistan Region.
The NDAA authorizes $850 million in total for Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund for Iraq. The Sense of Congress says, ‘The United States should continue to provide operational sustainment, as appropriate, to the Ministry of Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq so that the Peshmerga forces can more effectively partner with the Iraqi Security Forces, the United States, and other international Coalition members to consolidate gains, hold territory, and protect infrastructure from ISIS and its affiliates in an effort to deal a lasting defeat to ISIS and prevent its reemergence in Iraq.’
Section 1233 of the NDAA includes subsection d, which reads:
Sense Of Congress.—It is the sense of the Congress that—
(1) the Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to the United States-led campaign to degrade, dismantle, and ultimately defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq;
(2) a lasting defeat of ISIS is critical to maintaining a stable and tolerant Iraq in which all faiths, sects, and ethnicities are afforded equal protection and full integration into the Government and society of Iraq; and
(3) in support of counter-ISIS operations and in conjunction with the Central Government of Iraq, the United States should continue to provide operational sustainment, as appropriate, to the Ministry of Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq so that the Peshmerga forces can more effectively partner with the Iraqi Security Forces, the United States, and other international Coalition members to consolidate gains, hold territory, and protect infrastructure from ISIS and its affiliates in an effort to deal a lasting defeat to ISIS and prevent its reemergence in Iraq.