Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Security in Kurdistan handed over from MNFI to Peshmerga

Security, Kurdistan
(AFP) -- Iraqi Kurdistan's autonomous government will take charge of security in its mountainous northern region this week in a transfer of command from the US-led coalition, officials said. At a ceremony Wednesday in the regional capital Arbil the commanders of the peshmerga - former anti-Baghdad guerrillas and now staunch US allies - will be handed responsibility for three northern provinces.
"This week, the responsibility for security in the Kurdistan region will be officially transferred from multinational forces to the peshmerga affiliated with the regional government," said Jabar Yawar, a Kurdish military spokesman.
The peshmerga are former Kurdish rebels who have been incorporated into the Iraqi and Kurdish armed forces in the four years since a US-led invasion toppled Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein. Yawar said the decision was made during a meeting held in Baghdad between Kurdish regional president Massud Barzani, Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki, and senior US military leaders.
The US military confirmed the handover in an invitation to the event sent out to local media. "The Kurdish Regional Government will hold a transfer of security ceremony, to highlight the return of the entire region from the coalition force to the government of Iraq," the invitation says.
While turning regional security responsibility over to mainly Kurdish forces, the agreement requires them to coordinate with Iraqi state and US-led forces, according to Kurdish officials. The US statement said "the Kurdistan Regional Government was deemed ready to assume security responsibility in the region."

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