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Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Vol. 41, No. 2, Winter 2018 Partisan Armed Forces of Kurdistan Regional Government Hawre Hasan Hama* Introduction The Kurdistan Region of Iraq emerged as a quasi-state thanks to the establishment of the no-fly zone in northern Iraq by the United States— along with the United Kingdom and France—which put an end to Saddam Hussein’s attacks on the Kurds. Once the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) appeared as a quasi-state in 1992, the Kurdish guerrilla forces remain divided between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Mustafa Barzani, established the former in 1946 while Jalal Talabani had founded PUK in 1975 when he split from Barzani’s KDP. The Kurdish armed forces known as the Peshmerga and the security forces known as Asayish1 have been politicized by both the KDP and the PUK. This is not new. Since the rise of the KRG, the Kurdish military and security forces have been divided between the two ruling parties, and the elites within the two sides also have their private forces. For example, Kosrat Rasul, PUK’s deputy secretary general, has his protection unit called Hezekani Kosrat Rasul, while Talabani’s son, Bafel Talabani, commands the counter-terrorism unit, which is not controlled by any 38 *Hawre Hasan Hama obtained his MA in International Studies at Sheffield University in the UK. Hawre is currently a lecturer at University of Sulaimani, faculty of law, politics, and department of politics. He is the author of “Politicization of Kurdish Security in Iraq since 2003.” He has published policy papers in the Washington Institute’s Fikra Forum, Open Democracy, Center for Security Studies, Modern Diplomacy, The Kurdish Policy Foundation and Masher Politics & Culture Journal. He is a security expert on Kurdistan security affairs at Kurdish Policy Foundation. 1 The Asayish forces were formally set up in October 1992, five months before they were legally established under the Law of the Ministry of Interior. They were said to have started functioning effectively in January 1993 following the appointment of Karim Sinjari, a civilian, as head of the General Security Directorate. (see Refworld, “Human Rights Abuses in Iraqi Kurdistan Since 1991,” Amnesty International, Feb 28, 1995, available at: 39 ministry. The same applies to the KDP; Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the KRG, has his own battalion. Although all the Kurdish forces are officially subordinated to the KRG Presidency Council and its Peshmerga Ministry, (and the Iraqi Constitution2 and Kurdistan Region’s laws allow only one single and unified armed force as the regional guard force3 ) the armed forces remain subordinate to separate PUK and KDP commands.4 Despite many efforts for the unification of the Kurdish forces, these forces are still divided along partisan lines. This article explores the problems facing the Kurdistan Region of Iraq because of the lack of unification or coordination between the divided forces, including intelligence sharing, equipment sharingarming , political-personal loyalties are more important than the democratic procedures, the lack of judiciary system, and revenue appropriationcorruption . The article finally discusses the impact of the partisan forces on human security inside Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The rise of KRG and the formation of military and security forces The Iraqi state, since its inception and until the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime, was ruled by a Sunni-Arab minority that systematically oppressed the Kurdish minority in the north.5 Gunter and Yavuz argue that between 1991 and 2003 the Kurds were actively engaged in a de facto statebuilding process with the assistance of a US-led alliance in northern Iraq.6 This resulted in the establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government in 1992 following the withdrawal of Iraqi government forces and adminis2 The fifth section of the article 121 states that: “The regional government shall be responsible for all the administrative requirements of the region, particularly the establishment and organization of the internal security forces for the region such as police, security forces, and guards of the region.” Iraq’s constitution 2005, available at: https://www.constituteproject .org/constitution/Iraq_2005.pdf?lang=en 3 The Kurdistan National Assembly (now the...


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