[QODLink]
Inside Iraq
The Peshmerga of Iraq
Inside Iraq looks at the role of the Peshmerga and charges of corruption and torture.
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2008 10:52 GMT

Certain Peshmerga commanders have been accused
of abusing their military powers
The Peshmerga are hailed by most Kurds in Iraq as the military force protecting the Kurdish people.

The word Peshmerga literally means "ready to die". It alludes to the famed warrior spirit of the Kurdish fighters.

Most Peshmerga are loyal to either one of Iraq’s two main Kurdish political parties - the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) or the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

The KDP, led by Massoud Barzani, and the PUK, led by Jalal Talabani, each have about 25,000 to 30,000 fighters.

These fighters have become the unofficial standing army of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

But critics - some within the Kurdish community itself - have accused certain Peshmerga commanders of abusing their military power, exploiting political contacts and amassing enormous personal wealth.

Host Jasim Azawi interviews Falah Mustafa
Bakir (L) and Freshta Raper (R) on Inside Iraq
  
Human rights organisations, as well as independent Kurdish figures, have made allegations that the Peshmerga run prisons in which fellow Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen are routinely tortured.

Even Barham Saleh, deputy prime minister of Iraq and a Kurd himself, admitted torture was used in Kurdish prisons - an acknowledgement that was not welcomed by his boss, Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president.

The military force, represented by the Peshmerga, has taken on additional significance in the light of the ongoing conflict in the region between Turkey and the fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The Peshmerga are staying out of the conflict, avoiding any confrontation with Turkish troops and not coming to the support of the PKK.

This week, Inside Iraq will examine the role played by the Peshmerga and will investigate the charges of corruption and torture.
 
Our guests this week are:
 
Falah Mustafa Bakir, minister and head of the Department of Foreign Relations and Freshta Raper, spokesperson for the Kurdistan National Congress.

Watch part one of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube
Watch part two of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube

This episode of Inside Iraq aired on Friday, February 29, 2008


To contact us click on 'Send your feedback' at the top of the page

Watch Al Jazeera English programmes on YouTube

Join our debates on the Your Views page

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
Great white activity off famous Bondi Beach had beach-goers scrambling out of the water, but experts say don't panic.
At least 25,000 displaced people have gathered on the northern border, with more on the way trying to escape attacks.
Remnants of deadly demonstrations to be displayed in a new museum, a year after protests pushed president out of power.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.