U.S.-Iraqi Kurdistan MOU signed with Baghdad’s support and approval

Iraq, July 24, 2016

Iraq’s Ministry of Defense on Friday said the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that includes provisions of military support to the Peshmerga forces signed between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the United States was carried out with and after the approval of the Iraqi central government.

The defense ministry released a statement refuting claims the agreement was signed without Baghdad’s approval and stressing the MOU was meant to support Peshmerga forces with financial and military aid.

The MOU has no points that layout the building of U.S. or Coalition military bases inside the Kurdistan Region, the ministry stated, adding the agreement will not violate Iraq’s sovereignty.

“Approval has been obtained from the Iraqi government for the aid for the Peshmerga Forces but the preconditions were indicated by the U.S.,” the statement read.

Those preconditions include increasing the number of Peshmerga on the battlefield to bolster frontlines as various armed groups push closer towards Mosul.

“Iraqi army and Peshmerga forces should have full cooperation during the operations to liberate Mosul,” the statement continued.

Another precondition in the MOU states the KRG should not hinder Iraqi security forces’ movements through the region as part of operations to regain control of Mosul – Iraq’s second-largest city and IS’ last bastion in the country.

While Peshmerga are expected to participate in the overall effort to rid northern Iraq of IS, the MOU also stated that Kurdish forces would withdraw from any areas currently under IS control after the successful defeat of the militants.

The MOU was signed by Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Elissa Slotkin and interim Peshmerga Minister Karim Sinjari on July 12.

The United States plans to provide a stipend and equipment for Peshmerga forces fighting against militants under the agreement.