Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Report: 6,000 Kurdish fighters to guard Iraq oil, electrical installations

Above: Kurdish Peshmerga forces. Peshmerga is the term used by Kurds to refer to armed Kurdish fighters, and literally translates as "those who face death". Originally a resistance militia formed in the 1920s, the Peshmerga are now Iraqi Kurds 'internal' security forces. There are Kurdish brigades in the Iraqi Army as well, and National Police forces in the area are also largely Kurdish.

The Iraqi government will soon dispatch about 6,000 former Kurdish guerrillas to protect electric and oil infrastructure from insurgents attacks, a security official said yesterday.

"A brigade of 6,000 peshmerga will be sent to an area southwest of Kirkuk to protect electric generators between Kirkuk and Baiji," Brigadier General Jabbar Yawar, a spokesman for the Kurdish Regional Government security force said.

At least 55 of the 179 massive transmission towers running between the oil hub of Kirkuk and the central Iraqi refinery city of Baiji have been torn down in recent years, contributing to Iraq's frequent power outages.

Yawar said a delegation from the Kurdish government agreed to dispatch the force after talks with Iraq's defence minister earlier this month and are only awaiting the final approval of Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki.

Read the rest at the Peninsula