Peshmerga Reform

11/03/2019 @ 21:02
by William Davies

I attach some thoughts on the Peshmerga reform programme in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.  I am six months into a 12 month posting as a defence adviser to the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs.  I value ISSAT's material and I draw on it regularly, and this post aims to contribute to ISSAT's bank of material.  Any views or questions will be gratefully received.

Peshmerga Reform Overview (ISSAT).pdf (1 MB)
14/03/2019 @ 09:43
by Eren Özalay-Sanli

Dear William, 

Thank you for your post and we are happy to hear that you benefit from ISSAT material in your advisory capacity. We will get back to you in the next days if there are comments and views from the community on the topic. 



10/10/2019 @ 15:29
by Thammy Evans

This is a really useful overview and summary of the military capacity and defence institution building that has been going on with the Peshmerga. It is particularly useful to see the overlap between the two areas and the envisage enabling projects to gear the two areas. My question of course now is how far has the programme got with gearing into broader SSR efforts and requirements, and if that has still not got very far, then what consideration has been given for potential risks as a result of not doing so? E.g.

  • poor brother phenomena - is there disproportionate focus on the military at the expense of the police, thus undermining effort to move internal security over to the police?
  • inadvertent recruiting sergeant - is the increasing 'efficiency' of the military in fact driving the local population towards extremism (because of continued lack of trust in local forces)
  • misplaced conflict - is improving the military in fact serving as a band-aid which is masking deeper root causes of untreated grievances that are not being dealt with
  • taking a stand not a side - are reforms impartial, are all parties being held to account, or do reforms seem to be favouring one side more than another (contributing to lack of ownership, legitimacy, sustainability)
  • conversion of spoilers - how are potential spoilers being accommodated so that they become invested in solutions rather than disenfranchised? name a few.

It is difficult in these type of infographics to cover everything. The challenges section covers the largely holistic and political impediments that are probably manifesting themselves openly. A deeper look at some of the risks (above being just a few without deeper understanding of the specifics) might help anticipate underlying causes and potential spoilers further down the line.