Peshmerga Kurdish Militia (Iraq)

Country: Iraq
Details of Formation: The Peshmerga exists since the late 1800s, and was first formally organized as the security force of the Kurdish people after the end of the Ottoman Empire and World War One. Later, the Peshmerga had an ambiguous relationship with Saddam Hussein, fighting with and against him. In 2003, they allied with the United States and subsequently functioned as PGM for Iraqi governments.
Details of Termination: --
Purpose: The main purpose of the Peshmerga is to provide security in the Kurdish region of Iraq and support the central government in their fight against insurgents, which recently was mainly the Islamic State. When the Iraqi army withdrew, the Peshmerga took over the roll to fill the security vacuum in order to prevent the Islamic State to move in (Paasche/Sidaway 2015). The Peshmerga are considered the reason why their region has been relatively peaceful.
Organisation: Legally, the Peshmerga are an agency of the Kurdish regional government. Though the Peshmerga and the Interior Ministries nominally unified in April 2009, the Peshmerga remains divided on a party basis, with distinct KDP and PUK commands. The Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army secure different areas (Paasche/Sidaway 2015). The Peshmerga is the de-facto army of the Kurdistan Regional Government and maintains autonomy from the federal government. The PGM might have become a semi-official militia based on BBC source from 1 May 2012. The Peshmerga obey their political leader, the Kurdish Jalal Talaban, who was also the President of Iraq from 2005 to 2014. They also had connections to the Iraqi Defence Ministry. Regularly plans emerged to unify the Peshmerga, but there is no evidence of serious implementation of the plans.
Weapons and Training: In 2003, the Peshmerga were armed with tanks, artillery and heavy machine guns. As of 2014, they are increasingly well equipped, including 2,000 armoured vehicles and rocket artillery system, and are considered well trained (The Guardian 2014). In 2004, there are allegations that the Peshmerga received training by agents of Mossad. The Peshmerga also received training and weapons from the United States. They receive the training alongside regular Iraqi army personnel. In 2014, faced with an urgent militant threat, the Iraqi government for the first time ever provided the Peshmerga with a planeload of ammunition.
Size: In 2006 news sources estimated a group size between 70,000 and 160,000 members. In 2008, a news source says that Kurdish political parties have 300,000 armed men. It is unclear, if this refers only to the Peshmerga or also includes other groups. In 2014, a news source estimates the number being 190,000. Other estimations suggest that the PGM size varied between 80,000 and 240,000 members, with 190,000 being the estimate of 2012 (The Guardian 2014).
Reason for Membership: --
Treatment of Civilians: --
Other Information: Peshmerga means “those who face death”. The Turkish government allowed the Peshmerga to cross its territory in order to fight the IS in Syrian Kobane (Paasche/Sidaway 2015)
References: The Guardian. 2014. “How effective is Isis compared with the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga?“ June 12.

Paasche, Till F./James D. Sidaway. 2015. “Transecting security and space in Kurdistan, Iraq.“ Environment and Planning A (47): 2113-2133.

Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD