US-led coalition raises $2.1 billion for Iraq, says any support to Kurds will go through Baghdad

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Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iraqi army troops in a military parade. File photo

ARA News 

ERBIL – The US government says any money that will be used to provide humanitarian support to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will go through Baghdad.

On July 20, the United States co-hosted a pledging conference in Washington and raised over $2.1 billion for humanitarian efforts in Iraq.

The KRG representative Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman was added at the last moment as a part of the Iraqi delegation to the conference.

“Strong Coalition support has been a pillar of the war against ISIL [ISIS]. While Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces on the ground have taken thousands of square miles back from these terrorists, the Coalition provides intelligence, air support, training and equipment for the fight,” she said in a public statement.

The money will be used for humanitarian assistance, stabilization, de-mining in areas that were captured from the Islamic State group (ISIS), and for future help for thousands of Iraqis expected to flee Mosul.

“What we will say, which we have always said, is that funding and the support will go through Baghdad,” Elizabeth Trudeau, a State Department spokesperson, said on Friday. “But we are very aware of the impact that certain areas of the country have experienced at the hands of Daesh [ISIS].”

The Kurdistan Region already hosts thousands of Sunni Arabs that fled ISIS, and would most likely be the only refuge for over 250,000 civilians when the Mosul operations get closer to the city.

“The KRG’s JCC [Joint Crisis Coordination Centre], the Minister of Interior, and the UN already prepared a joint humanitarian contingency plan for this scenario, and to engage,” Falah Mustafa, the KRG’s foreign relations head told ARA News.

Ceng Sagnic, a researcher with the Tel Aviv-based Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, told ARA News that the US needs to uphold its relations with Baghdad.

“However, the proliferation of anti-West Shiite militias and the troubled position of [Iraqi PM] Haider Al-Abadi force the US to place a particular attention on central Iraqi government in order to keep its relations stable with this country,” Sagnic said.

“Relations with Kurds though are not considered under any threat by US policy makers,” he concluded.

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