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Congress threatens to cut payments to Iraqi Kurds if they break with Baghdad

The House defense bill makes continued peshmerga funding contingent on participation in a “unified Iraq.”
Kurdish Peshmerga forces celebrate Newroz Day, a festival marking spring and the new year, in Kirkuk March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed - RTX31W8R

Congress is threatening to cut funding for Iraq’s vaunted Kurdish peshmerga fighters if the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) ends up splitting with Baghdad.

The House Armed Services Committee released a draft annual defense bill this week that makes continued funding for the KRG “contingent” upon Erbil’s “participation in the government of a unified Iraq.” This summary language is not legally binding but signals congressional intent to the Donald Trump administration.

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