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Why is Baghdad paying salaries of Kurdistan employees?

Amid ongoing disputes between Kurdistan and the Iraqi federal government, Baghdad announced that it is going to bypass the Kurdistan Regional Government and pay their civil servants directly.

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi intends to have the federal government adopt a policy of paying civil servants’ salaries in Iraqi Kurdistan without mediation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). This is considered a substantial improvement in the relationship between the federal government and Kurdish citizens in Iraqi Kurdistan, and the move is expected to strike at the very heart of Kurdistan’s economy and undermine Erbil’s authority, as it cannot refuse such an offer.

Baghdad and Erbil have a history of dispute on the topic of staff salaries in Kurdistan, as the two sides differ on the amount of salaries owed. While Baghdad says the budget for Kurdistan employees is 460 billion Iraqi dinars ($392 million), the KRG says it pays 650 billion Iraqi dinars ($554 million) monthly to government employees. According to sources in the KRG, salaries of peshmerga forces, the Kurdish security units (Asayish) and the police cost 400 billion Iraqi dinars ($341 million) each month.

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