Barzani says he refused request by Bremer to disband Peshmerga militias in 2003

3 Sept 2017 – HEWLÊR-Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Massoud Barzani said he has strongly expressed his opposition to a request by the former U.S. administrator to Iraq Paul Bremer to disband the Kurdish Peshmerga forces after U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

During a seminar attended by intellectuals and academics in Erbil on Wednesday (August 30), Barzani said he had an intense argument with Bremer which led to canceling a meeting between them over the formation of new Iraq about 14 years ago.

Barzani said he reacted with surprise in the wake of Bremer’s insistence on whether to disband Peshmerga that ended with Barzani leaving the meeting room.Barzani said, in his last word to Bremer he strongly opposed U.S.’s stance for being against Kurdish federalism and its persistence to disband Peshmerga.Bremer had referred to Peshmerga as militia whose disband related to dissolving of two other Shia militia groups like Jaish al-Mahdi and Badr Organization, telling Barzani that “it is a red line” for the U.S.

“If it is a red line for you once, it is a red line for me ten times,” Barzani recounted the heated argument with Bremer, saying “I stood up and told Bremer be a man and come to Kurdistan to disband Peshmerga.”

In a separate meeting the day after, Barzani said that Bremer expressed his country’s stance giving in his persistence to disband Peshmerga. Barzani said that he recounts the then U.S.’s opposition to his demand to know it is unbearable “to fulfill whatever the U.S., Europe or the world ordered us to do, we have our own opinion as a nation that has suffered thousands of martyrs. We never give up our will to even the U.S.”