Iraqi Kurdistan’s officials are warning Western countries that they will end up fighting terrorists on their doorstep if they do not intervene against Iraq’s insurgency.
Masrour Barzani, head of Kurdistan’s National Security Council, said he doubted Iraq’s army will be able to recover territory — such as the cities of Mosul and Tikrit, seized by insurgents last month — without assistance.
Barzani said, “(Western countries) have a choice: either they can come and face them here, or they can wait for them to go back to their own countries and face terrorism on their doorsteps.”
Kurdistan now faces insurgents, including the Islamic State, across almost all of its border with the rest of Iraq. Both the insurgency and the Kurds have expanded their control of territory as the Iraqi forces crumbled in the north, and there have been clashes between the Kurdish peshmerga and the jihadists.
“The Islamic State now has a lot of modern military equipment in their possession, and to fight against them I think the peshmerga have to be much better equipped than they are,” Barzani said. “For that, the United States and the international community as a whole should feel responsible”.
He continued, “We have had talks with the United States, with some of the European countries, but no practical steps have been taken to provide assistance to the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government), especially on the military front.”
Barzani said Sunni groups and tribes allied with the Islamic State are “much weaker” than the jihadists. He suggested the Kurds would be prepared to work with “moderate” tribes and forces protecting their areas from the Islamic State.