“We Need More from U.S. to Fight ISIS.”
In an interview with NBC’s Nightly News, the Head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council Masrour Barzani
Masrour Barzani the Head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council
In an interview with NBC’s Nightly News, the Head of the Kurdistan Region Security Council Masrour Barzani spoke about the need for more weapons to end the war with the Islamic State as quickly as possible.
“Right now it looks as if this is going to be a long war,” he said.
Asked by the interviewer, Richard Engel, if Obama’s praise helped, Barzani replied, “Praising is good, we see ourselves as trusted allies of the United States and the free world, but fighting needs more than just praising, it needs guns, and it needs weapons.”
He went on to explain that Obama’s policy to "degrade and destroy IS" is yet to be put in place, from what can be seen on the ground, “We need that strategy to be translated into action. So far we have not seen any serious action that can quickly defeat the IS.”
Asked by Engel whether it could work over the longer term, Barzani stressed the cost of drawn-out conflict.
“It can, it can. But once again – we are sacrificing more lives and putting many innocent lives at risk by allowing ISIS to survive for a longer period.”
In Washington, US Secretary of State John Kerry responded to the call for a more rapid response.
“The key word there was not 'quickly' but 'over time'. It can work and we have said consistently that this is going to take a certain amount of time. Why? Is it because we want it to take an amount of time? No."
“The fact is that the Iraqi army itself needs to be retrained and stand up on its feet. There have to be ground troops involved in order to win this victory and it’s clear they’re not going to be American, they’re not going to be British, and they’re not going to be French [or] European. They are going to be Iraqi and that’s the way the Iraqis want it.”
“But they’re not ready to move yet and it would be a great mistake for them strategically to move before they are ready. I understand Barzani’s impatience, I fully understand it.”
Kerry explained that the US is providing a wide range of aid to the Kurdistan Region and the Peshmerga. He praised the Kurdish forces, “The Peshmerga have been particularly brave and courageous. We have supplied them with an enormous amount of ammunition, weapons, and other things. As we’ve said from the beginning, people need to be recognizing the importance of putting in place a strategy that can win.”