President Barzani: Kurdish independence still valid
The American PBS television interviewed President of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, about fighting the Islamic State in Iraq, assistance from the U.S. and ongoing efforts to establish an independent Kurdistan.
Asked about Kurdish aspirations of independence, he said there would be no “retreat from it,” but that the process would be peaceful.
“The conflict delayed this process but the process is still valid,” he told PBS. “We are not going to abandon it. We are going to do it through dialogue. We are going to talk to Baghdad about it,” the president added.
He stressed that the process would be measured: “We need to study, we need to use wisdom, we need to be united; we can’t use force, we cannot shed any blood.”
“We are satisfied with the air support,” said Barzani, referring to air strikes by US-led coalition forces in support of Peshmerga forces on the ground.
“We are getting good support, but in reality and to this present moment we have the same view as in the past on arming and equipping the Peshmerga forces with the right weapons: it is not to the standard that we want,” he said.
Asked whether the Kurds were worried about Iranian involvement in the fight against ISIS alongside the Baghdad-backed Shiite militia, Barzani said that anyone fighting the radical group is consid- ered an ally.
“We have a principle: wherever we can strike ISIS we are not going to hold back,” he said. “Whoever will take part and help us attack ISIS we will thank them. Right now I do not share that concern -- if you are asking me about helping to fight and defeat ISIS. What happens after that we can’t predict.”
The Kurdish president told PBS special correspondent Jane Arraf that the Peshmerga forces are willing to assist any Iraqi force in the fight for Mosul, but that the Kurds would not go at it alone.