U. S. Consul General: Peshmarga is our strategic ally in ISIS war
In an interview with the local Kurdish Rudaw TV channel, the United States Consul General in Erbil Matthias Mitman talks about current security, political and economic issues.
Talking about the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, Mitman said this is the most important topic and that his government and consulate are busy with in Iraq and Kurdistan.
Mitman said this is a top priority for the U.S. government and they are currently working with the Kurdish and Iraqi forces on the ground on the Mosul liberation operation.
“We are confident that we will success in this operation and defeat ISIS,” said Mitman. “We will push them out of this region.”
Refusing to talk about the details of the operation and the timeline, Mitman said the operation shall be managed by the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Peshmarga, who have proved their capability in liberating Sinjar and other areas, will be a significant part of the operation.
“Our support will be in terms of airstrikes, military training and assistance. Our redline is all Iraq and Kurdistan Region; we don’t want ISIS to stay anywhere else in this country.”
Mitman also added that the role of the Peshmarga forces in the campaign is a significant one and that the U.S. government considers Peshmarga forces as their strategic allies in the was against ISIS.
U.S. Consul in Erbil talked about the financial crisis in Kurdistan Region and how his country is trying to help Peshmarga forces and the refugees in the Region.
Commenting on the political crisis in Kurdistan Region and its Parliament, Mitman said the most important thing is that there is a political solution to the problem and that they have always pushed for such a solution. He added “we have one message for all parties including KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party], PUK [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan], Gorran Movement or Islamic parties. They need to meet and talk. I appreciate the role of President Massoud Barzani in meeting the political leaders.”
Mitman also talked about the economic situation in Kurdistan and the government’s reform policy. He said for his part, he is trying to bring American businesses to do business in Kurdistan as an effort to strengthen the region’s economy. Moreover, he suggested that Kurdistan’s economy has to be diversified and less oil-dependent.
Talking about ErbilBaghdad relations and Kurdish independence, the U.S. official said their focus now is on ending the war, returning the millions of IDPs to their homes and having a peaceful and united Iraq.
Addressing the Syrian issue, Mitman said they believe that the current regime in the country has lost its legitimacy and that they hope to see a political process.
“Many conferences are organized with the participation of the democratic groups of Syria,” explained Mitman. “In Syria we support the role that some Kurdish forces are playing in the war against ISIS. When I talked about Mosul and Neinava Plains liberation, we are trying to liberate Raqqa as well, which is a Syrian city under the control of ISIS. We believe the role of the Kurds and Sunni Arabs in Syria will be very helpful in liberating Raqqa.”