Turkey, Iran should not participate in Mosul
Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani. AFP Photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani has called ISIS fighters in Mosul a tangible threat to Kurdistan, but believes Iran and Turkey should not have a role in liberating the extremist-held city.
In an interview with Voice of America’s Persian service on April 20, Barzani discussed political and security issues in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, Baghdad-Erbil relations as well as the issue of Kurdish independence. Most of the interview focused on the so-called Islamic State group, the threats posed to the Kurdistan Region and what needed to be done to eliminate the jihadis.
Speaking on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s recent visit to Erbil, Barzani said the visit had a positive role in improving Baghdad-Erbil relations, but problems between the two sides, which have spanned decades, will not disappear with a single visit.
For the first time since taking office in September, Abadi traveled on April 6 to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, for talks with Barzani and other officials. The Mosul situation and the role of the Peshmerga were also discussed.
Although Barzani said he believes Iranian and Turkish troops should not participate in the impending military operation in Mosul, he added weapons and advisors are welcome to help local forces.
Responding to VOA’s question on Iran’s increasing role in Iraq, Barzani said Iran’s hegemony in Iraq is undeniable, and Baghdad should make a balance between national sovereignty and its relations with the neighboring country. He insisted also that the Kurdistan Region has been trying to keep the balance.
“As long as Daesh is in Mosul, the Kurdistan Region is in danger. So repelling Daesh gunmen in Mosul is part of Kurdistan’s interests,”
President Barzani said using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
Kurdish independence also came up during the interview.
“Kurdish independence is an ongoing process and nothing can ever stop it,”