ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The people of the Kurdistan Region as loyal allies expected more support and involvement from the US in response to the current assaults on the Region, said the Erbil Governor, Nawzad Hadi, on Saturday.
“Erbil is the capital of the Kurdistan Region, but at the same time has been a strong military base for coalition forces and the US since 2003. Their troops were deployed to the Kurdistan Region to topple the dictatorship system in Iraq, hand in hand with the Peshmerga and the people of the Region,” Hadi said during a press conference.
He recalled that the Kurdistan Region remained a staunch ally in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), serving yet again as a reliable base for the Global Coalition and the US to support offensives against the jihadist group.
After the fall of Kirkuk on Oct. 16, the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi, also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and Iraqi Forces set their sights on the town of Pirde and launched an assault on Friday, some 40 kilometers south of Erbil city.
US M1 Abrams Tanks and Humvees, along with other US-provided military equipment given to the Iraqi Forces with the aim to defeat IS, were used by the PMF in the attack against Kurds.
“The people of Kurdistan and the Peshmerga Forces have been very loyal to the US. Not a single bullet has been shot against US troops in the Kurdistan Region since 2003. The Region continues to serve as a base for the coalition and US in its fight against IS as the jihadist group continues to hold territory in Iraq,” the Governor added.
He reasoned that the people of the Kurdistan Region did not expect such advanced US military equipment would be used by the Hashd al-Shaabi to attack the Region.
“It has certainly concerned the people of the Kurdistan Region. We are expecting a stronger response from the US, as an ally, and the coalition,” he said in response to the recent US State Department statement urging Erbil and Baghdad to ease tensions.
Hadi mentioned the Kurdistan Region was expecting more support from their American partners even if there were political disagreements regarding the Sep. 25 referendum on independence, which Washington DC opposed.
“The Kurdistan Region has a message of peace, coexistence, and development,” noting that the US and the coalition has an interest in protecting this model of democracy in the region.
“We expected real support from the US for their loyal ally. Weapons used, with the support of the Peshmerga Forces, to defeat IS should not now be directed toward the people of the Kurdistan Region.”
Recently, US President Donald Trump told reporters, “We don’t like the fact that they’re clashing,” before cautioning that they were “not taking sides.”
The PMF and Iraqi forces' incursions on the disputed territories have led to the displacement of close to 170,000 civilians in the Kurdistan Region.
Relations between Erbil and Baghdad have considerably deteriorated following the vote on independence for the Kurdistan Region.
Editing by G.H. Renaud