ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – In an exclusive interview with Kurdistan24, a retired US Army Lieutenant General said the Kurdistan Region’s strong leadership would guide Kurds toward independence.
During the special segment Hevpeyvin (Interview), Kurdistan24’s Umed Ali Jaff spoke with former US Army Lieutenant General Jay Garner about Kurdish independence, the new US administration, and the Islamic State (IS) war.
Regarding Kurdistan’s independence, Garner pointed to the strong leadership that Kurds have always had and said that was a key “element” to achieving sovereignty.
“The one thing about Kurdistan, you have pretty good leadership…you’ve always had a good leader,” Garner stated.
“I feel comfortable the leadership…will eventually work everything out and they’ll bring everything together for the good of the Kurdish people,” he reassured.
The retired Lieutenant General added Kurdistan had come a long way compared to 25 years ago, but the political parties within the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) must “come together” to pave the road toward independence.
Garner also said the old borders of Iraq and Syria were no longer existent and Iraq, aside from Kurdistan in the north, was divided into three parts: Shias under Iran, Shias under Ali al-Sistani, and Sunnis.
Additionally, the former US Army Lieutenant General explained the “best solution” for Iraq was to let Kurds become independent.
Asked about the perspective of President-elect Donald Trump toward Kurds following the recent US election, Garner explained “Trump was more pro-Kurdish” than his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton.
Although Trump has not revealed in detail his policies toward Kurds and Kurdistan, Garner believed the new US President would support Kurds.
The retired Lieutenant General pointed to the impact previous Republican leaders had on the Kurdistan Region, specifically instances in 1991 and 2003 under George Bush Sr. and Jr. respectively.
Regarding the region after IS’ defeat, and specifically Iraq, Garner said there would be some stability although the Shia militias controlled by Iran may cause issues.
“I think there could be a problem with the Shia militants that are controlled by Iran, I think the Shia militants controlled by [Iraq] are more manageable,” he stated.
“There could be a big problem with the Iranian element of the Shia militants,” he added.
Moreover, Garner pointed to the disputed territories now under Peshmerga control and said the areas were part of a new Kurdistan border.
“The Peshmerga went in and took the disputed territories back away from [IS]…and now that’s the new Kurdish border which I think is reasonable,” he concluded.
(Umed Ali Jaff conducted the interview in Erbil)