ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region may have to reconsider its close relationship with the US in the aftermath of the Sep. 25 referendum on independence, according to a Kurdish leader.
Masoud Barzani, who presided over the most stable and prosperous part of Iraq – the Kurdistan Region - for 12 years, told NPR they were shocked their Americans allies did “nothing” to stop attacks launched by the Iraqi Forces and Iranian-backed Shia militias.
“They were using the American weapons, Abrams tanks, and the others that the American government gave to the Iraqi army to use them in the fight against [the Islamic State (IS)]. But they used it against the people of Kurdistan, and the Americans stayed silent.” Barzani told NPR. “That was not expected.”
The Kurdish leader noted that since 2003, the Kurds were one of the US government’s closest allies but that that position might have to change.
“I can say we are going to have a serious revising of [our] relationship [with the US],” he stated. Barzani went on to suggest the Russians could become better friends to the people of Kurdistan than the US
The former President and currently active Peshmerga stressed that Kurdish fighters, often unpaid and under-equipped, fought and died battling al-Qaeda and IS on behalf of the international community.
In a press conference on Sunday, Jabar Yawar, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Peshmerga stated that the use of a military option by Baghdad to resolve differences between the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) resulted in unnecessary deaths.
“Unfortunately, since then [October 16], 60 Peshmerga have been martyred and over 150 wounded,” he revealed.
The Kurdish leadership has been extremely critical of Washington’s silence over the attacks and the use of US-supplied military weaponry and equipment against the people of Kurdistan.
“Absolutely, this is not going to leave a positive impact on the public opinion in Kurdistan because the love, the hope and the trust that the people have in the US has declined and is decreasing day after day,” Barzani affirmed.
Despite this, Barzani said he remains hopeful for the future and does not regret holding the referendum.
“I am very proud of the result. I am very proud that we have given that opportunity to the Kurdistani people to express their vote, and I am not regretting it,” he emphasized.
Over 3 million people participated in the independence vote, which saw 93 percent in favor of secession from Iraq.
“A Kurdish state is inevitable,” said Barzani as he expressed his belief that the younger generation will continue to fight for independence. “They are warriors.”