ISIS would come back ‘stronger’, if coalition withdraws from Iraq, warns KDP’s Barzani
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) President Masoud Barzani has warned that the so-called ISIS could come back “stronger” if the US-led coalition against the terror group withdraws from Iraq.
Barzani’s remarks came during an interview, which aired on Monday, with BBC Arabic’s Special Correspondent Feras Kilani in Erbil.
“If coalition forces withdraw completely, I am certain that Daesh – Arabic acronym for ISIS – will come back stronger,” Barzani told the British-Palestinian journalist, adding the group still poses a “serious threat.”
ISIS was territorially defeated in 2017 by the Iraqi and Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces, with air support from the international coalition. Despite their defeat, remnants of the group still launch sporadic attacks on both civilian and security actors.
“Even those who call for the withdrawal of Coalition forces know this is a fact,” Barzani said.
The security consortium changed its mandate to training, advising and assisting Iraqi and Kurdish forces, and providing air support during the three-year long fight against the group.
In response to repeated calls by the Iranian-affiliated militia forces and politicians for ending the coalition forces mission in Iraq, members of the consortium continue to insist they are in the country at the invitation of the Iraqi government.
Prime Minister Mohammad Shia’ Al-Sudani in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in mid-January said the presence of the coalition forces in the country is “needed.”
“We believe that foreign forces are still necessary,” the premier said.
Following the January 2020 US strike that killed the Iranian top commander Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi comrade near the Baghdad International Airport, the Iranian-backed blocs inside the Iraqi parliament voted to oust the US forces in Iraq.