Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Social media influencing' under the spotlight

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

WEF 2018 kicks off in Davos

Read more

THE DEBATE

The rift over Jerusalem

Read more

ACCESS ASIA

Why Hong Kong produces 200,000 tons of electronic waste per year

Read more

FOCUS

Syrian refugees still reluctant to return home from Lebanon

Read more

ENCORE!

Gregory Privat: All that jazz

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

HRW chief: 'Trump has been a disaster for human rights'

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Making music with rubbish, and dangerous roads in Guinea

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Fears rise over economic impact of US government shutdown

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

An interview with a French or international personality from the world of economics, politics, culture or diplomacy. Every Wednesday at 4.45 pm Paris time and Saturday at 7.45 am.

Latest update : 2014-11-19

Kurds need more heavy weapons to face 'brutal' IS group

© FRANCE 24 screen grab

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Masoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, said Kurdish requests from the international coalition for heavy weapons in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group have not been fully met.

Speaking to FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman in the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, Barzani thanked France and members of the international coalition for its help in the fight against the IS group. But, he noted, the coalition has failed to deliver on the quantity and quality of heavy weapons needed to stop the IS assault in Iraq.

“All the support that we have received so far is not up to the level that is needed,” said Barzani. “The heavy weapons systems that we need, especially in terms of the quality and quantity, for example the APCs (armoured personnel carriers), the helicopters, the artillery we need for a decisive war against them – we have not received these types of weapons.”

When asked why Kurdish fighters, who are on the vanguard of the fight against IS, have not received critical heavy weapons systems, Barzani said he had no answers, only questions. “Is there a ceiling on the heavy weapons systems that we should receive in terms of the quantity and quality? The answer is not very clear to us.”

Barzani’s comments came as Kurdish peshmerga fighters in Syria have been waging a pitched battle against IS for control of the Syrian border town of Kobane. Kurdish fighters, aided by coalition airstrikes, have made progress in recent days, but there have not been significant gains or losses on either side.

“The war is not finished,” explained Barzani. “It’s true that the Islamic State has been weakened, but they have not lost complete capability of attack.”

‘The Kurdish people will decide on their future’

A seasoned Kurdish nationalist commander who has led a long, difficult fight for Kurdish rights in Iraq, Barzani noted that the IS group is the most brutal adversary his people have faced, worse even than former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.

“It’s a new war, it’s a new tactic and also it’s an ideological war. These barbaric, horrific terrorists, they don’t spare anything. So this terrorist organisation, yes, it’s the most brutal and barbaric organisation – even if you compare it with the Iraqi regimes that we fought,” he said.

But even as his peshmerga fighters have been battling IS militants in Iraq and Syria, Barzani has made territorial gains in Iraq following the collapse of the Iraqi army against the jihadist onslaught. Kurdish forces captured the oil-rich city of Kirkuk this summer as the Iraqi army fled the area, bolstering the Kurdish administration’s chances for independence.

Speaking to FRANCE 24 months after the fall of Kirkuk though, Barzani refused to be drawn into a discussion on his administration’s next political move. “The Kurdish people will decide on their future,” he maintained. “Nobody will decide on the future of the Kurdish people.”

By Marc PERELMAN

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2018-01-20 human rights

HRW chief: 'Trump has been a disaster for human rights'

Human Rights Watch, one of the world's most prominent human rights organisations, has just published its annual report. One of its conclusions is that human rights can - under...

Read more

2018-01-19 Middle East

Chief Palestinian negotiator: 'Trump is burying two-state solution'

In an interview with FRANCE 24, the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed US President Donald Trump's recent decisions on Middle East policy, saying they "bury" the...

Read more

2018-01-17 Africa

'Equatorial Guinea's attempted coup began in France,' says President Obiang

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24 and RFI, Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema spoke out for the first time about the recent alleged attempt to overthrow...

Read more

2018-01-17 migrants

IOM chief: 'Migrants are the quintessential agents of development'

Millions of migrants risk their lives every year making treacherous journeys because policymakers in the countries they seek to reach offer them little alternative. William Lacy...

Read more

2018-01-13 United Nations

Louise Arbour: Negative attitude towards migration 'completely self-defeating'

Louise Arbour, the UN Special Representative for International Migration, sits down with FRANCE 24 to discuss the Global Compact on Migration, a non-binding deal she hopes to...

Read more