Syrian Opposition Forces are Terrorists, Barzani Says
According to a new report on Alsumaria TV, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki and Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s president Massoud Barzani both confirmed that the weapons given to Syrian opposition groups end up in Al Qaida’s hands and are being used in Al Qaeda’s activities inside Iraq.
Speaking at a press conference held on July 7, together with Iraq’s Kurdistan Region’s president Massoud Barzani, Al Maliki added, “We looked into the Syrian crisis which is the cause of the Syrian people and not that of other countries. The weapons certain countries are providing to the radical Syrian opposition; especially that these weapon are being infiltrated into Iraq.”
Al Maliki emphasized, “Radical organizations are attacking us every day and killing Iraqi soldiers. We have asked the countries not to arm these groups and instead find a pacific solution through dialog.”
Head of Kurdistan Region, Massoud Al Barzani, also stressed that there is no conflict between the Region’s stance and that of the center when it comes to the Syrian situation.
Barzani reiterated, “The Syrian people has the right of self-determination and we refuse the tyranny practiced by terrorist groups on the Iraqi-Syrian borders.”
It is interesting to note that Barzani became the leader of the Kurdistan with the help of the USA, after the invasion of Iraq. In return, Kurdistan has signed over 50 oil agreements with major USA and British oil companies. This has caused a severe dispute over the oil rights in the region between the central Iraqi government and Kurdistan’s semi- autonomous government.
Denise Natali, an Iraq expert at the National Defense University in Washington, is a vocal critic of what she calls the “love affair” between the Kurdish Regional Government and the United States. Our special treatment of Iraqi Kurdistan (because of the major oil reserves of Musul and Kerkuk, up to 80% of Iraq’s total oil) only further fractures Iraq, and a unified country is still the U.S. policy.
After the invasion, the U.S. turned a blind eye to the peshmerga (Kurdish regional military force) as they took over disputed territories, picking up the pieces of a shattered Iraq. Natali considers this “one of the most serious mistakes made by American forces.”
As she explains, there are plenty of flaws in the picture of Iraqi Kurdistan as a peaceful, prosperous, and Western-friendly country. Progress in the region has been marred by allegations of corruption, cronyism and bribery.
In December, 2012, conflict over the oil revenues and land rights reached to a breaking point. Iraq President Al Maliki has mobilized Iraq’s army along the fault-line that divides the Kurdish region from the rest of Iraq. Bombs have killed at least ten people in the fighting in Kirkuk. Kurdish leaders said at the time that they were ready to fight and have sent thousands of their peshmerga fighters to face down the Iraqi army. At the time conflict was subdued, but the tensions remain high.