Barzani said that Baghdad had ignored past proposals from the Kurdistan Regional Government for solutions to the current problems facing Iraq. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani said that responsibility for the recent turmoil in Iraq falls on those who have monopolized power in Baghdad, dismissing allegations that the Kurds are to blame for the current crisis.
Barzani’s comments came as Sunni rebels led by the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who have captured several cities within a week, continued their march toward Baghdad to overthrow the Shiite-led government.
“Many people would bear witness that I have long warned about the situation heading toward the unknown because of the wrong policies of those who have monopolized power in Baghdad,” Barzani said in a statement issued by his office.
“Now they are directly responsible for the future ramification of this bad situation,” he emphasized.
Some Iraqi officials, including the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, have alleged that the Kurds are behind the lightning advances by the militants.
So far, the Kurds have been the only real winners in the turmoil in Iraq. They have moved forces into Kurdish-populated territories outside the formal KRG borders – including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk – and are continuing independent oil exports that Baghdad had vehemently tried to block.
Barzani said that Baghdad had ignored past proposals from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for solutions to the current problems facing Iraq. He reiterated there exists a special relationship between the Kurds and Shiites.
"Some are trying to create a wedge between the Kurds and Shiites and put the blame on the Kurds for the recent events. We distinguish between terrorism and the legitimate demands of the Sunni community, and we are ready to work with both Sunnis and Shiites to confront terrorists,” Barzani said.
He underscored that the KRG would never join a sectarian war under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
“This situation will not go away with military action alone. The reasons behind this must be addressed and the political process must be restored on the right direction. Then defeating terrorists will be much easier,” he said.
“The way of previous governance and the political situation must be changed,” Barzani added.
He reiterated that Kurdistan is more prepared than any other time to defend the interests and lives of its people from any aggression.
The Iraqi army has all but collapsed since abandoning posts and fleeing when the extremists marched on Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, last week.
Some reports suggest that the insurgency in Iraq is run only in part by the ISIS, saying that the bulk of it is a “revolt” by the Sunni minority of a Shiite-led country.
Kurds are also majority Sunni, but because of their different ethnicity they stand apart from Iraq’s large Sunni Arab minority.
The United States, which backs Maliki, has said it wants to the see the unpopular premier embrace the disgruntled Sunni population.
But Maliki, who is vehemently opposed by Iraq’s Sunnis, Kurds and even some fellow Shiite parties, declared this week that he was fed up with the main Sunni political bloc.
He said he was tired of “traitors” in the government and military, and accused Saudi Arabia of backing Sunni rebels and extremists.