MESOP FOCUS : US bill would not break up Iraq: Nechirvan Barzani

Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani dismissed on Saturday Iraqi fears that the U.S. Congress bill to supply arms to the Kurdish forces would not break up Iraq, saying that the Peshmerga would only receive their share of weapons needed in the war against the Islamic State (IS).“I think they [Baghdad] have not understood the law,” Barzani told Rudaw in an interview. “First of all, we are not trying to dismantle Iraq’s unity or integrity, and I think because it is US money, they [US] want to make sure that Kurdistan Region gets its share of those weapons.”

Barzani said that in the past Baghdad had blocked weapons destined for the Kurdistan Region and that a current bill proposed by Republican congressmen is to ensure that that does not happen again. “Some years ago the US decided to supply arms and ammunition to Iraq, but Kurdistan Region’s share of those weapons was never sent,” said Barzani. “Iraq’s former prime minister didn’t allow the weapons to reach the Kurdistan Region.” “The visit of Canadian Prime Minister to Iraq and Kurdistan Region is very important,” said Barzani shortly after he welcomed his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper in Erbil. “Canada is one of those countries that has from day one helped the Kurdistan Region militarily and with humanitarian aid.” Barzani said that Canada’s support was vital in the fight against “one of world’s biggest terrorist organizations.”

Nechirvan Barzani added that the war against IS and relations between Baghdad and Erbil are also among topics that Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani would discuss during his visit to Washington. Barzani said that Erbil is still honoring its agreement with the central government and he urged Iraqi leaders to implement the budgetary law. “Our agreement with Baghdad is based on the national budget,” Barzani maintained. “The budget stipulates that Baghdad should send to the Kurdistan Region 1.2 trillion Dinars every month. In return the Kurdistan Region will contribute to the budget by exporting 250,000 barrels of its oil and the rest from Kirkuk.”