Kurdish Peshmerga forces will not singlehandedly liberate Mosul because the Kurdistan Region does not want to ignite a Kurdish-Arab war, said President Masoud Barzani in an interview with al-Arabiya TV.
Barzani told the Arabic channel that to recapture Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, “the Peshmerga would only play a supporting role, because the Kurdistan Region doesn’t want the start of a Kurdish-Arab war.”
The Kurdish president said that the Iraqi government and the people of Mosul are responsible for liberating the city and that the Peshmerga will stand by them in this effort.
Barzani said had it not been for the Peshmerga who deployed to Kirkuk in the summer, the province would have fallen to the Islamic State (ISIS) like Mosul and parts of Salahaddin and Diyala.
Peshmerga forces have been battling ISIS along their 1050-kilometer border and have regained almost all the territory they lost to the extremist group in August.
However, Kurdish leaders, including President Barzani, have said that the priority is defending the Kurdish autonomous region against ISIS and that they are not willing to fight in Iraq’s Sunni areas.
In his interview with al-Arabiya Barzani said that Iraq’s former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was responsible for the quick defeat of the army in Mosul.
“That army had been trained and armed by the international community for years,” said Barzani of the Iraqi army that was trained and equipped by the US at the cost of billions of dollars.