April 15, 2015

Fight against Daesh is at critical point, seeking direct financial support from U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC, USA (us.gov.krd) – Wrapping up a one week trip to Washington to brief Administration and Congressional officials, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Qubad Talabani told reporters Friday that the KRG’s finances were being stretched to a ‘critical point’ by the fight against Daesh and by supporting the 1.8 million refugees and displaced persons the KRG is sheltering. The influx of people has boosted the population of the Kurdistan Region by 30%.

‘Defending our border in the fight against Daesh is reaching a critical point,’ Mr Talabani said. The Kurdistan Region has a 650-mile border that adjoins territory occupied by the Islamic State, or Daesh.

‘You can’t win a war bankrupt,’ the Deputy Prime Minister added. ‘We need more help from the United States and international community.’

After enacting a series of austerity measures, monthly deficits in Kurdistan have been cut from $400 million to $100 million. Mr Talabani said, ‘We can’t borrow our way out of this problem or receive bailouts similar to those received by Turkey and Lebanon,’ because unlike those countries, the KRG is not a sovereign nation.

‘With Kurds providing the boots on the ground in the fight against Daesh, we have felt a real sense of urgency during this visit,’ said Mr Talabani.

KRG Minister of the Interior and Peshmerga Karim Sinjari, who accompanied Deputy Prime Minister Talabani as part of the delegation, said he is concerned for the soldiers he commands in the impending battle to liberate Mosul.

‘There is a disparity in the quality of weapons being used by Daesh compared with the Peshmerga,’ Minister Sinjari said. ‘Daesh is using the best weapons from the West and East. The Peshmerga have old Saddam Hussein-era Iraqi, Soviet, and Western weapons,’ that put them at a deep disadvantage on the battlefield.

Among the equipment the KRG has asked for are Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs), 120mm artillery systems, heavy machine guns, and chemical weapons protection gear.

‘We’ve been very pleased with the way our delegation in Washington has been received. Americans have expressed sympathy for Kurds and valor and appreciation for Peshmerga – no one is taking the efforts of Kurds for granted,’ Mr Talabani said.
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