US-Made Warplanes Would Be Used Against Kurds, Barzani Says
Relations between Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continued to worsen today, as KRG President Massud Barzani delivered a high profile speech in Arbil today about the threats posed by Maliki’s government.
Barzani’s comments expressed hope that the KRG’s close relationship with US oil giant ExxonMobil would afford some protection from attempts to undermine its autonomy, and warned against a coming military confrontation.
To that end, Barzani warned that Maliki’s government should not be allowed to purchase US-made F-16 warplanes, saying he is convinced that they would be used against the Kurdish north by Maliki, who is increasingly centralizing power under his control.
Barzani has discussed the F-16 purchases in the past, saying he believes that the only reason Maliki hasn’t invaded KRG territory yet is because of the relative parity between the Iraqi military and the Peshmearga, and warning that the F-16s could tip the balance overwhelmingly in favor of Maliki’s forces.
Barzani has been increasingly vocal in his criticism of Maliki, who is currently the Prime Minister as well as the acting Interior Minister, Defense Minister, National Security Minister, and Chief of Military Staff. A recent visit to Turkey had Barzani discussing the situation with Turkish PM Erdogan, leading Maliki to declare Turkey an “enemy state.”
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
- South Korea Expands Air Defense Zone, Angering Japan and China - December 8th, 2013
- Netanyahu to Dutch PM: Gazans Can't Be Allowed to Ship Goods - December 8th, 2013
- Homeland Security Chair: Terrorism Spreading 'Like a Spiderweb' - December 8th, 2013
- Key Allies Ditch Iraqi PM Ahead of April Election - December 8th, 2013
- Lapid: Split on Peace Talks, Israeli Coalition Could Crumble - December 8th, 2013