The president of Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, blamed on Monday former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the collapse of the Iraqi army in the face of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) earlier this year.
In an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya’s Rima Maktabi, Barzani also said the swift collapse of the Iraqi army came after substantial years of international support to train and equip the military.
During the interview, he also said that were it not for the Peshmerga forces, the northern, oil-rich city of Kirkuk would have fallen to ISIS, which occupies almost a third of Iraq.
He also warned that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces could not fight ISIS in Iraq’s second city of Mosul alone as this would represent a “Kurdish-Arab” war, something he said the northern Kurdistan region rejected.
Barzani nevertheless expressed Kurdish readiness to liberate Mosul from ISIS forces.
Watch al-Arabiya’s interview with President Barzani