Weapons, ammunition, training. It is the military contribution Ottawa claimed by the Kurdish foreign minister, Falah Mustafa Bakir, who pays little attention to the announcement of the judgment of the Canadian air strikes against the armed group Islamic State (EI). The Presse met this week in Montreal.
“We respect the decision of Canada” says Falah Mustafa Bakir immediately about the promise made by the Liberal Justin Trudeau to stop participating in air strikes in Iraq and Syria. “But we ask Canada to continue to support us,” he added in stride.
The Foreign Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, however, insists on one point: “These air strikes were effective, they have allowed us to gain territory. ”
But they are only one component of the war against the EI and Canada can participate in many other ways, said Minister Bakir, citing the need to “arms, ammunition, equipment, training “, as well as medical care for the Kurdish troops.
It considers not necessary to send Western troops on the ground, said to have “full confidence” in the ability of the Peshmerga, the Kurdish fighters to defeat the IE field.
He adds diplomatically that Kurdish troops also did not need the help of independent foreign fighters.
“While we appreciate the thought, we believe that the best help they can make is to lobby for more support from their country to Peshmerga. ”
The minister believes that the EI can be beaten, and said even be “winning” but says that it is “ideology” jihadist need to “kill” to prevent the terrorist group reborn from the ashes.
To achieve this, we must not only make war, but we must also ‘put an end to its economic activities. ”
Minister Bakir also responded to allegations of violations committed by Kurdish fighters in Sunni Arab villages, including La Presse reported on Tuesday.
“I am not able to deny it categorically, but I do not believe these allegations are true,” said he responded, adding that the instructions are clear for the fighters: their only enemies are the jihadists of IE.
However, he recalled that the country is in a “state of war” and that some villages were trapped by EI when fleeing or that some Sunni Arab civilians are complicit jihadists.
Falah Mustafa Bakir nevertheless ensures that these allegations will be investigated.
“We do not want the relationship between Kurdistan and Canada is limited to the fight against EI,” said Falah Mustafa Bakir, including the Canadian stay is both political and economic, with stops in Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa, in addition to Montreal, where La Presse met on the sidelines of a dinner with businessmen organized by the International Relations Council of Montreal.
“We wish that Canada increase the level of its presence in Kurdistan,” they did he said, suggesting the opening of a consulate in Erbil, capital of the autonomous region.
With cities and an economy largely destroyed by bombing, rebuilding will not happen without the support of foreign companies.
The minister also calls for humanitarian assistance for some two million IDPs and refugees from Syria, an approach that would be “less expensive than to welcome them to Canada,” he says.
“These people belong to our part of the world. They love their land. Help them where they are. ”