US–Kurdish Relations

Kurdish President Barzani To Visit President Obama

President barzani president obama

Iraqi Kurdistan and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani is set to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and V.P. Joe Biden this week at the White House.

On the agenda for the visit are a wide range of security issues including the KRG’s battle against ISIS, KRG-Baghdad relations and continued U.S. support of Iraqi Kurdistan.

President Barzani Visits Washington

This is not KRG President Barzani’s first trip to the United States — it will be his fourth. In his previous visits to Washington, President Barzani strengthened US-Kurdish relations, and successfully called on the United States to remove the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and pukPatriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) — two major Kurdish political parties — from the U.S.’s list of terrorist organizations.

There is much to talk about this time around. ISIS is less than fifty miles away from Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, and is threatening one of the best examples of democracy in the region. The President of the Kurdistan Regional Government will also be likely to appeal to the President for more humanitarian aid for Iraqi Kurdistan, which has taken on the majority of refugees from Syria, since the conflict began in 2011.

Liberating Mosul

One of the biggest questions for Iraqi Kurdistan is how best to liberate Mosul and whose forces will take charge. The Kurds have proved, over and again, that they are an essential partner in the region and that the fight against ISIS can’t succeed without them. With this in mind, the White House and Congress should listen closely to Barzani’s ideas on how to make a Mosul offensive succeed.

“We would like to seize the opportunity to express our gratitude to the United States and the president,” Barzani stressed in a recent interview. Despite his gratitude, Barzani will also be asking for more heavy weapons, such as armored vehicles and antitank missiles, and assurances that, if weapons are delivered via Baghdad, they will reach Erbil swiftly.

[Read more at ARA News]

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