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Masrour Barzani: Kurdish independence would help defeat IS

Masrour Barzani, chief of the Iraqi Kurdish intelligence services, talks to Al-Monitor about delays in international support against the Islamic State.
Masrour Barzani, Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, speaks during a press conference on October 12, 2013. Tight security measures imposed after a rare deadly attack in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region have curbed tourism ahead of the year's biggest Muslim holiday, industry officials and business owners say. AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED        (Photo credit should read SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

The war against the Islamic State (IS) is continuing full force in Iraq and Syria. And Kurds from both countries remain the most effective partners in the US-led coalition’s effort to eradicate the jihadists. But traditional rivalries between the main Iraqi Kurdish factions and tensions between Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish forces on the ground are hindering this effort. Turkey’s reluctance to open the Incirlik air base to combat missions against IS is another obstacle.

Al-Monitor spoke with Masrour Barzani, who heads the intelligence services of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), about the challenges facing the anti-IS coalition. Barzani, whose official title is chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, is the eldest son of Massoud Barzani, the KRG president and leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). Western diplomats say he is very much like his father — not fond of ostentation, firm in his convictions and reserved. The interview took place in the heavily guarded presidential compound that lies north of the KRG capital, Erbil.

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