ERBIL — Iraqi Sunni Arab tribal leader, Sheikh Ahmed Ibrahim Daraji, has commended the role of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for hosting hundreds of thousands of IDPs while the Iraqi central government had failed to provide its people with aid during hard times.
Sheikh Ahmed Ibrahim, who is the leader of Albudaraj tribe, expressed concern in an exclusive interview with BasNews over the presence of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias of Hashd al-Shaabi in their areas of northern Iraq.
[This interview was translated from Kurdish and edited for clarity and length.]
BasNews: What is your opinion about the independence referendum Kurdistan held last September?
Daraji: We, as an Arab tribe, were fully supporting the referendum and its result. It was a natural right of the Kurds to fulfill their dream. We fully support the Kurdistan Region since it has offered greater help to Sunni Arabs than the Iraqi government.
BasNews: Do you favour the establishment of an independent state of Kurdistan?
Daraji: Yes, we believe that the Kurds have the right to have a country of their won, and we value their aspiration for statehood. We also believe that an independent Kurdistan is also in favour of our people since the Kurdistan Region over the past few years proved its hospitality to us whereas the Iraqi government didn’t.
BasNews: Your people were attacked by the Islamic State (IS) back in 2014, who protected you then?
Daraji: It is obvious that the Kurdistan Region alone took in the Sunni Arabs whom had come under the IS attack. If it was not for the Kurdistan Regional Government, we had no one to seek protection from.
BasNews: Is the Islamic State completely eradicated in your area?
Daraji: Daesh [Islamic State] is completely removed, but worse than Daesh has now occupied our area which is Hashd al-Shaabi. They create obstacles for the return of our IDPs to their homes. Daesh and Hashd al-Shaabi are the two sides of the same coin, and they both carry out brutalities and savagery. The Hashd al-Shaabi is led and supported by Iran and Qasem Soleimani. We strongly oppose the presence of Hashd al-Shaabi as we see them hostile.
BasNews: How do you see the Iraqi government in Baghdad?
Daraji: The Iraqi government is the worst and most corrupt government. It is responsible for widespread abductions, killings and displacement of its citizens. Not an individual has actually benefited from this government due to the fact that it works for the interest of a very small group only.