Former French PM: Attack on Kurds is attack on Europe
Former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls says that France and the international community must take a stance on the Iraqi attacks on Kurds and send a message to Iran that its meddling in Iraq and the region must be stopped. Valls told Rudaw in an interview that the Kurds have been allies of the West and fought together against terrorism, therefore leaving them to their own devices now is a crime.
Rudaw: When the Hashd al-Shaabi attacked the Kurds and Kirkuk the world remained silent. What can France do for Kurds now?
Manuel Valls: This silence is an unfortunate thing, keeping in mind the effective and positive role of the Kurds. This silence conflicts with our strategic interests. The Kurds, Europe, France, America are defending the same values when they fight terrorism of the Islamic State. So, if we do not speak up today and let the Kurds be defeated and let Iraq and Iran trample our values and our Kurdish friends, it is a crime. We must break this silence and demand that the international community to react and ensure Kurds will fulfil their legitimate rights.
The Iraqis are violating the constitution and after taking Kirkuk they’re trying to take other areas, too. Erbil is calling for negotiations which Baghdad is rejecting. Can France play a mediator’s role?
Yes, certainly. French diplomacy and the president must move at a European and international level. We cannot allow what’s happening now to continue. What Iraq is doing with Iran’s support is to step on Kurdish rights. Yet the Kurdish message carries freedom. That’s why I’ve attended this gathering that calls on France to meet up expectations and play its role in light of our historic friendship with the Kurds and their part in the war against ISIS.
France was instrumental in designing the 36 line of the no-fly-zone (in 1991) but there are real threats to that line now. What can France do now to protect that especially when Kurds feel they’ve been abandoned?
We triumphed over ISIS and terrorism thanks to the Kurds and any attack on Kurds will be an attack on Europe. Not only for the friendship between Kurds and France, but for the sake of the interests we fight for today, France must be active on an international level and support Kurds with all it’s got.
The Hashd al-Shaabi are supported by Iran and why is the international community silent on Iran’s meddling in Iraq and Kurdish lands?
Iran wants to spread its influence in Iraq, Kurdistan Region, Syria and Lebanon and here in Europe our target is fighting ISIS and terrorism, but that doesn’t mean we should take the Iran issue lightly. If we intervened and rejected these hostile attacks against Kurds and an immediate end to them, we’ll then be sending a strong message to Iran that we reject its domination over the region. What’s happening there is casting uncertainty over the future of the region and therefore France must act immediately and resolutely.
You’re aware of the nature of the disputes. What can the French government do in terms of giving more support to the Kurds?
In my opinion, the participation and actions of intellectuals, officials, journalists and activists in such events is to mobilize the media, and the French media in particular and for the French people and decision-makers to take a stance. You can count on our voices. I’m in awe of the Kurdish people and their male and female fighters and paying with their lives for our freedom. That’s why we said it here today that we’ll now allow the defeat of the Kurds. You can trust our promise. We know this is a grave danger to the Kurds, but we must not allow it.