“I am deeply concerned by media reports of military advances by Iraqi government forces against Kurdish positions near Kirkuk. I am especially concerned by media reports that Iranian and Iranian-backed forces are part of the assault,” McCain said.
He called on Iraqi government to stop exacerbating the situation. “Iraqi forces must take immediate steps to de-escalate this volatile situation by ceasing their advances,” he noted.
The US Senator explained the US did not provide weapons to the Iraqi government to attack Kurds.
“The United States provided equipment and training to the Government of Iraq to fight ISIS and secure itself from external threats—not to attack elements of one of its own regional governments, which is a longstanding and valuable partner of the United States,” he stressed.
McCain warned against misuse of the US weapons, saying “Make no mistake, there will be severe consequences if we continue to see American equipment misused in this way.”
He called on the Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi and the Kurdistan Region to engage in a dialogue about the “Kurdish people’s desire for greater autonomy from Baghdad at an appropriate time and the need to halt hostilities immediately.”