Kurds may seek Iraq backing

October 18, 1996, Friday, INTERNATIONAL EDITION
BYLINE: Tom Squitieri
LENGTH: 186 words

Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani warned Thursday he may again seek Saddam Hussein’s military help to slow a rival Kurdish faction from making further military gains.

If Iraq enters the fighting it could force President Clinton to respond with U.S. military action.

For a week Barzani’s rivals, the Patrotic Union of Kurdistan, have been recovering territory lost to Barzani in August. Battle lines have stabilized east of Irbil, administrative capital for the Kurdish region in Iraq.

Barzani invited, and received, Iraqi tanks and troops to take Irbil from the Patriotic Union in August. The Iraqis then provided Barzani’s forces with weapons and supplies to push east to the Iranian border.

That Iraqi intervention triggered U.S. missle strikes against Iraqi military positions in the south.

Barzani said Iraq’s help was again necessary since his Kurdish rivals were receiving support from Iran.

Representatives of the rival factions were to meet U.S. officials in Washington on Thursday. The United States opposes any increase in Iranian or Iraqi influence in northern Iraq.

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