Following are excerpts from an interview with president of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barazani, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on October 28, 2011.
Interviewer: "You warned that a civil war might break out in Iraq, with the withdrawal of the Americans, planned for the end of the year. Is this an analysis, or is it based on information?"
Massoud Barazani: "This is my analysis, because the conditions for this exist. The American withdrawal might, God forbid, make way for a civil war, which would be an all-out war, and would not – as in previous cases – break out and then stop."
Interviewer: "Would the Kurds play a part in such a war?"
Massoud Barazani: "The Kurds would play a role in preventing civil war. They would not be a party to it."
Interviewer: "What makes you think that you would not be dragged into a civil war, which would involve Shi'ites, Sunnis, and Kurds?"
Massoud Barazani: "We've made it clear in the past that we are not, and will not be, party to the sectarian conflict."
Interviewer: "Given these fears – which, as you mentioned, you share – was the U.S. presence a restraining factor in this conflict?"
Massoud Barazani: "The U.S. presence did not help to prevent these incidents or problems, but it helped to prevent their spreading into an all-out war. […]
"When we declare our independence, we will bear all the consequences and all the responsibility. We will be willing to pay any price."
Interviewer: "Even if it means fighting?"
Massoud Barazani: "Any price. If we decide to declare our independence we shall bear the responsibility." […]