Kurdish forces are reaching their limits in northern Iraq as they work to push back ISIS terrorists, according to regional experts.
Dr. Anwar Anaid and Dr. Henri Barkey told Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland the situation in northern Iraq is reaching a crucial point.
Both sides remain locked in a standoff over who controls Mosul and surrounding territory.
Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces see taking back Mosul as an important step in pushing back the terrorists. A U.S. military official has already indicated coalition forces are looking to retake the city this spring.
“Getting Mosul back is critical for both Iraq and for the Kurds, but, most importantly, if you want Iraq to become one again, Mosul has to be taken -- except that is a very difficult task and nobody is ready to do it yet,” said Barkey, professor of international relations at Lehigh University.
“For the liberation of Mosul, the Kurdistan region does understand their responsibility, but at the same time, they need much more support from the international community to be fully prepared to help,” said Anaid, professor of politics at the University of Kurdistan-Hewler in Erbil.
The regional Kurdish government is in desperate need of financial and humanitarian assistance.
“They have budgetary issues with the central government; they have not been paid for the last year or so. They are taking care of [nearly] 2 million refugees,” said Anaid.
Both agree U.S. support is needed, but increased Iraqi support in the north is crucial to defeating ISIS.
“What is missing at the moment is sufficient Iraqi divisions to engage ISIS … you need local partners to work with you and that is what the [Obama] administration is trying to do -- get going,” said Barkey, author of 'Iraq, Its Neighbors and the United States.'
“The only effective force on the ground right now fighting ISIS is the Kurdish Peshmerga, but unfortunately there is resentment, sense of frustration among Kurdish officials that the credit and weapons are not given when they are due,” said Anaid. “We are doing most of the fighting, we have actually proved on the ground that we can put up an effective fight against ISIS, but we don’t see the level of international recognition [needed].’
Chris Snyder is a producer for Fox News based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox.