The Kurdish economy will recover, partly with the help of Britain, says Angus McKee, who after two years as the British Consul General in Kurdistan has left for London. Just as the security of the Kurdistan Region matters for the security of Great Britain, so does its prosperity to the economic wellbeing, he believes. The collective interest of defeating ISIS, says McKee, has widened and deepened the relationship between Britain and Kurdistan Region. Looking back at his time in the Kurdish capital Erbil, he praises the developments of the past decade.
How do you look at your time in Kurdistan?
Angus McKee: I arrived in June 2014, at a difficult time, as Daesh (the Islamic State- ISIS) had just captured Mosul, and was threatening the Nineveh Plain and the Kurdistan Region. A time of conflict and atrocities. Daesh is still a threat, but my time here has been defined by the counter attack. We’ve seen the Peshmerga, the Iraqi security forces and the coalition forces pushing Daesh back. Daesh is a failing state, as it is losing territory. It is a terrorist threat whether you are in the streets of Baghdad, Erbil or London. We have a collective interest of defeating it. As a result of this, the relationship between Britain and Kurdistan Region has widened and deepened.
So you must have seen security measures being strengthened here too?
I was with Erbil governor Nawzad Hadi, who’s a good friend, remembering the attack on Ainkawa in April 2014. It’s to the credit of the security authorities across the Kurdistan Region that they have been largely successful in counterterrorism operations.
What are the main changes you saw during your time here?