WESTERN countries will face a terrorism threat on their own doorstep unless they intervene now to confront Islamic insurgents.in Iraq, a senior Kurdish security official has warned.
Masrour Barzani, head of Kurdistan's National Security Council, said he doubted the Iraqi army's ability to roll back the advances of the Islamic State (Isis) forces without outside help.
He believed, though, that the rest of the world did not appear to be serious about confronting the insurgency but would face an increasing threat when many of the Isis fighters returned to their native countries. Mr Barzani said Kurdistan was the "frontline against terrorism" in the Middle East, and that the inaction of Western nations was at their peril.
He said: "They have a choice: either they can come and face them here or they can wait for them to go back to their own countries and face terrorism on their doorsteps.
Kurdistan, which has its own armed forces known as Peshmerga", has managed to insulate itself so far against the violence in the rest of Iraq and neighbouring Syria. They share all but 10 miles of their southern border with Isis forces who have declared an Islamic caliphate.
Iraq's million-strong army, trained and equipped by the United States at a cost of around $25 billion (£15 bn), largely evaporated in the north after Isis overran the city of Mosul last month.
From there, they went on to seize most Sunni majority areas with little resistance, putting Iraq's survival as a unified state in jeopardy.
The fighting has continued as politicians wrangle in Baghdad over forming a new government.
For now, the militants are busy fighting what remains of the Iraqi army backed by Shi'ite militias further south but they may eventually turn to the north of the country, where the Kurds have expanded their territory by as much as 40 per cent.
Isis has claimed responsibility for a wave of car bombings in mostly Shi'ite areas of Baghdad which killed at least 27 people on Saturday.
The hardline Sunni Islamist organisation said two of the explosions were suicide missions.