Is Tehran preparing an assault on Iranian Kurdish groups in Iraq?
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) continued on Friday to shell the positions of armed Iranian Kurdish groups based in areas of northern Iraq under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) based in Erbil.
Kurdish media had Thursday bomb attacks reported by fighter jets and drones in Sidakan, Choman and Haji Omran. No casualties were reported.
“In this operation, the headquarters of those who conspire against Iran’s national security have been destroyed,” the Revolutionary Guards said in a statement Thursday.
Erbil-based Human Rights Organization Hengaw said on Friday that Iranian military forces were present in force in Kurdish towns on the Iranian side of the border where cell phones and the internet have been disrupted. Hengaw posted a video on his Twitter account reportedly showed a “suicide drone” attack on Thursday.
Neither the Kurdistan regional government nor the Iraqi government has yet reacted to the Iranian attacks.
Abdollah Mohtadi, secretary general of Komala, a leftist Iranian Kurdish group based in Kurdish Iraq, told Iran International TV Thursday that Tehran aimed to put pressure on the KRG to expel Iranian Kurdish groups.
Also speaking to Iran International TV on Friday, Shahram Mosulchi, a journalist, said the KRG preferred to urge the two sides to avoid confrontation given the importance of political, security and economic relations with Iran.
Iranian forces have carried out cross-border attacks against Iranian Kurdish groups for decades training and organizing Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq. Kurdish groups in turn carried out sporadic attacks while maintaining a presence inside Iranian Kurdistan.
Generally, the Iraqi Kurdish parties tolerated the presence of the groups as long as they did not provoke a violent reaction from Tehran.
Among those holding bases, with varying degrees of tolerance from the Iraqi Kurdish parties and the KRG, are the Democratic Party of Kurdistan of Iran (KDPI) and Komala, both of whom want Kurdish autonomy in Iran.
A third group, Pejvak, or Kurdistan Free Life Party, is linked to the Pankurdish group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which also has a branch in Syria.
In a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein on August 10, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, urged Baghdad to expel Kurdish groups or expect Tehran to take “measures preventive “. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is due to visit Iran on Sunday.
Monday [6 September]IRGC ground forces commander General Mohammad Pakpour visited the border area and said Tehran complained to Kurdish authorities and Baghdad about the freedom of movement of the peshmerga near the borders.
Pakpour warned of a firm response from Iran and urged civilians to stay away from the headquarters of Kurdish groups in the coming days to avoid danger.
There are speculated on whether Tehran’s saber-strike is part of a long series of pressures on Iraqi Kurdish parties to control their Iranian cousins more tightly or a sign of a more serious effort looming, perhaps coordinated with Turkey to seriously weaken them. rebel groups. In recent weeks, Iranian security has arrested dozens of Kurds.
Three years ago Iran fired ballistic missiles at the KDPI headquarters in Koysanjak, in northern Iraq, killing at least 16 people.