Is Iran preparing for a ground attack in northern Iraq?
In the past few days, missile and drone attacks by Iran have escalated on the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, amid talk of an imminent ground attack.
Statements and positions threatening a ground invasion of the region’s cities are increasing, under the pretext of confronting and pursuing what Tehran describes as “separatists”; Referring to the Iranian Kurdish opposition parties.
The Iranian Kurdish opposition parties, which have military wings, are concentrated in the mountainous regions of northern Iraq, most notably the “Komala” party, “PJAK” and the “Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran”.
And video clips published by media outlets linked to the Revolutionary Guards, on Thursday evening, showed the mobilization of military equipment on its way to the border areas with the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.
Quds TV, a media arm of the Revolutionary Guards, reported via Telegram, “Thursday, the Revolutionary Guards’ logistical equipment was sent to the northwest of the country, and its special forces were put on alert.”
She pointed out that “the deployment of armored units and rapid response on the borders of Iraq and the Kurdistan region suggests the start of the countdown to the ground attack on the headquarters of the separatist terrorists in the Kurdistan region,” as she put it.
For his part, Iranian writer and journalist close to the Revolutionary Guards, Reza Abbasi, tweeted, “This wide military deployment of the Revolutionary Guards is the beginning of preparations for a ground attack on the Kurdistan region to pursue the separatists.”
Reza Abbasi added in his tweet via “Twitter”: “The leaders of the region (Kurdistan region) should know that this is the last warning and the terrorists must be expelled.”
The Iraqi government may have anticipated the Iranian move, as it announced on Wednesday evening the intensification of the deployment of military forces on the borders with Iran and Turkey.
Earlier this week, some sources close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard announced the order to start a “military invasion” of the Kurdistan region.
Did Baghdad respond to Tehran?
And one day after Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian announced that Tehran had held meetings with Iraqi security officials and that the Iraqi government was “committed” to “disarming” Iranian opposition groups and removing them from Iran’s borders, the government in Baghdad announced the deployment of “Iraqi border forces on the border.” Iran and Turkey.
Yesterday, Wednesday, Abdullahian said, “76 terrorist and anti-revolutionary centers have been activated in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and Israeli and American weapons have entered the country.”
Earlier, a senior official in Iraqi Kurdistan and a senior advisor for the Iraqi government’s foreign relations said, “The agreement has been reached and these Iraqi forces have been sent,” after tripartite negotiations between Baghdad, Erbil, and Tehran.
However, the Kurdish official said, in his interview with the BBC Persian, that “there is no truth to what Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad, Muhammad Kazem Al Sadiq, said that the issue of disarming the Iranian Kurdish parties is in the hands of the Iraqi government,” adding, “Neither Baghdad nor Erbil spoke.” with Tehran in this regard.
Iran “explains” its position
At the same time that developments on the ground are escalating, Iran has tried, in a letter to the UN Security Council, to “explain” its position on the attacks on Iraqi Kurdistan.
The letter stated that “after numerous consultations conducted by Iran with the Iraqi authorities, Iran has no choice but to use its natural right to defend itself, and accordingly it has recently carried out operations” against these groups.
The Iraqi Kurdistan authorities have always denied these allegations, and the Baghdad authorities have repeatedly asked Tehran to provide evidence of its threat from the neighboring country.
The Iraqi National Security Council expressed concern about “inciting terror and damaging people’s property” and decided to “redeploy Iraqi border forces to maintain the zero line along the Iranian and Turkish borders” with the full support of the Iraqi forces command.
The Iraqi National Security Council affirmed that the deployment of Iraqi border forces on the border lines between Iran and Turkey must take place “in full coordination with the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Ministry of Peshmerga,” with the aim of “unifying the national effort to protect Iraq’s borders.”
In the recent attack, drones and missiles targeted the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, a few kilometers from Erbil, in the center of the region, and these attacks resulted in the death of a number of civilians, and the regional and Iraqi authorities criticized the encroachment on the country’s lands.
The US authorities and the European Union had previously condemned Iran’s actions in the previous round of missile attacks by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Monday morning was the third round of Iranian Revolutionary Guard attacks against Kurdish parties in northern Iraq, after the start of anti-government protests in Iran, and 18 people, including women and children, were killed in these attacks.
These political and sometimes paramilitary groups were established in the 1980s during the era of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the Iran-Iraq war.
But according to experts, these Iranian Kurdish groups that mostly follow left-wing ideology abandoned their armed approach for years after participating in a period of armed struggle.
Yet these parties have never been able to remain silent in the face of the “discrimination applied to the Kurdish minority (about 10 million people out of 85 million) living in Iran.
Experts on Iraqi affairs believe that “Iran is looking to export its internal crisis, and its goal in attacking Kurdish groups is to force the Iraqi Kurdistan region to end the activities of the Iranian Kurdish parties residing in this region.”