Iranian ground offensive to pit Kurd against Kurd
Qandil, Iraq: According to local correspondents of the Kurdish observer Rojhelat, the Iranian Revolution Guards Corp (IRGC) renewed their shelling earlier this month in Iraqi Kurdistan, starting with the village of Serkani, with reports of two civilians wounded. This, despite the fact that the IRGC’s target, PJAK fighters, declared a ceasefire on 4 September. Iran has been sending large numbers of troops to the Iran-Iraq border since early September as it coordinates with Turkey in a joint offensive against the PKK and its offshoot, PJAK.
Iraqi Kurdistan has faced dual assaults from Iran and Turkey before; however, these latest assaults come after a long summer marked by Turkish missiles and Iranian troops that have led to the displacement of hundreds of families and dozens of civilian casualties. Iran has been accused of specifically bringing Kurdish members of its armed forces to the border, and asking Kurdish tribal leaders to take up arms against the PKK. As Iran pushes deeper into the Qandil mountains, it is likely that it is actively trying to create further conflict between PKK rebels and the Kurds of Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government has been unable to take any significant action either against PKK fighters or to protect its own citizen for risk of aggravating either side.
Although no shelling has been reported in recent days, a Kurdish worker was still a casualty of an ambush by Iranian soldiers. This long standing triangle of conflict between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey and Iran has only served to exacerbate the Kurdish situation after a bloody Ramadan, in a time when the whole region is already in turmoil due to the continued revolutions.