Iran Revolutionary Guard Invades Iraq

Units of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have crossed the border into Iraq. Their mission – to attack, disable and destroy military bases belonging to PEJAK, a Kurdish militant group. Accusing PEJAK of being a terrorist organization, Tehran has taken it upon themselves to do what the US backed Iraqi regime refuses to do – crack down on armed militants on the Iraqi side of the Iranian border.

The Kurds have been fighting for their independence and sovereignty since their nation of Kurdistan was officially taken away by the League of Nations back in 1925. Coerced into fighting on the side of the neighboring Ottoman Turks during World War 1, the Kurds found themselves on the losing side of peace negotiations. Their country was split four ways between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

For decades, Kurdish fighters have fought pitched battles against all four governments in an attempt to regain their country. In 1988, Iraqi forces launched one of the worst chemical weapons attacks in history against their own Kurdish citizens. 5,000 were killed while 10,000 were injured and thousands more would die later from their wounds.

As recently as 2009, Iranian troops clashed with Kurdish freedom fighters along the same Iraqi border. In that engagement, Kurdish fighters had gained the upper hand until helicopter gun ships reinforced Iranian infantry. Clashes between the Kurds and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard are common and can last for days. Such is the case this week.

The pro-Kurdish group SupportKurds.org has been reporting the action in detail since the second day. The group announced they were receiving first hand accounts of the fighting from multiple eye witnesses. News has been slow to trickle out of the desolate region of northeast Iraq.

According to a report published in Whiteout Press, Kurdish rebels claim they’ve killed 120 Iranian soldiers including 2 high-ranking officers. PEJAK spokesmen put their own casualties at a mere 7 killed with 4 wounded over the three days of fighting. SupportKurds.org also announced, “Today, the Iranian Army continued bombarding the areas of Suni, Ali Rese, Dole Koke, Sehit Ayhan, Sehit Harun and high mountains in the surrounding areas of Zele.  Eye-witnesses say the Iranian army is preparing to continue their attacks.”

The Iranian News Agency is telling a somewhat different story. “Three bases in Iraqi territory were providing assistance to the terrorists. All the bases have fallen into the hands of our forces” AP reports Revolutionary Guard Colonel Delavar Ranjbarzadeh as saying. He went on to say that the Kurds had suffered, “a heavy and historic defeat.”

While the results of the past three days of fighting are in dispute, one thing that is agreed upon by both sides is that the fighting will continue. Iranian spokesmen report the presence of 5,000 troops on and along the Iraqi border, many of which are involved in the fighting. It is not known how long Tehran intends to occupy the Kurdish territory inside Iraq. Kurdish rebels will continue to try and repulse the invaders while Baghdad appears to be staying out of the conflict.

Mark Wachtler

Independent Examiner

July 21, 2011

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