By Yousif Zawi
Since decades, the Kurds in Iraq has been in a solid relationship with regimes in Iran, in the above and following the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Within the different periods of Kurdish struggle against Bagdad governments, frequently against the Baath regime, Iran mostly backed and received the Kurdish fighters.
Even the relationships were quite tensioned between Tehran and Erbil in the wake of the US intervention in 2003, but the intimate friendship has obviously reverted to the presence to accomplish the government of what been called new federal Iraq.
In various governmental terms, the Kurds have supported the Shiites to get the office. After the emergence of the Islamic State (IS), the cooperation among these two entities got to be wider. Now they have a shared enemy with common interests to fight against. Formally, the Kurd fought beside the Iraqi army and their Iranian backed proxies. High Kurdish officials expressed their thanks to the Islamic Republic as one of the first countries helped the Kurdistan Region in war against terrorism.
However, within the existence of common interests, the Kurds attempt toward the independence had an irritated reactions from Tehran. All these relations changed between one moment and another, the independence path revealed the tensions and fragile the nature of relations among the Kurds and Iran. At this point, the controversial question is how the independent Kurdistan could threat Tehran and its strategic policies and plans in the region?
Following Obama’s failed policy of withdrawing the United States troops from Iraq on December 2011, Tehran has instigated to increase its influence on Baghdad. Leading the Islamic Republic to dominate the most of the Iraqi political street, as it has proved to be a failed state. Based on this, the Iraq’s territorial integrity is one of the main reasons that make Tehran to voice its disapproval to the Kurdistan independency – what Tehran contemplate it as new Israel, itemised by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other Iranian officials. At the same time, Tehran see this step as a challenge to their regional ambitions and immovability.
Otherwise, having a sovereign Kurdish entity on its western borders could led the Kurds –who majority are Sunni- in Iran to make greater demands, while they had suffered from the Tehran Shiite regime ignorance of their political and socio-cultural rights. Subsequently, this might destabilize the Islamic Republic and even led to the establishment of great Kurdistan gathering the four parts including those in Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. Especially in case of the Kurds condition in Syria who are advancing from the power vacuum that exist there, controlling more territories concluded from the US support in their fight against terrorism.
The utilization of the Kurdish territory in Iraq is the main strategic plan of Tehran to connect their allies in Syria and Lebanon through what they called Shiite Crescent. Particularly the Kurdish strategic territories of Shingal district on the Syrian borders, what they currently control. Using the heights of its mountains to threat Israel as its fundamental enemy.
Therefore, alleged with its backed regional proxy Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) (Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi) and in collaboration with Iraqi army backed by US weapons, the Iranian attacked the oil Kurdish dominated city of Kirkuk on October 15 Profiteering from its historical relation with Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), even it’s a party with national aims, who were mostly controlling the city. Having a previous deal with some wings in the party at the various meeting preceded the incident, leaded by the General Brigade of The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Forces Qassem Suleimani who was leading the Iraqi army’s war on the IS.
The international silence, particularly the US as the leading power in the region, is strengthening the Iran strategy of controlling the Middle East. To eliminate this disastrous policies, Obama’s footsteps must be changed. The illogical consolations Washington receives should be eradicated, represented by the US envoy to the war on IS Brett McGurk, Many senators and congressmen argued that Washington must prefer the Kurds as its natural allies, otherwise, the others are purely Iranian proxy groups. Soon enough, Mr McGurk is usually planned to influence some regional states such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to work alongside the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi at the expense of the Kurds to keep him in power for another term.
Eventually, Iran is influencing Baghdad not to get in dialogue with Erbil over the current conflicts and issues in Iraq while the most international actors are promoting it.
All these statistics are indicating Tehran’s advantage and it’s hegemony above all other regional actors, occasioned from the US miscalculations and strategic mistakes. Supporting the Kurds is the only way to prevent the existence of Shiite Crescent.