By Abdulhamed Zebari
Koysinjaq, Iraq (AFP) Sept 7, 2017
Plans for an independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan have angered Ankara and Tehran, but little has changed for Iranian Kurdish rebels at rear bases in the mountains of northern Iraq.
A spokesman for the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) said reports of a joint Turkish-Iranian military operation against Kurdish rebels in Iraq were mainly intended to unsettle Iraqi Kurds.
Speaking in Koysinjaq, 60 kilometres (35 miles) east of the autonomous region's capital Arbil, Aso Hassan Zada said Iran and Turkey had only one shared interest -- their opposition to the September 25 referendum.
Both countries fear it could stir separatist aspirations among their own sizeable Kurdish minorities.
"Neither country will help the other without something in return," he said as armed, uniformed men and women trained outside in a courtyard plastered with portraits of their rebel movement's founders.
The central government in Baghdad has said the non-binding referendum violates Iraq's constitution.
Coming as Iraqi forces backed by an international coalition battle Islamic State group jihadists in Iraq and Syria, it has also stoked opposition from Washington and Western countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last month that a joint Turkish-Iranian operation against Iraq-based Kurdish rebels from the two countries was "always on the agenda".
Turkey has battled the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for decades, while Iranian security forces have fought the PDKI and a PKK affiliate, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK).
Iran, while equally opposed to the referendum, swiftly denied Erdogan's claim of any planned operation inside Iraqi Kurdistan.
But its elite Revolutionary Guards warned: "As always we will strongly confront any group, team or person who wants to penetrate into Iran's territory for anti-security or terrorist operations."
- 'Impossible' co-operation -
From another mountain base, Zelan Vejin, a leader of the PJAK whose fighters also operate along the border with Iran, shrugged off the threat of any joint operation.
"It's impossible that Iran and Turkey operate together" because of their divergent political aims, she said.
Besides, she added, "Iran always undertakes military actions in secret, never disclosing its intentions, whereas Turkey pre-announces its campaigns."
The PDKI's Zada said Ankara prioritises fighting the PKK inside Turkey and on Iraqi and Syrian territory, while Tehran's goal is to clear its Iraqi border of PDKI and PJAK militants.
Ankara and Tehran have carried out a string of separate military operations against Kurdish rebel bases in the mountains of northern Iraq.
"Our fighters have observed repeated incursions into Iraqi territory by Iranian forces," Zada said, adding that Iran had deployed artillery units right along the border.
If Iran and Turkey do launch operations, "we will step up our fight inside Iranian territory", Vejin said.
"Iran has forever occupied our land but it has never managed to defeat us through military means. War does not frighten us," she said.
Beijing (AFP) Sept 6, 2017
Chinese internet users bombarded government social media accounts Wednesday with thousands of anti-Islamic messages in response to unverified videos showing rioting involving Muslims. Online attacks on Chinese Muslim minorities have surged in recent years, with commenters directing angry screeds at both the Hui and the Uighur minority groups in the country's north and far west. The alle ... read more
News From Across The Stans
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|