Iranian Kurds now looking for freedom?

Rubin Center:
The instability that has swept over the Middle East over the past half-decade has its winners and its losers. For the most part, the much-beleaguered Kurds are to be numbered in the former camp. In Syria, the long-silent Kurdish minority now finds itself allied with U.S. air power and special forces, and controlling a large, de facto autonomous area in the country’s north. In Iraq, the Kurdish Regional Government is operating in what is increasingly an all-but-sovereign territory. In Turkey, things are moving in a less positive direction, but this hardly attests to Kurdish weakness or silence. The formidable Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) is once more engaged in insurgency against the government based in Ankara.

The odd man out has been the Kurdish community of Iran, which has faced a much tougher road in defending itself than other Kurdish communities in the Middle East. But there are signs that this is beginning to change. The three major Kurdish movements—the PDKI (Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan), PAK (Kurdish Freedom Party), and PJAK (Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan)—are now overtly engaged in armed insurgency against the regime in Tehran.There are troubling signs that Iran’s clerical rulers might be prepared to employ a scorched-earth policy in response. A scarcely noticed report in early November on the Iraqi Kurdish website Rudaw states: “Kurdish guerrillas suspect Iran used chemical weapons against them.” The Islamic heartland is now awash in chemical weapons use—ranging from the Bashar Assad regime in Syria to the Islamic State. Hence it is conceivable that Assad’s main strategic partner—Iran—will not hesitate to use chemical munitions against the Kurds.
But the silence of the Iranian Kurds is now ending. On February 25 of this year, the PDKI announced the re-commencement of “armed resistance against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The announcement was attributed to “growing discontent,” but this was not a sudden decision. Rather, preparations, including the training of fighters, had been going on for some time. Two other parties, the PAK and Komala (a small leftist Kurdish nationalist party founded in 1969) declared their support for the PDKI declaration.Military operations duly commenced on April 19, 2016, when PAK fighters attacked Iranian security forces during an army parade in the area of Sanandaj.

The attacks have continued throughout the summer and autumn, with casualties on both sides. In October, PJAK carried out a series of operations against the Revolutionary Guards, in retaliation for the killing of 12 PJAK members by government forces earlier in the month. In addition, attempts to organize and rouse the Iranian Kurds politically are proceeding in parallel to the armed campaign.

For its part, the Iranian regime has not been slow to respond. In mid-August, Iranian forces responded to the attacks by shelling Kurdish villages close to the border, killing or displacing many civilians.The growing conflict between the Iranian Kurds and the regime has repercussions beyond Iran’s borders.
There is more.

I think the West should support the Kurds against the despotic regimes in the region.  Iran, Turkey, and Syria are all trying to suppress them and I would not be surprised to see those countries conspire against the Kurdish ambitions.  Don't expect any help from Russia which appears to be allied with the despots and Putin is still angry about losing control of ethnic groups from the former Soviet Union.


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