A senior Iranian military official has criticized Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for providing military camp to the Iranian Kurdish militant group Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK). The camp, in the Qandi Mountains of Kurdistan, was reported to be 300,000 hectares in size.
ISNA broke the news but did not name the senior military official, and now other state-owned news agencies, including Press TV, have published the same story, all attributing it to the “senior official,” making it likely that the news was planted by the government.
If confirmed, the report represents a major development in PJAK’s history and could trigger Iranian military actions inside Iraq. The senior official accused the KRG, led by Masud Barzani, of letting PJAK set up “training, administrative and logistics facilities” in the camp, and described the move as “treacherous measures” against Iran [ISNA, 11 July].
PJAK is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has since 1984 staged an armed insurrection against the Turkish state. PJAK has been carrying numerous armed attacks against the security forces in western Iran, killing many of its members. Iran has also killed and executed many PJAK members.
In a 2008 article in the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh claimed that the US and Israel were supplying PJAK with equipment, training and targeting information.
Iran’s latest claim against KRG for providing military camp to PJAK comes a day after the US military leaders accused Iran of providing arms to Shia militant groups inside Iraq, resulting in casualties against US forces.
Photo: PJAK militants in their camp in Qandil Mountains / Press TV