Kurds at centre of new Iran, Turkey power grabs in Iraq - analyst

Iran and Turkey are making a new play for power and influence in Iraq and Kurds are at the centre of it, analyst Seth Frantzman said. 

“The Kurds are the hinge on which both of these countries are pushing, and the door for power in Iraq runs through that hinge,” Frantzman said in the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Turkey’s military launched air strikes against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq early on Monday. The Defence Ministry said it began “Operation Claw Lock” after receiving information that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was planning a large-scale attack. Turkey was exercising its right to self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, the ministry said.

Turkey is making another power play in northern Iraq claiming to be fighting against what it calls the “terrorists”, “but it is setting up bases and using Iraq’s airspace,” Frantzman said.

While Turkey is making its moves in the region, another operation is afoot led by Tehran, the analyst said. Tehran is using pro-Iranian groups to achieve this goal, he said.

It appeared Iran was seeking to wield its influence as Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) headed to the United Kingdom on Monday after visiting Turkey, Frantzman said.

“On the ground, pro-Iran militias have increasingly threatened Turkish bases in northern Iraq, especially the base near Bashiqa,” he said.

 

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