Iranian control of a strategically significant Kurdish area near the border between Iraq and Syria represents a grave security threat to Israel, a senior Kurdish security official told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Iran had coveted the mountainous Sinjar region — which spans from northwestern Iraq into eastern Syria — for “at least ten years.” In 2014, Sinjar was conquered by ISIS terrorists who went on to commit genocide and other war crimes against the region’s ancient Yazidi minority. After ISIS was driven out of the area by Kurdish peshmerga this year, Iranian-backed paramilitaries, among them the Hashd al-Shaabi, the Badr Organization and the Khorasani Brigades, began attacking the Kurds for control of the newly-liberated lands.
The same paramilitaries played a central role in the Iranian-coordinated assault on Kurdistan last month, following a 93 percent vote in favor of independence in the September 25 Kurdish referendum.
The official added that he had received reports claiming the Khorasani Brigades, an Iraqi Shia group affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), were building a “military base” on Mount Sinjar – at 4,800 ft, the region’s highest point. Kurdish media outlets have also reported on a continued stream of Iraqi army officers and Hashd al-Shaabi fighters onto the mountain and in the town of Sinjar beneath it. Hashd al Shaabi’s commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis – designated for terrorism by the US State Department – has been sighted in the area on several occasions.
The nature of that threat, according to the official, was demonstrated during the First Gulf War in 1991, when there was a consistent high-level Iraqi military presence on Mount Sinjar, even though the area was never targeted by Western coalition aircraft during the conflict. Some have claimed that the Iraqis launched their Scud missile attacks on Israel and Saudi Arabia during that conflict from Mount Sinjar — although Tel Aviv, which lies about 500 miles to the west, would have been out of range of even the most advanced Scuds at the time.
(C) 2017 . The Algemeiner . Ben Cohen