At the very end of a long news report from Tehran in today’s WaPo came this intriguing tidbit:
- Also on Sunday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces killed 26 members of Iranian-Kurdish insurgent groups, said Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The groups operate mainly from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, and Iranian officials often accuse the United States of supporting them with weapons and money.
You would think that at a time of intense American interest in the internal stability of Iran, that news would have gotten a bit more prominence?
Also, of course, because the Iranian province of Kurdistan is where the three US hikers who had crossed the border, apparently by mistake, were arrested by the Iranian border security on July 31.
They have since been interrogated. Obama’s national security adviser, Jim Jones, has described them as innocent and called for their speedy release.
The news of the recent RG crackdown there underlines the risks the three US citizens were taking when they chose to hike in that mountainous region, where the exact national border is at many points not clearly demarcated.
AFP had more details of the latest Revolutionary Guards crackdown in Iranian Kurdistan.
It said that Pakpoor,
- said the operation had delivered a “massive blow” to the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) and other Kurdish rebel groups.
He gave no indication of the period in which the killings took place but said that no guards forces were killed in the operation.
The commander vowed a further “crackdown on any instigators of insecurity directed by foreign or internal counter-revolutionaries” in the region.
Western Iran, which has a sizeable Kurdish population, has seen deadly fighting in recent years between Iranian security forces and PJAK rebels operating from rear-bases in neighbouring Iraq.
The group is closely allied with the Turkish Kurdish rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community.
The sources referred to in this Wikipedia entry on PJAK, which include Sy Hersh’s November 2006 article on various Bush administration efforts to foment regime change in Iran, also show (Reuters) that one of the earliest steps the Obama administration took after coming into office was to put PJAK onto the US terrorism list.
That was done on February 4, based on a judgment that PJAK is a front organization for the Turkish-Kurdish guerrilla/terrorist group, the PKK, which has been on the list for many years.
Anyway, I wish we could get better coverage in our big media here in the US of developments– whether in Iranian Kurdistan, Iranian Baluchistan, or elsewhere– that might well be linked to the US government’s continuing or past funding of efforts aimed at regime change in Iran.
One final note. With the US designation of PJAK as a terrorist group, I’m assuming that from that point on no US funds would go to PJAK or to any organizations affiliated with it. But how about before February 4? If there was indeed some US funding for PJAK-related bodies before February 4, it is very possible those groups might still have been operating till now on the basis of that funding…
Anyway, all such funding ought immediately to cease as it is a gross interference in the internal political life of another country. In addition, by nearly all the accounts of Iranian democrats, US government funding or the allegations thereof have seriously undermined the success of their efforts.