What’s up in Iranian Kurdistan?

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.

20 thoughts on “What’s up in Iranian Kurdistan?

  1. picard

    Excellent questions Helena. There were major bombings even before the Iran elections, leading to Khamenei making two major speeches in the region. (and even then making the claims of hidden hands — e.g., via the KRG)
    related news item and “joke of the month”
    “The election in Afghanistan is over and Ahmadinejad won with 42 million votes.

  2. Salah

    Another troubled area in Iran also Arabistan, Al Ahwaz

    The British archaeologist Gertrude Bell, who died in 1926, was a historian, linguist, photographer, spy and traveler who visited Persia and Iraq and what has become the eastern province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She wrote in very detailed fashion about what she saw and encountered.


    (The 14th Province, or Calls for Its Return)
    Jihad El-Khazen, 3 March 2009

  3. Pirouz

    Nice try, Salah.
    The last person to call Khuzestan by the fictional name “Arabistan” was Saddam Hussein. In a war of aggression, Saddam invaded Khuzestan in 1980, thinking the arab-iranian minority in this province would forsake their Iranian identity and rise up. They did not. And a million people died for this lie.
    Ever been to Khuzestan? I have.
    The people of Khuzestan are Iranians, all of them, including the arab minority. They speak Farsi and are Shia.

  4. Salah

    In a war of aggression, Saddam invaded Khuzestan in 1980, thinking the arab-iranian minority in this province would forsake their Iranian identity and rise up. They did not.
    You forgot intentionally or sincerely very factual facts, your lunatic Khomeini as early as he stepped up to the top of Iran regime, stated his revelation will exported and expanded to the neighbouring countries, such crazy and stupid thinking, which ignited Iraqi regime.
    You also forgot that your lunatic Khomeini believes and stated taking back AL Quds (Jerusalem) pass thorough Baghdad…….
    Your lunatic Khomeini with his commander thinking invading Basra and cutting that city Baghdad’s regime will fallen as the south will support them, but he forgot that 70% Iraqis from south fought 8 years the Iran’s a war of aggression…..
    Sadly living in US so long your mindset never been changed, tagging minority Arab linking their spoken language to their religious/Sec believes it’s clearly your racial motivations.
    Apologies again to Helena, and our friends, as I can not stop myself to not writing and correcting things here.

  5. Pirouz

    You’ve never been to Khuzestan, have you? If you had, you’d know the regional identity of these people is arab-iranian. The fictional name “Arabistan” is only used as a pretext for wars of aggression against the people of Khuzestan and Iran.
    The Imposed War against Iran was always waged against Saddam Hussein, not the Iraqi people. Consider how many Iraqi Shiites and Iraqi Kurds took refuge in Iran during Saddam’s wars of aggression. Iran mercifully accepted hundreds of thousands of them, fed them, gave them safe shelters, for years and years. Now that Iraq is finally free of Saddam, these refugees have returned to comprise elements of Iraq’s civil, religious and military leadership.
    By force, Iran realized the true danger of Saddam. That it was willing to endure such hardship and sacrifice in its attempts to eliminate him, is proof of its high sense of moral courage. Only the malignant, combined efforts of the US, USSR, France, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait prevented Iran from ridding Iraq of Saddam Hussein in the 1980’s. Had Iran been successful, the Iraqi people would have been spared the hundreds of thousands of casualties of the 1991 Gulf War, the hundred thousand casualties of the UN imposed sanctions, and the hundreds of thousands of casualties of the 2003 US war, which include millions of displaced citizens from Iraq.
    Arabistan is a lie, meant to deliberately prey upon the insecure, who find the need to inflate their own low esteem- to a degree brought on by the regional success of Zionism- all in the name of an unworkable, unattainable pan-Arabism.
    One more thing. The IRGC never stated it would take back al-Quds through Baghdad. What they said was the path to liberation for al-Quds runs through Karbala. Given the long term implications of Iranian/Iraqi cooperation, as well as the long term projected demographics of Palestine/Israel, they may ultimately be proven right.

  6. Titus

    There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the escalation between Salah and Pirouz says about the gulf peoples more than the entire library of congress.
    Thanks Helena for posting on this topic, I wonder about the risks the American’s took. You have been to Tehran and you could have been captured as another pawn just like Roxana Saberi. When folks trespass to and from Tijuana they don’t become hostages do they? This seems unique to this land of Pirouzes and fanatics, and to their accomplices in North Korea possibly.
    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.

  7. Salah

    religious and military leadership
    haahaaa, please take Sistani and his thugs Bader militia back or the time will come you get them back like rats run looking to hide in thier black holes in Iran again… ……

  8. Shirin

    the gulf peoples
    Keep right on displaying your ignorance, Titus. Iraqis and Iranis are not “gulf peoples”.

  9. Salah

    Iran – Kurdistan
    There is long standing issue of the Kurds in the region and their state governments.
    They have long troubles with central government giving their full rights as citizens on that land or the country.
    After 2003 Turkey, Iran and Syria who have Kurds minorities on their land are looking for Iraqi brethren to get life their Kurdistan identity.
    Early days Iraqi Kurds run to establish their semi state with their one flag there one diplomatic office with some western countries but then that dream crashed on the opposition lead by turkey mainly and Iran by shilling almost a long north strip of Iraqi /Iran boarders. Many cases Iraqi Kurds leaders and Iraqi poppet regime asked Iran to stop their military activities on Iraqi land in some cases the people forced to leave and seek refugees far from their towns and villages due to Iranian turkey intrusion inside Iraq.
    As for Iraq, there are much clearer, deep, and long interferences in the internal political life of the country by many outsiders from CIA, British, Iran, also Israelis…
    Until now this interference in the internal political life of the country, make Iraq unstable and causing major troubles to Iraqis all.
    While Helena calling to end US interference in the internal political life of another country, in same talkn Iran have a lot of playing fingers in the regions the recent one what north Yemen tribal area, let not forgot Lebanon or Egypt and the very close the gulf states in additions to threat in Iranians media of gulf states. Of course I did mentions Iraq very simple reason is cooperative interest between US and Iran made two enemies working together… as a companion enemies

  10. Salah

    Shirin,
    Titus “little mind doesn’t even realize” the gulf or the differences between gulf, Iraq and Iran.
    You know Titus for him the history not count in his low IQ

  11. Alex_no

    On a matter of fact, Pirouz’s knowledge of the history of his own country is slightly vague. Khuzistan was indeed called Arabistan, at least in part, until Reza Shah Pahlavi came to power, and Iranian nationalism came to the fore (with consequent renaming of everything that was not perfectly Iranian).
    To quote the Encyclopaedia of Islam:
    As a consequence of Musha’sha’ rule, the western portion of Khuzistan became known, from early Safawid times, as Arabistan. In later Safawid times, the title of “ wali of Arabistan” was conferred on the Musha’sha’ sultans. In the Safawid administrative system, the walis were the highest in rank of the four categories of umara-yi sarhadd , or “ amirs of the marches”, and, of the four walis, the first in rank was the wali of Arabistan, who was “higher and more honoured than his colleagues, on account of his belonging to a sayyid family, his valour and the number of his tribes” (Tadhkirat al-Muluk).
    The author is R.M.Savory, a distinguished historian of Safavid Iran.

  12. Salah

    Notably most pro Persian always they argue/ attacking pan-Arabism movement in Arab land.
    What above communicator saying “ an unworkable, unattainable pan-Arabism is clear myth, while its works for his pro Persian but for pan-Arabism not.
    The factual history is Arab land speaking one language one religion (Majority) related to few tribes from Al-Jazerrah “Hejaz” and have blood links, the history tell us there were one state one nation.
    Now we got a commentator full of racial hatred telling it’s “an unworkable, unattainable” they are due to as Helena said very long and a gross interference in the internal political life of another nation which goes back a century.
    History not be driven by individuals hatred

  13. Pirouz

    The modern use of the term “Arabistan” relates to a territorial claim, made by certain Arab nationalists, on the Iranian province of Khuzestan. As this territory is a recognized part of Iran, it represents the expansionist aims of certain proponents of pan-Arabism. Moreover, this claim was exploited in justifying the war of aggression which came to be known as the Imposed War. Make no mistake about Salah’s use of the term, “Arabistan”. He is delivering a deliberate provocation. Honestly Salah, wasn’t a million war dead enough, in the name of a fictitious “Arabistan”?
    Some of these pan-Arab nationalists are so out of date, and so out of touch. The heart of the arab speaking world, Palestine, has been forcibly occupied by Europeans of Jewish descent for six decades now. There have been numerous wars, most humiliating defeats for the Arabs at the hands of the Zionists. The Iraqi people have been forced to endure three catastrophic wars, and the country is now forcibly occupied by the United States military. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are each inherited systems of government, be that monarchial or private, propped up and totally dependent on American/Western support. And what do these out-of-touch, pan-Arab nationalists cry about? Abu Musa Island, the Greater and Lesser Tunbs, the fictional land of Arabistan and the fictitious name “Arabian Gulf”. Three rocks and two names on a map! Outrageous. And they actually wonder why they’ve become brushed aside in favor of religious political movements.
    So Salah, now you’re going to inform us about Kurdistan, just like you tried to do with Khuzestan? Again, the same question: have you ever been to Kurdistan? I have, on each side of the border between Iran and Turkey. Sure, there’s a hot war taking place between PJAK and the Iranian military. But it should be pointed out that Iran enjoys generally good relations with the Iraqi Kurd authorities (some of whom sought refuge in Iran from Saddam Hussein). All the same, Iran promotes the territorial integrity of Iraq.
    Here is an interesting news video from Vanguard TV, alleging US covert support for PJAK’s war against Iran:
    America’s Secret War With Iran: Vanguard

  14. Alex_no

    Pirouz, I am attempting to calm this argument down by pointing out the history. Part of Khuzistan, at least, was indeed called Arabistan from the 16th century till the rise to power of Reza Shah in 1925.
    It would not be surprising if Iraqis, as Arabs, had a tendency to call the whole Arabistan. There is no necessary implication of a territorial claim.
    There was, and probably is, a certain independence movement among the Arabs of Khuzistan. Saddam overvalued it (why the invasion), but it existed, and possibly still exists (I have a video of 2005 of their bombing activity).
    Let’s look at this situation with an eye of reality: there was a territory called Arabistan, invented at a time when the Safavid power was weak and the borders uncertain. The borders solidifying, there is still an independence movement, probably not very strong.
    So what? Probably the same situation in 95% of the states of the United Nations. Certainly in the UK and France (the countries I know best).

  15. Titus

    You are right Shirin, I was looking for non-offensive terms to designate the people of the region, and I fell short. I like Alex’s contribution, as he may have introduced the right term: Arabistan
    Let the discussion continue, I am eager to have the two Arabistanis (Salah and Pirouz) take us from the Reza Pahlevi days all the way back to when the prophet (SBUH) followers splintered over some minor disagreement that escapes my low IQ mind and how that causes cars to blow up daily in Iraq and Arabistan.
    Speaking of that, the Taliban stimulus package is raising up a notch their “bombs for clunkers” program, as they blew up five cars together as proof of their excitement over the democratic impetus in Afghanistan.
    Leave Afghanistan now Mr. high IQ Obama.

  16. Pirouz

    Sorry Alex. But citing references to academic sources with archaic definitions doesn’t really cut it. Nor does it help making casual suppositions on what might not surprise you about a culturally accepted term.
    I can tell from my own personal experiences that it widely accepted among the arab-iranian minority that their identity is iranian, and that the province is named Khuzestan. I can also tell you that various Arab nationalists have in the past deliberately used the term Arabistan to whip up anti-iranian fervor. One such leader was Saddam Hussein, who went so far as to launch a war of aggression to seize what he declared as “Arabistan”. He sent armed agents into Khuzestan to engage in acts of violence and sabatoge, not unlike what is currently being alleged of the United States today, in Khuzestan, Iraqi Kurdistan and Baluchestan. Which is exactly what Helena is referring to in this blog post.
    Titus, in order to assist you with your self-described low IQ, I suggest you study acts of political violence that may be closer connected to you, culturally, such as the Oklahoma City bombing, or possibly the terrorist bombing campaign carried out by the Irgun (Zionists) in Palestine during the violent formation of Israel. Does that help?
    It should further be pointed out that these violent car bomb attacks in Iraq are all an indirect result of an unlawful and incompetent US military occupation.

  17. Titus

    Pirouz,
    I have nothing to do with either Oklahoma (never been there), nor Irgun (I wasn’t born). If that is your best shot, then I am sorry for the poor intellect that inhabits your soul.
    I do remain intrigued by the reasons that drive you and Salah to blow each to smitherines over who knows what. Aren’t you both members of the peace loving religion, and your jihad means peaceful struggle to overcome our most difficult limitations?
    Your exchange paints a caricature of a caricature, and should be printed along with the Sunday funnies.

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