Kurds Launch Secret War In Iran
The Daily Telegraph | September 10, 2007
Kurdish guerrillas have launched a clandestine war in northwestern Iran, ambushing troops as they seek Western backing to secure an ethnic homeland.
In retaliation, the Iranian army has carried out a series of counterattacks in the mountains, which span the border with Iraq.
Murat Karayilan, a Kurdish guerrilla commander, told the Daily Telegraph that Tehran had originally tried to recruit the outlawed groups to fight coalition troops in Iraq.
"The U.S. and Britain came to Iraq to establish a democratic system, but this scared the Iranians, so they negotiated with us and offered many things to attack the coalition," he said under a canopy of trees near his headquarters on Iraqi territory in the Qandil Mountains.
Iranian newspapers have reported the deaths of seven soldiers in recent clashes with Kurdish guerrillas. Last month, the rebels claimed responsibility for shooting down an Iranian helicopter.
A loose alliance of guerrillas, styling itself the Kurdistan Democratic Federation, is fighting for an independent state which would cover the Kurdish-majority areas of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
Mr. Karayilan, who is from the PKK guerrilla group, said Iran and Turkey were acting in tandem to repress their Kurdish regions. But, he added, the Kurds have been inspired by the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, which has been relatively secure since Saddam Hussein's downfall in 2003. "The regional government in Iraqi Kurdistan has increased the national feeling of Kurds everywhere," he said.
Iran believes that the U.S. and Britain are now arming and training the Kurdish guerrillas to strike its territory from bases inside Iraq. Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, accused America of supporting terrorism inside the Islamic Republic.
"America wants to carry out actions such as blowing up the country's oil pipelines by supporting bandits and small groups of Kurdish rebels," he told the Iranian press.
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