18 February 2018

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05/11/2007 IRAQ – IRAN

Kurdistan: a thousand peshmerga deployed along the Iranian border

An attack in Arbil is a sign that threats to the security in the hitherto peaceful region are growing. Kurdish government deploys more men along the border with Iran in an attempt to stop possible infiltrations in support of the notorious terrorist group Ansar al-Islam.

Sulaimaniyah (AsiaNews) – Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region has sent 1,000 peshmerga troops to its border with Iran to stop smuggling of men and weapons flowing in to support Islamist groups like Ansar al-Islam (supporters of Islam).

Major General Jabbar Yawir said an Ansar-allied group calling itself the "Kurdistan Brigades of Al-Qaeda" has repeatedly attacked Iraqi Kurdish forces in the region around the border town of Penjwin.

“The forces sent shall be in two brigades,” the general said. “Some will reinforce army units and border checkpoints and some will mount patrols in the region to ambush the enemy.”

The peshmerga are former Kurdish separatist guerrillas that have been incorporated into the Iraqi and Kurdish armed forces in the four years since a US-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

Ansar al-Islam is one of the most radical Islamist group in the country and has close ties to the Talibans and al-Qaeda.

Northern Iraq is relatively peaceful compared to the rest of the country, where Sunni and Shiite factions have been fighting an undeclared war fuelled from the outside.

However, recent incidents have raised fears that the security situation in Kurdistan might also deteriorate. Because of its relative calm the area had become a refuge for many people displaced from elsewhere, especially Christians fleeing persecution in Baghdad and Mosul.

On Wednesday, a powerful truck bomb exploded in front of the Kurdish interior ministry in Arbil, killing at least 14 people and injuring another 87. That attack was claimed by the "Islamic State of Iraq", which includes the al-Qaeda in Iraq organisation as well as six other smaller affiliated groups.

US commanders in Iraq accuse Iran of stoking the fire in Iraq by funding armed Sunni and Shia groups just to keep tensions high and spread chaos.

See also

10/09/2008 IRAQ
First Christian militia set up in village near Nineveh
Hit by a truck bomb last year, attacked by militias, forced to pay money to al-Qaeda, the inhabitants of Tal Asquf have set up their own security force to patrol the entry points to their village.

20/09/2010 IRAQ
Poverty and unemployment among northern Christians
Families living in villages in Zakho District are worn out by the lack of work, food and basic services. “We depend entirely on aid from humanitarian organisations and the Church,” some say. Children have a hard time integrating in schools where Kurdish is the language of education.

16/11/2006 IRAQ
Bomb against Dominican church in Mosul
The blast took place on November 1 destroying the entrance to the friars' church. No one was hurt. The situation for Christians is getting worse. After a Syro-Orthodox priest was decapitated many clergymen are afraid of wearing clerical robes, but prayers are encouraging hope. "It's our duty not to despair".

08/08/2005 IRAQ
Constitutional talks to begin homestretch
The August 15 deadline is approaching fast before the final draft is ready.  Kurdish autonomy and state-religion relations still need ironing out.

10/10/2007 TURKEY – IRAQ
Turkey ready for cross-border raid into Kurdistan, US warns against it
Prime Minister Erdogan expressly claims his country’s right to cross the Iraqi border to attack the PKK. US State Department says it is not the right way. Iraqi governor in Arbil warns Turks that if they cross the border they would sustain heavy casualties.

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