They were warned that if they failed to comply, all hell would be let loose. Almost exactly one month later, the Kurds have been dealt their most humiliating defeat since 1975, when Barzani’s father’s rebellion against Baghdad collapsed overnight as Washington, Tehran and Tel Aviv withdrew their support.
The intricacies of the Iranian operations in Iraq — and the shrewdness of their operatives in working with communities, even relatively small ones such as the Turkmens — shows that the Iranians are in Iraq for the long haul and that curbing Tehran’s influence will be far from a walk in the park for Washington.
As the power of Iran and its allies rises in areas such as Kirkuk, with Tehran and its Iraqi friends seeking to create facts on the ground similar to the Kurds, the opposition from Sunni Turkmens and Sunni Arabs as well as regional powers such as Turkey will potentially create yet another recipe for disaster in Iraq.
On Oct. 18, a group of displaced Kurds from Tuz Khormato protested outside the main PUK office in Sulaimaniyah. One 40-year-old man moved amongst the crowd, asking for the address of the Iranian consulate in the city. “I want to go and see the Iranian Consul General,” Ismail Abbas, a tailor who had left his family in the mountains overlooking Tuz Khormato two days earlier, told Al-Monitor, “For the last two and a half years, we have been asking for reconciliation [with the Turkmens], but the [Iraqi] politicians can’t do it.” He added, “Iran has the power to resolve this issue … we have no trust in Baghdad.”