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Iraq ramps up deployment of guards on Kurdistan region’s border with Iran

In this file picture, a military vehicle of members of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and Iraqi Border Guards are seen on the Iraqi side of the Mandali border crossing between Iraq and Iran. (By Reuters)

Iraq has ramped up the deployment of its guards on the Kurdistan region’s border with Iran, after Islamic Republic’s top general warned that the Baghdad government’s failure to deal with anti-Iran militants will prompt a fresh round of Iranian strikes.

“Under the guidance of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces [Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani] as well as efforts and follow-up of the Minister of Interior [Abdul Amir al-Shammari], there has been an agreement with the Kurdistan Region to reopen the 21st Border Guard Brigade in Sulaymaniyah province on the border with Iran,” Director of Relations and Media in the ministry, Major General Saad Maan, told the official Iraqi News Agency on Friday.

He said that 50 concrete towers and 40 cameras have been erected, and construction of 47 border posts will soon begin on the Iraqi-Iranian border line.

“Specialized contracting companies will be invited next week to submit their bids, and they will start their activities after that. The monitoring center for border cameras will also be inaugurated at the same time, which will utilize 130 cameras. Efforts are underway to increase their number,” Maan added.

The senior Iraqi official stressed that the cameras will closely monitor Sinjar district in the Kurdistan region as well as border areas between Iraq and Iran, noting that a large monitoring hall will also come into service for security purposes.

Addressing an annual gathering of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commanders in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad on July 11, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri warned over the existence of armed separatist groups in northern Iraq that “cause insecurity at our borders.”

The general then noted that Iran will wait until September and hopes that the government of Iraq would honor its commitments.

“If the deadline passes and they (terrorists) remain armed or carry out any operation, our operations against those groups will definitely reoccur more severely,” he stated.

Since September last year, the IRGC has launched several raids against the positions of the notorious so-called Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) and the Komala Party in the northern Iraqi Kurdistan region.

The elite force has, on at least several occasions, urged the central government in Iraq as well as the Kurdistan region to meet their commitments toward Iran and take necessary measures to secure the common border.

Iran has repeatedly warned Iraqi Kurdistan’s local authorities that it will not tolerate the presence and activity of terrorist groups along its northwestern borders, saying the country will give a decisive response should those areas turn into a hub of anti-Islamic Republic terrorists.

On November 21, 2022, positions of anti-Iran separatist and terrorist groups in northern Iraq came under combined attacks using missiles and kamikaze drones. The strikes targeted the positions of the notorious PDKI and the Komala Party in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran’s Arabic-language al-Alam television news network reported at the time.

According to the network, one attack saw four missiles being fired against a PDKI position in the town of Koy Sanjaq in Erbil Province. A separate attack featured kamikaze drones smashing into another site belonging to the group near Baharka village.

Simultaneously, kamikaze drones struck positions associated with Komala across two locations near the city of Sulaymaniyah.

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