Rami Dabbas
Rami Dabbas
Writer & Political Analyst

Latest developments in Israel and Iran war

The escalation between Iran and Israel has intensified through the expansion of military and intelligence targeting operations by each side for the interests of the other party in the region, specifically with the beginning of this month of April (2021), between mutual targeting of ships in the waters of the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea, and Israeli sabotage. “Intentional energy generators inside the Iranian nuclear site, Natanz, with the aim of influencing Iran’s negotiating position in Vienna regarding the return of the United States of America to the nuclear agreement with Iran that was reached on July 14, 2015.

By the middle of this month, the confrontation between the Israeli and Iranian sides moved to a new round in Iraq, which is still paying the price for its association with Iran in the context of the problems of its multi-ring regional project in the region on the one hand, and the problems of the agreement of its nuclear program on the impact of the US withdrawal from it in May 2018 from Second hand.

This confrontation took place, in particular, in the Kurdistan region, where an armed group targeted one of the centers rumored to be affiliated with the Israeli Mossad intelligence service in the capital, Erbil, on April 14th. Although the Kurdistan government denied the existence of Israeli intelligence centers on the territory of the region, and Israel did not confirm, the signals issued by the authority in Tehran came to indicate that its branches in Iraq from armed military militias are responsible for this targeting, which means that Iran is entering Iraq in the context of its conflict with Israel against the background of Its nuclear program and recent efforts to undermine or end it. This coincides with indirect US-Iranian talks taking place under European auspices in Vienna, aimed at saving the nuclear agreement with Iran after the administration of former US President Donald Trump withdrew from it unilaterally. In fact, there are reports indicating secret talks between the two parties took place in the German city of Frankfurt before the Vienna meetings.

Consecutive accusations

The armed attack on an Israeli intelligence center in Kurdistan came as a result of successive accusations that Iran directed against the Erbil government to open the region as an intelligence arena to Israel in a way that harms, according to it, its interests in Iraq, in addition to similar accusations by the Iraqi Kurdistan National Union Party of allowing Israel to establish an intelligence center in Sulaymaniyah, This will put the region permanently in the crosshairs of the Iraqi armed militias affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, especially the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia and the Harakat al-Nujaba militia, which are the two Iraqi militias most closely linked to Iran. Thus, the region becomes a cycle of continuous Israeli-Iranian escalation.

The Erbil government has tried to remove the region from the military and political exchanges between Iran and Israel by denying the existence of Israeli intelligence centers on its territory in order to avoid further Iranian attacks on the region by armed Iraqi militias, specifically those of the Popular Mobilization Forces, especially since it has witnessed several security attacks before. Those militias against the American military bases, the most prominent of which was the targeting of Erbil airport, in the context of many accusations directed by these militias against the Erbil government indicating its collusion with the United States of America against Iranian interests in Iraq, accusations that have increased in light of Iranian speculation that the region will be the center of the American forces if they withdraw From the rest of the Iraqi territory, according to the decision of the Iraqi Parliament issued on January 5, 2020.

In this context, the Erbil government seeks to distance the region from these confrontations with its regional dimensions, in an attempt to reduce the amount of pressure exerted by Iran against it, through its proxies from the Iraqi political forces and its military militias. The results of these pressures are clearly reflected in the positions of those political forces within Parliament and their attempts to disrupt the region’s access to its financial allocations in the state budget, and in the positions of its military arms that target the region’s interests with security strikes from time to time, which are realistically inseparable from Iran’s disliking the pattern of close relations that It links the Iraqi Kurdistan government with the United States of America.

It is noted in this context that the Kurdistan Regional Government, although it does not establish direct diplomatic relations with Israel, is – according to many reports — actually cooperating with it on the ground in various files, which is well monitored by Tehran, as Iraqi Kurdistan is a “suitable environment” for the activities of Israel. Intelligence. Geographically, Kurdistan is close to Israel’s arch-rival, Iran, and thus the possibility of monitoring and follow-up becomes very easy. Likewise, Israel has many security cooperation relations with the Kurdish police forces, known as the Peshmerga, in terms of training and arming. This is in addition to the multilateral cooperation in the fields of energy and oil. In addition to the secret attempts at normalization that took place during the years 2018 and 2019 through secret visits by Iraqi delegations to Israel, which are factors that — in addition to the problems of the nuclear program — raise the tension in Iran, which pushes it to seize Iraqi lands in turn, but through an actual presence on the ground. The land is through the growing loyalty of the Iraqi PMF militia to it.

Double pressure

From here, Iraq appears, in light of Israeli interests in Kurdistan and Iranian interests in the Iraqi political and security scene, to be under double Iranian-Israeli pressure that makes it an actual arena for confrontations between the two sides during the next stage, especially with the increasing pressure of political forces towards the American presence, especially after the operation. The military launched by Washington and resulted in the killing of the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard, Qassem Soleimani, and the Deputy Secretary-General of the Popular Mobilization Militia, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, on January 3, 2020.

Israel believes that the complete US withdrawal from Iraq will impose a great military vacuum in light of security instability, which will increase the opportunities available for Iran to tighten its control over the Iraqi political and security scene, and therefore Israel is well anticipating this path, and seeks to increase the pace of its interference in the Iraqi issue from During the strengthening of its intelligence presence in Kurdistan as one of the mechanisms for preserving — from Tel Aviv’s point of view — Israeli interests in the region, especially with the new American policy adopted by President Joe Biden’s administration, especially with regard to trying to return to the nuclear agreement with Iran, as the situation was before the withdrawal From him in 2018.

It is clear, then, that the Israeli interests in Iraq via Kurdistan are mainly security interests, and they are interests that Israel translates through several means, some of which are related to undermining the Iranian regional project in its Iraqi circle, and some of them are related to thwarting Iranian military projects in Iraq by targeting Tehran’s arms from its Iraqi military militias. To force the Iraqi government to rein in Iranian interference in the political scene, in order to provide Israel with opportunities to further activate cooperation with the Kurdistan government.

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