Iraq’s attack on Kirkuk was directed by Iran and coordinated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). According to Rudaw, Iranian media indicates:
“Chief of staff for Iran’s Supreme Leader, Mohamadi Gulpaigani, stated that the fall of Kirkuk was based on instructions from Ayatollah Khamenei that were carried out by the commander of the Quds Force in order to spoil an American-Israeli plan to create an independent Kurdistan in Iraq, dubbing it a second Israel in the Middle East.”
Iraq is a weak state that relies on security, diplomatic, and economic assistance from Iran. Premier Heider al-Abadi paid homage to Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran just a few days after the Kirkuk operation. Khamenei warned of America’s “tricks”, admonishing: “You should never trust them.” Iran views America as the “Great Satan” and wants to limit U.S. influence in the region.
Khamenei disparaged America’s allies in Iraqi Kurdistan. He blasted its independence referendum an act of “sedition.” Iran fears that an independent Iraqi Kurdistan might destabilize Iran. It could inspire twelve million Kurds in Iran to demand greater autonomy.
Preventing Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence also advances Iran’s goal to pressure Israel. Iran has long wanted to establish a corridor of contiguous territory for supplying weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. In turn, Hezbollah supplies Hamas, which launches rockets into Israel. The Kirkuk operation advanced the creation of a Shiite crescent, extending from Tehran to Baghdad, to Damascus, and Beirut.
See Full Article from the Main Source Huffington Post, November 2, 2017, by David L. Phillips
David L. Phillips is Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. He served as a Senior Adviser and Foreign Affairs Expert to the U.S. Department of State under Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama.