Iran and Turkey appear to be on collision course in Iraq - analysis


Staff member
Iran and Turkey appear to be on collision course in Iraq - analysis
It appears that Iran, having helped the Iraqi government grab Sinjar from the Kurdistan region, doesn’t want Turkey entering Sinjar now.
MARCH 1, 2021

While the region’s eyes are on recent tensions with Iran in the Gulf of Oman and Syria, a simmering dispute between Iran and Turkey in Iraq appears to be growing. The dispute has origins going back years as Iran has sought greater influence in Iraq, and Turkey has long viewed northern Iraq as its area of influence. The recent tensions have grown after Turkey threatened an invasion of Iraq’s Sinjar region. This region was home to the Yazidi minority prior to 2014. ISIS attacked Sinjar in 2014 and committed genocide and around 500,000 Yazidis were forced to flee. After Sinjar was liberated by Kurdish forces, a tense time resulted as various Kurdish factions sought control.

What matters is that in 2017, the Iraqi government supported pro-Iranian militias, called Hashd al-Shaabi, to retake Sinjar from the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government. Disputes in Sinjar over whether the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) might remain led to Turkish threats the Sinjar is harboring “terrorists.” In fact, some Yazidis had joined far-Left groups allegedly linked to the PKK as part of the struggle against ISIS. Turkey wanted to use this as an excuse to invade. Turkey has a long track record of invading and ethnically cleansing Yazidis and Kurds, in Afrin in Syria in 2019, and Tel Abyad in Syria in October 2019.