The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has released an interesting map providing a look at the progress of the Iraqi operation against forces of the separatist Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the disputed areas in northern Iraq in the period between October 16 and October 29.
The content of this Washington-based think tank is often used by mainstream media to provide their “analytical” coverage of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
The map below provides an interesting look at the mainstream agenda in the coverage of the ongoing standoff between the Iraqi Federal Government and the KRG.
The map description reads:
Iraqi forces & Iran’s proxies prepare to seize Kurdish border crossings
Iraq and Iran rejected a Kurdish ceasefire offer and launched a new phase of their military campaign against Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraqi forces and Iran’s proxies are prepared for new military operations to seize Iraqi Kurdistan’s border crossings if Kurdish forces do not relinquish them. Iranian proxy leaders are coordinating with Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) commanders and may even direct the military operation, if it occurs. It will be gin at the Fishkhabur crossing between Iraqi Kurdistan and Syria, where Iran’s proxies including the Badr Organization and Asa’ib Ahl al Haq are deployed. Negotiations are underway after Prime Minister abadi set a deadline for the handover of the crossings on October 28th, but there has been no sign of a Kurdish withdrawal. Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani announced he will not seek an extension of his term past November 1st in a letter to the Kurdish Parliament on October 29th.
The key takeaways from the map:
- Big bad Iranias are leading the military opearation against the KRG;
- Iraqi government forces may be if are not already subordinated to Iran in their “agression” against the KRG [Just look at the foreword about “a Kurdish ceasefire offer”];
- There are some “Kurdish border crossings” despite the fact that they are formally a part of Iraq, even according to the US State Department itself, which clearly rejected the KRG independence referendum;
- The map provides a very detailed look at all forces of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units involved in the operation, but avoids doing so in case of the Iraqi Army, the Federal Police, the Counter-Terrorism Service etc. This creates an impression that a major part of the forces involved in the operation was from the PMU while indeed other forces played a comparable or even bigger role.
Summing up the points above, Iran is guilty in the ongoing tensions in northern Iraq. Doesn’t they worry that this look at least a bit suspicious?