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IRANIAN STRIKES AGAINST KURDS AND SUSPECTED PFLP ATTACK AGAINST ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES

November 16-23, 2022 | Issue 27 - CENTCOM

Alberto Suarez, Giorgio Tiberio, Elizabeth Leoce, Lucy Game, Nereida Pérez, CENTCOM Team

Deepankar Patil, Editor; Argyrios Chatziilias, Senior Editor


Flag of Kurdistan[1]


Date: November 20, 2022

Location: Kurdistan, Iraq

Parties involved: Iran; Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); Iranian citizens; Iraq; Kurdish ethnic group Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI); Komala Party of Iranian Kurdistan (Komala); Kurdistan Freedom Party; US

The event: The IRGC launched missile and drone strikes against bases of the PDKI and Komala in Iraqi Kurdistan, killing one Kurdish fighter. The IRGC accused Kurdish groups of supporting protests, being a threat to Iranian security, and of being supported by the US. US CENTCOM condemned Iran’s strikes as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and a threat to Iraq’s and the Middle East’s security.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Drone and missile strikes will likely result in Iranian opposition groups, such as the PDKI, Komala, and Kurdistan Freedom Party, collaborating against Iran. Increased intelligence sharing and security cooperation between Kurdish political groups will very likely reduce internal tensions, increase political unity, and reinforce Kurdish military and political action against Iran. Increased political unity will very likely result in Kurdish groups releasing more statements supporting protests in Iran.

  • Iran will almost certainly see Kurdish collaboration as evidence of the Kurds’ intentions to destabilize the regime, very likely resulting in more missile and drone strikes toward Iraqi Kurdistan. Increased strikes against Kurdish positions in Iraq are very unlikely to reintroduce popular domestic support for the Iranian government, as Iranian citizens will very likely see future strikes as evidence of the regime’s suppression of dissent. Protests will almost certainly continue in Iran, likely condemning the strikes and the regime’s use of violence in repressing protests.

Date: November 20, 2022

Location: Near Mevo Dotan settlement, West Bank, Palestine

Parties involved: Israel Defense Forces (IDF); Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP); Palestinian gunmen

The event: A car with wires, gas cylinders, and a PFLP flag exploded near an IDF military post. The explosion did not cause damage to IDF personnel or assets. The incident happened as the IDF was conducting a major counterterrorism operation in the northern West Bank against Palestinian gunmen that targeted Israeli military posts, settlements, and civilians since the start of this year.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The finding of the PFLP flag will almost certainly result in IDF investigators holding the PFLP responsible for the attack. The IDF will almost certainly increase its operations against the PFLP as a result of the attack, very likely weakening the group’s operations. IDF’s crackdown is very likely to result in an increase of terrorist attacks in the short term, likely increasing instability in the West Bank.

  • Violence in the West bank with car bombs used against the IDF forces and assets will likely increase. Lack of identification of assailants by the IDF in the short-term will very likely bolster future attacks, as terrorists will likely believe they can act against IDF targets with impunity, despite increased IDF counterterrorism efforts. The IDF will almost certainly reinforce its HUMINT capacities in the West Bank to identify those involved in the failed car bomb, as well as its IMINT and SIGINT capabilities to identify potential vehicle-borne improvised devices aimed at IDF outposts and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

 

[1] Flag of Kurdistan by Sarchia Khursheed licensed under Creative Commons

[2] One dead after Iran strikes Kurdish groups in Iraq with missiles, drones The Times of Israel, November 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/one-dead-after-iran-strikes-kurdish-groups-in-iraq-with-missiles-drones/

[3] IDF investigating suspected botched car bombing near West Bank military post, The Times of Israel, November 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-investigating-suspected-botched-car-bombing-near-west-bank-military-post/

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