Iraqi sources said that General Esmail Qaani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, secretly visited Iraq on Tuesday, 15 August, and discussed security and political developments with several Iraqi politicians and militia leaders.

This is Qaani’s fourth visit to Baghdad following the formation of Mohamed Shia al-Sudani’s cabinet by pro-Iran parties and militias in October 2022.

Iran’s Quds Force is an arm within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that operates abroad, and both are under US sanctions.

“Qaani arrived in Baghdad via plane on Tuesday. He met with several political officials as well as governmental figures. He is expected to meet with Iraqi PM Sudani,” a senior member in Iraq’s ruling coalition, the Run of the State Alliance, told The New Arab’s Arabic language sister website Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on condition of anonymity.

The source also indicated that Qaani has met with several Iraqi militias that Iran backs.

Qaani’s visit aims to discuss the recent strategic agreement between the Iraqi government and the US, disagreements between the Iraqi militias and the Iraqi government and the need for de-escalating the conflicts.

“Qaani has urged leaders within the coordination board of the Islamic resistance to stop all military operations against the US and the global coalition forces at this time,” the source outlined.

The source said another subject of Qaani’s visit is the issue of the Iranian Kurdish opposition parties based in the northern Iraqi Kurdistan region and the need for the Iraqi government to follow up with Iran’s ultimatum to disarm those parties.

Iran accuses the Iranian Kurdish parties of “affiliating” with Israel and infiltration from Iraq’s borders to destabilise its national security.

Kurdish groups, in turn, strongly deny these accusations, saying that their activities are mainly “peaceful”.

A border security agreement was signed between Iran and Iraq in March and primarily aimed at tightening the frontier with Iraq’s Kurdish region, where Iranian Kurdish opposition parties have set up bases.

Under the signed security deal, Iraq pledges it would not allow armed groups to use its territory in the Iraqi Kurdish region to launch any border-crossing attacks neighbouring Iran.

Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff for IRGS, last month, warned in a tweet that if the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) fail to disarm the Iranian Kurds in Iraq by next month, the IRGC will launch military actions against them.

“Iran cannot launch cross-border ground operations into the Iraqi Kurdistan territories since Iran cannot dare to do it because the international community will not tolerate that from Tehran,” Khalil Nadiri, spokesperson of the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), told The New Arab via a secure messaging application. “Consequently, Iran will only try to launch missile and drone attacks against the Iranian Kurdish opposition parties. Besides, Iran cannot launch such attacks every day.”

He added, “Iran will observe how the US and Europe react; if it notices the US and the global community have no stances, then it may launch drone attacks against us.”

“We never lay down arms. However, we are abiding by our decision that our strife would not have negative consequences for the South of Kurdistan (KRI),” he remarked, adding that the officials in the KRI have not yet decided to disarm the Iranian Kurdish opposition parties.

He said they had taken precautionary measures to lessen casualties in case Iranian missiles targeted thems.

He cautioned that they would be obliged to move their peshmerga forces to cross the Iraqi borders and “transfer the battle within the Kurdish cities in Eastern Kurdistan (Iranian Kurdistan).

On Monday, Iraq approved the outcomes of a Joint Security Cooperation Dialogue (JSCD) with the United States to form a joint high committee with the US-led global coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS).

Meanwhile, Iran-backed Shia militias and politicians this week claimed that the US army is secretly sending reinforcements to the Ayn al-Asad military base in the Western Iraqi province of Anbar to seal off the Syrian-Iraqi borders, that possibly lead to confrontations with the Iraqi militias close to Iran.

Source » newarab