IRAQI KURDISTAN: Cross-border attacks’ lingering effects


27 July 2012
IRAQI KURDISTAN: Cross-border attacks’ lingering effects

CPTers took two journalists to the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran on 15 July to hear people tell about Iran’s cross border attacks on their villages. The journalists were Shyamalie Satkunanandan of Rudaw English and Jwanrro Mohammed of and Gorran Radio.

The group met with Bapir Haji Kakamin and Mohammed Haji Amin in the town of Zharawa where the men’s families share a house. They cannot stay permanently in their village of Basta along the border because of Iran’s annual attacks against it.

Mohammed told the group that in early spring of 2011 Iranian rockets hit his herds of sheep and goats. Several died immediately, but over 400 died in the following weeks. He had samples from the bodies tested. Written results show that the animals died from a combination of poisonous gases from the attacks and being moved from a cold to a hot climate to escape the attacks.

“I was the richest person in the area,” Mohammed said. “I used to help people. Now I cannot. Sometimes people help me. It hurts me psychologically. I write every day. I had a house in Basta. It was destroyed. It had five rooms. It had everything - guest space. I used to make $50,000 - $60,000 a year. Now I make nothing.”

The CPTers and journalists then went to the border village of Sunnah, where Iranian rockets damaged a school in 2011, and met with village leader Othman Bapir Mahmoud. Asked why Iran would attack Sunnah, Othman said Iran thought that the PJAK, an armed resistance group fighting for the rights of Kurds in Iran, used the clinic there. But the PJAK do not use the clinic, Othman said.

He pointed out the repaired roof of his neighbor’s house where a rocket went through on 17 July 2011, and other places in the neighborhood hit by rockets. He then took the group to the Iran border and pointed out three Iranian mountaintop bases. One is old, but Iran built the others in 2011, he said.

 14-year-old Bahar tells about the day
Iranian rockets hit her village.

Back in Sunnah, Shyamalie interviewed 14-year-old Bahar Omar Ibrahim. Bahar was washing clothes when the rockets came last year. A visual impairment made her unable to leave the area during the attacks. “I was very scared. I am still scared. I am very happy there are no attacks now. Life in the camp [where villagers had to relocate] was bad, dusty, hot and windy. I am glad to be at home in my village.”

On the trip back from Sunnah, the CPTers and journalists saw new trailers in the village of Shiwa Raz, likely put there by the Kurdistan Regional Government to be used as an internally displaced persons camp if Iran attacks village areas again. Villagers who live along the border are glad that so far Iran has not attacked their villages this year.

The trip resulted in a local radio report and an article published by Jwanrro.  Shyamalie plans to publish an article as well.  


CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not condone the violence perpetrated by Turkey and Iran against the Kurdish people.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not condone the sanctions against Iran emplaced by the U.N, that collectively punish the Iranian and Kurdish People of Iran.

CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not condone the calls for “military action” against Iran.