Iraqi Kurdistan: Cross-Border Attacks' Lingering Effects
On 15 July 2012 CPTers took two journalists to the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran to hear people tell about Iran's cross border attacks on their villages.
The group met with Bapir Haji Kakamin and Mohammed Haji Amin in the town of Zharawa where the men's families share a house. Bapir and Mohammed cannot stay permanently in their village of Basta along the border because of Iran's annual attacks on their village.
Mohammed told the group that in the beginning of spring 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. He showed the CPTers and journalists documentation that showed that the animals died from a combination of poisonous gases from the attacks, and from having to move the animals from a cold climate to a hot climate to escape from the attacks.
"At the beginning of spring 2011," Mohammed said, "I was the richest person in the area. 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 headed to the border village of Sunnah, where Iranian rockets damaged a school in 2011 (see /cptikurdistan/2012/06/disrupted-lives-children-of-sunnah.html). The team met with Othman Bapir Mahmoud, a leader of the village. When asked why he thought Iran attacked Sunnah, Othman replied that Iran thought that the PJAK used the clinic in Sunnah. (The PJAK is an armed resistance group fighting for the rights of Kurds in Iran.) But Othman said that the PJAK do not use the clinic.
Othman showed the CPTers and journalists the repaired roof of his neighbor's house where a rocket went through 17 July 2011. He showed them where rockets hit elsewhere in the neighborhood, too. He then went with them to the Iran border and pointed out three Iranian bases on the tops of the mountains. He said one base was old, but the Iranians built the others this past year.
Back in Sunnah, the journalists interviewed Bahar Omar Ibrahim, a 14-year-old girl who was washing clothes when the rockets came last year. She could not leave the area during the attacks because she is visually impaired. "I was very scared," said Bahar. "I am still scared. I am very happy there are no attacks now. Life in the camp" (where the 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 (KRG) 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 article. Another article is planned to be published soon.
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.