Drone Attack in Kurdistan: New Conflict Threatens Stability?

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Drone Attack

LIPUTAN6 EN – In a development that experts believe could lead to serious consequences, an attack was carried out using drones on the military base of Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the Erbil Province of the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The regional government responded to the attack with a strong statement on Sunday, announcing that the Peshmerga headquarters had been targeted by two explosive-laden drones that detonated in the middle of the night, occurring at 11:45 PM the previous night.

The attack was aimed at the Peshmerga headquarters in Qushtapa – Erbil, causing no casualties but resulting in material losses, according to the statement.

The statement described the terrorist attack carried out by an unlawful group with the assistance of paid agents against the Peshmerga headquarters as a serious attack and an affront. The statement held these parties and the federal government responsible for this cowardly attack.

Barzani’s Stance

The President of the region, Masrour Barzani, condemned the attack on his social media account, stating, “I am deeply concerned about the terrorist attack targeting the Peshmerga base in the northeast of Erbil last night, and I strongly condemn those who violate the law and collaborate with them.”

He added, “We are fully aware of the deceit they are practicing here and those who violate the law standing behind it, and we have the right to defend our people.”

He emphasized that “the federal government must consider any attack on the Kurdistan region of Iraq as an attack on Iraq as a whole and deal with it with appropriate measures because continuous procrastination will encourage these criminals to continue their crimes.”

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The President of the Government of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq also affirmed that “they are using state funds and weapons to attack the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, shaking the stability of the entire country, putting it at risk of falling back into bloodshed.”

He urged Barzani, the Prime Minister of Iraq, to “take concrete and effective measures to deter these groups, hold them accountable, and reaffirm the state’s control over the territories used as a launching pad for these attacks.”

What’s Behind the Targeting?

Observers warn that the targeting of Peshmerga forces in a sensitive region near the capital Erbil marks a reversal in the rules of engagement, an attempt by armed groups to expand their operations not only against coalition forces but also against official Iraqi forces, including the Peshmerga.

The Director of the Center for Political Thought in Baghdad, Ihsan al-Shamari, stated in an interview with the Arab news site Sky News:

The targeting undoubtedly aims to increase pressure on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq by armed groups on the run and those mobilizing them. This is a message stating that the region will be targeted, not just American bases within it.

It is also preparation for any political action that may be taken by the coordination framework regarding the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, through the issuance of a binding law by parliament.

Therefore, the targeting is to proactively explore Kurdish strengths and squeeze them, pushing them to agree and vote in support of the anticipated American withdrawal.

Furthermore, the attack represents a serious change in the rules of engagement, as while the previous targets were coalition bases, directly targeting the Peshmerga this time indicates a new phase of developing conflict. On the other hand, writer and political analyst Ali al-Beidr stated in an interview with Sky News Arab:

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This targeting occurs in an effort to expand the scope of conflict in Iraq and the region as a whole, exposing the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in particular to direct confrontation with armed groups standing behind it.

After the events in Gaza, the rules of the game and confrontation have changed, as these groups want to turn the country into an open field and spread chaos within it, covering up their negative and disruptive role internally and regionally.

Additionally, it falls within the context of efforts by some entities driven by external agendas to undermine the stability and development experienced by the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, which presents an advanced model for all regions of Iraq, by draining and involving it in conflicts with these groups and those standing beyond its borders.

However, despite all this, we should not rule out the possibility that the targeting may have occurred mistakenly, although it remains an extremely remote possibility.

Since mid-October, international coalition bases in Iraq, especially the Liberation and Erbil Airport bases in Kurdistan Iraq, and the Ain al-Asad Base in Anbar in the west of the country, have repeatedly been targeted by rocket and drone attacks by factions loyal to Tehran calling themselves the “Islamic Resistance” in Iraq.

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