[Freemanlist2] MEMRI- Kurdish Guerrilla Leftist Group Fighting Iran
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--- On Tue, 4/13/10, MEMRI <memri at memri.org> wrote:
From: MEMRI <memri at memri.org>
Subject: Al-Arabiya TV Report on the Komalah - Kurdish Guerrilla Leftist Group Fighting Iran
To: bernards at sbcglobal.net
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 2:18 PM
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Special Dispatch |2906| April 13, 2010
Al-Arabiya TV Report on the Komalah – Kurdish Guerrilla Leftist Group Fighting Iran
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On March 18, 2010, Al-Arabiya TV aired a report on the Komalah, a Kurdish guerrilla leftist opposition group fighting Iran. The program, from the channel's "Special Mission" series, featured what it claimed was never-before-seen footage from the group's training camps in the mountains.
The Komalah carry out clandestine operations against the Iranian intelligence forces and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), including assassinations of Iranian officials, using guerilla warfare and playing " cat and mouse" with Iranian forces. They maintain ties with other Kurdish opposition groups – both military, such as PJAK (Party for Free Life in Kurdistan), and political, such as the Kurdish Left Party in Syria.
The reporter interviewed Komalah secretary-general Omar Ilkhan Zadeh, who "tops the most wanted list of the Iranian authorities." According to Zadeh, the Iranians have executed hundreds of their fighters over the past 30 years, "but this will not change our policies." In order to protect the interests of the Kurdestan Province in Iraq, the Komalah members do not attack Iran from within Iraqi Kurdestan, said Zadeh, but have "strong armed forces in and around the cities of Iranian Kurdestan."
Zadeh accused the Iranian regime of using all means to combat them, including conducting a "heroin war" – distributing narcotics among the Kurdish youth – and launching TV and radio channels broadcasting in Kurdish, in what he said was an effort to corrupt the Kurdish language.
The report gives a rare glimpse into the world of Komalah, where members maintain an austere, socialist lifestyle, and many women are fighters.
According to the reporter, the group's activities are financed mainly by donors in Europe, but also by "protection money" exacted from the thriving trade of alcohol smuggling into Iran.
The translation of the interview of Komalah secretary-general Omar Ilkhan Zadeh and Komalah fighter Baria Jozad is based on the Arabic subtitles.
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2439.htm.
Komalah – Footage of the Group's Training Camp
Reporter: "Who are the Komalah, the workers' party of Iranian Kurdistan? Will they become a gateway to changing the Iranian regime, as were their counterparts in Iraq? More important – have the wheels of regime change in Iran begun to turn, or are these merely dreams, which will shatter against the Iranian rocks? Join me – Ahmad Al-Saleh – on this week's 'Special Mission.'"
The report shows footage of the Komalah training camp in mountainous terrain.
Reporter: "This camp is being exposed to cameras for the first time, and for the first time, a team of journalists have been able to see what is concealed behind the walls of the most important base for training the fighters of the Iranian Komalah.
"This organization opposes the Iranian regime, and fights it on its own turf, carrying out operations classified by Iranian intelligence as 'top secret.' Most of them are Kurdish Iranians. The rest are of other national affiliations, who have despaired of everything but fighting and planning armed operations, which are carried out in the territory of one of the region's most dangerous intelligence organizations.
"The Komalah believes that its operations against the Iranian intelligence agency constitute a game of cat and mouse. The difference, however, is that the roles keep changing, and no side maintains its role in this fickle land, which can easily turn against its people.
"Some Komalah leaders explained to us how they assassinated the Iranian representative in the Kurdistan Province. He was assassinated on Iraqi soil, because they considered him to be a representative of the Iranian intelligence."
The report continues against the backdrop of the Komalah cemetery, showing row upon row of graves.
Reporter: "Not far from here lies one of Komalah's well-known cemeteries, where, strolling through it, you realize the true dimensions of the operations carried out by the other player in the game.
"This place reflects the significant role played by the security and military Iranian agencies in the region. Komalah members are buried here only if they were killed by the Iranians, in military or intelligence operations carried out mostly on Iraqi soil." [...]
Komalah Leader Omar Ilkhan Zadeh: The Iranian Regime Attacks with Armed Forces and Distributes Narcotics Among Kurdish Youth
Reporter: "The leader of Komalah tops the most wanted list of the Iranian authorities. He maintains intensive political activities with other Kurdish parties, some of which are comrades-in-arms, like PJAK, while others are comrades to the political opposition, like the Kurdish Left Party in Syria, which has strong ties with Komalah."
Komalah Secretary-General Omar Ilkhan Zadeh: "With regard to the armed operations – the executions will not alter our policies. Over the past thirty years, hundreds of our fighters have been executed. We refrain from attacking Iran from within Iraqi Kurdistan, in an effort to protect the interests of the government of the Kurdistan Province. We do not attack from here, but we have strong armed forces, organized within the cities of Iranian Kurdistan and outside them."
Reporter: "Zadeh – whose organization decided that, unlike PJAK, it would operate in secret – believes that he has influence over 10 million people in Iran. He said that Komalah boycotts the media because their adversary was employing various measures in fighting them, including, by way of example, the 'heroin war.'"
Omar Ilkhan Zadeh: "Iranian Kurdistan is being attacked by armed forces, and all the areas of Kurdistan have been turned into military zones. In addition, the Iranian regime has launched TV and radio stations in Kurdish, in order to distort our language. These channels purport to be Kurdish, but in fact, the language they use is far from proper Kurdish.
"In addition, the Iranian regime spreads among the Kurdish youth narcotics such as heroin, hashish, and opium. We consider this to be a new 'Anfal' campaign, this time through heroin. Iran has been trying to set this trap for Kurdistan for thirty years. This project is headed by Ahmadinejad's vice-president, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi." [...]
Against backdrop of footage of battle scenes:
Reporter: "But this does not mean that there is no use of force between the two sides, as can be seen in this footage from a battle with the IRGC in northern Iran. [...]
The Training and Ideology of the Movement
Reporter: "In this camp, those volunteering to fight the Iranian regime undergo tests. Then, the journey of training begins, in order to turn them into active combatants on Iranian soil. The training includes, at the initial stage, lectures on the goals of the movement, in order to introduce the movement's ideology to these fighters, followed by theoretical lectures on the weapons they will use in the fighting. The movement selects its most skilled members to be instructors.
"The ideology of the movement's members is not very different from that of the Tudeh Party and the Communists. Their symbols are more common here than the Iranian symbols. They call Iran the 'Islamic Republic' in order to stress the difference in ideology between the Iranian regime and their movement. Nevertheless, they do not consider themselves to be Communists.
"Like in Iranian military culture, nighttime is considered the best time for the party's armed operations, and is also the time when they are in a state of maximum alert. Most of the mountain peaks are covered with snow throughout most of the year. This enables these militants to conduct maneuvers and patrols, and at times, to secure areas through which their squads can pass, in order to carry out operations against the IRGC.
"The armed fighters do not undergo organized military training. Their training takes the form of guerrilla warfare. Their method of attack and retreat gives them an edge in most confrontations with the Iranian army or security forces."
Footage of battle scenes continues, followed by an interview with young woman fighter.
Reporter: "Baria Jozad's mother was a fighter, and she did not hesitate to pass the spirit of fighting down to her daughter, as long as their goal of ruling western Iran has not been achieved."
Baria Jozad: "I came here to take part in the armed struggle, to defend my rights, women's rights, and democracy. My mother belonged to the Komalah's Peshmerga for 20 years. Now she lives in Sweden, but she is still active in Komalah. I am proud to continue down her path."
Komalah Financed by European Donors and by "Protection Money" Exacted from Smugglers
Reporter: "But who finances Komalah? Most of the organization's funds come from donors in Europe, where organizations affiliated with Komalah are active. Komalah also imposes taxes on smugglers, who use routes under its control, where there is a flourishing trade of alcohol smuggling into Iran. The organization does not deny that it exacts 'protection fees' from the traders, whom the Komalah accuses of collaboration with the Iranian regime. The organization denies any connection to the Americans.
"Most of its money goes on weapons and training. They maintain a socialist culture, and their clothing and diet are modest. The fighters do not get a salary, except for smokers, who receive a token sum. The aid provided by Komalah's administration is the main income of their families."
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