ERBIL — The Quds Force, Iran’s external wing of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), opened five bases along with a headquarter in Kirkuk after the Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias of Hashd al-Shaabi invaded the city on Monday.
According to confidential sources inside Kirkuk, the Iranian military commander, named Haji Ihsan, who was the representative of Quds Force in Kirkuk opened five military bases in Kirkuk which is now under the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi forces.
The Ramazan Headquarters, belonging to the Quds Force, was also opened in Kirkuk, the sources said.
Ramazan Headquarters was established in 1983 to organize the anti-Iraqi Baath forces and to conduct military operations in Iraq and Kurdistan Region. The headquarters is now tasked with executing Iran’s policy in Iraq.
Shakhawan Abdullah, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi Parliamentary Committee for Defense and Security, told BasNews that Iran’s Quds Force members are embedded with the forces who entered Kirkuk, wearing Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi Federal Police uniforms.
The Iranian forces’ task in Kirkuk is to arrest all those who are against Iran’s agenda in the region, particularly the officials and cadres of Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Abdullah said, adding that however, the intelligence services in Kirkuk could evacuate those people before the invasion to protect them from the IRGC.
The Kurdish MP revealed that the opening of the Quds Force headquarters in Kirkuk is part of Iran’s efforts to take over the city. The Quds Force and Hashd al-Shaabi forces, wearing Iraqi military uniforms, are now stationed in the KDP headquarters in the city, he said, noting that they are aiming at arresting the KDP cadres and begin random arrests in the Kurdish neighborhoods in Kirkuk.
The sources also divulged that the Iranian commander replaced on Tuesday the Kurdish Colonel Sameer, Chief of Kirkuk’s Security, with Colonel Jasim Mohammad Farhan, who is an Arab.
Adnan Kirkuki, one of the KDP leaders in Kirkuk, told BasNews that Iran has taken control of the city and the Quds Force members are embedded with the Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi forces in the bases they have opened in the city. He explained that if they continue to control the city, they will begin the Arabization of Kurds and Turkmens, arguing that the Kurdish and Turkish languages were not allowed to be used at a press conference in Kirkuk on Tuesday.