According to recent media reports, Israeli military and intelligence agents are currently operating in Iraqi Kurdistan. Their primary role, according to reports, is to train elite Kurdish commandos in guerrilla warfare tactics. The Kurds, whose country is currently occupied by Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria, have reportedly been accepting Israeli assistance in their fight for independence. But fearing an al-Qaeda backlash, Kurdish leaders have denied cooperating with the State of Israel and have refused to even issue comments on the matter.
When the New Yorker asked Mark Regev, then spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, to comment on allegations of Israeli-Kurdish cooperation in 2004, Regev denied the claims, telling the magazine that “the story is simply untrue and the relevant governments know it’s untrue.” But American intelligence officials attempted to expose Israel’s alleged assistance to the Kurds. A senior CIA source told the New Yorker that the Israelis think they need to be in Kurdistan & that Israel’s presence in northern Iraq is widely acknowledged by the United States intelligence community.
Apart from rumors of Israel training Kurdish commandos, Israeli-Kurdish relations have expanded considerably in recent years. In July 2003 the Israeli government reversed its embargo on Iraq, allowing trade between the two peoples including the export of Israeli military products to the Kurds. Kurdish commandos have also reportedly accompanied Israel operatives across the Iraq-Iran border to install sensory devices meant to monitor suspected Iranian nuclear facilities.
A growing number of Israelis have recently began showing support for assisting the Kurdish people in their struggle for national liberation. Like Jews, Kurds are a non-Arab indigenous Middle Eastern people seeking independence in their ancestral homeland. The Zionist Freedom Alliance, one of the first Israeli-based organizations to take up the free Kurdistan cause, told Indy News Israel that active Israeli support for a free Kurdistan is a natural policy for any real Zionist.
“The Zionist Freedom Alliance believes in the right of all peoples to live freely in their countries unmolested by imperialism or foreign aggression. As a nation that has struggled and continues to struggle for our right to live freely in our ancestral homeland, Jews share a special obligation to work towards the independence of other nations fighting against oppression. We therefore believe that the State of Israel must become involved to the extent that it is capable in foreign struggles for national liberation and should do everything possible to assist the Kurdish people in their struggle for freedom from the four regimes currently occupying Kurdistan.”