Danger Room has a story that ought to concern anyone hoping that Iran was going to play along and stop causing trouble in the region.
“The bombardments appeared to have targeted the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an Iranian Kurdish separatist group which has launched attacks on Iran from rear-supply bases in the mountains of northern Iraq,” AFP reports. Iran has attacked the Kurdish group before, with artillery. But this is the first time the Iranians followed up, with assaults from the air.
Bombing the bases of this group is a tactic that could have come right out of our own play book given that they have been conducting attacks inside Iran, but none the less it still creates difficulties since they are violating Iraqi sovereignty and raises another question about whether we knew about these attacks and allowed them to happen. The US Air Force essentially owns the airspace over Iraq and if we have either allowed or ignored incursions by Iranian aircraft then we are going to have to make some tougher decisions about the prospect of a Kurdistan that encompasses parts of Iraq, Turkey and Iran. We also need to decide if we are going to allow the Iranians to conduct operations across the Iraqi border, and the Iraqis have to decide if they are ready to defend their own turf.
I don't believe there are any real useful deals to be made with the Iranians and I hope we take a more realistic look at that once the initial attempts to charm the Mullahs fall flat. They are perfectly willing to smile and sip tea by the pool or conduct formalized lying in formal wear, all the while imprisoning US citizens, crushing and killing dissidents and moving full speed toward nuclear weapons. Add to the mix that 75% of Israelis are ready to whack their nuke sites even if the US doesn't approve and you have a bomb about to go off. It is a horrifying scenario that could lead to a shooting war between Iran and Israel, proxy wars with Hezbollah and Hamas, increased meddling in Iraq, a Kurdish declaration of independence and as many more nightmares as you can conjure up. It will be a stern test of the Smart Power we have been promised by the administration.