ERBIL — The Iranian-backed militias’ control of strategically significant Mount Sinjar near the border between Iraq and Syria represents a security threat to Israel, a senior Kurdish security official told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
The official, who requested anonymity, said that Iran had, for the past decade, coveted the Yezidi mountainous region of Sinjar which spans from northwestern Iraq into eastern Syria.
The Islamic State (IS) militants overran Sinjar in 2014, but they couldn’t take control of the strategic mountain of Sinjar. The Kurdish Peshmerga forces recaptured the region from the IS in 2015.
After IS was driven out of the area, the Iranian-backed militias, including Hashd al-Shaabi, the Badr Organization and the Khorasani Brigades, began attacking Kurds for control of the newly-liberated lands. The militia groups also played a central role in the Iranian-coordinated assault on Kurdistan Region’s disputed territories on October 16.
“The official added that he had received reports claiming the Khorasani Brigades, an Iraqi Shia group affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), were building a “military base” on Mount Sinjar – at 4,800 ft, the region’s highest point,” according to the source.
Hashd al Shaabi’s commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis – designated for terrorism by the US State Department – has also been spotted in the area several times.
The nature of that threat, according to the official, was demonstrated during the First Gulf War in 1991, when there was a consistent high-level of Iraqi military presence on Mount Sinjar from which Iraq launched the Scud missile attacks on Israel and Saudi Arabia.
“If you control the mountain, you can control the area,” the Kurdish official said. “Iran can launch an attack on Tel Aviv, and it now has a clear corridor through which to supply its other proxies, like Hezbollah.”