A senior Iranian military commander repeatedly warned Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq to withdraw from the oil city of Kirkuk or face an onslaught by Iraqi forces and allied Iranian-backed fighters, Kurdish officials briefed on the meetings said. Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, travelled to Iraq’s Kurdistan region to meet Kurdish leaders at least three times this month before the Baghdad government’s lightning campaign to recapture territory across the north. The presence of Soleimani on the frontlines highlights Tehran’s heavy sway over policy in Iraq, and comes as Shia Iran seeks to win a proxy war in the Middle East with its regional rival and US ally, Sunni Saudi Arabia. Soleimani met leaders […]
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