by Ken Feltman
Sometimes, the United States tends to initiate international interventions before thinking everything through. So does Iran. Thus, the two countries are always just a mistake or two away from tragic, unintended consequences. It’s as if someone said, “Let’s try this and see what happens.”
In this case, if we believe reports of a bungling, forgetful Iranian-American, originally from what is called Iranian Kurdistan, we are believing a tale that locals in the region will tell you can only be hatched in their homeland. Iranian Kurdistan is endlessly troubled, with intrigue-makers and deal-hustlers around many corners, divided between Shia and Sunni, with Azerbaijani and Lur inhabiting parts. Kurds fit uneasily into countries controlled by other ethic groups – Iraq and Turkey, for example – and are a constant reminder that a European empire did not always draw the borders properly when carving up the Middle East and Africa.
Even in this ancient land of tales beyond believing, this story seems too much. But then, we should remember that the majority Persians have been accused for centuries of paying Kurds and others to perform disquieting deeds such as theft and murder. Is this a 21st century version of that old tradition, where the shrewd Persian convinces another to do the dirty work? Is this an attempt by Tehran to distance itself from responsibility if the “let’s see what happens” turns out badly? Only time will tell.
Meantime, we need to seek help from those with more experience with Iranians of Kurdish and Persian heritage. The Turks may have the best answers.
(Also published at Politico)