On Thursday, October 10, five members of a local Kurdish guardsmen named ‘Zerbeti Kokhan’ – a paramilitary unit of of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – were killed in an ambush by an unknown armed group outside the Kurdish city of Baneh. Haji Motalb Ahmedi, the commander of Hazrate-Rasul Akram Battalion, was among the dead. Two other members of the unit were seriously injured in the clash, the Bait-ol-Moghaddas Corps website reported.
The unit of Zerbeti Kokhan is one of the teams of local militiamen under the command of Bait-ol-Moghaddas Corps of IRGC in Kurdistan which is under the Hamze Seidolshohada Garrison in the west of the country. The unit and its members are made up of local Kurdish collaborators known in Kurdistan by the disgraceful name “Jash” or traitor. The names of the five killed paramilitary gunmen published by IRNA’s Kurdistan chapter are as follow:
Haji Motalb Ahmadian, Fatah Ahmedi, Jalal Mustafai, Loqman Husseini and Mansor Mokhdomi. Four of the five men were from Baneh, except Mokhadomi who was from the town of Qorveh.
The main target of the clash seems to have been Haji Motalb Ahmedian, was known for his brutality against the local population, especially Kurdish political dissidents and activists. Ahmedian became a regime paramilitary member at the beginning of the revolution, where he was responsible for killing and kidnapping several Kurdish peshmerga fighters and political activists.
At their funeral, top IRGC and Basij commanders for the region, other security forces in the region and local regime officials and relatives of the killed attended. Also at the funeral, Mohammad Taghi Osanlou, the commander of the Hamze Seidolshohada Garrison warned the ‘anti-revolutionary’ forces – a term often used to refer to Kurdish militants – that they should be mindful that their shameful acts will not be left without a response, and soon they will pay back for their audaciousness.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the various sources of the regime who have reported the clash, including the IRGC, have not named any particular group responsible for the ambush. In general, the regime attempts to cover up, or even deny, such incidents in its western borders; however, the wide media coverage of this incident is unprecedented and somewhat suspicious.
In the past, in the skirmishes with pro-PKK Free Life Party of Kurdistan, the regime has been very vocal in pointing fingers; however, it has relatively remained silent when other groups carry out such attacks, and this in itself is an indication that other armed groups might be behind this attack that the regime does not want to mention or credit, be it various branches of Komala or PDKI.
There is also the possibility that such an ambush and the subsequent death was the result of an internal feud or an elimination tactic by the IRGC or the regime intelligence apparatus where local paid guardsmen are no longer needed or are too big a liability to the forces due to their excessive cruelty against the local population and blood on their hands.
Kurdpa News Agency reported the death of three other mercenaries executed by the regime while spending 4 years in jail. Hiwa Tab was the top IRGC intelligence commander in the city of Mariwan, where he and his thugs were believed to have been involved in drug trafficking, border shootings, smugglings and killing many innocent Kurdish people, , of course with the full knowledge of the regime intelligence and security apparatus. No doubt, the regime would had preferred to deal with the Hiwa Tab matter in its ordinary way, where not only it would have been a good riddance, but also it would have been able to claim them as ‘martyrs’ fighting the ‘anti-revolutionary elements.
Also, there are those, me included, who believe that such engineered execution style incidents are the pretexts to further militarize the Kurdish region in Iran, and also exert pressure on the Kurds of Iraq to further curb the activities of Iranian Kurdish dissident groups sheltered in the region.
As the details of the incident further unfold, it remains to be known the group or the motives behind the attack; however, given the nature of the regime and its tight grip on news dissemination, especially in Kurdistan, there is little expected to leak out aside from what is already made known to the public.