Tehran has released a series of short propaganda films that praise the Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in the US drone attack a year ago.
However, officials in the Iraqi Kurdish region reacted to this publication as “insulting” their leadership in the war against IS and the hundreds of dead Kurdish fighters.
Iran’s official news agency, Fars News, aired an episode of the miniseries online on Saturday, focusing on Soleimani’s role in the fight against IS, under a headline far more catchy than his original name: “Haji Qasim Soleimani’s Saving Iraqi Kurdistan. Story.”
Mohammad Bagher Mofidikia, a pro-government filmmaker, is the real name of the miniseries “Short Comics.”
The series depicts Soleimani as a hero and seems to exaggerate his role in the 2014 liberation of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish Uzek region in northern Iraq, from an unstoppable ISIS. In the series, Soleimani is seen descending from a helicopter to lead the fight efforts at night when ISIS attacked Erbil.
The fictional production also depicts Massoud Barzani, the former head of the Iraqi Kurdish Administration, as a desperate man who has repeatedly failed to gain military support from international forces to halt the jihadist advance.
In one scene, the actor, who plays Barzani, looks at actual photos of the Kurdish leader, along with key political figures such as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former US Secretary of State John Kerry, and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He pushes aside all the pictures, except for the one showing Khamenei, which he has taken.
“Would you like to contact the Iranians, sir?” Barzani asked, “Do I have any other options?” gives the answer.
“Weak and worthless”
The Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) announced that it has submitted a formal complaint to the Iranian government over allegations that the series is not an independent initiative and is financed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
In the closing credits of the series, a group of people and organizations, including the Revolutionary Guards, are thanked. In 2019, the USA included the Revolutionary Guards on the terrorist organization list due to its destabilizing role in the Middle East.
Speaking to the local broadcaster Rudaw, the Head of the KRG’s Foreign Relations Office, Safin Dizayi, stated that they informed the Iranian Consul General in Arbil and expressed their dissatisfaction.
According to Rudaw, Iran’s Consul General Nasrullah Rashnudi denied that his country had a “long history of relations with his friends in the Kurdistan Region”, and that the Tehran government was behind the show.
Peshmerga Commander Sirvan Barzani described the building as “an insult to Kurdish leadership”. Barzani emphasized that it was the Kurdish peshmerga rather than Soleimani who were effective in defeating ISIS on the ground.
The episode about Soleimani’s role in the Iraqi Kurdish region was called “Tevekkül”.
According to Mohammed A. Salih, a doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School of Communication, the chapter aims to insult Iraqi Kurdish leaders by portraying them weak and unworthy in front of regional and international partners such as the United States, through the Barzani figure.
Commenting on The Voice of America via e-mail, Salih said, “The propaganda film Tevekkül is consistent with Iran’s previous Islamic Republic propaganda in two fundamental ways. The more urgent and notable aim of the film is to commemorate the role and legacy of Kasım Süleymani. However. The more important aspect of the film is that Soleimani promotes the Islamic Republic of Iran as the savior of the entire region through his superhero-like character against ISIS and Sunni jihadists in general.
Iran or the USA?
Iraqi Kurdish leaders acknowledge that in the past, Iran was the first country to provide them with ammunition to fight IS, while it was US air support that turned the tide of the conflict in their favor.
Iraqi Kurds, which is the largest trading partners’ inability to get emergency help in the fight against Isidor particularly critical of Turkey.
On August 7, 2014, former US President Barack Obama, in a statement at the White House, authorized military action to prevent Erbil from falling against IS.
In his live speech, Obama said, “In order to halt the progress in Erbil, if ISIS terrorist convoys move towards the city, I have directed our army to launch targeted attacks.”
Barack Obama also announced that they are providing emergency assistance to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces to carry out the fight against ISIS more effectively.
Washington continues to provide financial, military and logistical support to Kurdish forces in both Iraq and Syria as part of a global coalition against IS. Nearly 2,000 Kurdish soldiers have been killed in the war against ISIS in Iraq to date; About 10,000 were injured.