18. Iraq/Kurds (1932-present)

 

Crisis Phase (October 3, 1932-September 30, 1943): Kurdish nationalists supported an independent Kurdistan after Iraq formally achieved its independence from Britain on October 3, 1932.

Conflict Phase (July 1, 1943-June 15, 1947): Kurdish nationalists led by Mustafa Barzani rebelled against the government between July and October 1943.  Government troops suppressed the rebellion with the assistance of British military aircraft.  Mustafa Barzani led a rebellion against the government beginning on August 10, 1945.  Mustafa Barzai fled with some 3,000 supporters to Mahabad in northwest Iran in October 1945.  The Kurdish Liberation Party (Rizgari Kurd) was established in January 1946.  The KLP became the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) headed by Mustafa Barzani and Hamzah Abdullah on August 16, 1946.  Mustafa Barzani and some 500 supporters re-entered Iraq on April 28, 1947, and launched a rebellion against the government on May 27, 1947.  Mustafa Barzani and his supporters fled to the Soviet Union on June 15, 1947.

Post-Conflict Phase (June 16, 1947-September 10, 1961): The government granted amnesty to Kurdish rebels on September 3, 1958, and Mustafa Barzani returned from exile to Iraq on October 6, 1958.  The government legalized the KDP in January 1960.

Conflict Phase (September 11, 1961-June 29, 1966): The military wing of the KDP (Pesh Merga) began a rebellion against the government on September 11, 1961, and government military aircraft bombed Barzan on September 13, 1961.  Government troops conducted a military offensive against Kurdish rebels from September 16 to October 10, 1961.  The government formally dissolved the KDP on September 23, 1961.  Mustafa Barzani appealed to the United Nations (UN) for assistance on November 16, 1961.  Iran provided military assistance (weapons and ammunition) to the KDP.  Government military aircraft attacked Turkish border posts during military operations against KDP rebels on July 9-16, 1962, resulting in the deaths of two Turkish soldiers.  Turkish military aircraft attacked and shot down an Iraqi government military aircraft on August 16, 1962, resulting in the death of one Iraqi government military personnel.  KDP rebels bombed the Iraq Petroleum Company pipeline on August 30, 1962.  The government offered amnesty to Kurdish rebels on January 10, 1963.  Government and KDP representatives held negotiations between February 19 and March 1, 1963.  The Soviet Union expressed support for the KDP on May 6, 1963.  Government troops launched a military offensive against KDP rebels on June 10, 1963.  The Soviet Union condemned the Iraqi government on June 12, 1963.  Government troops and KDP rebels clashed in the Dohuk region on June 13, 1963, resulting in the deaths of 165 rebels.  Government troops captured Saqsaq and Tobzawa on June 22, 1963.  Syria deployed some 5,000 troops in support of the Iraqi government from June 1963 to February 1964.  The Soviet Union accused the Iraqi government of genocide on July 9, 1963.  Government troops captured Barzan and Mazna on August 4, 1963.  President Abdel Salam Arif and Mustafa Barzani agreed to a cessation of military hostilities on February 10, 1964, and the parties resumed negotiations in Baghdad on February 15, 1964.  Government troops and Kurdish nationalists clashed in Suleimaniyeh on April 3, 1965, resulting in the deaths of some 60 individuals.  Government troops launched a military offensive against Kurdish rebels on April 5, 1965.  President Nasser of Egypt expressed support for the Iraqi government on October 22, 1965.  Government troops attacked Kurdish rebels in the Panjwin region on January 8-18, 1966.  Government troops launched a military offensive against Kurdish rebels on May 4, 1966.  Kurdish rebels defeated government troops near Hendrin on June 15, 1966, and the parties agreed to a cessation of military hostilities on June 29, 1966.  Some 10,000 individuals were killed, and some 80,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (June 30, 1966-September 30, 1968): The Iraqi government announced a general amnesty for KDP rebels on August 5, 1968.

Conflict Phase (October 1, 1968-March 11, 1970): Government troops and KDP rebels resumed military hostilities in October 1968.  The Soviet Union appealed for peaceful negotiations on October 3, 1968.  Mustafa Barzani requested that the UN mediate negotiations in November 1968.  Government troops launched a military offensive against Kurdish rebels on January 3, 1969, and Kurdish rebels launched a counter-military offensive against government troops on March 1, 1969.  The government offered self-determination to the Kurds on May 23, 1969.  Government and KDP representatives held negotiations between September 1969 and March 1970.  Government and KDP representatives signed a 15-point peace agreement on March 11, 1970, which granted autonomy to the Kurds in northern Iraq.  Some 60,000 individuals, including some 5,000 government soldiers, were killed during the conflict.  Some 300,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (March 12, 1970-January 10, 1972):

Conflict Phase (January 11, 1972-May 2, 1975): Kurdish tribesmen rebelled against the government in northern Iraq beginning on January 11, 1972.  The US, Iran, and Israel provided military assistance to the rebels beginning in 1972.  Government troops suppressed the rebellion, resulting in the deaths of some 86 individuals.  The government proposed a new autonomy plan fo rthe Kurds on December 12, 1973, but the KDP headed by Mustafa Barzani rejected the proposal.  Government and Kurdish representatives held negotiations beginning on January 17, 1974.  The government announced a new autonomy plan for the Kurds on March 11, 1974, but the plan was rejected by the KDP.  Kurdish rebels resumed military hostilities against the government on March 12, 1974.  Eleven members of the KDP were executed by the government in Erbil on April 11, 1974.  Government military aircraft attacked Kurdish rebel bases on April 12, 1974.  Government military aircraft attacked Kurds in Qala Diza on April 24, 1974, resulting in the deaths of some 130 individuals.  Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) conducted a three-member fact-finding mission (three French doctors) from September 13-October 2, 1974.  The International Federation for Human Rights (IFHR) conducted a three-member fact-finding mission headed by Dominique Eudes of France from October 31-November 11, 1974.  Some 100,000 Kurds fled as refugees to Iran in 1974.  The Soviet Union provided military assistance (40 military aircraft) to the government in February 1975.  Iran agreed to end military assistance to the Kurds on March 22, 1975.  Government troops suppressed the Kurdish rebellion on May 2, 1975.  Mustafa Barzani and some 150,000 Kurds fled as refugees to Iran between March 22 and May 2, 1975 (some 130,000 Kurds had fled as refugees to Iran prior to March 22, 1975).  Some 17,000 individuals, including some 7,000 government soldiers and 10,000 Kurdish rebels, were killed during the conflict.  Some 280,000 individuals were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (May 3, 1975-April 30, 1976): The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) headed by Jalal Talabani was established in July 1975.  The government deported some 200,000 Kurds from northern Iraq to southern Iraq between May 1975 and April 1976.

Conflict Phase (May 1, 1976-April 5, 1991): Government troops and Kurdish rebels resumed military hostilities in May 1976.  The Soviet Union, Syria, Iran, and Libya provided military assistance in support of Kurdish rebels.  Some 200,000 Kurds were displaced from their homes in the border region between Iraq and Iran as a result of deportations in 1978.  Some 5,000 individuals from Qushtapa near Erbil were killed by the government in July 1983.  Government and PUK representatives signed a ceasefire agreement in January 1984.  PUK resumed the rebellion in 1985, and Iran agreed to provide military assistance to the PUK in October 1986.  As a result of Iranian involvement, the KDP and PUK agreed to cooperate in their rebellions against the government in November 1986.  The government launched a military offensive (Anfal Campaign) against the Kurds between February 23 and September 6, 1988, resulting in the deaths of some 50,000 individuals.  Some 80,000 Kurds fled to Turkey in August 1988.  The government used chemical weapons against the Kurdish village of Halabja on March 16, 1988, resulting in the deaths of some 5,000 Kurds.  Kurds resumed their rebellion against the government beginning on March 4, 1991.  Kurdish rebels captured Kirkuk on March 20, 1991, but government troops recaptured Kirkuk on March 29, 1991.  Government troops suppressed the Kurdish rebellion on April 5, 1991.  Britain agreed to provide $37 million in humanitarian assistance to the Kurds on April 4, 1991.  On April 5, 1991, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 688, which condemned the Iraqi government for the repression of the Kurds and authorized international humanitarian efforts to assist the Kurds in northern Iraq.  Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher of Germany condemned the Iraqi government on April 5, 1991.  Some 150,000 individuals were killed, and some three million Kurds were displaced during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (April 6, 1991-April 9, 2003):  Some 25,000 military personnel from nine countries - including Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, and the US - established safe havens (Operation Provide Comfort) for the Kurds in northern Iraq beginning on April 16, 1991.  The Operation Provide Comfort was commanded by Lt. General John Shalikashvili of the US.  The US agreed to provide $10 million in humanitarian assistance to the Kurds on April 8, 1991.  European Community (EC) heads-of-state agreed to provide humanitarian assistance to the Kurds on April 8, 1991.  On April 10, 1991, the US warned the Iraqi government against military activity north of the 36th parallel, and threatened to use military force if Iraq interfered with the international relief effort on behalf of the Kurds.  Japan agreed to provide $10 million in humanitarian assistance to the Kurds on April 11, 1991, and Germany agreed to provide $262 million in humanitarian assistance to the Kurds on April 17, 1991.  The US-led Operation Provide Comfort ended on July 24, 1991.  Iran mediated negotiations between KDP and PUK representatives in Tehran in September 1995.  Britain, Turkey, and the US mediated the signing of a ceasefire agreement between KDP and PUK representatives in Ankara, Turkey on October 23, 1996.  The Turkish-led Peace Monitoring Force (PMF), consisting primarily of 800 Iraqi Turkmens and Iraqi Assyrians, was established on April 15, 1997.  PUK rebels attacked KDP rebels beginning on October 13, 1997.  Britain, Turkey, and the US appealed for the withdrawal of PUK rebels from KDP-controlled territory on October 14, 1997.  KDP rebels recaptured PUK-captured territory on November 18, 1997.  The factions agreed to a ceasefire on November 24, 1997.  The US mediated the signing of a power-sharing agreement between KDP and PUK representatives in Washington DC in September 1998.  US-led coalition troops invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003, and the coalition overthrew the government of President Saddam Hussein on April 9, 2003.  Some 5,000 individuals were killed in political violence between April 1991 and April 2003.

Post-Crisis Phase (April 10, 2003-present): The Iraqi Kurdish parliament approved a resolution on May 13, 2003, which called for the dissolution of the Turkish-led PMF in northern Iraq.  The Turkish-led PMF in northern Iraq was formally disbanded on October 3, 2004.  Regional elections were held on January 30, 2005.  Massoud Barzani, son of Mustafa Barzani, was elected president of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region by the Iraqi Kurdistan National Assembly on June 14, 2005.

[Sources:  Arnold et al., 1991, 159-162; Bercovitch and Jackson, 1997, 102, 137, 152, 170-171; Brogan, 1992, 321-332; Butterworth, 1976, 59-61, 310-312; Chaliand, 1993, 149-193; Clodfelter, 1992, 1061-1062; Degenhardt, 1988, 173-175; Entessar, 1992, 49-80; Facts on File, August 8-14, 1963, February 20-26, 1964; Ghareeb, 1981; Gunter, 1992, 1-19; Harris, 1977, 68-92; Jawad, 1981; Jessup, 1998, 326-330; Keesing, March 30-April 6, 1963, September 11-18, 1965, July 30-August 6, 1966, April 4-11, 1970, May 20-26, 1974, August 18-24, 1975, April 1991; Langer, 1972, 1308-1309; McDowall, 1992, 81-91; Middle East Record (MER), 1961, 169-1970; O'Ballance, 1996, 18-20, 36-92; Reuters, May 13, 2003; Turkish Daily News (electronic edition), April 29, 1997.]