Student Reader

العراق Iraq Becomes Totalitarian

Military Coup d'État1968/07/30Ba'thist military coup d'état organized by al-Bakr ousts non-Ba'thist allies.
Iraq-USSR Oil Agreement1969/06Major agreement between Iraq and USSR on Soviet assistance in exploiting Iraqi oil fields.
Saddam Husain Appears1969/11Saddam Husain appointed to ruling Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) and becomes its vice-chairman.
Kurdistan Manifesto1970/03Manifesto on Kurdistan grants limited autonomy. Barzani calls cease-fire.
Kirkuk Arabisation1970sKirkuk has an important oil refinery and the was thus left out of the definition of Kurdish areas. Large numbers of Kirkuki Kurds were forced out of their jobs and homes and resettled elsewhere. Arabs were then made to move to Kirkuk form the south as part of the government's Arabisation program.
Land Reform1970/05Land reform measures.
Kurdistan Recognized1970/07New provisional constitution recognizes Kurdish nationalism.
Iraq and Iran Chill1971/11Relations between Iraq and Iran are severed.
Iraq-USSR Treaty1972/04Iraq and USSR sign fifteen-year Iraq-USSR Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation.
Geneva Convention1972The regulations of the 1972 Convention of Geneva requesting all countries to cease production, completion and conservation of all kinds of chemical and biological weapons and to demolish them and the UN 37/98 resolution emphasizing the necessity of observing the articles and contents of the 1925 protocol and the 1972 Convention of Geneva have also been accepted by the UN member countries including Iraq.
IPC Nationalized1972/06Iraq Petroleum Corporation nationalized.
North Kurdistan Unrest1972/11-12Fighting erupts in northern Kurdistan.
Failed Coup1973/07Kazzar leads a failed coup attempt. President al-Bakr and Vice-President Hussein reinforce their hold on the state.
Iraq in War Against Israel1973/10Iraq limitedly participates in war with Israel.
Kurd Autonomy Law1974/03Autonomy Law for Kurdish areas is announced. Disagreement continues between government and KDP. Fighting is widespread throughout Kurdistan.
Algiers Agreement1975/03Algiers Agreement between Saddam Hussein and shah of Iran ends Iranian assistance to KDP, leading to collapse of the Kurdish revolt.
Kurd Party Split1975/06Kurdistan Democratic Party Provisional Leadership (KDP-PL) was led by Masoud Barzani. Popular Union of Kurdistan (PUK) was led by Jalal Talabani.
Safar Intifada1977/0230,000 process from Najaf to Karbala as an anti-government protest known as the Safar Intifada.
Ayatollah Expelled1978/10Ayatolla Khomaini expelled from Iraq.
Baghdad Summit1978/11Baghdad Summit following Camp David accords marks Iraqi bid for Arab leadership.
Shi'I Islamist Uprising1979 SpringSuccess of Iranian revolution encourages Shi'i Islamist organizations to launch more active campaigns in Iraq.
President al-Bakr Resigns1979/07President al-Bakr resigns.
President Saddam Hussein1979/07Vice-President Saddam Hussein immediately sworn in as President. Purge of Hussein's party, the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), and also of Ba'th Party.
KDP Congress1979/11KDP Congress elects Masoud Barzani as chairman and calls fro continuing armed struggle inside Iraq.
Mujama'aat for Kurds1980Mujama'aat (collective towns) are built by the Iraqi government to house Kurds whose rural communities were destroyed by scorched-earth policies of the 1970s and 1980s. They were generally built close to the main roads for ease of surveillance by the camp. The Barzani clan was transferred to two mujama'aat outside Qushtapa, named by the Iraqis al-Qadissiya (after the historic battle where Arabs defeated Persians and converted them to Islam) and al-Quds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem, meaning the Holy).
National Assembly1980/03Law for election of National Assembly in Iraq.
Shi'A Expulsion1980/04Ayatollah al-Sadr and his sister Bint al-Huda executed in Baghdad. Over 40,000 Shi'a expelled to Iran.
Iraq Invades Iran1980/09Iraqi forces invade Iran.
Iran Counteroffensive1982/06-07Iran's counteroffensive recaptures most of its territory.
Hussein's Totalitarianism1982/06-079th Regional Congress of Ba'th Party reasserts Saddam Hussein's absolute control.
al-Bakr Dies1982 AutumnFormer President Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr dies suddenly.
Iran Seized Haj Omran1983/07KDP units help Iran seize the border town of Haj Omran in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Iraq Slaughters Barzani1983/07In retaliation for helping the Iranians, Iraq sent troops to Qushtapa's two mujama'aat (where the Barzani clan had been relocated) to seize the men and boys and load them into trucks at gunpoint. The collective towns of Qushtapa were left inhabited almost exclusively by widows and their children.
Escalation of Gulf Wars1984Wars escalate in the waters of the Gulf.
Iraq-US Relations1984Iraq re-establishes diplomatic relations with the United States.
Iran Captures al-Faw1986Iran captures the al-Faw pensinsula.
Anti-KDP & -PUK Action1987Iraqi government campaigns against KDP and PUK in Kurdistan.
Germiyan Relocations1987
'Sumud ... was built by the Iraqi army in 1987. When it was finished, the government announced that the people from all the villages of Germiyan should abandon their homes and come and live here. Many villagers thought it was a plan to kill them and they didn't come. But later in the year, the villages near the main road to Kifri were destroyed by the government and so their people were forced to come to Sumud. When they arrived, they were given houses. The government waited another year for the people from the more distant villages of Germiyan, far from the main road, to follow the ones who villages had been destroyed. ... But the people didn't come and so in 1988 those villages became a target of the Anfal campaign. Thousands of villagers disappeared and the villages were dynamited and bulldozed into the ground. The women and children who didn't disappear ended up in Sumud, but in worse conditions than those who had come here voluntarily in '87.' (Thornhill, p 169)
PUK Op in Jafati14-16 04 1987PUK peshmerga seized over 100 government posts in the Jafati valley. Most of the peshmerga from Balisan were involved in this operation. In reprisal the Balisan Valley was attacked on 17 04 1987
Kurdistan Bombarded1987 04

Twenty four villages of Iraq's Kurdistan were targeted by chemical bombardment. These villages were chemically bombarded twice in less than 48 hours. Saber Ahmad Khoshnam, one of the inhabitants of the bombarded villages in Loqmanodulleh Hospital in Tehran on 28th of April 1987, told reporters that the Iraqi warplanes dropped 18 chemical bombs at Sheikh Dassan, Kani Bard, Pasian and Tuteman villages. He said that more than one hundred people of these villages were wounded and that he had witnessed that an entire family in Parsian village lost their sight. In the course of the chemical bombardment of the late April 1987 of the Iraqi villages, more than 130 innocent villagers were martyred and about five hundred of them were wounded.

The Iraqi regime has deployed chemical weapons against its own people while the UN general secretary's representatives during their visits to Iran in two occasions, prepared detailed reports from the deployment of the chemical weapons against the civilian people and submitted them to the United Nations in reports number S/1 6433 and S/18852 and after the submission of these reports by the general secretary to the Security Council, eventually this council, too, joined those individuals and organizations who condemned Iraq's deployment of chemical weapons. But despite all these condemnations, Baghdad's rulers have continued their crimes.

Balisan Valley Attacked17 04 1987

The Balisan Valley was attacked with chemicals, including the village of Sheikh Wisan, in reprisal for the PUK operations in days prior in Jafati. The chemicals had actually landed up the slope from Sheikh Wasan, but the gas was so heavy that it drifted along. The shells perhaps still remain, their thin green metal hulls surely now rusted beyond immediate recognition.

There had been about 100 families living in Sheikh Wisan at the time of the attack, which meant about 600-700 people. Four hundred and eighty-five were affected by the chemicals, and 153 died. He pointed to a chart on the wall, a hand-written list of the names of the martyrs, arranged by gamily. In some families, almost no one had survived. The name Kimia - 'Chemical' -- appeared here and there, beside the date of birth of several babies born in the days following the attack.
...
The attack on Sheikh Wisan on 17 April 1987 was Ali Hassan al-Majid's first act after he was given the brief to find a solution to the 'Kurdish question' once and for all. From 1980 to 1987, the Balisan valley and its 42 villages had been under peshmerga control and a 'no-go' area for the government. One of the PUK's four malbands or headquarters was situated in the valley and Sheikh Wisan had a peshmerga base and many peshmerga, renowned for their bravery. (Thornhill, p 196)

After the bombing, 2,000 Iraqi soldiers were brought in to comb the valley for peshmerga.

Kurdistan Front1998/06Kurdistan Front formed to unite main Kurdish parties.
al-Anfal Begins1988The al-Anfal begins in Kurdistan, including the notorious chemical attacks in Halabja that came to symbolize the senseless and unbridled aggression of the al-Anfal.
Halbja Attack1988 03Halabja was a town of 70,000 people. Chemical bombardments on Halabja began before sunrise on the 18th of March; on this third day of attacks, Halabja was bombarded more than twenty times by the Iraqi regime's warplanes with chemical and cluster bombs. According to the findings of Iranian physicians, the mustard, nerve and cyanide gases have been used against civilians in Halabja and its surroundings. The chemicals used included mustard gas and the nerve agents sarin, tabun, and VX. At least 5,000 people died immediately as a result of the chemical attack and it is estimated that up to 12,000 people in all died during the course of the three days of attack. Post-mortem examination of the bodies of the chemical bombardment of Halabja, has proved that the suffocation of the most of the martyrs has been due to the inhalation of cyanide gas. Along with Halabja, Khormal, Dojaileh and their surrounding villages were also chemically bombarded frequently but the center of the catastrophe was Halabja. (KDP's A Glance at the Town on the Position of Halabja, link)
Iraq-Iran Ceasefire1988Iran accepts UN cease-fire resolution. War with Iraq ends.
Kuwait Invasion1990/08Iraq invades and annexes Kuwait. UN imposes total trade embargo and sanctions on Iraq.

Studies

Tripp, Charles. A History of Iraq: New Edition.

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