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Kurdistan Issues: Kurds in Iraq

Under the former Iraqi Ba’athist regime, which ruled Iraq from 1968 until 2003, Kurds were initially granted limited autonomy (1970), and after the Barzani revolt in 1961, were given some high-level political representation in Baghdad. However, for various reasons, including the pro-Iranian sympathies of some Kurds during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980’s, the regime implemented anti-Kurdish policies and a de facto civil war broke out.

Iraq was widely-condemned by the international community, but was never seriously punished for oppressive measures, including the use of chemical weapons against the Kurds, which. resulted in thousands of deaths.

Anfal Genocidal Campaign

Anfal - “the Spoils” of War - is the name of the eighth Sura of the Qur’an. From March 29, 1987 until April 23, 1989, Iraqi army under the command of Ali Hasan al-Majid carried out a genocidal campaign against Kurds, characterized by the following human rights violations: the widespread use of chemical weapons, the wholesale destruction\of some 2,000 villages, and slaughter of around 50,000 rural Kurds, by the most conservative estimates. The large Kurdish town of Qala Dizeh (population 70,000) was completely destroyed by the Iraqi army. The campaign also included Arabization of Kirkuk, a program to drive Kurds out of the oil-reach city and replace them with Arab settlers from central and southern Iraq.

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