Why Saddam supported the KDP in Northern Iraq.
cwellen at pen.k12.va.us
Tue Sep 3 21:25:14 MDT 1996
Greetings to all comrades from Wei En Lin
"I'm still confused about Hussein's actions, and the United
States'counterattack. Can someone offer an analysis on why
Hussein gave assistance to the Kurdistan Democratic Party?"
This is not difficult, though the press has not been very
forthcoming on the issue. My info comes from the Wash Post
and my general knowledge, having traveled in Kurdistan, near
First some basic facts:
Three culturally, linguistically distinct countries
have what they call a "Kurdish problem".
1) Turkey, populated by Turks, who speak a Finno-Uralic, Central Asian language.
Turks are Sunni Muslims.
2) Iran, populated mainly by Persians, who speak an Indo-Aryan language, Farsi.
Iranians are Shiite Muslims (who follow a living imam, an ayatollah like
3) Iraq, an Arab country, whose people speak Arabic, a Semitic language
(Iraq is unique in being the only Arab country populated by a majority
of Shiite Muslims. Iranians are almost all Shiites. The rest of the
Moslem world is primarily Sunni, or orthodox Muslim).
The KURDS are a distinct minority in Iran, Turkey and Iraq. They speak
a language which is different from, but related to Farsi. Most Kurds
live in Turkey, and are Sunni, but there is a different, more liberal
Alevi sect there.
The Kurds strive to create their own nation, which would be carved out of
northern Iraq, southern Turkey, and western Iran. (more south-central western)
Kurds play the governments of Iraq, Turkey, and Iran off of one another.
Thus Kurds living in Turkey, will take refuge in Iran or Iraq, when
they are on the defensive. Likewise, the governments of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey,
will play various Kurdish groups off against on another, and use the Kurds
to destabilize each others governments.
The Treaty of Sevres, 1925, which established an independent Kurdistan,
was violated by Turkey, then under the rule of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,
and ever since the Kurds have been a stateless people.
THE PRESENT SITUATION
Recently, a few months ago, Iran sent forces into northern Iraq in support of an
Iraqi Kurdish faction called the PUK, headed by Talabani.
Barazani, who heads the KDP (Kurdish Democratic Party) asked the US to
halt the Iranian intervention in northern Iraq. The US had established the
no-fly zone in Northern Iraq ostensibly to protect the Kurds from attack
by Saddam Hussein, who used mustard gas on thousands of Kurds just prior
to the Gulf War.
The US refused Barazani's request, so Barazani felt, to protect his
people, he had to go to Saddam Hussein. Saddam responded positively
for several reasons:
1. He wanted Iran out of Northern Iraq as a matter of principle.
The Iranians and Iraqi's fought a bitter war for nearly
a decade. (Iran's goal was to install a Shiite government
in Iraq. Saddam and his circle are Sunni Muslim, though
2. He wanted to keep control of certain routes, near the Iraqi border
and the Turkish-Kurdish city of Zaho, where Iraq manages to get oil
out, illegally, despite the sanctions.
3. He wanted to thumb his nose at the US, and show that he was
still in control of the northern part of Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan.
(He seems to have proven this by capturing the city of Urbil).
Strangely, US bombs did not fall on Saddam Husseins' northern military
assets, where the problem is supposed to be. The US does not want to
give, or be perceived as giving, support to Iranian supported Kurds.
When I lived near and traveled in Turkish Kurdistan, and traveled
to Cyprus, I enountered a number of Kurdish comrades.
The Kurds are suffering horribly at the hands of all three governments
Torture is the order of the day. Kurds I met on a boat to Cyprus
said their comrades had been hung by their hands and sliced on the chest with
razor blades. The US has never even criticised Turkey for its treatment of the
The capital-to-be of Kurdistan, DIYARBAKIR, had huge signs
over the main streets when I was there displaying the words:
NE MUTLU TURKUM DIYENE, which, losely translated means: HOW
HAPPY I AM TO BE A TURK. This, in a city where millions (the vast
majority) are not Turks at all, but Kurds. The city is under
strict military occupation because of the active PKK, a Marxist
Leninist grouping fighting for a separate Kurdish state. I will
happily say more about Kurdistan, if you wish. I met a number
of revolutionaries there who, because I was obviously not a Turk,
would speak to me.
They tended to be both Marxist-Leninists and practicing Muslims.
I hope this answers the main questions.
Wei En Lin.
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