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The Kurds of Iraq

Éditeur : St. Martin’s Press Date & Lieu : 1992, New York
Préface : Pages : 176
Traduction : ISBN : 0-312-09084-6
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 140x210 mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Eng. Gun. Kur. N°440Thème : Général

Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
The Kurds of Iraq

The Kurds of Iraq

Michael M. Gunter

St. Martin’s Press

This book briefly reviews the background of the Kurdish national movement in Iraq, and then devotes the bulk of its analysis to the uprising which followed the 1991 Gulf War, the subsequent negotiations, U.N. peacekeeping operation, and creation of a de facto Kurdish state, as well as the vitally important policies of Turkey.

The analysis concludes that, despite many remaining difficulties, there is now reason to hope that the long nightmare of the Kurds in Iraq might perhaps be nearing an end.

Michael M. Gunter is Professor of Political Science at Tennessee Technological University and a former Senior Fulbright Lecturer in International Relations in Turkey. His previous publications include books on the Kurds in Turkey and on Armenian terrorism, as well as numerous articles in such journals as the American Journal of International Law, Orbis, Middle East Journal, Orient, and International Organizations, among others.

Gunter’s study is a must read for anyone interested in Kurdish nationalism and the Kurdish question. It is an essential work for understanding the geopolitical and geostrategic changes that have taken place in the Middle East as a result of the Gulf War.”
—Robert Olsen, author of The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism: 1880-1925



I first became interested in the Middle East when I spent a year as a Senior Fulbright Lecturer in International Relations at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, during the 1978-79 academic year. These were trying times, but I will never forget the many different people and things I saw and did, as I travelled through the area. Now more than a decade later I have the opportunity to write an objective analysis that I hope will shed some light on one particular political problem in the region.

In writing this book and throughout much of my career, I have had the benefit of advice from a number of good and wise friends, including Boleslaw Boczek, Adda Bozeman, Richard Cooper, Steve Khleif, Heath Lowry, Sanford Silverburg, and Michael Turner, among numerous others. Ambassador William Eagleton, Jr., and Mehrdad Izady, in particular, were generous with their time, advice, and information in the writing of this book. Nader Entessar, Edmund Ghareeb, and Robert Olson also read the text and offered their advice. Paul Stephenson, the chairman of the Department of Political Science at Tennessee Technological University, where I have taught for the past twenty years, arranged for me to receive a certain amount of released time, which greatly aided me in the writing of this book. Over the years too I have owed a special debt of gratitude to Eloise Ramsey Hitchcock of the Tennessee Technological University Library for the help she has given me.

Although I have used numerous other libraries over the years, I would like to mention specifically the Columbia University Libraries in New York; the Vanderbilt University Library in Nashville, Tennessee; and the Kurdish Library and its understanding director, Vera Beaudin Saeedpour, in Brooklyn, New York. Samande Siaband (Mehrdad Izady) allowed me to use the excellent map he drew of Central Kurdistan.

Names and terms from Kurdish, Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish appear in this study. To use a consistent transliteration system for them might have resulted in making some appear needlessly awkward or virtually unrecognizable. Therefore, I have used spellings that seemed most natural to me, an English-speaking reader. Similarly, only Kurdish words in the text not commonly used in English have been italicized. To simplify the text, I also have omitted certain diacritical marks. Although the purist might object, such procedures have not affected the meanings of these terms.

In addition, I would like to make it clear that what follows is preeminently a political analysis. Where they have impinged upon this domain, of course, I have considered economic, sociological, and religious factors, but I will leave their exposition to others more qualified. Finally, I want to thank Simon Winder of SL Martin’s Press who has helped and encouraged me. The final result, however, is mine.
Michael M. Gunter
July 1992


The Kurds in Iraq1 have been in an almost constant state of revolt ever since Britain artificially created that state out of the former Ottoman vilayets of Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra following World War I. There are three major reasons for this situation.
First, the Kurds in Iraq long constituted a greater proportion of the population than they did in any other country they inhabited.2 Accordingly, despite their smaller absolute numbers, they represented a larger critical mass in Iraq than elsewhere, a situation that enabled them to play a more important role there than they did in Turkey and Iran. Second, as an artificial, new state, Iraq had less legitimacy as a political entity than Turkey and Iran, two states that had existed in one form or another for many centuries despite their large Kurdish minorities. Thus, discontent and rebellion came easier for the Iraqi Kurds. Indeed, since the creation of Iraq, it had been understood that they were to negotiate their future position, a right that the Kurds in other states did not have. And third, Iraq was further divided by a Sunni-Shiite Muslim division not present in Tbrkey or Iran. This predicament further called into question its future.3

For its part, the Iraqi government has always feared the possibility of Kurdish separatism. Kurdish secession would not only deplete the Iraqi population; it would also set a precedent that the Shiites, some 55 percent of the population, might follow and thus threaten the very future of the Iraqi state. What is more, since approximately two-thirds of the oil production and reserves, as well as much of the fertile land, were located in the Kurdish area, the government felt that Kurdish secession would strike at the economic heart of the state. Thus were sown the seeds of a seemingly irreconcilable struggle between Iraq and its Kurdish minority.

Number 12 of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points had declared that the non-Turkish minorities of the Ottoman Empire should …


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