According to recent reports from Iraq, the Government has completed its plans to launch a new aggressive war, with preliminary vilification, against the ivurdish people, (military operations commenced officially on 3rd of April). Aerial bombardment of the Kurdish towns and villages is being resumed; the familiar pattern of repressive measures is under way. Indeed this is not the first time an Iraqi regime has violently assaulted Kurdistan. It has been a salient feature of all Iraqi regimes ever since the establishment of the Iraqi state after the First World War. Southern Kurdistan was then annexed, against the wishes of its inhabitants, to this new artificial state, which came under the British mandate. Subsequently the R.A.F., on many occasions, bombarded the Kurdish area to force the Kurdish people into submission to the alien rule of Baghdad.
Since then, Iraqi administrations have come and gone but the Kurdish problem has remained unsolved. The problem consists of Kurdish demands for regognition of national and cultural rights, which are no more excessive than those enjoyed by most civilised nations. But Iraqi Governments have persistently turned a deaf ear to Kurdish aspirations, and have shown remarkable unwillingness to achieve a just solution to the problem. They have essayed various techniques of ruthless vigour to achieve their own 'Final Solution' for the Kurdish question. Fortunately until now these efforts have been in vain, due primarily to the consolidated and unbending belief of the Kurds in their just cause; hence the continuous Kurdish struggle for national liberation.
The Kurdish people supported the July 1958 Revolution from the outset, and pinned their hopes on the Republican regime for the achievement of their national rights. In fact during the first two years of the new Government considerable progress was made - at least on paper. But soon Kurdish disappointment crept in, when the whole policy was reversed. Inspired by Arab xenophobic elements and apparently satisfying his megalomaniacal instincts. General Kassim commenced a provocative and insulting campaign against the Kurds. This vile campaign reached the level of Government advocacy of a grand policy of the "Arabification" of the Kurdish people. As part of its overall plan the Government supplied a few reactionary tribes with money and arms, in order to terrorise Kurdish towns and villages. Eventually the "Kurds were forced tQtake up arms and defend their lives, and in order to obtain the legitimate national rights.
On 11th September 1961 Kassim ordered the savage bombing of the civilian population of the Kurdish towns and villages, which was followed by a vicious attack by the Army, using all kinds of destructive modern weapons. Hundreds of women, children and old folk lost their lives. Crops were destroyed and an economic blockade was imposed to starve off the population of Kurdistan.
Kassim pronounced, optimistically in a press conference on 23rd of September, on his disillusioned campaign as follows:- "Our glorious victorious Armed Forces have been able to stamp out completely the rebellion in the North". But soon it became clear that in fact the Revolution had become more popular and widespread, in spite of repetitive gladitorial pronouncements by the 'Sole Leader'. The Kurdish War resulted in the downfall of the Kassim regime, when, on 8th Feb. 1963, a group of Arab nationalists staged a coup d' etat; taking advantage of the political vacuum in the Arab South and the military defeats of the Iraqi Army in the battles fought with the Kurdish Army "PESH MERGA". Fighting ceased and the newBaath Government promised to fulfil all the Kurdish demands. The Kurdish delegation began negatiotions with the Government, which lasted more than three months, without reaching .an acceptable formula for agreement. It became obvious to the Kurds that the Government had no genuine desire to reach any agreement, and that the Baathists were merely playing for time so that they strengthen themselves for another bout, suddenly members of the Kurdish delegation were arrested and subjected to savage torturing at the hands of the Baathists' private army the so-called National Guard.
On the (10th June 1963), the Government announced the beginning of another attack on Kurdistan, repeating all previous methods of committing atrocities used by former Iraqi regimes. The only difference this time was that operations against the Kurds were on a wider scale than hitherto; it amounted to a war of extermination. It was a sad day for all the professed ideals of Arab nationalism, when this nationalism was extended to absorb Kurdish national rights. If the Arabs believe in the inherent right of all peoples of self-determination, how can they morally justify this kind of crude imperialism?
The Baath campaign was unprecedented in its ruthlessness, in the history oMraq. The then Minister of Defence (Amash) had the audacity to call the savage war: "a national picnic undertaken by our troops in the North". What a picnic! The criminal regime of the Baath was toppled on 18th of Nov. 1963, when yet another military junta, led by Arif, seized power. General Amash found elsewhere to do his picnicking!
At the same time the Kurdish Revolution was making great strides towards achieving its aims 'PUSH MERGA' enjoyed the overwhelming support cf the Kurdish people. Meanwhile the Government troops were in an utter state of chaos and completely demoralised. The Revolution was spreading all the time and gaining sympathy both at home and abroad. It became the focal point for Arabs as well as Kurds in order to rid Iraq of the military dictatorship. Therefore, Arif was trying desperately to stop the fighting, because of his vulnerable position. As the result of this the Government signed a cease-fire agreement with Mulla Mustapha Barzani, on 10th of Feb. 1964. This agreement was hailed by some as the beginning of a new chapter in Kurdo-Iraqi relations, and they considered it a positive step towards achieving Kurdish rights.
Subsequent events, unfortunately, proved the na'ivite of such wishful thinking. Arif's aim was to save his shaky regime from crumbling, and at the same time present the agreement to the general public as a final settlement for the Kurdish problem. This is born out by the behaviour of the Arif Government, which denies even the existence of a Kurdish problem. In fact this was predicted by leaders of the Kurdistan Democratic Party soon after the signing of the cease-fire, having acquired considerable experience of past Iraqi deceptive tactics.
The friendly dialogue between Barzani and the Government did not last for long. The traditional campaign, based on distortion and lies, is now revived. The economic blockade is being reimposed on Kurdistan. Vast quantities of ...