A Chance for Peace
The negotiations between the Kurdish revolutionaries and the Iraqi Government ended on March 11, 1970 with the conclusion of a 15-point Agreement guaranteeing autonomy for Kurdistan (see actual text elsewhere). This agreement marked a notable victory for the Kurdish people after a decade of struggle and sacrifices in order to achieve the minimum national liberties. One does not have to attribute the agreement to pure reasons of altruism on the part of Iraqi Government. There were many factors which brought about the agreement.
The Kurdistan Revolutionary Army-Pesh Merga-have demonstrated their resolution to continue to fight for the aims of the armed struggle which began since September 11, 1961. The steadfastness of the Kurdish people has known no bounds in the face of awful conditions generated by the repression and onslaughts of the Iraqi Army. It became evident that all attempts at destroying the Kurdish movement were futile. The war against the Kurdish people, furthermore, met with courageous disapproval by the vast majority of the Arab people in Iraq which are of many political persuasions. The conflict has seriously retarded the economic development of Iraq which, with its considerable resources, should have been one of the most dynamic countries in the region. For the Government the cost of fighting had been very high. The war absorbed £100 million in 1969, nearly 30 per cent of the Iraqi budget. On the military side in the autumn and winter of that year the Iraqi forces sustained heavy casualties when they staged a major offensive in the areas of Sulaimani, Dukhan, Karadagh, Akra, and Shekhan. Finally, public opinion saw the war as a diversionary tactic by the Government in order to throw its full military weight against Israel.
The crux of the agreement is Article 14, which provides for unification of the areas, where Kurds form the majority, into one administrative unit to be run by Kurdish officials i.e. autonomy. Article 10 states that the provisional constitution would be amended to recognise the existence of two nationalities in Iraq-Arab and Kurdish. Article one says that Kurdish shall be an official language alongside Arabic in the areas where Kurds constitute the majority of the popu ...