Iraqi Kurds: Road to Genocide
The Kurds of northern Iraq have long been an important and troublesome issue for Iraq’s government. For much of the 20th century the Kurds rebelled against Iraq in efforts to gain autonomy. These rebellions were almost always met with harsh oppression by Iraq’s army. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the Kurdish rebellions were met with particular brutality. The Iran-Iraq War, which lasted from 1980-1988, served to bring the Kurdish issue to the forefront for Iraq and Saddam Hussein, as Iraq’s Kurdish groups worked together and alongside Iranian troops in rebellion against Saddam. Iraq responded to this rebellion with a brutal counter-insurgency campaign, which continued Iraq’s precedent for oppression. However, the magnitude and violence of this campaign were drastically increased, surpassing any previous oppression and leading to genocide. This genocide 1987-1988 left 200,000 Kurds dead, destroyed 4,000 villages, and displaced 2,000,000 Kurds from their homes.