"Iraqi Opposition is not the product of either the"
THE IRAQI OPPOSITION’S EVOLUTION: FROM CONFLICT TO UNITY? By Robert G. Rabil* This article uses Iraqi documents to survey the relationship between the Iraqi opposition and the regime of Saddam Hussein. Both government and opposition have gone through different phases varying on such issues as cooperation, conflict, and degrees of repression. A key question is whether the opposition has reached a higher level of unity and both the determination and ability, with U.S. help, to develop a new democratic regime in the country. This article, based largely on official autonomy was secured in the north under Iraqi documents, reviews the relationship U.S. and UN sponsorship. between the Iraqi opposition and the At the same time, the opposition camp regime of Saddam Hussein.(1) It also gradually began to solve the historical tries to place the opposition’s evolution problem of its fragmentation due to and actions in the context of regional and rivalries and ideological differences. This international factors. Generally speaking, trend was accentuated following the the opposition went through four phases September 11 terrorist attacks on the since the current government took power United States. The Bush administration in 1968. made “regime change” in Iraq a high- During the first phase, from 1968 to priority objective. Suddenly, the 1980, opposition to the regime was opposition became the focus of the U.S. mainly local. Although Iran supported a efforts. The future of the opposition, and Kurdish rebellion, the regime was able to Iraq itself, will largely depend on whether suppress the opposition and solidify its the opposition will play a significant role own rule. The Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) in removing Saddam and be able to heralded a new phase marking the institute a democratic and stable opposition’s shift from a local to a government if he falls. regional phenomenon. The regional countries, particularly Iran and Syria, SUPPRESSING THE OPPOSITION tried to control the opposition parties’ The Iraqi opposition is not the product agenda by developing patron-client of either the first or second Gulf Wars. relationships given their own interest in Throughout its modern history, Iraq has undermining Saddam Hussein’s power. had an active opposition and this has been The second Gulf war (1990-1991) and the especially true during the Ba’th party’s March 1991 uprisings by Kurds and rule over the country since 1968, and Shi’is after the regime’s defeat in Kuwait particularly after Saddam Hussein ushered in a new phase. During the next became president in 1979. Yet while decade, the opposition was transformed to opposition to Ba’th rule gathered an international phenomenon, letting the momentum, opposition forces were groups free themselves from the leverage plagued by fragmentation and disarray, of regional states. The Iraqi National partly due to the regime’s ruthless Congress was born and Kurdish Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) 1 Robert G. Rabil suppression and its ability to exploit be in full enough control to break its internal dissent and rivalry. promise by then. During this period, the opposition In March 1974, Baghdad unilaterally consisted mainly of the Kurdish decreed an autonomy statute excluding movement led by the Kurdistan the oil-rich areas of Kirkuk, Khaneqin Democratic Party (KDP), the Iraqi and Jabal Sinjar from the Kurdish Communist Party, the Arab nationalists autonomous region, which would include and the Islamic movement, led by the only the three provinces (governates) of Da’wa party. It is noteworthy that the Irbil, Sulaimaniya and Dohuk. In line distribution of the opposition conformed with the new statute, the Ba’th regime to a great extent with the ethnic and undertook an administrative reform in sectarian division of the country, with the which the country’s sixteen governates Sunni Kurds in the north, the mainly were renamed and some had their Sunni nationalists in the center, and the boundaries altered. Of special Shi’a Islamists in the south. importance, the governate of Kirkuk was The deep structural changes brought divided and the area around its capital about by the post-1973 hike in oil city Kirkuk was renamed al-Ta’mim revenues and the Algiers agreement with (nationalization) governate after its the shah of Iran in 1975 allowed the boundaries were redrawn to give an Arab regime to deal the opposition camp severe majority. blows. Immediately after the Algiers As a result of the collapse of the agreement, the Kurdish rebellion Kurdish rebellion, the KDP split into two collapsed because Iran no longer backed main factions, the KDP-Provisional it. These events followed a pattern Command led by Idris and Masoud characterizing Kurdish-Iraq relations Barzani, and the Patriotic Union of since 1958. Each Iraqi government that Kurdistan (PUK), led by Jalal Talabani. came to power at first pursued peace talks The Iraqi regime embarked on a with the Kurds only to fight them at a campaign to “Arabize” the areas it had later date and assert its authority excluded from the autonomous region. throughout the country. This was also the Hundreds of Kurdish families were case with the Ba’th party government uprooted and Arabs from the south were taking power after the July 1968 coup. lured to move to the north. Subsequently, The new regime was pragmatic enough to in 1977-1978 the regime began to clear a seek political accommodations with the strip of land along its northern borders Kurds at a time it had not yet with Turkey and Iran, which was consolidated its rule. expanded several times until it was The government’s Revolutionary several few miles wide. Command Council (RCC), the highest Sharing a long mountainous border authority in the land, issued a manifesto with Iran, the governate of Sulaimaniya on March 11, 1970 essentially was deeply affected. Hundreds of villages recognizing the legitimacy of Kurdish were destroyed in this border clearance nationalism and guaranteeing Kurdish campaign. Their residents were forcibly participation in government. But it relocated to mujamma’at (complexes), avoided defining the territorial extent of crude resettlement camps, known also as Kurdistan pending a new census. Since “modern cities,” built near large towns or the next census was not scheduled until main highways under the army’s 1977, the regime felt confident it would complete control.(2) By the time Saddam Hussein became president in 1979, 2 Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) The Iraqi Opposition's Evolution: From Conflict to Unity? Kurdish social and political life had been initiative as it ineluctably deferred to the very much affected by these measures. decisions of its regional supporters, who Army and intelligence units stationed tried not only to control them but also to throughout Iraqi Kurdistan continued to play off one party against another. control and oppress them. On November 12, 1980, two months Simultaneously, the regime continued after the war began, Damascus hosted the its persecution of Communist party inauguration of an alliance of opposition members and supporters. Upon his forces, the Democratic Patriotic and ascendancy to the presidency, Saddam National Front (DPNF). The DPNF Hussein orchestrated a bloody purge of included nationalist and Kurdish groups the Ba’th Party. By early 1980, the and the Iraqi Communist Party. However, regime focused on the Islamist the Arab nationalist parties (Arab opposition, after a number of grenade Socialist Movement, Socialist Party and attacks in Baghdad were blamed on the the pro-Syrian Ba’th Party) objected to Da’wa Party. Tens of thousands of people the inclusion of the KDP and supported were expelled to Iran on the pretext they the PUK, whose leader Talabani had were of “Iranian origin.”(3). Equally resided for several years in exile in Syria. significant, the RCC banned the Da’wa On November 28, another opposition Party and made membership in the party front, the Democratic Patriotic Front punishable by death.(4) (DPF), was established at the instigation of the Communist Party and included the THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR AND ITS KDP and the Kurdistan Socialist party. IMPACT ON THE OPPOSITION Throughout the 1980s, opposition forces With the onset of the Iran-Iraq War in were plagued by personal rivalries for September 1980, Baghdad’s campaign to leadership, institutional control, and suppress Kurdish political life had ideological differences. eventually foundered after so many army At this time, it was fairly difficult to units stationed in Iraqi Kurdistan were identify and assess the real strength of the sent to the front. The resurgent Kurdish various Islamist underground forces. But fighters, known as peshmerga (those who the regime’s ruthless clamp down on the face death), were quick to fill the security Da’wa Party indicated that it was the vacuum there. In addition, rejuvenated by strongest of the forces.(5) Among other the victory of the Islamic revolution in active groups at the time was the Iran, the Islamist opposition continued its Organization of Islamic Action. In a underground attacks on the regime’s move to close Shi’i ranks, Iran supported facilities and officials. However, unlike the creation of the Supreme Council for its Kurdish counterpart, the Islamist Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) in opposition failed to transform its November 1982. However, this is not to individual attacks into an armed struggle. say that Iran supported only Islamist The eruption of the Iran-Iraq War organizations. It also backed the two main marked a new phase in the development Kurdish parties, the KDP and the PUK, of the opposition. Iraq’s neighbors, though not equally. In the beginning of mainly Iran and Syria, began to support the 1980s, Iran extended substantive the opposition on a scale hitherto unseen. support to the KDP, whereas Syria gave But the opposition forces themselves had hers to the PUK. Thereafter, Iran, with little success creating a united front. the help of Syria, intermittently tried to Consequently, the opposition lost the coordinate with both the KDP and PUK, Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) 3 Robert G. Rabil which played significant military roles in National Defense Battalions. The regime Iran’s attacks on Iraq. favored recruiting Kurds from influential Early in the war, the Ba’th regime tribes such as the Zibaris, Hirkins and understood the danger resulting from the Surjis which had the clout to compete collaboration of the opposition with Iran. with the PUK and the KDP.(8) But it also understood the overall Equally significant, the regime at first incoherent state of the opposition and focused its attention on the KDP’s links attempted relentlessly to undermine it to Iran. This relationship entered a new further. In addition to continuing its dangerous phase in the regime’s eyes persecution of the Communists and when Iran, with help from the KDP, Da’wa Party members, the regime issued seized the important border garrison town an edict on August 4, 1980, to confiscate of Hajj Omran in July 1983. The regime all the monies and properties of all was furious with the KDP and branded it opposition members.(6) It devised a a fifth column. At the same time, the “working plan” for dealing with the regime maneuvered to deepen the rivalry opposition in general and the Kurds in between the KDP and the PUK. particular. The plan, included in General Capitalizing on the PUK’s opposition to Directorate of Security’s letter number the KDP’s role in facilitating the Iranian 9566 of September 1, 1981, contained the offensive on Hajj Omran, Saddam following goals: Hussein launched a diplomatic initiative 1. To penetrate the leadership of the centering on offering the PUK leader a saboteurs and maintain contact with their renewed commitment to Kurdish leading personalities in an attempt to autonomy. Talks ensued between the either recruit them or create suspicion PUK and Baghdad and continued among them. inconclusively until their collapse in 2. To widen the disagreement among January 1985. One of several reasons for the bands of saboteurs and to continue the this result was the regime’s rejection of delicate work to fomenting clashes among the old Kurdish demand that the oil-rich them. regions of Kirkuk and Khaneqin be 3. To work to prevent the expansion of considered part of autonomous Kurdistan. saboteurs’ activities to areas they have This policy now pushed the PUK as not reached previously. well into Iran’s arms. Tehran was happy 4. To pressure famous well-known to welcome this new ally in the midst of saboteurs by detaining their families, its war with Iraq. Within two years, letting them know that the fate of their Iranian-PUK cooperation improved families is conditioned on them leaving dramatically, culminating in a sweeping the opposition. political, economic and military accord 5. To expose [to the Iraqi people] the signed by the two parties in October bands of saboteurs’ collaboration with the 1986. They agreed to fight Saddam until Persian regime and their betrayal of the he was toppled and to sign no unilateral country. deal with Baghdad. The Iraqi 6. To stop saboteurs from establishing government’s reaction was to ascribe organizations within the cities.(7) officially the epithet of Zumrat Umala’ In addition, the regime continued to Iran (Band of Iranian Agents) to the recruit Kurds into pro-government PUK.(9) Kurdish militias, informally called Jahsh With both Kurdish groups helping (a pejorative name literally meaning Iran, Baghdad lost control of the mule), but known officially as the countryside in Iraqi Kurdistan except for 4 Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) The Iraqi Opposition's Evolution: From Conflict to Unity? the main towns, cities and connecting tried to cooperate of their own volition or roads and highways. The regime at the instigation of Syria and Iran, the designated villages falling under the parties were more interested in peshmerga’s control or those where this maintaining and expanding their spheres militia was active as prohibited for of influence.(12) According to security reasons. intelligence reports, the KDP was active As official Iraqi documents show, it in the provinces of Irbil and Dohuk, while was at this point, at the beginning of the PUK was active in the province of 1985, that the regime dropped its hitherto Sulaimaniya. Other Kurdish parties ad hoc counterinsurgency measures and operated in these provinces but hardly began to pursue a systematic policy competed with either the PUK or KDP. against the Kurds aiming at destroying The Kurdistan Socialist party operated in their political, economic, social and Diyala, Irbil and Sulaimaniya; the military foundations.(10) The resulting Kurdish Socialist party operated in Irbil plan was to carry out one sweeping and Sulaimiya; the Kurdistan Democratic operation, code-named Termination of party operated in Dohuk; and the Islamic Traitors. In line with the name’s Movement in Iraqi Kurdistan (IMIK) implication, that operation was designed operated mainly in Sulaimaniya, although to implement the highest possible level of the IMIK rarely set up political punishment and physical liquidation of headquarters, preferring mobile both the Kurds and their villages. The offices.(13) method was to destroy villages and Throughout the war, Iran cared for towns, and then forcibly deport their Kurdish casualties and allowed both the inhabitants to tightly supervised camps. KDP and the PUK to establish The first step would be against population headquarters on its territory, in Rajan and centers in government-controlled areas, Qasem Rash respectively. In general, it followed by another phase to eliminate favored the KDP and allowed its villages prohibited for security reasons members a freedom of action not afforded wherever the army could reach or even to the PUK.(14) Syria, on the other hand, politically passive villages in areas where early on favored the PUK. Syrian officers guerrillas might operate.(11) trained PUK fighters and supplied them In this way, most of rural Kurdistan with weapons.(15) It nevertheless tried to was declared prohibited, and villages coordinate with all the opposition camp in were marked for destruction regardless of general and with the two Kurdish parties whether the villagers abetted, harbored, or in particular to help Iran in its war against supported the saboteurs. The first phase Iraq. ran from April 20 to May 20, 1987 while According to Sulaimaniya Directorate the second was conducted from May 21 of Security’s intelligence report number to June 20. The final phase culminated in 10907 [Branch 5] of December 12, 1987, the Anfal campaign, characterized by the Syria in October 1987 hosted a meeting use of chemical weapons against the for the opposition in which all parties Kurdish population and lasting from agreed to divide Iraq into three fields for February to September 1988. operations. Islamist parties would operate In the meantime, relations between in the south, the Kurds in the north, and Kurdish opposition parties remained the Communists and the renegade band characteristically incoherent and marked (nationalists) in the middle and Ninawa by rivalry. Although in parlous times they province.(16) But Syria, unlike Iran, Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) 5 Robert G. Rabil allowed the Kurdish parties to open only Iran put Muhammed Baqer al-Hakim, representative offices. Equally significant, leader of SCIRI, in charge of arranging while Syria hosted the nationalist parties, family visits to the POWs.(19) Iran hosted the Islamist parties. Libya Of the regional countries, Turkey also supported the PUK, including posed the greatest dilemma for the training its members, and tried to Kurdish opposition. Given its own large coordinate between Iran and the Kurdish minority, Turkey wanted to PUK.(17) prevent any situation that might fuel The tragic consequences of the Anfal Kurdish sentiments for independence in campaign pushed the opposition parties to Turkey and to suppress the Kurdistan put aside their differences temporarily. In Workers’ Party (PKK). In addition, May 1988 they established a united front, Turkey abhorred the Iraqi Kurds’ the Iraqi Kurdistan Front (IKF), which attempts, with Iranian support, to had been the subject of discussion sabotage Iraq’s oil pipeline that passes (mainly in Damascus) for quite some through Turkey to the Mediterranean. time.(18) It included the PUK, the KDP, Turkey thus saw Iraq’s Kurdish the Kurdistan Popular Democratic Party, insurgency as a threat to its own interests. the Kurdistan Socialist Party and the Turkey guarded its borders with Iraq Kurdish Socialist Party. Subsequently, closely and was intermittently hostile to three other groups joined the IKF: The Kurdish parties. With Iraq’s tacit Iraqi Communist Party, the Kurdistan agreement, Turkish forces made several Toilers’ Party, and the Assyrian air raids across the border in 1986 and Democratic Party. 1987 into Kurdish camps, thereby The carnage and destruction brought establishing a pattern of involvement in about by the Anfal campaign also caused northern Iraq that has continued since. many Iraqis to flee, mainly to Iran and This military involvement coincided Turkey. These countries placed the with a revived Turkish interest to make refugees in military barracks (mainly in references to its old claims to the Mosul Turkey) or in compounds (mainly in region, relinquished in 1926, to protect Iran). Moreover, Iran jailed Iraqi not only the pipeline from Kurdish prisoners of war (POWs), many of whom insurgency but also the ethnic Turks, were captured by the Kurdish opposition. Turkomen, who are a minority in northern This presence of refugees and Iraqi Iraq. When Iraq was faring badly in the POWs in Iran allowed that country to war, Turkey reportedly notified Iran and promote and strengthen certain opposition the U.S. in 1986 that it would demand the groups. This was very much the case of return of Mosul and Kirkuk in the event Iran’s advancement of SCIRI. With the of Iraq’s collapse.(20) blessing of Iran, SCIRI convened some of This Turkish attitude became its meetings in the north of Iran with the discernibly ambivalent in the late 1980s objective of intensifying propaganda in as the PKK intensified its anti-Turkish Iraqi Kurdistan. In this way, SCIRI could operations at a time when Turkey had project itself as a representative of all become the destination of many Kurdish Iraqis. A special committee was refugees. To keep a watchful eye on the established in Tehran in 1987, including refugees and prevent them from most of the opposition parties, to fraternizing with Turkish-Kurds, Turkey coordinate with Iranian authorities on the housed the refugees in military barracks treatment of POWs. Besides the fact that mainly in Mardin, Diyar Bakr and the committee was headed by Islamists, 6 Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) The Iraqi Opposition's Evolution: From Conflict to Unity? Mosh.(21) Kurds complained about the been the target of the Anfal campaign. dismal and harsh conditions. But Iran now barred the Kurdish parties In the meantime, the PUK signed an from launching military operations from agreement with the PKK in May 1988, its land or along the Iran-Iraq border, which the KDP denounced as detrimental though it did not object to operations to the unity of the IKF.(22) Turkey, for its deep inside Iraq.(25) part, went on to sign two separate The Kurdish parties were concerned agreements, one with the Iraqi about secret Iran-Iraq cease-fire terms or government and the other with the KDP. about a prospective peace treaty between On September 19, 1989, Turkey and Iraq the two countries that could have negative signed a legal and judicial agreement implication for Kurdish activities. stipulating that each party to the Consequently, the Kurdish parties began extradition agreement would surrender to convene large meetings to which they any person present on its soil who was invited all opposition parties. For accused of or found guilty of any charge example, the KDP, in the course of by the judicial authorities of the other convening its tenth congress in Rajan in country.(23) November 1989, invited the IKF. One of Immediately thereafter, Turkey signed the important decisions taken in the an agreement with the KDP pledging to congress was to adopt a new vision support that party in exchange for its emphasizing “a belief in national unity helping the Turkish army in its fight and considering the Kurds as part of the against the PKK. Accordingly, Turkey Iraqi people.”(26) While this attitude ordered its military border posts to let apparently affirmed Kurdish identity as through KDP peshmerga and offer them Iraqi, it most likely stemmed more from refuge, provisions and medical help. It the Kurds’ apprehension about possible also allowed KDP fighters to appear in agreements between the regional military gear in some Turkish towns and countries and Iraq, for which the Kurds cities without army interference.(24) At would pay the political price. the same time, Ankara continued its policy of pursuing PKK forces inside BREAKING FREE Iraq. It maintained a military presence Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August inside Iraq a few miles across the border. 1990 and subsequent American-led In May and September 1997, the Turkish efforts to build an international, anti-Iraq army launched two major offensives in coalition marked a new phase in the Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkish forces even relations among opposition parties as well joined the KDP in fighting the PUK. as between regional countries and the Meanwhile, following the Iran-Iraq opposition camp. Several intelligence cease fire, which went into effect in reports from the General Military August 1988, Syria’s and Iran’s support Intelligence Directorate dating from for the Kurdish opposition became more October 1990 to January 1991 shed light circumscribed since these countries (plus on the state of the opposition and its Turkey) were adverse to the idea of an position on the impending U.S.-led attack independent Kurdistan. Nevertheless, on Iraq. The opposition reckoned that these countries also desired a weakened their cause might now become Iraqi regime. Thanks in no small part to “internationalized.” They intensified their Iran and Syria, the Kurds were able to mutual contacts and tried, with little reestablish their presence in areas that had success, to fashion a unified plan of Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) 7 Robert G. Rabil action. Although they expected denying the United States a future fundamental changes in Iraq, they were hegemonic role in Iraq. This is reflected, wary of launching an armed attack, or as we shall see, by the statements of participating in one, against the regime. Iran’s protégé, SCIRI’s leader al-Hakim. In fact, according to intelligence report In fact, this agreement was mentioned number 200 [Branch 3, Section 2] of twice in intelligence reports and elicited January 5, 1991, PUK chieftains concerns from the Kurdish opposition expressed a desire that in the event of a including the IMIK.(33) Responding to confrontation between a U.S.-led Kurdish concerns, Iranian authorities coalition and Iraq, the PUK should reach emphasized that this agreement would not an agreement with Baghdad rather than affect the activities of the Kurds.(34) fight it.(27) The KDP preferred to According to General Military reestablish its positions in northern Iraq. Intelligence Directorate’s report number Both parties adopted a “wait and see” 11256 [Branch 2, Section 3] of October position, including suspending their 15, 1990, Ahmad Khomeini alleviated the operations, to find out the outcome of the IMIK’s concerns by stating, “We do not confrontation.(28) One of the Kurdish bargain with Islam, and we shall support concerns expressed about this position you as previously. You should continue was that the Kurds might again become your activities.”(35) the target of the regime’s chemical Although Turkey, an important weapons.(29) coalition partner, allowed Western Following the invasion, Syria was the nations and Syria to open a number of first of the regional countries to upgrade headquarters in the border province of its relations with the Kurdish opposition Hakari, it did not permit any military to the foreign ministry level. Damascus operations against Iraqi troops along the brought opposition parties together at Iraqi-Kurdish border.(36) Finally, the several meetings in Damascus at which a crisis in the Gulf pushed Saudi Arabia unified plan of action was discussed. In and Kuwait to interfere for the first time addition, Syria offered not only to open in opposition affairs. bases and headquarters for the KDP but Obviously, the growing interest of the also to facilitate and help its military regional countries in the opposition operations.(30) In fact, Syria agreed for stemmed from their concerns about a the first time to open a military possible transition of power in Iraq. They headquarters for the opposition in the sought to have a say regarding the Iraqi-Turkish-Syrian border triangle.(31) composition of any new government. While the PUK went along with Syrian More specifically, Syria and Iran believed plans, the KDP and the Communists that Saddam would fall and thus began expressed reservations about these preparing for an alternative. But the two meetings as strengthening Syria’s countries did not share the same vision leverage and appearing to coordinate for Iraq. Syria disliked the idea that a efforts with the U.S.-led coalition against future Islamist government might rise on the regime.(32) the ruins of the Ba’th Party. Iran, on the other hand, was so Syria’s efforts to bring the opposition concerned about American plans in the under one umbrella materialized with the region that it adopted an ambivalent establishment of the Joint Action position toward both the Kurds and Iraq. Committee in December 1990 in It seems possible that Iran and Iraq Damascus. The Iraqi opposition consisted concluded a secret agreement based on mainly at the time of the Kurdish parties, 8 Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) The Iraqi Opposition's Evolution: From Conflict to Unity? represented in Damascus, but possessing the opposition from a regional to an headquarters in Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran; international phenomenon. the pro-Damascus parties (pro-Syrian At this point, it is important to Ba’thists, and some Nationalists, Iraqi examine some of the opposition’s officers, Communists) based in Syria; and statements on the eve of Desert Storm, the pro-Tehran Islamist parties, based in especially with regard to the United Tehran, mainly SCIRI, Da’wa party (less States. Once coalition air forces began Tehran-oriented than SCIRI), and the bombing Baghdad, SCIRI’s leader, al- Organization of Islamic Action. Hakim criticized the war as aggression Essentially, the creation of the against the Iraqi people under the pretext Committee reflected a kind of accord of punishing Saddam for occupying between Damascus and Tehran. Kuwait. In addition, he called on Iraqis to Subsequently, Damascus and Tehran confront the foreign aggression and to began to prepare for an Iraqi opposition seek to establish Islamic rule in Iraq.(37) congress. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, This statement underscored SCIRI’s lacking any influence with the opposition, intimate relationship with Iran, which tried to create pro-Saudi groups and build considered the United States to be the bridges to existing ones. In this respect, it “Big Satan” to be confronted first. supported Sa’d Saleh Jabr, a liberal scion Da’wa issued a statement radically of an influential family and leader of the different from that of SCIRI’s. It called Party of the New Nation. Saudi Arabia on the army to overthrow Saddam, the prodded him to dissolve this party and real culprit in rending Iraq. In its January establish a broader organization. Jabr did 17 statement, The Organization of Islamic so, establishing the Free Iraqi Council in Action focused on toppling Saddam’s February 1991. Shortly thereafter, some regime while at the same time blaming Ba’thists and nationalists, led by former the United States for not targeting the Ba’th officials Salah Omar al-‘Ali and regime’s headquarters.(38) The Kurdish Ayad Awali, established the Iraqi parties were wary of taking a definite National Accord (INA). Based in London, position at the time. In fact, the Kurdish the two movements joined the Joint parties took a unilateral decision during Action Committee before the congress the uprising to negotiate with Saddam convened. after it appeared to them he would be While war was raging in the Gulf, victorious. Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and opposition In the aftermath of the failed uprising, parties were engaged in shuttle diplomacy the opposition was in disarray. However, to convene the first national Iraqi it tried to break free from the grip of opposition congress. The congress took regional countries, which it perceived as place in Beirut in March 1991, coinciding harmful to the cause. Toward this end, it with the spontaneous uprising that convened a congress in Vienna in the engulfed Iraq. The congress succeeded summer of 1992 which elected the Iraqi only in bringing opposition groups National Congress, an umbrella under one roof. The regional countries’ organization including most opposition different future visions for Iraq clashed parties and headed by Ahmad Chalabi, to with the opposition’s personal rivalries take leadership in opposition politics. In and ideological differences. The failure of addition, the opposition began to seek the congress marked the gradual shift of international support, mainly from the United States and Britain. The groups Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) 9 Robert G. Rabil also decided to convene another congress collapse a few months later. As before, in Iraq, which met in September 1992. At the disagreement over the demarcation of that congress, the opposition forces the Kurdish autonomous region, fashioned and agreed on a unity plan. The particularly concerning Kirkuk, scuttled groups meeting in Salahuddin, Iraqi the negotiations. In January 1992, the IKF Kurdistan, including SCIRI, Joint Action announced the suspension of the talks. Committee and Da’wa, agreed to convene The IKF exercised de facto control of an enlarged General Assembly and also the Kurdish region and began a process of agreed to the principles that a future Iraq institutionalizing its rule. For the first would remain geographically united and time in their history, in May 1992, the headed by a parliamentary, democratic Kurds held free parliamentary elections and constitutional government. for a 105-member Kurdistan National The General Assembly convened in Assembly. The elections were based on a Salahuddin in October 1992 and ratified system of proportional representation the decisions made at Vienna and with a seven per cent threshold for party Salahuddin. At this conference, the INC legitimacy. The KDP won 50.8 per cent managed to include individual democrats of the vote while the PUK won 49.2 per and most established organizations and cent. The parties settled for 50 seats each currents within the Iraqi opposition. as part of a power-sharing agreement. In a While some nationalists boycotted the move defining Kurdish-Iraq relations, the Assembly because they rejected the idea National Assembly issued a statement in that the future form of Iraqi government October 1992 adopting federalism within will be based on a federalist structure, a a unified Iraq as the basis for its future decision discussed and accepted at the political program.(40) Assembly, the Da'wa party expressed its Yet, personal rivalry and struggles for reservations about this decision.(39) control soon shattered the calm in Iraqi Meanwhile, the regime’s brutal Kurdistan. Rising tensions between the suppression of the uprising triggered a PUK and IMIK, which controlled mass exodus, mainly Kurds and Shi’is, to significant swaths of territories along the the neighboring countries of Iran, Turkey border with Iran and around towns such and Saudi Arabia. In April 1991, the UN as Halabja and Kifri in proximity to PUK Security Council adopted Resolution 688, strongholds, led to PUK-IMIK armed calling on Iraq to end “the repression of clashes in December 1993. Subsequently, the Iraqi civilian population.” Shortly widespread battles broke out between the thereafter, the allied forces, especially PUK, the KDP, and the IMIK in May those of the United States and United 1994. Although all parties sustained Kingdom, established “no-fly” zones in heavy casualties, the IMIK suffered the northern and southern Iraq, forbidding most as it retreated close to the Iranian Iraqi aircraft from flying north of the 36th border. This, however, did not prevent the parallel and south of the 32nd parallel. IMIK, and later on other splinter Islamist Consequently, the Iraqi regime withdrew parties such as Jund al-Islam and Ansar from the Kurdish region in late October al-Islam from reestablishing their 1991, except for Kirkuk. As a result, an presence in and around Halabja. “internal frontline” was established On the other hand, tension climaxed separating the Kurdish region from the between the KDP and the PUK, following rest of Iraq. Also in April, the IKF and PUK encroachment on what the KDP the Iraqi regime entered into negotiations considered its sphere of influence in Irbil. that remained inconclusive until their In a dramatic twist of events, the KDP 10 Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) The Iraqi Opposition's Evolution: From Conflict to Unity? called on Iraq’s armed forces to help with Liberation Act of 1998 which established the fight against the PUK. In August a program to support a transition to 1996, the KDP, with the help of Iraq’s democracy in Iraq. The INC emerged as armed forces, launched an attack on PUK the recipient of this support. However, positions in Irbil and drove them from the although the INC served as an umbrella area. In the process, the Iraqi army organization of opposition groups [KDP, attacked INC headquarters, which had PUK, SCIRI, Constitutional Monarchy been established there with the CIA’s Movement (CMM), INA], each one of help, and killed many INC members, them has claimed the right to operate ending INC presence in northern Iraq. outside the INC framework, thereby As a result of all these events, Iraqi undermining the cohesion of the Kurdistan split into two regional areas opposition.(42) This was set in sharp with their own separate quasi- relief when the Bush administration made governments. The KDP rules the a regime change in Iraq a U.S. foreign provinces of Dohuk and Irbil, while the policy objective and focused on widening PUK rules Sulaimainiya province. While the Iraqi opposition camp. Disagreement the PUK has intermittently had armed in the Bush administration at the personal clashes with the Islamist parties around and departmental levels over the methods Halabja, since 1996 the overall situation to bring about a regime change has in Iraqi Kurdistan has largely stabilized confounded the opposition groups as and the two major parties cooperate on a well. wide range of efforts aimed at improving It should be noted that other the economic, educational, and political opposition groups and personalities have life in Kurdistan. The two parties have emerged on the international stage as the committed themselves to democratic rules United States seeks a wide opposition and freedom of speech. Schools, circle to oust Saddam. They include the universities, newspapers, NGOs, and Iraqi Free Officers, led by General Najib other mediums of a democratic free Salhi, who claims influence within the society have proliferated in the area. This Iraqi Army; the Iraqi National Movement has been made possible thanks in no (INM) led by General Hassan Nakib, small part to the UN. In an effort to ease former deputy chief of staff of the Iraqi the negative effects of the international army (the INM is a recent merger of the embargo on Iraq, the UN adopted Iraqi National Liberals and Iraqi Officers Resolution 986 in 1995 that created the Movement, headed by General Fawzi oil-for-food program. This program Shamari. The group, like the INA, claims provides money to Iraq in exchange for support in key central provinces); and petroleum exports. The Kurds receive 13 General Nizar Khazraji, a former chief of percent of the funds.(41) staff, and Wafiq al-Samara’i, a former Paralleling these developments in the intelligence chief, both of whom claim Kurdish region, the London-based INC influence within the Iraqi army. tried to advance its program of toppling As the campaign to topple Saddam has Saddam by enlisting the financial and been gathering momentum in military help of the United States. Washington, the Iraqi opposition has been Chafing over Saddam’s continuous attempting to close its ranks and adopt a haggling with and delaying UN unified position to present itself as the inspectors, who were pulled out of Iraq in alternative government for Saddam’s 1998, the U.S. Congress issued the Iraq regime. In this respect, it succeeded to a Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) 11 Robert G. Rabil large extent in working together as a stated, “We do not know what will group united by two principles: Toppling happen….We will not enter adventures Saddam’s regime and calling for whose end is unclear.”(45) democratic form of government with This attitude, similar to that on the eve federalism and decentralization at its of the Gulf War, mutated to one gingerly basis. Several meetings for the opposition supporting the United States. The Kurdish confirming these views took place, leaders eventually admitted that their including the exiled officers’ convention “ideal” current situation in Iraqi in London in July 2002 and the leaders of Kurdistan was ephemeral and could the opposition “group of six” change for the worse. Since they (representing SCIRI, PUK, KDP, INA, considered themselves part and parcel of CMM, INC) meeting with U.S. officials Iraq, they realized the imperative of in August 2002.(43) contributing to opposition efforts to bring In addition, statements by opposition about democracy to Iraq. Following a leaders, unlike past statements on the eve meeting with U.S. officials in August, of the Gulf War, reflected a genuine Talabani even went so far as to confirm understanding that the opposition not that the Kurds would relinquish the only needs to work together but also to “independence of the current reality and cooperate with the United States. Toward that urban street fighting against this end, most importantly, the statement Americans [in the event of an invasion] by SCIRI’s leader, al-Hakim, marked a was unlikely.”(46) It can be argued that substantial shift from the sentiments he this attitude is a logical extension to the expressed during the Gulf War. He now initial one taken by the Kurdish welcomed the idea of American leadership on the eve of Desert Storm in intervention to destabilize the Iraqi which they identified themselves as government, provided it was the Iraqis Iraqis. who carried out the real change. He stated that “the Iraqi people will benefit from THE OPPOSITION’S DEFINING any opportunity that weakens Saddam,” MOMENT and added, “They can topple him if they No doubt the Iraqi opposition, given know that he will not be able to suppress its past disarray, has made strides toward them like in 1991.”(44) unity and common cause. But a closer At first the Kurdish leaders, Talabani examination of the opposition groups’ and Barzani, expressed reservations about intentions and motives reveals schisms a U.S.-led campaign to oust Saddam. beneath the surface of opposition unity They were concerned about a repetition that, if not addressed, could again split of U.S. actions such as in 1975 and 1991, the opposition and prove disastrous to a in which Kurds were left alone fending possible U.S. intervention in Iraq. for themselves. Equally significant, they SCIRI’s shift to supporting U.S. were apprehensive about disrupting their intervention rests largely on SCIRI’s current situation in Iraqi Kurdistan unless apprehension about Iraq’s readiness to there was a clear and beneficial use non-conventional weapons against the alternative. Responding to questions opposition. SCIRI is more interested in about the United States touting the Kurds U.S. protection than in U.S. intervention as possible allies, Barzani said: “First of or in any future role for America in all, we have to know who the alternative building a new Iraq. This also reflects is, if there is one. Of course, so far there Iran’s uneasiness with a U.S. presence on is no alternative.” Talabani concurred and both its borders (Afghanistan and Iraq). 12 Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) The Iraqi Opposition's Evolution: From Conflict to Unity? SCIRI has remained vague about the autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan.(49) The specifics of federalism (let alone about constitution adopts democratic rule and Kurdish aspirations) since the Salahuddin federalism. But federalism is based on conference. SCIRI, on the one hand, has ethnic and historic demographic criteria. endorsed the concept of federalism for It calls for the establishment of a federal Iraq’s future political structure, but, on union consisting of Arab and Kurdish the other, has refrained from elaborating regions, whereby the area of Kurdish its position about it, opting instead to region is coterminous with historic Iraqi claim that the “will of the Iraqis will be Kurdistan.(50) In addition, it calls for the the final recourse.”(47) Given that the repatriation of all Kurds forcibly Shi’a are the majority and there exists no relocated from Iraqi Kurdistan and the secular Shi’a party, this could well mean expatriation of all Arabs who the that SCIRI has ulterior motives not only government relocated there since to acquire a determinative role in a future 1957.(51) Iraqi government but also the ability to Arabic would be the official language enhance its Islamist agenda. of the union and the Arab region while In addition, a group of Shi’a Kurdish would be the official language academics, professionals, religious for the Kurdish region. The constitution leaders, tribal leaders and businessmen, stipulates the establishment of a federal reflecting the whole spectrum of Shi’a parliament consisting of national and viewpoints, issued a declaration dealing regional assemblies. The regional with the sectarian problem in Iraq and its assembly would participate on an equal future political order. The declaration footing with the national assembly in emphasized democracy and federalism, practicing federal legislative powers. whereby the central authorities would be Every region would have its own effective but not hegemonic. It also stated constitution taking into consideration rule that “Iraq’s federal structure would not be by an Iraqi republic and the provisions of based on a sectarian division but rather on the federal constitution. Every region administrative and demographic would have a president, prime minister, criteria.”(48) But the group formulated its and a council of ministers, in addition to outlook of Iraq’s future by speaking an independent judicial system. The exclusively as Shi’a and significantly by federal union would be responsible for defining the Shi’a community as a collecting customs’ taxes while each distinct group created by the regime’s region will collect all other taxes. anti-Shi’a policies. Consequently, despite The provisions of this draft its positive outlook, this declaration has constitution clearly reveals the Kurds’ the potential of deepening the ethnic and suspicions about future power-sharing by sectarian divide in Iraq by highlighting attempting to acquire an arrangement that the identity and singular experience of the would give them a veto power on all Shi’a as a community, thereby promoting national and political decisions, and a a Shi’a rather than a national collective structure that was in many ways that of a consciousness. state. Although this preliminary position Equally significant, the KDP issued a is still under discussion, it reflects the draft constitution in April 2002 that attitude of the Kurds after 11 years of reflects both Kurdish wariness and doubts autonomous rule. about power-sharing arrangements and Peter W. Galbraith, a former U.S. Kurdish aspirations for complete ambassador and currently a professor at Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) 13 Robert G. Rabil the National War College, explained the Turkey in the 1920s and added “Turkey position of the Kurds: considers northern Iraq to be under its “In the past 11 years, the Iraqi identity direct care.”(53) A former general, has largely disappeared from the north of Armagan Kuloglu of the Center for Iraq. Kurdish television, media and Eurasian Strategic Studies in Ankara has universities have replaced earlier Iraqi lobbied the current general staff to amend counterparts. In schools, Arabic has been its contingency plans for northern Iraq. demoted from the language of instruction He proposed moving troops 200 miles to a foreign language (one considered by into Iraq to hold Mosul and Kirkuk until young people far less useful than the situation has “stabilized.”(54) English). Kurds take pride in what they Complicating things further, Mudr have accomplished on their own…In a Shawkat, executive committee member of post-Hussein Iraq, the Kurds will insist the INM, expressed his reservations about on maintaining the independence they a federalist structure “based on ethnicity now enjoy. Barzani and Talabani have and sectarianism,” a position similar to proposed that a future Iraq be a federal that of the Shi’a.(55) Equally significant, state with Kurdish and Arab entities. In the opposition risks being stigmatized by the coming months, they will be moving an American intervention in Iraq to unilaterally to create a legal structure for remove the regime. The opposition needs a self-governing Kurdistan that will have not only to play a significant role in its own assembly, president, tax and removing the regime but also make that spending powers and police. Believing role obvious and out-front for all to see that written promises in an Iraqi and recognize, so as to avoid seeming like constitution provide scant protection, the U.S. puppet. Kurdish leaders insist on retaining a Clearly, the Iraqi opposition may be Kurdistan self-defense force.”(52) entering its most challenging era in This could not only prove divisive for history, with the potential rewards for the opposition camp but also could success and penalties of failure extremely provoke Turkey to intervene military in high. Iraqi Kurdistan in the event of an American attack in order to have leverage CONCLUSION over the shape of a post-Saddam Hussein During the last three decades the Iraqi Iraq. A joint committee representing the opposition went dramatic events and KDP and the PUK has approved the core changes. At one point, it needed the of the KDP’s draft constitution. The support of regional countries to survive. amended version outlines the structure of But these states subordinated the a regional administration in Iraqi opposition’s interests to their own Kurdistan, including legislative, judiciary national priorities. The removal of and executive responsibilities. The region Saddam Hussein’s regime was not a would have a flag, presidency, and the foreign policy objective for them. What city of Kirkuk as capital. Turkish officials they really sought was a weak but viewed the draft constitution as an territorially integrated Iraq, stripped of its expression of Kurdish ambitions for full capacity to pose a regional threat or independence, an outcome the officials foment crises. It was within this context said they would encounter with the use of that the regional countries offered their troops. Defense Minister Sabahattin support to the Iraqi opposition. Cakmakoglu told reporters that northern Consequently, the opposition camp fell Iraq was “forcibly separated” from hostage to the national agendas of these 14 Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) The Iraqi Opposition's Evolution: From Conflict to Unity? countries. The opposition’s disarray documents, which were subsequently allowed the regional countries and the given in digital format to Iraq Research Iraqi regime to further widen its and Documentation Project (IRDP). ideological and personal discord. This Supplementing documents possessed by situation gradually changed in the Makiya, this collection of documents aftermath of the Kuwait war (1990-91) as numbering approximately 2.4 million the opposition maneuvered to extricate pages is available at URL: itself from the grip of the regional <http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~irdp> powers. But this did not save the 2. Iraq Research and Documentation opposition from continuous debilitating Project-North Iraq Data Set [hereafter internal dissent. IRDP-NIDS] [1108064, 1106843- The Bush administration’s policy of 1106895], available at URL: effecting a regime change in Iraq <http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~irdp> mobilized the opposition camp to attempt 3. IRDP-NIDS [324282, 324623, 324709, to close its ranks. Although the 321561, 1344601]. opposition has made strides toward 4. IRDP-NIDS . See the text of common objectives and unity, it still has RCC decree 461 of March 31, 1980, difficulties to overcome, including the sentencing members of the Da’wa party attainment of a national consensus on the to death, in IRDP-NIDS  future political structure of government. 5. IRDP-NIDS [1400768-1400776]. The opposition camp is at a crossroads, 6. IRDP-NIDS . and to a large extent its actions will 7. IRDP-NIDS . define the future of Iraq. 8. IRDP-NIDS . 9. IRDP-NIDS [1027970-1027975]. *Dr. Rabil served with Red Cross in 10. As illustrated by official documents, Lebanon, taught at Suffolk University and the barrage of decrees and orders began currently is the project manager of Iraq systematically on June 15, 1985 with Research and Documentation Project at telegram number 3488 ordering the the Iraq Foundation, Washington, DC. deportation of “women, children and He is the author of the forthcoming book elderly people who were the relatives of Embattled Neighbors: Lebanon, Syria, saboteurs.” Any males who might bear Israel and the Elusive Peace by Lynne arms were to be arrested and detained. Rienner Publishers. The author extends See IRDP-NIDS  Consequently, his thanks to IRDP research team. many families were forcibly deported and many males arrested. For example, in the NOTES Shaqlawa district most families were 1. During the March 1991 uprising in forcibly removed to the Khoshnaw Iraq, Kurdish opposition groups captured region. See IRDP-NIDS [735410-17]. huge quatities of Iraqi government Those detained would only be released if documents primarily belonging to Iraqi their peshmerga relatives surrendered to intelligence. Thanks to efforts by Kanan the authorities. See IRDP-NIDS [711051, Makiya and Human Rights Watch, these 717546]. documents were transferred to the U.S., 11. For complete details on the operation where the Senate Foreign Relations see Robert G. Rabil, “Operation Committee took charge of them. Along ‘Termination of Traitors’: The Iraqi with government officials, Human Rights Regime Through Its Documents,” Middle Watch/ Middle East first examined these East Review of International Affairs Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) 15 Robert G. Rabil Journal (MERIA), Vol. 6, No. 3, 37. Ibrahim Nawar, al-Mu’arada al- (September 2002). ‘Iraqiya wa al-Sira’ li-Isqat Saddam 12. IRDP-NIDS . 1990-1993, (Iraqi Opposition and the 13. IRDP-NIDS [1400771-6]. A Sunni Struggle to Remove Saddam 1990-1993) Muslim movement, the IMIK was formed (London: N Publications Ltd, 1993), p. in 1986 under the leadership of Shaykh 56. Uthman ‘Abd al-‘Aziz. Some of its cadres 38. Ibid., pp. 56-64. included former members of the Union of 39. See the preamble of the report issued Religious Scholars and veterans of the by the Executive Council of the Iraqi war in Afghanistan. In recent years, National Congress, “Crimes Against notwithstanding the growing political and Humanity and the Transition from military clout of the IMIK, splinter Dictatorship to Democracy,” (Salahuddin, Islamist groups emerged in Iraqi May 25, 1993), pp. 5-6. Kurdistan, mainly Ansar al-Islam 40. This statement was issued in National (supporters of Islam) and Jund al-Islam Assembly Decree No. 22 on October 4, (soldiers of Islam). 1992. 14. IRDP-NIDS . 41. It should be noted that the Kurds have 15. IRDP-NIDS [645920-1]. an additional significant income deriving 16. IRDP-NIDS . from adding a surcharge on (smuggled) 17. IRDP-NIDS [1144055, 749311]. Iraqi fuel passing through their territory 18. IRDP-NIDS . into Turkey. 19. IRDP-NIDS . Iran also 42. The CMM was established in the mid- demanded from the PUK and KDP to 1990s. The Hashimite prince Ali bin allow some opposition cadres to operate Hussein, grandson of the deposed king in areas under their control. IRDP-NIDS Feisal of Iraq, is the leader of this [903634, 900026, 859393]. movement. 20. Richard C. Hottelet, “Mideast Wild 43. See respectively al-Hayat, July 15 Card: Kurds in Iraq, Turkey,” Christian and August 13, 2002. Science Monitor, October 24, 1990. 44. Nazila Fathi, “Iraqi Cleric, a Hussein 21. IRDP-NIDS . foe, Finds Support Within Iran,” New 22. IRDP-NIDS [749441, 749433]. York Times, August 4, 2002. 23. See complete agreement in IRDP- 45. Howard Schneider, “The Last Thing NIDS [1139017-1139033]. We Want Is a Confrontation,” New York 24. IRDP-NIDS [855198-855120]. Times, February 28, 2002. 25. IRDP-NIDS . 46. See Talabani’s statements in al- 26. IRDP-NIDS . Hayat, August 21, 2002. 27. IRDP-NIDS . 47. See the statements of SCIRI’s 28. IRDP-NIDS [639599, 1270082]. representative in Iraq and head of its 29. Ibid. military wing Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim in 30. Ibid. al-Hayat, August 13, 2002. 31. IRDP-NIDS . 48. See text of the declaration on the web 32. IRDP-NIDS [1274066-1274072]. site of Iraqi Future Affairs Institute, 33. IRDP-NIDS [639624-639625, <http://www.iraqiaffairs.org>. 639626-639628]. 49. See text of the KDP draft constitution 34. Ibid. in al-Zaman, April 28, 2002. 35. IRDP-NIDS . 50. The constitution stipulates that the 36. IRDP-NIDS . Kurdish region includes the provinces of Kirkuk, Sulaimaniya, Irbil as specified by 16 Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) The Iraqi Opposition's Evolution: From Conflict to Unity? their administrative borders before the government’s redistricting in the 1970s; the province of Dohuk; the districts of Akra, Sheikhan, Sinjar and the sub- district of Zimar in Ninawa province; the districts of Khaneqin and Mandali in Diyala province; and the district of Badrat in Wasit province. Ibid. 51. Especially in the areas mentioned in the above-mentioned footnote. 52. Peter W. Galbraith, “Protect the Kurds,” Washington Post, August 11, 2002. 53. Karl Vick, “Iraqi Kurds’ Plan for Constitution Draws a Warning,” Washington Post, September 27, 2002. 54. Ibid. 55. See Statements of Mudr Shawkat in al-Hayat, July 26, 2002. Significantly enough, the Iraqi Communist party and the Da’wa party have objected to any U.S. intervention in Iraq. In fact, as reported by al-Zaman, an alliance of opposition groups have formed the Iraqi National Forces, whose aim is to overthrow Saddam Hussein without foreign intervention. It reportedly includes: the Iraqi Communist party, the Da’wa party, the Arab Socialist Ba’th party (Iraq Command), the Group of Mujahedin Ulema in Iraq, the Islamic Action party, the Iraqi Democratic Grouping, the Socialist Party in Iraq, the Arab Socialist Movement, the Turkomen Democratic party, the Assyrian Ethnic Organization, plus other independent political and military figures. See al- Zaman, June 25, 2002. Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 2002) 17