Mustafa Barzani: Wikis


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Mustafa Barzani
Born March 14, 1903(1903-03-14)
Flag of Kurdistan.svg Barzan, Kurdistan
Died March 3, 1979 (aged 75)[1]
Washington, DC, U.S.
Political party Kurdistan Democratic Party

Mustafa Barzani (Kurdish: Mistefa Barzani) (March 14, 1903 – March 1, 1979) was a legendary Kurdish leader, and the most prominent political figure in the modern Kurdish politics. In 1946 he was chosen as the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to lead the Kurdish revolution against Iraqi regimes. Barzani was the primary political and military leader of the Kurdish revolution until his death in March 1979. He led campaigns of armed struggle against both the Iraqi and Iranian governments.[1]


Early life

Barzani was born in 1903 in Barzan, a village in northern South Kurdistan, he was first imprisoned in Mosul, with his mother, when he was only three years old.

Early career

In 1931 and 1932, together with his older brother, Sheikh Ahmed Barzani, led the Kurdish struggle for independence.[2] In 1935, with the suppression of the Kurdish revolution, the two were exiled to Silemani. Barzani escaped from Silemani in 1942, and started a new revolt against Baghdad, but was once again unsuccessful. Barzani and 1,000 of his followers went to Iranian Kurdistan to help Qazi Muhammad to defend the newly founded Kurdish Republic of Mahabad.

The Republic of Mahabad

In December 1945 the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad was declared by the Kurds in Eastern Kurdistan, which was under Soviet military control. Mustafa Barzani was appointed as the Minister of Defense and commander of the Kurdish army in the Republic of Mahabad.

In May 1946 the Soviet troops were withdrawn from Iran, in accordance with the Yalta Agreement, and in December Mahabad was overrun by Iranian troops. The President of the Republic of Mahabad was hanged in public in the "Çar Çira" square in Mahabadcity, and many others were massacred[3]. Mala Mustafa refused to surrender to the invading Iranian army and along with his fighters moved back to Iraq. But once again he was forced to flee when the Iraqi, Turkish and Iranian forces joined their efforts against him. Barzani with 500 of his Peshmerga fought his way through Turkey and Iran to Azerbaijan in the Soviet Union, where they were disarmed and incarcerated in a prison camp before being allowed to settle in various parts of the Soviet Union.[4]

Exile in the Soviet Union

In 1951 the Peshmerga were allowed to settle in Baku. Many enrolled in schools and universities. Barzani himself went to Moscow, where he studied political science, and renewed his contacts with Kurdish diaspora and exiles. While in his time in Moscow he meet Josif Stalin, Leader of the soviet union, and was granted a small part of Russian military leadership in case of war.

Return to Iraq

In 1958, following the republican coup, Barzani was invited to return to Iraq by prime minister Abdul Karim Qasim. Barzani went further in his requests than Qasim had intended, and suggested full autonomy for the Kurdish regions in the north. This resulted in new clashes between the rulers of Baghdad and the Kurds, when in 1961, Qasim began military campaigns against the Kurds. Barzani's Peshmergas were highly effective in fighting the invading Iraqi army during the revolution and inflicted a large casualties among Iraqi army.[5]

In March 1970 Baghdad and the Kurdish leaders reached a peace agreement, and cease fire was declared to pave the way for negotiations to find a solution to the Kurdish question. As a token of goodwill the Iraqi government recognized Kurdish people and considered Kurdish language a second official language of the republic with Arabic. Vice President Saddam Hussein, of the Baath Party, offered Kurds autonomy in northern Iraq excluding Kirkuk, Khanaqin and other Kurdish cities, and mandated full control of Iraqi army over Kurdistan.[1] In the early 1970s, Barzani's son Ubaydallah believed the autonomy agreement would guarantee Kurdish rights, therefore he defected from the Barzani movement and preferred to cooperate with the regime in Baghdad[6].

In March 1974 after negotiations failed to reach a fair agreement, Mustafa Barzani led his followers into renewed fighting with the Iraqi government, this time with the support of Shah Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran and the United States. In early 1975, at an OPEC conference in Algiers, an agreement was signed between the Shah and Saddam Hussein, which ceded important Iraqi rights in the contested waterway Shatt al-Arab to Iran. In return all aid to the Kurdish revolution was immediately cut off by Iran and in case of continued fighting Iran was to help Iraq to crush the Kurdish revolt. This allowed Hussein to consolidate his power in Iraq and Mustafa Barzani was forced to flee his homeland one final time. It's worthy of mentioning that while leaving Southern Kurdistan territories, he asked his driver to stop on the last point of the fictional borders between Eastern and Southern Kurdistan. He got out of his car and went on the hilltop, pointing towards Southern Kurdistan he said "Even now I do not give up Kirkuk".

Death and legacy

He went into exile in the United States, and died on March 1, 1979, in Georgetown Hospital in Washington, DC. He was buried just west of Mahabad, in Iranian Kurdistan. [1]

In October, 1993, Barzani's remains were brought across the border from Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan, to be reburied in the land he fought for.[1]

His son, Massoud Barzani, is the current leader of the KDP and was re-elected as the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan region by the Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan in July 2009.

The Naqshbandi and the Barzani Family

The historical background about Naqshbandi's Tariqatmention should be mentioned as well. Mustafa Barzani opposite to his ancestors and his elder brother, Sheikh Ahmad. Shiek Ahmad was a dominant fighter among the Barzani family. Even Mustafa Barzani was under his command. While Mustafa Barzani thought about politics Sheik Ahmand deprived him from been Naqshbandi's followers. To understand the religious conflict among the Barzani family, we need to look back to the coming Naqishbandi’s Tariqat to this family. Barzan province has its specialization and it differs from other parts of the Kurdistan. Barzan is located in Hewler Governorate (now KRG capital). It is near to Iran and Turkey borders. This area sees as an independent region. It has no governmental offices. People here are belonging to their ancestors as a source of social life. Here in Barzan religious conflict is harder than political one because people here believe no political issues but religious one, even Massoud Barzani’s KDP has no office here. There are various view about transferring Naqishbandi’s Tariqat to this area, but it has been proved that Sheik Abdulsalam first, Mustafa Barzanis ancestors, was the first Barzani’s religious leader who declare this Tariqat among Barzanis.[7]

See also

Note and references

  1. ^ a b c d e Korn, David (1994-06). "The Last Years of Mustafa Barzani." Middle East Quarterly. Retrieved 2006-11-15.
  2. ^ The Kurdish Minority Problem, p.11, Dec. 1948, ORE 71-48, CIA [1].
  3. ^ Hussein tahiri: The Structure of Kurdish Society and the Struggle for a Kurdish State Costa Mesa 2007, Mazda Books. pp.93 ff
  4. ^ Massoud Barzani: Mustafa Barzan and the Kurdish Liberation Movement. New York 2003, Palgrave Macmillan
  5. ^ Tzafrir, Eliezer: "Ana Kurdi", Jerusalem, Rubin Mass 1999
  6. ^ Helen Chapin Metz, Iraq A Country Study, 272 pp., Kessinger Publishing, ISBN 978-1419126710, 2004.(see p.180)
  7. ^ Could Massoud Barzani replace his father in-law, by Nasih Banzingi, []

External links



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