Weak starting point
The new rulers unquestionably began from a weak position. They took power by a coup d’état, and, aside from Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, they were unknowns in Iraqi politics, who had to deal with two well-organized opponents. The Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) was still a political force, despite the severe blows the party had taken in the early 1960s and despite internal divisions on its position regarding Moscow, which would ultimately lead to a split. The other opponent was the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the most important voice of the Kurdish population. The Kurds looked back bitterly on the previous period during which the Baathists had briefly been in power. As Prime Minister, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr had led a large-scale military offensive against the Kurds, which ended only with the cease-fire of February 1964.The struggle was, however, soon resumed, until the KDP leader, Barzani, in 1966 reached an accord on Kurdish autonomy in education and local administration. Agreements were also reached that the Kurds would henceforth have proportional representation in the parliament, government, and national administration. At the same time, however, Baghdad was stepping up its policy of Arabization in mixed-population areas, particularly in the oil-rich region around Kirkuk. This led to the deportation of Kurds to Kurdistan and other parts of Iraq; Arabs were settled on their lands and in their homes.
We would like to ask you something …
Fanack is an independent media organisation, not funded by any state or any interest group, that distributes in the Middle East and the wider world unbiased analysis and background information, based on facts, about the Middle East and North Africa.
The website grew rapidly in breadth and depth and today forms a rich and valuable source of information on 21 countries, from Morocco to Oman and from Iran to Yemen, both in Arabic and English. We currently reach six million readers annually and growing fast.
In order to guarantee the impartiality of information on the Chronicle, articles are published without by-lines. This also allows correspondents to write more freely about sensitive or controversial issues in their country. All articles are fact-checked before publication to ensure that content is accurate, current and unbiased.