The Islamic Army of Kurdistan

3 months ago

Idris Siwayly

Creation, Scope and Views
The Islamic Army of Kurdistan is the first armed Islamic political party in southern Kurdistan. In regards to the year of the party's establishment, there are two views. Some argue that Islamic Army of Kurdistan established itself in 1980. Other's claim that in fact the party was created in early February 1981. When taking into consideration the evidence, the second argument is more precise.
The establishment of this group was organised and financed by Iran. Its founders were Abbas Shabak, Sheikh Qadir Sotkayi, and Mala Hussain Maronsi. Once founded Abbas Shabak became the organisation's leader. Abbas Shabak was previously a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and then a Peshmerga. He made links to the leaders of the Islamic Movement of Iran when he visited Libya, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Observers also claim that the Islamic Army of Kurdistan was primarily under the influence of Lybia as at the Time Muammar Gaddafi, the leader of Lybia, was in support of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. Moreover, Gaddafi often publically declared his sympathy for the Kurdish cause, often sending financial aid to the Kurdish political parties. Gaddafi aimed to establish a presence in Iraqi Kurdistan and hence supported the establishment of the Islamic Army of Kurdistan.
In our opinion, both the military support from Libya and the financial and political support from Iran played an essential role in the founding and establishment of the Islamic Army of Kurdistan. Libya provided the group with arms and ammunition while Iran offered them financial and political assistance.
This new group had an odd makeup than was often engaged in infighting. From the onset, the establishment of the group was spurred on and supported by Iran, and hence the group suffered from a lack of a unifying ideology. However, it was able to recruit a large number of fighters in a short space of time and open numerous party offices. The group achieved this by offering the following compensation to its fighters;
1) Monthly Salary
2) New weaponry
3) The ability to travel freely to Iran with family members.
4) The ability to sidestep compulsory Iraqi military service.
One must also note that other Kurdish political parties also sent their members to join the Islamic Army of Kurdistan as sleeper agents so that those other political parties could take advantage of them if the need so arise. Hence, the Islamic Army of Kurdistan 's numbers rapidly swelled.
Regarding the group's scope and views, the group distributed a publication called 'The Path of Believers'. In the release, the group says "The Islamic Army of Kurdistan aims to achieve Kurdish unity within Islamic unity via the rights given to Kurds and all nations in Islam. These rights are already enjoyed by or Iranian, Arab and Turkish brothers." In another passage, the publication reads "Just as those brothers govern within their nations so to must the Kurd within its territory."
Relations of the Islamic Army of Kurdistan
Relations within Kurdistan

Islamic Army of Kurdistan initially established itself in Iran but later set up bases in three locations within Iraqi Kurdistan's Sulaimania province, which were; Beri Merga, Sergelu, and Hajo Mamend.  These regions were primarily under the control of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. From its onset, the already established Kurdish parties had covertly sent their person into the Islamic Army of Kurdistan. At the time of the Islamic Army of Kurdistan 's founding Iraq was at war with Iran and by consequence, the Kurdish parties were seizing the opportunity also to attack the Iraqi government. On the back of this cooperation, the Iranians requested that the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan assist in the establishment of the Islamic Army of Kurdistan. In return, Iran offered further assistance to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. According to Nawshirwan Mustafa Amin, the Islamic Army of Kurdistan had pledged to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan that;
- The group would not interfere in the affairs of citizens
- The group would not accept as members any individuals who the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan deems an enemy or a person facing allegations by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
- The group would assist the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in respect to the transportation of weaponry.

While relations between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Islamic Army of Kurdistan began on a high note, they did not last in this manner. Disagreements plagued relations between the two sides, and these disagreements ultimately turned into a violent confrontation and the withdrawal of the Islamic Army of Kurdistan from the political process.
Relations between the Islamic Army of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party has been subject to highs and lows with ties sometimes friendly and other times not. The events of the 21st August 1981, where the Islamic Army of Kurdistan directed a letter to the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party  apologizing for the fact that they were unable to acquire permits for a number of their Peshmerga forces to go and visit Iran, can be deemed an example of friendly relations. However, two other correspondences between the two sides reveal disagreements and complications in relationships between the two parties that have reached the point of violent confrontation. 

International Relations
As mentioned previously, the Islamic Army of Kurdistan established via the financial and logistical assistance of Iran. By consequence, the group's ideological standpoint and activities fell under the direct influence of Iran. Moreover, throughout its existence, the party has not been able to free itself from Iranian influence. In fact, some observers argue that it was ultimately under Iranian pressure that this party dissolved.
The Islamic Army of Kurdistan also enjoyed relations with Libya. Libya assisted the group in the form of weapons. At the time Muammar Gaddafi, the former President of Libya, was influenced by the Iranian revolution and had established strong relations with the leaders of the revolution. The Islamic Army of Kurdistan benefited and gained generous weapons supplied as a result of the friendly ties between Libya and Iran. 
Dissolution of the Islamic Army of Kurdistan
Following the setting up of bases in Iraqi Kurdistan by the Islamic Army of Kurdistan, the group began its activities in the region. However, the geographic space that the Islamic Army of Kurdistan was using was under the control of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Nawshirwan Mustafa Amin explained that after the Islamic Army of Kurdistan gained a foothold in Iraqi Kurdistan, they began to conduct themselves as a governing force in those regions. Given that the group was performing these activities with the support of Iran the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan decided to disarm the group, and they implemented the decision in July 1982. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan attacked the bases of the Islamic Army of Kurdistan and was able to regain control of their stations with little resistance from the group.
This defeat affected the Islamic Army of Kurdistan profoundly. The loss was so substantial that group could no longer function. The group conducted no further activities on the Kurdish political scene and ultimately disbanded.
What is more, political analysts also argue that the Islamic Army of Kurdistan's weakening of relations with Iran added to the defeat that they suffered at the hands of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and thus was another factor in the group's ultimate demise.  The reason behind the souring of relations between Iran and the Islamic Army of Kurdistan was that Iran did not accept that that the existence of a Kurdish people with a distinctly independent language, culture and identity from its neighbouring states. Furthermore, the Islamic Army of Kurdistan was not willing to fight with Iran against the Iraqi government. The group also refused to defend Iran's established Higher Islamic Revolutionary Council in Iraq.
It is our view that the demise of relations between the Islamic Army of Kurdistan and Iran and the group's military defeat at the hands of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan was the fundamental causes for the ultimate collapse of the Islamic Army of Kurdistan.


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