5 years agoIdris Siwayli
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
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
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.
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
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
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.