Ba’ath Coup of 1968 and 1970 peace accord and the Collapse of the peace accord the triggering of the first largest Armenian migration from Iraq 1970 (The Untold Story)
In July 1968 the Ba’ath Party, supported by the army, overthrew the Arif government and assumed control of Iraq, returning Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr back to power. The Ba’ath realized the toll the military operations in Iraq were taking and signaled its willingness to settle the Kurdish issue peacefully. The Ba’ath initially hoped to seek an agreement with the Talabani-Ahmad faction to bypass Barzani, prompting Barzani to enter into hostilities with the government again, shelling Kirkuk in March 1969. Barzani’s ability to secure aid from Iran caused trouble for the new Ba’ath government, which saw that it would prevent any conclusive victory militarily.
By May 1969 the government indicated its willingness to negotiate with Barzani, culminating in formal negotiations by December that year. Barzani demanded that the Ba’ath sever ties with pro-government Kurds and the Ahmad-Talabani faction, and recognize him as the sole power within the KDP, as well as terms of autonomy was also discussed. With Dr. Mahmoud Othman conducting negotiations on behalf of the KDP, and Saddam Hussein on behalf of the government, the final agreement was reached on March 11, 1970. The final terms of the agreement recognized the Kurdish people and considered Kurdish language a second official language of the republic with Arabic, along with autonomy in northern Iraq excluding Kirkuk, Khanaqin and other Kurdish cities, in exchange of full control of Iraqi army over Kurdistan.
Collapse of the peace accord
The government began reconstruction in northern Iraq and work towards creating an autonomous region, appointed five Kurdish men to junior-level ministries in the government, incorporating the Kurds along with the ICP into the National Front and provided Barzani with a stipend to manage the KDP. Ibrahim Ahmad and Jalal Talabani also reunified with the KDP. However relations quickly began to deteriorate as Barzani accused Iraq of continuing Arabification to decrease Kurdish standings in contested cities such as Kirkuk and in not being committed to a genuine autonomous zone. An assassination attempt took place against Barzani on September 1971 when Barzani received religious officials in his headquarters. The clerics had thought they were carrying suitcases with recording devices for the benefit of Baghdad, but had instead been wired with explosives. The explosion did not kill Barzani but killed others participating in the meeting, and in the confusion Peshmerga guards rushed in and killed the clerics. The government drivers who drove the clerics tried to salvage the assassination and tossed a grenade, killing a Peshmerga and wounding twelve, but missing Barzani, before they themselves were shot and killed. Despite being unable to capture any of the conspirators for questioning, Barzani would maintain that Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for the attack.
With his perception of the Ba’ath soured, Barzani refused to close the border of Iran and continued receiving arms and supplies from Iran, which increased following the Soviet-Iraqi Treaty of Friendship in April 1972 once the United States was concerned about Iraq entering into the Soviet sphere like Syria. Israel also increased support to Barzani hoping to frustrate the Ba’ath in Iraq. The moves would bolster Barzani and his forces, but would alienate many figures within the KDP as well as leftists sympathetic to the Kurdish cause within Iraq. Among the defectors from the KDP was Barzani’s own son Ubeydullah who defected from the movement and preferred to cooperate with the regime in Baghdad. Through much of 1973, Barzani began to rebuild and reorganize the Peshmerga in anticipation of another conflict with Baghdad.
On March 11, 1974, the Ba’ath government passed the autonomy law which it presented to Barzani for approval. With Kirkuk not included and his faith in the Ba’ath for a genuine autonomy low, Barzani rejected the agreement. Joining his son Ubeydullah, a number of disillusioned members of the KDP, angered with Barzani’s opening towards the United States, Israel, and Iran and the perceived betrayal of KDP’s socialist origins, defected to Baghdad.
The Halabja chemical attack:
also known as the Halabja Massacre or Bloody Friday, was a genocidal massacre against the Kurdish people that took place on March 16, 1988, during the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War in the Kurdish city of Halabja in Southern Kurdistan. The attack was part of the Al-Anfal campaign in northern Iraq, as well as part of the Iraqi attempt to repel the Iranian Operation Zafar 7. It took place 48 hours after the fall of the town to Iranian army and Kurdish guerrillas.
The attack killed between 3,200 and 5,000 people and injured 7,000 to 10,000 more, most of them civilians. Thousands more died of complications, diseases, and birth defects in the years after the attack.
The incident, which has been officially defined as an act of genocide against the Kurdish people in Iraq, was and still remains the largest chemical weapons attack directed against a civilian-populated area in history.
The Halabja attack has been recognized as a separate event from the Anfal Genocide that was also conducted against the Kurdish people by the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi High Criminal Court recognized the Halabja massacre as an act of genocide on March 1, 2010, a decision welcomed by the Kurdistan Regional Government. The attack was also condemned as a crime against humanity by the Parliament of Canada.