Last Updated: Friday, 11 July 2014, 13:14 GMT

Chronology for Sunnis in Iraq

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Sunnis in Iraq, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38a7c.html [accessed 13 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
1918 The British capture Iraq from the Turkish Ottoman Empire during World War I.
1921 The British create a constitutional monarchy in Iraq and install Fisal ibn Hussein as Meccan Prince.
1932 Iraq formally becomes an independent state but British influence over Iraqi public officials continues for another 28 years.
1933 King Fisal dies and Iraq experiences a series of coups until 1939.
1958 In a military coup King Fisal II is assassinated and a new regime is established ending British influence in Iraq.
1961 The Kurds launch an armed rebellion against the Sunni Arab dominated government, Persians fight a protracted war with Arabs, Turks fight with Kurds, and the Shi'i fight with Sunnis. Out of this domestic violence, the pro-Syrian Arab socialist Resurrection Party (Ba'ath) establishes itself politically and seizes control of the government.
1963 The Ba'ath party loses power to a pro-Nassar group that favors a confederacy with Egypt.
1968 A coup brings the Ba'ath party back to power. Al-Da'wa al-Islamiya (the Islamic Call) is formed. This group does not take an overt stance on how the government should be run or who should run it. It promotes the strict adherence to Shi'i doctrine as a guide for every facet of life. The Ba'athist regime finds this organization threatening and follows its activities and members closely.
1969 The Iraqi army attacks Kurdistan. A cease fire is signed in 1970. The Iraqis fear foreign invasion through Kurdistan and a Kurd led military coup. Over 40,000 homes are destroyed and there are 60,000 casualties.
1970 A special branch of the secret police is formed to watch al-Da'wa al-Islamiya. Members of the group are routinely arrested, questioned and harassed by the authorities.
1974 Barzani and the KDP (Kurdish Democratic Party) attack Iraq.
1975 The KDP wart ends with a cease fire. 10,000 Iraqi soldiers are wounded and 7,000 are killed. More than 2000 KDP soldiers are killed. 250,000 Kurds flee to Iran and 60,000 are displaced. Jallal Talabani forms the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
1979 Saddam Hussein becomes the Ba'athist President of Iraq. The United Nations and the PUK accuse Iraq of the execution of 150 Kurdish political prisoners, the forceful eviction of Kurds, Illegal land seizures by the government, the arabization of Kurdish areas and using poison gas against civilians.
1980 Iraq invades Iran with the objective of securing the long disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway and toppling the regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Iraq announces that death sentences will be imposed on all persons affiliated with the Al-Da'wa Party. Over 40,000 Iraqi Shi'i are deported to Iran and 96 are executed.
1982 The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI) is formed in Iran with the aim of providing an opposition to Iraqi aggression against Iran. Following the Iran-Iraq war, the organization continues to operate with the aim of toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein.
1987 - 1988 Iraq launches a series of attacks on Kurdish villages, burning them down and often using poison gas. Over 6,000 Kurds are killed and over 40,000 are displaced.
1988 Iraq and Iran agree to a cease fire.
1989 Hussein announces plans for Iraqi political reform.
Jul 20, 1989 The Iraqi News Agency reports that the Information and Cultural Ministry licensed Abd al-Wahhab al Talbani, a Kurdish journalist and poet, to begin publication of Naso, a Kurdish language newspaper.
Sep 27, 1989 A bomb explodes at the British Club in Baghdad. There are no casualties and an unnamed Kurdish group takes responsibility.
Jan 26, 1990 Iraq is accused by exiled opposition sources of unleashing a two week military campaign against Shi'i villages in the south killing or injuring up to 10,000 people. The operation was said to have involved artillery attacks, helicopters, gunships and special forces gunmen. The operation was undertaken presumably to create a secure border zone on the frontier with Iran. Iraq denies these reports.
Jan 30, 1990 Iraq denies claims made by the PUK that Iraqi helicopters killed 60 Kurdish fishermen on January 20.
Mar 10, 1990 President Saddam Hussein orders a general amnesty for Iraqi Kurds, effective from April 11 through May 11.
May 12, 1990 President Hussein extends the amnesty offer to Kurds till June 11. So far 3,365 Kurds have taken advantage of the Amnesty.
Jun 11, 1990 The Amnesty is extended until July 11.
Aug 2, 1990 Iraq invades Kuwait.
Aug 3, 1990 Amnesty International reports that Iraqi troops have arrested hundreds of Iraqi exiles in Kuwait after house to house searches in predominantly Shi'i areas.
Aug 14, 1990 Shi'i leaders in Iran assert that they can mobilize as many as 50,000 men to fight against Saddam Hussein's army when the time is right.
Aug 21, 1990 Iraq's director of information says that Iraq's Shi'i are voluntarily enlisting to fight against the Americans at the same rate as the Sunnis in Iraq's heartland.
Sep 24, 1990 Leaders of Iraqi Kurdish, Shi'i and communist groups assert that they have solved their differences and are working to provide a unified front against Saddam Hussein.
Dec 6, 1990 Iraq begins to issue passports allowing Shi'i Muslims from Iran to visit the Shi'i shrines in Iraq. The Iraqi News Agency denies reports that the Iraqi army had recently attacked the Kurds in the north.
Jan 16, 1991 The allies launch an air war against Iraq focusing on Iraqi military communications and air defenses.
Feb 23, 1991 The allies launch a ground invasion with the aim of pushing the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. Within a week the goal is accomplished and a cease fire is declared.
Mar 3, 1991 Official reports from Iran, Syria and Western officials claim that demonstrations and clashes between government forces and opposition groups, including the Shi'i, has spread from Basra to several towns in southern Iraq.
Mar 4, 1991 In the worst civil unrest since the beginning of President Hussein's rule, uprisings continue in Shi'i areas and uprisings break out in the northern Kurdish areas. Reports allege that Iraqi soldiers join the Shi'i fighters in their battles against Republican Guard units. Some 7000 Iraqi soldiers are moved from the Turkish and Iranian borders in order to protect Baghdad.
Mar 7, 1991 In an effort to quiet the uprisings, President Hussein offers the Shi'i and Kurds shares in the central government in exchange for loyalty. Both groups reject the proposal. Republican Guards using tanks and artillery gain ground on the Shi'i rebels in Basra.
Mar 9, 1991 Iraq denies using chemical weapons on the rebels.
Mar 12, 1991 Refugees leaving Iraq accuse the government of using napalm in their efforts to quell the uprising.
Mar 13, 1991 Shi'i, Kurds and other anti-governmental groups protest in Baghdad as clashes between rebels and the Iraqi army continues.
Mar 14, 1991 By this date, Kurdish forces have taken control over large portions of northern Iraq.
Mar 17, 1991 The Iraqi army goes on the offensive against the Shi'i in the south attacking the rebel held city of Karbala and killing 400 people. Two Shi'i shrines are reported damaged in the fighting. Meanwhile, rebel forces take control of the cities of Kut, Jessan and Zorbaiyeh.
Mar 18, 1991 Kurdish leaders issue an international appeal for food and medicine on behalf of the opposition in Iraq.
Mar 19, 1991 In Safwan, 5,000 refugees (mostly Shi'i) arrive fleeing the fighting in the south and seeking refuge and basic humanitarian care. The US military agrees to distribute food and water on a temporary basis.
Mar 19, 1991 The Bush administration accuses Iran of sending arms to Kurdish rebels in the North.
Mar 21, 1991 The Iraqi government declares a state of emergency in Baghdad.
Mar 21, 1991 Exiled Iraqi opposition groups claim that Iraqi forces are crushing the uprising in the south through widespread killings and the establishment of concentration camps for civilians to deter further unrest.
Mar 26, 1991 Iraqi and international sources agree that the Shi'i uprising in the south has been quelled.
Mar 28, 1991 SAIRI leader Hakim conceded that Shi'i rebel forces have withdrawn from the cities in the preceding week and that fighting is limited to rural areas. Iraqi forces launch a massive attack on Kurdish forces in control of the town of Kirkuk.
Mar 29, 1991 US troops report watching Iraqi forces brutally attack civilian targets in the Kurdish town of Samawah on the 28th.
Apr 1, 1991 Massud Barzani, head of the KDP, reports that 3 million Kurds had fled to the mountains of northern Iraq to escape attacks by government forces.
Apr 5, 1991 The UN Security Council approves Resolution 688 condemning the Iraqi government's oppression of the Kurds. Some Kurdish refugees begin descending from the mountains in northern Iraq after Iraqi government forces broadcast an appeal for them to do so. Turkey admits 80,000 Kurdish refugees who had been halted at the Turkish border.
Apr 6, 1991 The UNCHR estimates that about 750,000 Iraqi Kurds had fled to Iran and 280,000 to Turkey. 300,000 more are gathered at the Turkish border.
Apr 8, 1991 Kurdish officials announce plans to gold elections on May 17.
Apr 11, 1991 US president Bush announces the establishment of safe havens in northern Iraq where aid will be distributed to refugees. The US department of State reports clashes between Iraqi forces and Kurds in the north and the Shi'i in the south.
Apr 12, 1991 The US military initiates Operation Provide Comfort designed to set up safe havens for Kurds in northern Iraq.
Apr 17, 1991 US forces begin to take control of areas more than 60 miles into Iraq where they plan to build camps for Kurdish refugees.
Apr 18, 1991 The New York Times reports that according to the US department of State and international relief organizations, between 500 and 1,000 Kurds are dying each day along Iraq's Turkish border.
Apr 20, 1991 Kurdish leaders meet with President Hussein in Baghdad to negotiate a settlement to the Kurdish uprisings. Guerrillas from SAIRI begin to launch hit and run strikes against Iraqi government positions in the south.
Apr 23, 1991 Iraqi Shi'i rebels claim to have captured and put to death nine Iraqi Army executioners. Hit and run activities by the Shi'i continue.
Apr 24, 1991 Following 5 days of talks, PUK leader Talabani announces that an agreement has been reached in principle providing for the normalization of conditions in Kurdistan, the introduction of democracy in Iraq, the respect for Kurdish rights and the preservation of Iraqi unity. An estimated 15,000 Iraqi Shi'i are camped along the Iranian border who wish to cross over.
Apr 25, 1991 Iraqi Shi'i leaders express dismay over the peace negotiations between Druse leaders and Saddam Hussein. They claim that the talks could hamper the efforts of the ant-Hussein opposition in Iraq.
Apr 26, 1991 The Iraqi government grants amnesty to all Kurds that fled Iraq during the war.
Apr 28, 1991 Kurdish refugees begin to arrive at the US run refugee camps.
May 2, 1991 Iraqi Shi'i rebels claim that they had killed as many as 180 government troops in 9 different attacks in the south.
May 4, 1991 The second round of peace talks between Iraq and the Kurds are postponed due to differences between the PUK and the KDP.
May 8, 1991 Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says in an interview with the Washington Post, that his government had made mistakes in dealing with the Kurds but that he expected that a settlement with the Kurds would soon be forthcoming once reforms to the government limiting the powers of the Ba'ath party are passed. PUK leader Talabani continues in peace talks with the government.
May 12, 1991 Iraqi officials take journalists to view the corpses of 100 men in a mass grave near the Iranian border. The officials allege that the men had been killed by Iranians and Shi'i rebels in the south.
May 13, 1991 About 500 Kurds in the town of Zaku hold demonstrations, break into a police station and attack alleged members of the secret police.
May 18, 1991 KDP leader Barzani, who had joined the negotiations with the Iraqi government, announces that firmer details about the autonomy agreement had been worked out. Outstanding issues remaining are the exact borders of the proposed autonomy region and whether it would include the oil rich town of Kirkuk.
May 23, 1991 For the third time in 10 days, about 500 Kurds attack the police station in Zakhu.
May 24, 1991 As many as 36,000 Kurds return from Iraq and Turkey.
May 27, 1991 Kurdish rebels threaten to resume fighting if negotiations with President Hussein fail to produce an agreement.
Jun 1, 1991 US forces close the last Kurdish refugee camp in Turkey.
Jun 2, 1991 In the most violent and sustained clashes since the onset of Operation Provide Comfort, hundreds of Kurds demonstrate in the streets, attacking Iraqi police officers and calling on the US forces to remain in northern Iraq to protect them. In Dahuk at least 5 people are killed during an attack on Ba'ath party headquarters. Demonstrations also take place in Irbil, Sulaymaniyya and Diyabil.
Jun 3, 1991 Clashes erupt between Kurds and Iraqi government forces in three northern cities. In Dahuk, 4 Kurds and 2 Ba'ath party officials are killed.
Jun 11, 1991 Iran's UN representative submits a letter to the Security Council warning that the Iraqi army is "preparing for a general mopping up operation" of Shi'i refugees in the south. Iraq denies the accusation.
Jun 14, 1991 More than 1,000 Kurds protest outside a US military camp near Dahuk urging the forces to remain in the area to protect them from Iraqi retaliation.
Jun 15, 1991 The last Iraqi forces leave Dahuk.
Jun 23, 1991 KDP leader Barzani announces that the Iraqi government has approved a draft agreement of general principles calling for elections within 3 months to establish an autonomous government in Iraqi Kurdistan excluding Kirkuk.
Jun 24, 1991 Final acceptance of the autonomy plan are delayed by Iraqi demands that Kurdish leaders break ties with the West and assist the government in its efforts against the Shi'i rebels.
Jul 4, 1991 The national Assembly passes a law that legalizes opposition parties but restricts participation in the military to Ba'ath members.
Jul 10, 1991 The UN announces plans to open a humanitarian center in Hammar to care for Shi'i opposition hiding out in the southern marshlands.
Jul 15, 1991 The last US forces withdraw from northern Iraq.
Jul 19, 1991 The UN reports that Iraqi forces are not allowing UN relief workers into the marshlands or the Shi'i out in an effort to cut them off from food supplies. More than 100 people are reported dead after 2 days of fighting between Kurdish guerrillas and government forces.
Jul 20, 1991 UN officials report that Kurdish rebels have taken control over large parts of Sulaymania in northern Iraq. Iraq accuses Iran of aiding the rebels.
Jul 21, 1991 In an effort to reach an agreement on the autonomy plan, the Iraqi Prime Minister meets with KDP leader Barzani.
Aug 13, 1991 After a two week breakdown in the talks, negotiations over Kurdish autonomy resume.
Sep 3, 1991 The National Assembly legalizes all opposition parties that defend Iraq, support the revolutions of 1958 and 1968, are not based on race, regionalism, sectarianism or express anti-Arab positions.
Sep 9, 1991 The UN reports serious clashes between the Kurds and the Iraqi army in the north. Apparently 16 people were killed.
Sep 24, 1991 In an interview with the Washington Post, PUK leader Talabani claims that Iraqi soldiers are preventing 300,000 Kurds from returning home from their hiding places.
Oct 6, 1991 Clashes between government forces and Kurdish rebels resume in Kalar.
Oct 7, 1991 In Sulaymaniyya, Kurdish rebels shoot and kill more than 60 unarmed government soldiers. The KDP and PUK condemn this assassination. Another 50 people are killed in other fighting in northern Iraq. Iraqi forces close in on the remanents of the Shi'i rebellion in the southern marshlands.
Oct 8, 1991 The fighting in Sulaymaniyya continues. Over 400 people are reported killed and thousands of Kurdish civilians flee to the mountains. At the end of the day a cease fire is agreed to under which Iraqi troops are to withdraw from the positions they have taken in the past 4 days. All prisoners are to be released by both sides.
Oct 22, 1991 The government informs thousands of Kurdish workers that in order to keep their jobs they must relocate to government controlled areas.
Nov 4, 1991 Kurdish rebels report that Iraqi forces have sealed off the only roads that connect the Kurdish areas with the rest of the country.
Nov 10, 1991 At pir Dawud, near Irbil, government forces attack Kurdish rebels who refuse to retreat to Irbil. In the preceding 2 weeks, the Kurdish rebels had been advancing as the government forces voluntarily withdrew.
Nov 12, 1991 The government and Kurds agree to another cease fire. The Iraqis agree to end the economic blockade of Kurdish controlled areas and the Kurds agree to withdraw to Irbil.
Nov 19, 1991 A UN human rights report accuses Iraq of strapping women and children to tanks used in the effort to put down the Shi'i rebellion. The report also claims that Iraq has uses torture and murder against perceived enemies.
Nov 30, 1991 Talks resume over Kurdish autonomy.
Dec 16, 1991 President Hussein agrees not to require members of the Kurdish regional legislature to swear allegiance to the Ba'ath party. The KDP announces plans to hold elections for an assembly.
Jan 14, 1992 Kurdish rebels attack the Ba'ath party headquarters in Baghdad and reportedly kill 36 people.
Feb 28, 1992 Iraqi troops attack Kurdish rebels and seize control of the Kalak Bridge in Kurdish controlled area.
Mar 2, 1992 Kurdish rebels retake the Kalak Bridge. Overall 60 people are killed in the fighting.
Mar 11, 1992 President Hussein announces that the Kurdish elections can not proceed unless the Kurds relinquish the protection of the allied forces.
Mar 15, 1992 According to the New York Times, for 2 weeks Iraqi soldiers have been attacking some 10,000 Shi'i fighters and 200,000 displaced persons hiding in the southern marshes and accuses the government of preventing food and supplies from reaching people in the marshes.
Mar 23, 1992 A US department of state report claims that Iraq dumped toxic chemicals in the waters of the marshlands in the south in an effort to drive out the Shi'i. The report also describes military attacks on Shi'i villages that have resulted in "hundreds" of deaths. The report goes on to say that the Iraqi government has severely restricted access by foreigners to southern Iraq, so that information on deaths and injuries is hard to come by.
Mar 24, 1992 Iraqi forces bomb the Kurdish town of Kifri with tanks and heavy artillery.
Apr 21, 1992 According to a report by SAIRI, Iraqi troops have launched a large scale offensive against Shi'i dissidents hiding in the southern marshes.
May 16, 1992 Elections in Iraqi Kurdistan are postponed to May 19.
May 19, 1992 The PUK and KDP each win 50 (out of 105) seats in the elections in Kurdish controlled northern Iraq. Barzani and Talbani receive an equal number of votes and a run off election between the two is scheduled for October 10.
Jun 1 - Jul 31, 1992 The Kurdish National Assembly meets for the first time and elects its officers.
Jul 2, 1992 According to western Iraqi sources, the government has begun trying to drain the southern marshlands as part of their efforts to control the Shi'i dissidents in the region.
Jul 22, 1992 Iraq uses fixed wing aircraft to bomb Shi'i dissidents in the south killing 30 people. The Washington Post reports that during the first two weeks of July, the government ordered the residents of Adl and al-Salaam in the southern marshes to evacuate. The army then moved in and burned down the homes there to prevent them from returning. A 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM curfew is being enforced throughout the south.
Jul 29, 1992 Kurdish leaders accuse the Iraqi government of a series of car bombings against UN forces.
Jul 30, 1992 Iraqi forces surround Shi'i strongholds in the southern marshlands and are using ground attack aircraft in their efforts to defeat the rebels.
Aug 4, 1992 Iraqi forces bomb Kurdish positions in the Lirkuk.
Aug 10, 1992 Iraq cuts phone lines and imposes a curfew on the holy city of Najif in an attempt to prevent thousands of mourners from turning out for the funeral of the world's most senior Shi'i Muslim scholar, the Grand Ayatollah Abdolqassem al-Khoei.
Aug 11, 1992 At a special meeting of the UN Security Council, Britain, France and the US accuse Iraq of conducting a "systematic military campaign" against the Shi'i in the southern marshlands. They further warn Iraq to halt the campaign or face possible consequences.
Aug 22, 1992 Shi'i Muslims are attacked by Iraqi forces in the very area that is about to be declared a no fly zone. No information is available on casualties or injuries. US president Bush announces that the US and its allies have ordered Iraq not to fly any aircraft south of the 32nd parallel. Bush says that the flight ban is needed to protect Shi'i dissidents from attack by the government and is sanctioned by UN Security Council Resolution 688, which requires Iraq to respect the human rights of its citizens.
Aug 27, 1992 Iraq reports that they will continue to fly planes and helicopters over the southern no fly zone.
Aug 30, 1992 There are several reports of Iraqi government forces arresting and moving large numbers of Shi'i out of the south and into military camps.
Sep 15, 1992 The PUK and KDP agree to merge their guerrilla forces into a unified force of almost 30,000 troops to be commanded by the Kurdish National Assembly.
Nov 14, 1992 Iranian, Turkish and Syrian leaders meet in Ankara to discuss the Iraqi Kurds issue. The three denounce the de- facto Kurdish state in northern Iraq and warn the Iraqi Kurdish leaders that they would prevent any attempt to partition Iraq into separate states.
Dec 17, 1992 Iraqi troops are moved north and stationed within striking distance of Kurdish areas. The government maintains they are there for military exercises.
Mar 2, 1993 A UN investigation reports that Iraq has executed hundreds of Shi'i from the southern marshes in the preceding months. The report asserts that the army's behavior in the south is the most "worrying development [in Iraq] in the past year." Following the formation of the no fly zone, the army switched to long range artillery attacks. These attacks were often followed by ground assaults resulting in "heavy casualties" and widespread destruction of property. There are also allegations of mass executions.
Mar 12, 1993 Iraqi troops attack Aweina, a Kurdish village in Kurdish controlled territory killing 30.
Apr 15 - 30, 1993 Iraqi forces begin attacking various Kurdish towns forcing 5,000 Kurdish families to flee their homes.
Apr 17, 1993 Iraqi forces reportedly arrest more than 7,000 Kurds including several members of the Kurdish National Assembly.
May 24, 1993 Iraq continues to build up its forces along 280 miles of the border with Kurdish controlled areas.
Jul 21, 1993 A UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson announces that during the past several weeks, more than 3,000 Iraqi Shi'i had fled to Iran to avoid Iraqi army attacks and poor economic conditions brought about by the Iraqi government's drainage of the southern marshlands.
Jul 27, 1993 Iranian officials appeal to the world to send aid to help the Shi'i refugees who fled from Iraq to Iran. Over 4,000 Shi'i had crossed the border by this point. The drainage of the Marshlands and continuing attacks by the Iraqi army forced most of them out.
Oct 18, 1993 Middle East Watch reports that they have confirmation that at least 11 Shi'i were executed in August and that as many as 450 Shi'i may have been executed in 1993 up to that point.
Oct 22, 1993 Several unconfirmed reports from refugee camp workers near the border of Iran and Iraq allege that nerve gas has been used during an Iraqi army attack on the Shi'i city of Basra.
Nov 17, 1993 Iran reports that as a result of the drainage of the southern marshlands, Iraqi Shi'i can no longer fish or grow rice. Since 1991, over 60,000 Shi'i have reportedly fled to Iran. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports surface that the Iraq army has used poisonous gas against Shi'i villages near the border of Iran.
Nov 23, 1993 The UN reports that 40% of the marshlands in the south have been drained.
Dec 27, 1993 In a US Department of State report on human rights, Iraq is accused of "indiscriminate military operations in the south, which include the burning of villages, emplacement of bombs in village areas and forced relocation of non-combatants." In 1993 numerous Shi'i civilians were arrested and moved to detention centers in the central part of the country. There were no reports of executions.
1994 The UN estimates that since mid-1993 over 7,000 Iraqi Shi'i had fled to Iran and a total of 50,000 had lost their homes in the marshlands.
Feb 23, 1994 Iraq diverts waters from the Tigris river to Shi'i areas south and east of the main marshlands producing floods of up to 10 feet of water. This renders the farmlands there useless and drives rebels who have been hiding there to flee back to the marshes which are being drained of water.
Mar 7, 1994 Following an investigation, the UN finds that there is no evidence that Iraq used chemical weapons to repress the Shi'i uprising following the Gulf War. They do not rule out the possibility that Iraq could have used phosgene gas which would not have been detectable after the attack.
Mar 17, 1994 A team of English scientists estimate that 57% of the marshlands have been drained and that in 10 to 20 years the entire wetland ecosystem in southern Iraq will be gone.
Apr 29, 1994 Reuters reports that US officials say Iraq is still launching a military campaign in Iraq's remote southern marshes against the Shi'i.
May 1 - Jun 30, 1994 More than 600 are killed in inter-Kurdish clashes between the PUK and KDP. But the groups' leaders maintain that they are united in their efforts against the Iraqi government.
May 18, 1994 Reuters reports that some members of the UN Security Council, including the US, are demanding that Iraq end its persecution of its Shi'i population as part of the requirements for the easing of the UN sanctions on Iraq. Throughout the period covered by this update, the U.N. Security Council as well as several other international organizations and individual countries condemn Iraq's treatment of its Shi'i population. Such condemnations will not be further noted unless otherwise noteworthy.
May 20, 1994 The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a Shi'i resistance group, says that Iraq has launched a heavy attack on the Shi'i populated southern marshes in the Amarah province. This attack includes the heavy artillery bombardment of civilian areas.
Jun 12, 1994 By this date over 8,000 Iraqi Kurds who had fled to Turkey during the Persian Gulf War have fled back to Iraq to escape the escalating war between Turkish Kurds and the Turkish army.
Jun 24, 1994 SCIRI says that a new canal through the southern marshes is part of Iraq's efforts to crush the Shi'i opposition by depriving the Shi'i of their means for making a living and driving them from the region. Iraq is repeatedly accused of a scorched earth policy in the southern marshlands that is turning them into desert. Such accusations will not be further noted unless otherwise noteworthy.
Jul 22, 1994 The Iraqi government is blamed for causing a car accident which kills a leading Iraqi Shi'i cleric. Sayyed Mohamed Taghi al Khoei, the son of a Grand Ayatollah who died in 1992, had been running Shi'i affairs since his father's death and had lobbied for the release of over 100 Shi'i clerics detained since 1991. He had been constantly harassed by the Iraqi authorities and had been twice summoned to the Security Headquarters in Baghdad in the past week. Iraqi President Hussein is widely believed to eliminate many opposition leaders in "accidents."
Aug 1994 An Iranian official says that 8,000 Iraqi marsh people have fled to Iran over the previous 18 months.
Aug 26, 1994 The Iraqi Vanguard for National Salvation (IIVNS), a newly formed Shi'i resistance group with close ties to Iran, claims responsibility for a car bomb in Baghdad, saying that it is the start of a campaign to "get rid of the unjust regime of the criminal [Iraqi President] Saddam [Hussein.]" The IIVNS appears to have been established some time earlier this month.
Aug 31, 1994 SCIRI accuses the Iraqi government of deliberately polluting the Tigris river which flows into the Shi'i populated southern marshlands. This pollution is said to be responsible for the spread of serious disease among the Shi'i living there.
Sep 4, 1994 Baghdad accuses Iran of providing refuge for Iraqi Shi'i dissidents who cause instability in the southern marshlands with hit and run attacks on targets in southern Iraq. Iraq makes such accusations, with considerable justification, throughout the period covered by this update. Such accusations will not be further noted unless otherwise noteworthy.
Sep 7, 1994 A CIA estimate claims that over 100,000 of the 150,000 Shi'i believed to have sought refuge in the Hawr al Hamman and Al Amarah marshes have been driven out by Iraq's scorched earth policy, mostly across the border to Iran.
Sep 8, 1994 SCIRI announces that 5 Iraqi Shi'i children and 2 adults have died from disease and hunger in marshes on the Iranian border. This situation of starvation and disease is indicative of the situation of thousands of Iraqi Shi'i refugees. Such reports will not be further noted unless otherwise noteworthy.
Oct 8, 1994 The Movement for Islamic Concord, which is a part of the SCIRI, proposes that the international community give the Iraqi opposition control of an area in Southern Iraq as a first step toward overthrowing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Note: Over the next few weeks Iraqi Shi'i organizations make several similar demands in the context of an Iraqi military buildup on the Kuwaiti border. This situation makes several foreign powers, including the US, receptive to the idea but nothing, as of yet, has been done to implement such a plan.
Oct 12, 1994 The SCIRI reports clashes between opposition groups and Iraqi forces in the Diwaniya province between Baghdad and Basra. They also accuse Baghdad of transporting chemical and biological weapons to the southern areas of Iraq.
Jan 16, 1995 The UN refugee agency asks Iran to move a group of 4,000 Shi'i refugees away from an area bordering Iraq due to concern over conditions in the camps. Iran eventually complies. Note: Iraq has accused the Iraqi Shi'i opposition of using this camp as one of its bases for attacks against targets in Iraq.
Feb 27, 1995 A car bomb in the Iraqi Kurdistan city of Zakho kills 76. The PUK blames the Iraqi government and the KDP blames the PUK.
Mar 2 - 15, 1995 Clashes between the PUK and Iraqi forces, including tanks and artillery, are reported. Iraqi troops are accused of machine-gunning civilians. The Iraqi National Congress (INC), an anti-Saddam Hussein group, joins in the fighting against Iraq.
Mar 5, 1995 The Iraqi National Congress (INC), an umbrella organization for Shi'i, Kurd and Sunni opposition to the Iraqi government, reports fighting between Shi'i fighters and Iraqi troops in Qurna, 450 km (250 miles) southeast of Baghdad.
Mar 20 - May 4, 1995 Turkey invades Iraqi Kurdistan in order to stamp out the Turkish-Kurd PKK (People's Workers Party) rebels. Iraqi Kurdish groups initially condemn the invasion and charge that civilians are being targeted. Estimates of Iraqi Kurd refugees caused by the attack range from a few hundred to several thousand. Iraq condemns the attack.
May 1995 Saddam Hussein reportedly tortured an air force general from the Dulaymis, a federation of Sunni tribes allied with Saddam, after the general failed to report an offer made to him to help in a coup against the Iraqi leader. A revolt followed among the Dulaymis, which Saddam's eldest son then repressed bloodily. Some Sunnis see this as the breaking point of their alliance with Saddam. (Jerusalem Post, June 13, 1997)
Jul 4 - 11, 1995 Turkey invades Iraqi Kurdistan in order to stamp out Turkish Kurd PKK rebels. About 3,000 Iraqi Kurdish civilians flee south for safety. Iraq condemns the invasion.
Jul 17, 1995 The PUK accuses the KDP of joining Iraqi government forces in an attack on the PUK-held city of Arbil. The KDP denies the charges.
Jul 25, 1995 Reuters reports that PUK leaders have met with an envoy from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the past week. The topic of the discussions is unknown.
Aug 15, 1995 The SCIRI denounces the son-in-law of Saddam Hussein who had recently defected to Jordan as a killer and says that "dealing with this person is completely out of our calculations."
Aug 25, 1995 Iraqi forces attack a remote village in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Sep 17, 1995 The SCIRI announces that it has attacked 3 Iraqi army positions in Baghdad earlier this month.
Dec 16, 1995 Jordan's King Hussein offered to sponsor discussions among all Iraqi opposition groups to allow them to discuss the future direction of their country. (Reuters)
May 20, 1996 Iraq and the UN signed an agreement easing the embargo imposed on Iraq in 1990, allowing Iraq to resume the sale of oil in return for food and medicine. (Kaliedoscope)
Jul 11, 1996 120 military officials in Baghdad -- mostly Sunni Arabs -- were arrested for plotting a coup against Saddam Hussein. Leaders of the CIA-funded Iraqi National Congress reported that several of those who had been arrested were later executed. (AFP, September 7)
Aug 31, 1996 PUK leader Jamal Talabani announced that the KDP, along with 12,000 Iraqi soldiers and using Iraqi artillery, were attempting to take over a PUK stronghold in northern Iraq. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz confirmed Iraqi involvement in the fighting near the Kurdish capital of Arbil. (Rueters)
Sep 1, 1996 Iraq and KDP troops were patrolling Arbil after successfully overwhelming PUK forces. Between 150 and 180 people died during the fighting, but few civilians were hurt. Baghdad announced that its troops would soon retreat out of the Kurdish region. The US responded to Iraq's actions by launching 44 curise missiles over Baghdad. (Reuters, September 1; Reuters, September 4)
Sep 3 - 13, 1996 The US launches air strikes on Iraq in response to the aid Saddam's regime provided to the KDP attacks in the Kurdish enclave of Iraq. Iraq responds by firing missiles at American, British, and French planes patrolling the no-fly zone in northern Iraq. (The Economist, September 7; September 21)
Sep 17, 1996 Kuwait agreed to allow 3300 more US soldiers intended to be stationed within Iraq in order to maintain military pressure on Iraq. (New York Times)
Dec 12, 1996 An assassination attempt is launched against Saddam Hussein's eldest son Uday. Reports reveal that, in order for this plot to be carried out, members of Hussein's family would have had to collaborate with the attackers. (Jerusalem Post, June 13, 1997)
Jan 27, 1997 The chief UN arms inspector reports that Saddam Hussein is still hiding past and present weapons programs. (New York Times)
Feb 20, 1997 Anti-Saddam protests by Iraqi Shiites break out near Baghdad and in southern Iraq after a leading Shiite cleric was assassinated. Reports from Shiite leaders accuse Saddam's regime of plotting the killing. (AFP)
May 13, 1997 105 Iraqi soldiers are killed in clashes with members of the Bani Said tribe in southern Iraq. (AFP)
Jun 13, 1997 The Jerusalem Post reports that a large number of Saddam's family members have turned against him and are plotting to kill him, his advisors, and his closest heirs in an effort to topple his power structure.
Nov 17, 1997 Two moves seemed to indicate a shift in Baghdad toward conciliation with the West: At a cabinet meeting in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein stresses that he does not want to engage in another confrontation with the US, and Deputy Prime Minister Aziz announced that Iraq would re-admit UN weapons inspectors with reconfigured teams. (New York Times)
Dec 27, 1997 Baath party officials reported that the US was planning air strikes on Iraq, during which the US would plant false evidence of chemical and biological weapons in the country (New York Times)
Jan 1 - Feb 28, 1998 Saddam Hussein's refusal to grant UN arms inspectors access to suspected weapons sites in Iraq causes increased tension, as the US threatens to launch the most severe air strikes since the Gulf War against Iraq in order to force its compliance with UN demands. Russia objected to the US strategy and pursued independently a diplomatic approach to dealing with Baghdad.
Feb 5, 1998 The London-based paper Al-Hayat issues a statement that all attacks against Iraq by the US put the Sunni Arab minority in Iraq at great risk. Any revolt by either the Shi'ite or the Kurdish populations in Iraq would likely target the Sunnis. (BBC)
Feb 23, 1998 UN Secretary General Kofi Annan brokers a deal with Saddam Hussein, insuring UN weapons inspectors access to all suspected weapons caches in Iraq. The conclusion of this deal ended the threat of another round of US air strikes on Iraq. (New York Times; The Economist, February 28)
Aug 18, 1998 Iraq refuses inspectors to visit new sites until they have declared the country nuclear- and chemical-free. (New York Times)
Oct 23, 1998 The US Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act, a bill allotting $97 million for weapons, training, and financing Iraqi opposition groups. This represents the first public move by the US to pursue the ouster of Saddam Hussein, a goal it has apparently been unable to achieve working clandestinely. (Christian Science Monitor)
Oct 31, 1998 Saddam Hussein announces that Iraq will not cooperate with UN arms inspectors until the UN lifts sanctions against Iraq. (New York Times)
Nov 2, 1998 US President Clinton announces that the US will launch air strikes against Iraq if Saddam Hussein does not back down from its decision to not cooperate with UN arms inspectors. (New York Times)
Nov 5, 1998 The UN Security Council unanimously condemned Iraq for its lack of cooperation with UN arms inspectors. (New York Times)
Nov 15, 1998 Saddam Hussein again commits to cooperate completely with UN weapons inspectors, under imminent threat of air strikes by the US and UK. (New York Times)
Nov 16, 1998 British Prime Minister Tony Blair voices his country's support for US plans to work with Iraqi opposition groups to remove Saddam from power. (Christian Science Monitor, November 18)
Nov 21, 1998 Iraqi officials refuse to turn over documents requested by UN arms inspectors on chemical and biological weapons and missile systems. (New York Times)
Nov 29, 1998 Representatives of Iraqi Shi'ias expressed concern and doubt about US and British efforts to oust Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Such a movement should come from within Iraq, they argued. (AFP)
Dec 16 - 20, 1998 The US and Great Britain launch air strikes on 89 different targets in Iraq after UN arms inspectors reported Iraq's refusal to grant inspectors access to suspected weapon sites. Russia and China objected to the attacks. (New York Times; The Economist, December 19)
Dec 28, 1998 - Sep 30, 1999 The US launches a series of attacks on air defense systems and communication networks in northern Iraq. Between late December and early March, bombs were dropped on 30 different days. (New York Times)
Mar 9 - 10, 1999 Clashes occur between Iraqi security forces and SCIRI fighters in two southeastern Iraqi provinces. SCIRI reported that over 100 people were killed and that 8 Iraqi tanks were destroyed. (AFP)
Apr 8, 1999 Iraq rejects plans for a revised UN inspection team, again stating no inspections will occur until UN sanctions on Iraq are lifted. (New York Times)
Apr 24, 1999 Clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and members of the opposition in southern Iraq. (AFP)

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