- Created: Friday, 04 March 2016 11:44
- Written by Trevor Rayne
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 103 - October/November 1991
Over 40 guerrillas from the newly-formed PAK (Kurdistan Freedom Party) were training with their PKK/ARGK comrades. A leading PAK member described how, in the 1980s, the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) had prevented Kurds from south Kurdistan linking up with the PKK. However, Saddam's brutal repression undermined the credibility of Barzani's KDP and Talabani's PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) leadership.
PAK: 'Following Halabja in March 1988, which was a disaster for Kurdish liberated areas, developments in north west Kurdistan allowed people in south Kurdistan (Iraq) to form direct relations with the PKK. Many people began to join in the ranks of the PKK. Some came from east Kurdistan (Iran) and some from towns in south Kurdistan and Iraq proper.
'At the time of the Spring risings after the Gulf War there were possibilities to organise the people. but there was a political vacuum. We were not strong enough to fill this political gap . The other organisations. KDP and PUK, moved among the people with the help of the Coalition Forces which sought to promote them.
'These organisations captured some of our people and wanted to kill them, but with the people's support we stopped them. We had organisation among the people, but were not well enough known. Our propaganda showed the nature of the KDP and PUK and we warned the people that their leadership would result in further massacres. When the Spring rising was crushed, the people began to see that our analysis was correct.
'Along the borders and with the support of the PKK we conducted widespread activities among the people. These were the people who had fled the towns and Saddam's army. Iraq and Turkey had a plan to crush the Kurdish people, but with the strong PKK presence in the border regions they didn't dare attempt it. The people had found a way out of their impasse with the PAK and they began to organise around it. We made preparations for a conference, assisted by the PKK, and held it among the mountains of Kurdistan in Spring 1991. This changed many things: we formally announced the formation of our Party and began systematic work. We now have units throughout south Kurdistan and the mountain region is in our hands. We are growing in strength in the towns.
'Barzani and Talabani see that they're losing the support of the people and are attempting provocations. They want to shoot Coalition Forces and blame it on the PAK or PKK. We do not want military confrontations with either the Coalition Forces or the KDP and PUK; we want to defeat Barzani and Talabani politically.
'Let me give you some recent examples of the situation. In Zakho and Suleimanieh the other organisations tried to capture our people. In Zakho they succeeded, but the people attacked their offices and now in Zakho and Kirkuk Barzani's offices are closed. You will have heard that some Iraqi soldiers were arrested. that was our work. The KDP complained that at the time it was negotiating with Saddam and that the PKK was a foreign force. For this the people attacked the KDP offices in Irbil and Suleimanieh and closed them down.
'There is great potential now in south Kurdistan and especially after the Turkish military raid across the border in pursuit of the PKK and the recent risings in Dahuk and elsewhere. These are the first politically organised risings in south Kurdistan. With the support of the PKK in the north we can move more quickly in the south.
'The Turkish raid (August 1991) has paved the way to new developments. It was a victory for PKK and PAK. The Turkish forces were unable to control the border and divide north west from south Kurdistan. In practice there are no borders anymore. The conditions are ripening for a united government. In the coming days you will witness our intentions.'
FRFI: How do you view the role of the Coalition Forces in the region?
'We consider the March rising to have been a provocation to drive the people into the arms of the KDP-PUK. However, when these risings were so convincingly crushed, the KDP and PUK were exposed as inadequate to defend the people. We, the PAK and the people, know that these Operation Hammer forces are not here to protect the people but rather provoke them. For example, the Hammer forces were provoking the people in-to saying 'We don't want you to go'. The KDP-PUK also tried to get the people to rise up to ask the Coalition Forces to stay. These Coalition Forces have three aims: i) to keep Barzani and Talabani in place; ii) to crush the liberation struggle in north west Kurdistan; and iii) to have a security area for use against all the peoples of the Middle East.
'In the Spring rising the massacres were terrible, people were finding corpses everywhere. They needed some relief. When the Coalition Forces entered the area the people knew that these were not their liberators, but they also knew they had to be tied to them for survival.
'In north west Kurdistan it is different: people there know that Turkey is a member of NATO and that these Coalition Forces are NATO. Consequently, they will have nothing to do with them. So the Coalition Forces say that "the people of south Kurdistan love us, but those in north Kurdistan do not"!
'After all the developments people's consciousness is awakening: many incidents have shown the south Kurdish people that the Coalition Forces are not really against Saddam, but just out as such for a short time.
'Our aim is to organise the people in south Kurdistan. create a liberated zone and fight against the Turkish state, but if Saddam attacks we will fight him too. No force can crush us because our area of manoeuvre is wide. The Turkish raid gives evidence. It is the most important defeat for the Turkish state in its history, even though not all our forces acted in this operation and only some of the PKK. The information is that over 500 Turkish troops were killed. Now Turkish General Tolon says that it was not Turkey's intention to kill PKK forces, but to show that the Turkish state has the ability to carry out such operations! We believe we will have the support of humanity who do not want to see the Kurdish people massacred.'
Why doesn't the PAK join the PKK, as a single party?
'As a leadership and ideology we are one: Abdullah Ocalan is our leader. However, there are social differences because south Kurdistan has been under an Arabic state and north west Kurdistan under the Turkish state. There are also international and regional differences and conditions which would tend against the PKK in south Kurdistan and because of these we formed the PAK. Of course, the PKK has an important role to play for us in ideology and practice. Further, we won't fight only in south Kurdistan, we have members of the PAK in north west Kurdistan, getting experience of guerrilla war. We also train together. The KDP-PUK accuse us of being PKK, but it is not so, they are different organisations.'