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The Kurdish crisis and allied intervention in the aftermath of the second Gulf War

Authors: Malanczuk, Peter
Keywords: Iraq -- Kurdish refugees; Iraq -- social conditions; Refugees - Middle East -- conditions; Iraq -- refugees -- conditions; Iraq -- politics; Iraq -- international relations; Iraq -- Gulf War
Issue Date: 1991
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Description: "The defeat of the Iraqi army at the end of February 1991 at the hands of the coalition forces led by the United States was followed by widespread uprisings in Iraq against the Government of President Saddam Hussein. There were two separate major rebellions in the predominantly Shia southern provinces of Iraq and the northern Kurdish provinces. By the end of March the Iraqi armed forces were able to crash the southern rebellion and to recapture a number of towns in the north from the Kurds without allied interference. In late March vast numbers of Kurdish refugees fled from the advancing Iraqi military towards the borders of Turkey and Iran. Their plight and the problems they posed for neighbouring countries increasingly gave rise to international concern. On 3 April 1991, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 687 setting out the terms of a full ceasefire in the Gulf which were, albeit reluctantly, accepted by Iraq. On 5 April 1991, the Security Council passed Resolution 688 which condemned 'the repression of the Iraqi civilian population in many parts of Iraq, including most recently in Kurdish populated areas, the consequences of which threaten international peace and security'. On 9 April 1991, the Security Council adopted Resolution 689 in order to create a demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait. The zone was to be monitored by a 1,440 UN Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM) for which all five permanent Security Council members were prepared to provide military personnel. On 11 April 1991, the Security Council notified Iraq that a ceasefire in the Gulf was formally in effect. While the Security Council was occupied with taking these measures, international diplomatic efforts in support of the Kurdish refugees, who were amassed under extremely harsh conditions in the mountains in the border regions with Turkey and Iran, concentrated on emergency relief operations and on finding solutions for an adequate protection for the Kurds in Iraq itself. The idea of establishing Kurdish 'safe havens' in northern Iraq under allied military protection was advanced. It only materialized, however, when the United States changed its position not to intervene in Iraq and finally decided to commit troops, together with the United Kingdom, France, and other states, to Kurdistan for humanitarian reasons; in spite of strong objections raised by Iraq. The following examines the legality under international law of the allied intervention in Iraq during the Kurdish Crisis in 1991. In order to put the legal issues into proper perspective, it is first necessary to try to establish the relevant factual background in as much detail as possible, bearing in mind the scarcity and inconsistency of literature and press reports"
Appears in Collections:International Relations & Ethnic Minorities: NGO and Think-Tank Reports

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