Reactive Nationalism in a Homogenizing State: The Kurdish Nationalism Movement in Ba’thist Iraq, 1963 – 2003
Resool, Shorsh Mustafa
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reactive Nationalism in a Homogenizing State: The Kurdish Nationalism Movement in Ba’thist Iraq, 1963 - 2003. The thesis analyzes the Kurdish nationalism movement as a reaction to the homogenization process by successive Iraqi governments since the establishment of the current state of Iraq. The case study for the thesis is Kurdish reactive nationalism and the Ba’th party from 1963 - 2003. The Ba'th Party came to power in 1963 then again in 1968 through two co-de-ta until their fall in 2003. The Ba'th Party tried to homogenize the state of Iraq and impose a Sunni-Arab identity to Iraq through centralized education and administration system. The Sunni Arabs are a minority group within the boundary of Iraq but had been the dominant group since 1921 until 2003. The Kurds refused such identity and demanded for their national rights to be recognized. The Ba’th Party excluded the Kurds from holding senior or sensitive posts within education, administration and military posts. Having the control over the judicial system, the Ba’th Party labelled the Kurds as traitors, which legitimize their extermination. Subsequently, they were subjected to genocide under the hands of the Ba’th party. Despite all this, the Kurds continued in their struggle for their national rights. With every step by the Ba'th party to exterminate them the Kurds reacted by organizing themselves and adapted themselves to the new situation. They also seized every opportunity that had arisen to enhance their position. The Kurdish nationalism blossomed after the 1991 uprising following the second gulf war in March 1991. The Kurds managed to run a general election for Kurdistan Parliament; established the Kurdistan Regional Government; improved the education and administration system; improved schools, universities, art and economy. The fall of Saddam on 9th April 2003 was another golden opportunity that the Kurds seized pretty well. They contributed in writing Iraq’s constitution and managed to achieve most of their national demands within the federal state of Iraq. Hence, Kurdish nationalism has blossomed.
PhD in Arab and Islamic Studies