Kurdish mujahideen

The Kurdish mujahideen were Kurdish Islamists that fought during the 1980s until 2000s against the state of Iraq and the rule of Saddam Hussein.

Kurdish mujahideen
FounderOsman Abdulaziz
MotivesTo make an independent Kurdish state under Islamic law
Active regionsIraqi Kurdistan
Sizeover 10,000
Allies Iran
KDP (against Iraq)
PUK (against Iraq)
Opponents Iraq
 United States
 Ba'athist Iraq
Ba'ath loyalists
Sunni insurgents
Shiism arabic blue.svg Shia insurgents
KDP (after 1991)
PUK (after 1991)
Battles and wars


During the Iran–Iraq War, Sheikh Osman Abdulaziz, leader of the IMK, called for an independent Kurdish nation, as well as declaring a holy war against Iraq and against Ba'athism, which led independent Kurdish Islamists, Kurdish Islamist organizations, and even Peshmerga soldiers who had Islamist leanings, to form a type of united front. Many Kurdish Islamists set up training camps in the mountains of Kurdistan, recruited people, and began rebelling against Iraq.[1][2]

Shortly before the Halabja massacre, Saddam Hussein cracked down on Kurdish Islamic scholars, which led them to flee Halabja and go to Iran, where they had strong support. That was when the Kurdish mujahideen became active in Halabja, which would later become their stronghold. Many Kurds from Halabja concluded that Jihad was the best way to Iraq. The mujahideen received many Kurdish volunteers from Iran.[3]


The mujahideen started in 1980 during the Iran-Iraq War, but at the end of the war in 1988, they mostly halted their operations, but maintained a low-level insurgency against Iraq. In the 1991 Iraqi uprisings during the Gulf War, the mujahideen heavily increased their activities, and towards the end of the war, they slowed down again. They had over 10,000 fighters at their peak.[4]

Islamist Kurds and secular Kurds became opponents after the Islamist insurgency in Iraqi Kurdistan, which was the time that Ansar al-Islam, with the help of KJG and IMK fighters, established the Islamic Emirate of Byara. The Islamic Emirate of Byara was defeated after a brief 2 years of existence, and most of the jihadists fled to Iran. The united mujahideen ended after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, although the groups remained.[5][6]


See alsoEdit

Other mujahideen groups:


  1. ^ "Three Generations of Jihadism in Iraqi Kurdistan". www.ifri.org.
  2. ^ Martin, Gus (15 June 2011). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Terrorism, Second Edition. SAGE. p. 48. ISBN 9781412980166.
  3. ^ "Journey to jihad: Iran's Sunni Kurds fighting a holy war in Idlib". www.rudaw.net. Retrieved 2022-05-14.
  4. ^ "Los Angeles Review of Books". Los Angeles Review of Books. May 8, 2019.
  5. ^ "Islamic Movement of Kurdistan | Mapping Militant Organizations". stanford.edu.
  6. ^ "Journey to jihad: Iran's Sunni Kurds fighting a holy war in Idlib".