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 Mustafa Barzani in a televised legend

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Mustafa Barzani in a televised legend  24.6.2009  







June 24, 2009

ERBIL-Hewler, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Starting Sunday June 28, Alsumaria TV will present one of its major in-house production entitled: “Ostourat Al Jabal” (The Legend of the Mountain) a feature-length documentary that tackles the Kurdish issue and leader Mala Mustafa Barzani.

“Ostourat Al Jabal” is seen by its director and presenter anchor Anwar Al Hamadani as a weighty Arab production on the Kurdish issue presented both in Arabic and Kurdish.

“The documentary was prepared along six months of hard application. It includes exclusive reportages, exceptional meetings and various drama scenes as prominent historical figures were personified in acting namely Salahuddin Al Ayyubi and Sheikh Mahmoud Al Hafid”,
www.hawlati.net Anwar Al Hamadani explained.

Underlining the importance of events that this documentary sheds lights on, Al Hamadani added that “Ostourat Al Jabal” addresses many unspoken question marks among Arabs about the historic relations with Kurds in the past and present. The documentary aims as well to near both parties’ points of views”, Al Hamadani stressed.

“Ostourat Al Jabal is an Alsumaria production, part of a series of in-house production documentaries. Still to come another new interesting documentary”, Al Hamadani noted.

Ostourat Al Jabal is split into six feature-length episodes followed by a live forum in which anchor Anwar Al Hamadani discusses feedback on the documentary through mails and phone calls.

“Ostourat Al Jabal” was initiated by Alsumaria Manager in Kurdistan Dr. Ali Akram and supervised by Alsumaria News Manager Amjad Askandar.

Barzani was born in 1903 in Barzan, a village in northern Iraqi Kurdistan, (then part of the Ottoman Empire), he was first imprisoned in Mosul, with his mother, when he was only three years old.                          

Prominent Kurdish leader Mala Mustafa Barzani, father of the current president of Iraqi Kurdistan region Massoud Barzani.


Starting Sunday June 28, Alsumaria TV will present one of its major in-house production entitled: “Ostourat Al Jabal”
Early career
In 1931 and 1932, together with his older brother, Sheikh Ahmed Barzani who was a convert to Christianity, he led the Kurdish struggle for independence. In 1935, with the suppression of the Kurdish revolution,
www.ekurd.net he was exiled to Sulaimaniyah, together with his brother Sheikh Ahmed Barzani. Barzani escaped from Sulaimaniyah in 1942, and started a new revolt against Baghdad, but it was once again unsuccessful. Barzani with 1,000 of his followers went to Eastern Kurdistan to help Qazi Muhammed to defend the newly founded Kurdish Republic of Mahabad.

The Republic of Mahabad
In December 1945 the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad was declared by the Kurds in Eastern Kurdistan, which was under Soviet military control. Mustafa Barzani was appointed as the Minister of Defense and commander of the Kurdish army in the Republic of Mahabad.

In May 1946 the Soviet troops were withdrawn from Iran, in accordance with the Yalta Agreement, and in December Mahabad was overrun by Iranian troops. The President of the Republic of Mahabad was hanged in public in the "Çar Çira" square in Mahabad city, and many others were massacred. Mala Mustafa refused to surrender to the invading Iranian army and along with his fighters moved back to Iraq. But once again he was forced to flee when the Iraqi, Turkish and Iranian forces joined their efforts against him. Barzani with 500 of his pesh merga fought his way through Turkey and Iran to Azerbaijan in the Soviet Union, where they were disarmed and incarcerated in a prison camp before being allowed to settle in various parts of the Soviet Union.

Exile in the Soviet Union
In 1951 the peshmerga were allowed to settle in Baku. Many enrolled in schools and universities. Barzani himself went to Moscow, where he studied political science, and renewed his contacts with Kurdish diaspora and exiles.

Return to Iraq
In 1958, following the republican coup, Barzani was invited to return to Iraq by prime minister Abdul Karim Qassim. Barzani went further than Qasim had intended, and suggested full autonomy for the Kurdish regions in the north. This resulted in new clashes between the rulers of Baghdad and the Kurds. In 1961 prime minister Qasim began military campaigns against the Kurds. Barzani's Peshmergas were highly effective in fighting the invading Iraqi army during the revolution and inflicted a large casualties among Iraqi army.

In March 1970 Baghdad and the Kurdish leaders reached a peace agreement, and cease fire was declared to pave the way for negotiations to find a solution to the Kurdish question. As a goodwill the Iraqi government recognized Kurdish people and considered Kurdish language a second official language of the republic with Arabic. In the early 1970s, Barzani's son Ubaydallah defected from the Barzani tribe, and began working with the regime of Baghdad as a minister of state in 1975. Vice President Saddam Hussein, of the Baath Party, offered the Kurds an autonomy but without including Kirkuk, Mosul and other Kurdish cities, and mandated full control of Iraqi army over Kurdistan.

In March 1974 after the autonomy negotiation failed to reach a fair agreement, Mustafa Barzani led his followers into renewed fighting with the Iraqi government, this time with the support of Shah Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran and the United States. In early 1975, at an OPEC conference in Algiers, an agreement was signed between the Shah and Saddam Hussein,
www.ekurd.net which ceded important Iraq rights in the contested waterway Shatt al-Arab to Iran. In return all aid to the Kurdish revolution was immediately cut off by Iran and in case of continued fighting Iran was to help Iraq to crush the Kurdish revolt. This allowed Hussein to consolidate his power in Iraq and Mustafa Barzani was forced to flee his homeland one final time. It's worthy of mentioning that while leaving Southern Kurdistan territories, he asked his driver to stop on the last point of the fictional borders between Eastern and Southern Kurdistan. He got out of his car and went on the hilltop, pointing towards Southern Kurdistan he said "Even now I do not give up Kirkuk".

Death and legacy
He went into exile in the United States, and died March 3, 1979, in Georgetown Hospital in Washington, DC. He was buried just west of Mahabad, in Iranian Kurdistan.

In October, 1993, Barzani's remains were brought across the border from Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan, to be reburied in the land he fought for.

His son, Massoud Barzani, is the current leader of the KDP and was elected as the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan region by the Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan in June 2005.

The Naqshbandi and the Barzani Family
In fact if we talk about Mustafa Barzani we should mention the historical background about Naqshbandi's Tariqat. Mustafa Barzani opposite to his ancestors and his elder brother, Sheikh Ahmad. Shiek Ahmad was a dominant fighter among the Barzani family. Even Mustafa Barzani was under his command. While Mustafa barzani thought about politic Sheik Ahmand deprived him from been Naqshbandi's followers. To understand the religious conflict among the Barzani family, we need to look back to the coming Naqishbandi’s Tariqat to this family. Barzan province has its specialization and it differs from other parts of the Kurdistan Region. Barzan is located in Hawler Governorate (now KRG capital). It is near to Iran and Turkey borders. This area sees as an independent region. It has no governmental offices. People here are belonging to their ancestors as a source of social life. Here in Barzan religious conflict is harder than political one because people here believe no political issues but religious one, even Massoud Barzani’s KDP has no office here. There are various view about transferring Naqishbandi’s Tariqat to this area, but it has been proved that Sheik Abdulsalam first, Mustafa Barzanis ancestors, was the first Barzani’s religious leader who declare this Tariqat among Barzanis.

* Originally published in Attakhi Newspaper on June 23, 2009.

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