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The Process of Leading Change in the Kurdistan Islamic Movement – Iraq (Emergence, Factors and Trends)

This article has been taken from[1].pdf with the permission of the author Dr Sabah Mofidi.

The Process of Leading Change in the Kurdistan Islamic Movement – Iraq
(Emergence, Factors and Trends)
This article studies the process of the emergence of the Islamic Movement in South Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan) and follows its internal changes. It explains how the Islamic organizations rise came about and provides solutions to questions such as: What have the effective factors been in the emergence of this movement and its internal changes? What is the difference between this and other Islamic movements? How have other Islamic movements affected it? Which ideological-intellectual trends have existed within it? The effect of other Islamic Movements and the special situation of Kurdistan, on its trends, parties and ideological-intellectual relations with others will be mentioned. Indeed, by far, the reasons of the uprising of this movement, its relation with Kurdish nationalism and also its influence and function in an autonomous region of Kurdistan have been explained. The article tries to clarify which internal trend could be maintained in the Kurdistan political arena.
In the history of the Islamic communities, some Islamic movements have opposed the undesired status quo. They have been the mass movements with various religious leaderships emphasizing on religious principles for changing the status quo especially social and political. New types of contemporary Islamic movements have emerged primarily to oppose the software and hardware West (modernity and colonialism) as the external reasons of these movements along with the internal potential of Islam as the religious internal motivation such as concepts like Jihad, martyrdom, justice and so on (Khorramshad, 2005). Such movements have always existed in most Muslim countries in different times. They gradually converted to various parties and trends that have activated organizations to reach their aims. Similarly, the Iraqi Kurdistan has also been under the effect of contemporary Islamic movements and Islamist waves in recent decades.  
The Kurdistan Islamic Movement in Iraq has also been a reflection of new Islamic movements in the Islam world reviving Islam and opposing the non-Islamic parties; though, they fought against the Baath regime as well. Its fluctuating feature of history is not comparable with any of the other Islamic movements. These fluctuations from uniting to disbanding; from war and Jihad to form Islamic governments and legal contesting; covering the most radical fundamentalists to very low key Islamic parties have given this movement special characteristics. This study is based on the main contemporary political Islamic trends in Iraq and the movement of its splinter groups being examined.
Contemporary Main Political Islamic Trends in Iraq 
Iraq covers three geographical areas with different communities. The central area includes Sunni Arabs representing about 20% of the population; the south is mainly Shiite Arab about 55% of the population and the northern area under Kurdish authority which is approximately 20% of the population and the remaining 5% of small ethnicities (Saifzadeh, 2001, 69).  
Apart from the ruling Baath party, before 2003 three kinds of main trends or political parties have existed in contemporary political history of Iraq: (a) the religious parties and trends; (b) Left parties include communist party, socialist party and so on; and (c) regional parties in Kurdistan. The contemporary religious trends in Iraq generally include three groups: (i) Shiite Islamic trend, (ii) Sunni Islamic trend and (iii) the Kurdistan Islamic trend. Because of their impact of religious trends on the Kurdistan Islamic movement, it is necessary to have a look at Shiite, Sunni, and regional movements in Iraq.
Shiite Islamic Movement:
The first phase of Islamic movement in Iraq is related to the years between 1914 to the revolution of 1920 in the British colonial period especially among Shiites. After the Second World War up to 1957, several Islamic parties were formed with the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Tahrir Al-Islami and the Shiite Muslim Youth Movement. In 1957, the greatest and most organized Islamic party i.e. Shiite Dawa Party was established. However, the Shiite movement has been vast and it includes the various stages of developments up to the present day. To give an example, two cases of alliances within this movement related to Kurdistan Islamic movement are briefly outlined:
1-      Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council; that in mid 1983 announced itself as the sole official representative of the Iraq Islamic movement. The important parties and groups of SIIC were Islamic Dawa Party, Islamic Action Organization, Movement of Iraqi Mujahidin and so on (Nazimyan, 2003, 87).
2-      Alkotla Al-Islami; this group was an alliance of the Islamic Movement (Sheikh Jawad Khalsi), Al-Fath Al-Islami Movements (Sheikh Nadim Alhatami), Islamic revolution army (Abu Osamah) among others (ibid., 91). 
It should be mentioned that after the Saddam regime, the Council including the Dawa Party had the most influence in the political arena of Iraq and the Shiites obtained the highest proportion in central government.  
Sunni Islamic Movement:
In 1946 the returning Sheikh Mohammad Mahmood Al-Sawaf from Egypt (who studied there  also set up relations with the Muslim Brotherhood), the Muslim Brotherhood Movement entered into Iraq and Muslim Brotherhood Jamaat under the religious leadership of Sheikh Amjad Al-Zahawi was constituted in 1948. Since the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Iraq was a group of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, they naturally followed and promoted the thoughts, newspapers and books of that movement. The early years of the Muslim Brotherhood Jamaat was allocated to create organizations and internal issues. Since this movement was Sunni, it often influenced the Sunni circles and amassing important audiences but experienced failure in the Shiite area (ibid., 38).  
There were other Sunni groups of smaller dimensions such as Al-Jamaat Al-Islami under Shiekh Badri, which was in Islamic Alkotla alliance with Shiite Groups. After Saddam, some other Sunni groups and parties emerged in the political arena of Iraq. It should be noted that the Sunni ruling government, being a minority, and in fear of the Shiite majority, until the collapse of the Baath regime did not have effective political activities against the regime. 
Regional Movement:
Another political movement in Iraq was on the basis of ethnicity or nationality (as the Kurds are called a stateless Nation) in Kurdistan, north of Iraq. In different parts of Kurdistan including this part in Iraq, there has been long-time fighting (more than a century) to gain their national rights. After the traditional stage of Kurdish movements, the secular nationalists have fought under modern parties especially Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) (1946) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) (1975) up to now. Besides, from the 1980s, gradually, religious movements emerged. The Kurdish national movement in Iraq, eventually, after 1991 succeeded in establishing an autonomous government with the support of the United Nations and superpowers. And after 2003 with the collapse the Saddam regime, they began to participate in Iraq’s central government.   


a)       A totality of political trends in Iraq

b) A totality of Islamic Movement in Iraq
Kurdistan Islamic Movement
Although most of the Kurdish uprisings and their national movements have been under the leadership of religious figures like Sheikh Abdulsalam and other Barzan Sheikhs, Sheikh Mahmood. But indeed, their movements were for gaining their own non-Islamic ethnic rights. On the other hand, they shared the same religion with Iraq’s government and they didn’t have a religious problem. Indeed, before the 1980’s there was practically no Islamist trend in Kurdistan. It is only after the death of Mala (Mullah) Mustafa Barzani, the national leader of the Kurdish Movement in 1979, and after 1980 that under the effect of Islamic government in Iran and the Iran-Iraq War, the Islamic Movement emerged. In the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War, Iran founded and armed Islamic groups and Iranian supported Islamic groups began emerging in Iraqi Kurdistan (Kakei, 2013). Therefore, one can divide the emergence of the Kurdistan Islamic movement into two stages i.e.: (a) foundation of affiliatedsmall initial groups; and (b) foundation of principal parties.
A)    Affiliated Small Initial Groups
In 1952 Sheikh Mohammad Sawaf went to‎ Sulaimani (Sulaymaniyah) and Halabja and created a rapport with Mala Othman Abdul-Aziz (1922-1997) and Mala Mohammad Baha Addin. Meanwhile, the thought of Muslim Brotherhood came to Kurdistan and especially in Halabja (Mardokhi, 2004). Later Mala Othman, Abdul Aziz Prazani and Umar Rashawi took leadership of the Islamic party of Iraq from the 1950s until mid 1980s.
In the early 1980s, some of the Kurdish youths and religious figures under the leadership of Mala Othman, the Imam in Halabja and other influential figures in Kurdistan, were grouped as the Kurdistan Islamic Movement. It provided grounds for splitting the leadership of the Islamic party of Iraq because of conflict between the MB's pan-Arab Islamic unity ideology and the Kurdish nationalist view for the recognition of Kurdish rights within a post-Baathist Islamic state of Iraq and also the Kurdistan Islamic movement joining the military groups. After this conflict, Mala Othman left the ranks of the MB and eventually, along with some of his close associates, escaped to Iran (Jamal, 2004). However, in the mid 1980s the relationship between Baghdad and Sulaimani and Halabja started again, in 1987 under Baath regime law the members of Muslim Brotherhood were oppressed and some of its leaders were arrested while many of the Kurds escaped abroad in particular to Iran (Mardokhi, 2004).
Hence, the intellectual origin of Islamic trends in Kurdistan and especially the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thoughts and teachings of Hasan Al-Banna (Jamal, 2004). In the 1990s, others who belonged to other tendencies and Islamic fundamentalist groups including Salafist, Jamaat-e-Islami in Pakistan and Jihadist in Afghanistan joined them.
Besides, there were some other unknown groups that were constituted in the early 1980s and often under the effect of the Islamic revolution of Iran and with support of the Office for Liberation Movements of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran that were mostly dissolved or joined the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (IMK) especially the Sunnis. These groups are:
1-      Kurdish Islamic Army: It was Sunni and the Founder was Abbas Shahin (Abu Osama). This group was in the Alkotla Al-Islami Alliance.
2-      Islamic Fayli Kurdish Organization: This belonged to Shiite Kurds that within itself included three groups that each had a special view: the Muslim Kurdish Movement under the leadership of Hussein Fayli, Islamic Fayli Kurdish Association that was formed in 1982 in Tehran, Islamic Fayli Kurdish Movement under the leadership of Jalil Fayli and its activities were confined to scattered missionary work.
3-    Hizbullah of Kurdistan in Iraq: This party was related to Sunni Kurds emerged in Iran in 1983. Sheikh Mohammad Khalid Barzani was its leader. This party was in the Shiite Supreme Council alliance. After the 1991 Gulf War, Hizbullah of Kurdistan dissolved itself encouraging its members to join the KDP under the leadership of Massoud Barzani - current President of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq (ibid.). It should be noted that Adham Barzani, Sheikh Mohammad Khalid’s nephew, constituted another party under Kurdistan Revolutionary Hizbullah (KRH) in 1988. KRH did not have any success in attracting forces and after the collapse of the Saddam regime, announced its dissolution in 2004 claiming it had reached its aims. 
4-      The Muslim Association: This also belonged to Sunni Kurds that was constituted in the years between 1979 and 1981. Its founders were Sheikh Albarzanji and Sheikh Ahmad Khanagha. They had a close relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran. They were also in good relations with the Supreme Council of the Iraq Islamic revolution and they had one representative on the Council. One of the disputes of this group with the Muslim Brotherhood was their connection with Iran.
5-      Islamic Relationship (Paywandi Islami): It was also established in the 1980s under the leadership of Sheikh Mohammad Barzanji and later they joined the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan in 1987.
6-      Kurdistan Mujahidin movement: It was of Sunni Kurds and was constituted by Sheikh Abutalib Barzanji. 
Indeed, the above small groups did not have the support of the people and most religious figures in Kurdistan. Apart from some individuals in the Muslim Association, most of their members had low level literacy in religious knowledge or they were from traditional Sheikh led tribes that no longer had any influence in the region. They mostly existed due to their ties with Iran, so didn’t have much success in Kurdistan. One of the reasons they are constituted is because of subsidies by Iran’s Office for Liberation Movements. They also had some connections with Shiite groups and the Supreme Council. Albeit, it does not mean that the other Islamic or secular groups didn’t use Iran aid, but they didn’t depend on Iran as it was mostly a political aspect (Nazimyan, 2003, 269 - 75).     
However, what is well-known as the main Islamic trend in Kurdistan is the continuation of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (Harakat Al-Islami) along with its splinter groups have widely operated in the Kurdistan political arena.
B)    Principal Islamic Parties in Kurdistan: Islamic Movement of Kurdistan and its splinter groups
In 1987, after Muslim Brotherhood and the people of Halabja’s emigration to Iranian Kurdistan, the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (IMK), including the Islamic Relationship group, a military-political organization under the leadership of Mala Othman Abdul Aziz and others was formally constituted in the Seryas camp and Sine (Sanandaj) city  (Mardokhi, 2004). The IMK placed and planned the downfall of the Baath regime in its blueprint clearly. The Jihadist approach anticipated and prompted the formation of an army as an outstanding field of its activity (Nik Anjam, 2003). So, in the midst of intensive fighting between the Kurdish Peshmarga (freedom fighters) forces and the Iraqi military units, the Iranian regime began training and arming members of them (Kakei, 2013). Nevertheless, after the USA attack on Iraq in 1991, gradually and practically, a principal section of this movement stands against the Kurdish secular trend.
Following the recognition of Kurdistan as a no-fly zone after the Gulf war and the retreat of the Iraqi government from three provinces of Kurdistan in 1991, Kurdish forces controlled them and after that, many of the opposers of the Iraqi Government transferred their activities to this region. The principal Islamic political forces that were exclusively Sunni within the framework of the IMK party also return to Kurdistan-Iraq. They started active propagation and incitation so that in the mid 1990s, after KDP and PUK, IMK they became the third most influential military-political force in Kurdistan. They had warred with other political parties during this decade. So, IMK’s military arm found an internal function so that they fronted the heavy armed clashes with the forces of PUK that occurred in Kefri and Kalar in 1992. However, with signing a ceasefire agreement, the armed conflict ended but because of the ideological and intellectual distance, tensions at various levels between the two parties remained (Nik Anjam, 2003).
In the Kurdistan Parliament elections of 1992, IMK won only 5.1% of the total votes. Such a low percentage of votes was not enough to pass the 7 percent threshold needed to get a seat in the Kurdish Parliament. While the leaderships of the KDP and the PUK began cooperating to govern the region, the IMK leadership instigated violence in order to destabilize the Kurdish coalition government. Iran stepped in arming the militant wings of the IMK especially those who in the 1980s had fought in Afghanistan. These wings included “the Islamic fundamentalist group under the leadership of Ali Bapir and the Jihadists group led by Mala Krekar - a former jihadist who returned to Kurdistan in 1992 after extensive training in Afghanistan” (Kakei, 2013).
IMK extended its activity beyond the framework of Kurdish common administration under the ruling PDK-PUK and established a separate administrative, political and military infrastructure in the region under its control especially in the Hawraman and Sharazur area neighbouring the regions controlled by PUK. In December 1993, the military clashes between PUK and IMK in parts of the Sulaimani province and Karkuk peaked and the IMK was forced to retreat to the Border of Iran. The leaders of the Movement left the region and for several months were under the guardianship of the KDP in the Salah Aldin countryside. When the tension between PDK and PUK worsened and degenerated into war in May of 1994, most of the IMK’s forces along with PDK’s forces fought against the PUK. Eventually, the leaders of the IMK could return and formed its own headquarters in Halabja (The report of HRW, 2002). During this time, the militant wings of the IMK, the two above-mentioned pro-Iranian Islamic fundamentalist groups remained in Iran throughout 1994 and 1995 (Kakei, 2013). Indeed, during the war between the PDK and PUK, radical groups didn’t fight against the PUK because of Iran’s support for the PUK.
Offshoots of IMK
In its history, the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (IMK) has experienced many fluctuations that led to the split in the axis of these groups i.e.; the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists and Jihadists.
1-      Offshoots related to Muslim Brotherhood
The IMK have had two splinter groups from within that attributed themselves to the Muslim Brotherhood. They are:
a)      Uprising Movement
In the initial years of IMK’s formation in 1987, Mala Othman’s brother, Mala Sediq Abdul Aziz, along with others formed Alnehza likening to the Muslim Brotherhood. Although they partially agreed to use weapons and military they often had missionary invitations. This group later under the name Uprising Movement (Bzutnaway Raparin) continued and in 1999-2000, they united with the IMK and called themselves “Bzutnaway Yakbun” (Unity Movement).
b)     Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU)
In 1994, another group of the Muslim Brotherhood separated from IMK and under Kurdistan Islamic Union (Yekgirtûy Islâmî Kurdistân), announced itself, gradually, they became the biggest Islamic organization in Kurdistan-Iraq. They call themselves the real representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kurdistan. KIU has been influenced by Intellectual foundations of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood founders, but because of the special situation in Kurdistan, they have active organizations outside of the Islamic party of Iraq, that is the actual representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in the country.
Initially, they emphasized reform. They started with three axis slogans; freedom, fraternity and justice. Salahaddin Muhammad Bahaaddin was elected as Secretary General at its first general conference in 1994. This group contrary to the common approach in Kurdistan in that period, in its statement of being, negated the military activity and armed fighting voluntarily adopted a political and cultural strategy in regions encouraging the  building of mosques, clinics and plans for creating villages or towns where they had more followers taking support of Saudi Islamic organizations. It became one of the most successful politically effective forces in the Kurdistan arena. Indeed, one of the reasons for its success, was the focus on humanitarian measures such as building and management of orphanages for children, helping families without the all important man or head of the family and no discrimination between them, either Islamic or secular, during Kurdistan's civil war in the 1990s (Nik Anjam, 2003; Jamal, 2004).
Simultaneously, the activity of KIU in political and cultural aspects was extended. The leaders of the party believed that the situation of the region needed a democratic solution. For them democracy and elections were the ways to reach political power, ignore violence (Nik Anjam, 2003). Culturally, understanding the special situation of Kurdistan and identifying the spectrum of its audiences, this party constituted some organizations such as "Kurdistan Muslim Authors Association" and in the press, a few newspapers and journals offering information. A weekly magazine, "Yekgirtû," was printed full of news, politics and analytical policy (Yakgrtu weekly, 2014). "Payami Rasti" the organ of the Kurdistan Muslim Authors Association, has had a literary and cultural approach (371 formal newspapers…, 2014). Beside these, "Hajan" quarterly has worked on theoretical and intellectual debates, and has propagated and explained religious teachings in a discourse compatible with the intellectual space of Kurdistan. Fundamentally, the idea of having printed information has been on the line of modification of the space of religious discourse in Kurdistan and they have tried to set the spirit of tolerance. They also have paid attention to mainstream media and have gained proportional success in the free and competitive space of media in Kurdistan (Nik Anjam, 2003).
In comparison with other Islamic parties, this party has had a more Kurdish nationalist stand. During the USA attack, responding to the criticisms of some people and parties in the Muslim world including the parties with a common intellectual approach like the Muslim Brotherhood of Jordan that issued a "Fatwa" (judicial decree) against the groups that cooperated with Allied forces, Salahaddin Mohammad Baha the leader and the General Secretary of the party at that time stated: "The opinion of any clergy is respected, but the competency of issuing a Fatwa on the problems occurred in our land in the first place is with ourselves. Maybe being away from this land and the lack of understanding our situation leads them astray from true Fatwa” (ibid.) Besides, they have more important debates on the lack of conflict between nationalism and religion. In this regard, one of its leaders, Abubakr Ali, offers serious discussions on nationalism and its relevance in the domain of the thought of Muslim people, a debate that has preoccupied a part of the political and intellectual elites of Kurdistan for years.
  The special characteristics of this party have set it in a different stance from other Islamic parties in Kurdistan. Salahaddin Muhammad Baha was one of the five Kurdish leaders in the Iraqi Governing Council after Saddam. Abdul-Rahman Sidiq Kareem another leader of this party was the minister of the environment inthe cabinet of this government. Moreover, the constitution drafting committee of Iraq formed the party with 25 people, 5 of them were Kurdish and 1 was from the KIU. It has always had representatives in Iraqi Parliament. And during recent years it became the fourth biggest party after PDK, PUK and Goran.  
Briefly, as Nik Anjam (2003) has mentioned, the reflection of actions and functions of this party says that considering the alternatives with flexible trends that are compatible with the conditions of society and new situations is one of the solutions for inhibition of religious extremist tendencies.
2-      Offshoots related to Salafists and Jihadists
The IMK continued its activities under the leadership of Mala Othman until his death in 1997 and succeeded by his brother Mala Ali Abdul Aziz. In 1999-2000 Bzutnaway Raparin also joined them and continued under the IMK-Unity (Bzutnaway Yakbun). So, from 1994 to 2001 there was no formal split. During this period,theIMK interacted with two principal parties of Kurdistan in different ways, from Military confrontation to participate in local cabinet having a minister in the cabinets under PDK and PUK. But in 2001, because of internal problems at the Tawela congress, IMK-Unity once again divided into the following splinter groups: The Islamic Movement of Kurdistan under the leadership of Mala Ali Abdul Aziz; Jamaat-i- Islami led by Mala Ali Bapir; Aleslah (Reformist) group led by Mala Krekar; and, also small radical groups such as Altawhid, Alhamas and Soran forces.  
The reasons for splits in Islamic Movement of Kurdistan are: (i) ‘unclear process of organizational management of the party, closed leadership system, and intellectual and spiritual inability of its leaders to satisfy the body of the party’ (ibid.). And (ii) conflicting views of Islam so that ‘the members of the IMK had diverse ideological concepts and backgrounds such as Muslim Brotherhoods, Pro-Turkish Islamists, Salafist fundamentalists, and Jihadist Kurds who had ties with the al-Qaeda organization in Afghanistan’ (Kakei, 2013). However, finally, the survivors of the IMK-Unity, were Jamaat and IMK. After an overview on the extinct group of Ansar Al-Islam, the two parties are briefly examined.
Ansar Al-Islam
As mentioned above, some smaller factions of the IMK had an extremist view and became followers of the more radical Islamic ideology. Some of these groups opposed and didn’t cooperate with secular political parties and even opposed the decision of the IMK in 1997 to join with the PUK Local government. They fought against everyone who according to them didn’t follow Islamic Law precisely and tried to implement this law completely in the areas under control of the IMK (Mahmoudi, 2005).
 One of the first groups the Kurdish Islamist veterans in Afghanistan led by Najmadin Faraj Ahmad known as Mala Fateh Krekar (a longtime member of the IMK and familiar with the Islamic Jihad and Mujahidin in Afghanistan) separated and formed the Aleslah group. Secondly, Al-Hamas group under the command of Mala Umar Baziani and Hassan Sofi which promoted a Salafist view. This group also opposed the IMK’s measure to join the PUK local government. The third group was Soran led by Abu Habiba (the military arm of movement and strongest among these affiliations) armed hundreds, including non-Iraqi people, as some of them had fought in Afghanistan. The fourth group was Altawhid (Islamic Unification Movement or IUM), the most radical branch. This group of 30-40 persons settled in Balek in the Qandil Mountains near the Haji Omran and Border of Iran (Mahmoudi, 2005; Kakei, 2013).
The small splinter groups of the IMK gradually integrated with each other. In July 2001, Altawhid and Alhamas integrated and constituted the Islamic Unity Front (IUF). After one month the Soran forces joined them and they settled in Tawela and Biyara. On 1st September 2001, the IUF was dissolved and the three participating groups formally announced the Jund Al-Islam under the leadership of Abu Abdulla Shafiei. The group promptly announced Jihad against secular political parties in Kurdistan that deviated from the "true path of Islam." The military war in which the PUK defeated Jund Al-Islam, led to the dissolution of the group in December 2001. After that, Abu Abdulla Shafiei and the rest of the group united with Aleslah group to form Ansar Al-Islam (the supporter of Islam in Kurdistan) and continued their activity under this new name. Mala Krekar became the leader (Amir) of the group (The Report of HRW, 2002; Mardokhi, 2004); and centered their activity in the villages of Tawela and Biyara belonging to the Halabja district in the Sulaimani province near the border of Iran (The Report of HRW, 2002). Jund and Ansar Al-Islam even admitted people from other nationalities to join.
 These groups had lots in common with radical fundamentalist movements originally from Saudi Arabia. They emphasized the common principles with literal interpretation of the Quran and the return to a more pure Islamic community. Jund Al-Islam had announced that they want to eliminate the interference of secularists on Islamic land. The aim of this group was to disseminate duty of "enjoining good and forbid evil" and to extend Islamic Law and "jihad against renegade seculars" (ibid.).
The Human Rights Watch during a visit to a mission in the region in September 2002 describes the actions of Jund Al-Islam:
On September 8, 2001, one week after it came into being, Jund al-Islam issued decrees, including: the obligatory closure of offices and businesses during prayer time and enforced attendance by workers and proprietors at the mosque during those times; the veiling of women by wearing the traditional 'abaya; obligatory beards for men; segregation of the sexes; barring women from education and employment; the removal of any photographs of women on packaged goods brought into the region; the confiscation of musical instruments and the banning of music both in public and private; and the banning of satellite receivers and televisions. Jund al-Islam also announced that it would apply Islamic punishments of amputation, flogging and stoning to death for offenses such as theft, the consumption of alcohol and adultery.
It should be noted that following the dissolution of Jund al-Islam and its reconstitution under the name of Ansar al-Islam in December 2001, the group announced a ceasefire. Negotiations were held with the PUK, aimed at arriving at a political agreement, but on April 2nd 2002, the assassination attempt against Barham Salih, chief minister of the PUK regional government, led to their suspension. In June 2002, relations between the two sides deteriorated further as the PUK held Ansar al-Islam responsible for attempting to perpetrate more acts of sabotage (ibid.). Besides, though Mala Krekar after his arrest in Tehran airport and subsequent return to the Netherlands in 2002 denied any relations with al-Qaeda and Saddam and existence or making of chemical weapons by his groups, Kalin Pawil in February 2003 had told the Security Council of the UN that Ansar Al-Islam plays a key role in Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network with the Iraqi government. After Kalin’s speech the USA promptly and formally announced Ansar Al-Islam a terrorist group (Kurdish Islamic Movement, 2003). However, fighting between Ansar and PUK occurred.Finally, after the USA attack in 2003, the PUK forces destroyed this group and they lost control of the area. Then, the rest of this group and other militant groups started secret and scattered activities and liaised with Al-Qaeda to participate in terrorist operations in Kurdistan.
a)      Kurdistan Jamaat-i-Islami (Komal)
Emerging conflicts and crisis in the internal elections of the IMK-Unity’s first congress in 2000, a group (including some of the members of the Movement leadership’s council) through a statement on 20/5/2001, announced their change to Jamaat-i-Islami (Komalay Islami Kurdistan) and the council association of this new party elected Mala Ali Bapir as seigneur (Amir) (Komal, Political newspaper…, 2001). Bapir, a longtime IMK military commander, had won the above-mentioned elections. Since Mala Ali Abdul Aziz didn’t accept the results, based on old disputes Bapir forced his supporters to separate from the IMK- Unity. After a few months, some neutral individuals (during the conflicts in IMK-Unity) also united with Jamaat-i-Islami and Sheikh Mohammad Barzanji became a spiritual leader and Ali Bapir maintained in his original position (Nik Anjam, 2003). When the USA and the UK controlled Iraq, Bapir with three friends and some guards were on the way to meet an American officer on 10th July 2003 they were arrested. On their release after being held for 2 years (28/2/2005) in an interview, Bapir said: “With the Baathists, I was in Kruper prison, even Saddam was there. When I was released, I didn’t sign the release papers as it said I was as a Baathist but I am the only person in Kurdistan who killed his brother because he was a Baathist” (The news of release…, 2005).
This party is intellectually ascribed to Wahhabi ideology and politically to Iran (Kakei, 2013). Although, they eventually came into electoral campaigning and by far turned to moderation but especially in the beginning they opposed democracy as they believed Islam and democracy are incompatible, for them democracy was unlawful and had no legitimacy (Jamal, 2004).[2] However, this party recognizes itself as a Kurdish party and after the Iraq war (2003) surrendered its weapons to the Americans and claimed they do not cooperate with any radical groups that are in conflict with the USA such as Ansar Al-Islam. This party has legal activity and operates especially in Sulaimani and Raniye (, 2005). It has some representatives in Kurdistan and Iraq Parliaments (, 2014).
b)      Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (IMK)
The rest of the IMK-Unity with the similar name of ‘Islamic Movement of Kurdistan’ under the leadership of Mala Ali Abdul Aziz continued their activities. Though Mala Ali had been called a spiritual leader (for all of the Islamic movements in Kurdistan), but for some, after the death of Othman Abdul Aziz in 1997, Mala Ali did not have the charismatic style of his late brother and his approach was criticized which perhaps prepared the ground to further splits (Nik Anjam, 2003). 
After the fall of the Saddam regime, American forces arrested Mala Ali and 14 persons in 2003 but later released them (The News of arrest…, 2005). He died in 2007 and his brother Sidiq Abdul Aziz (the ex-leader of the Uprising Movement) became the spiritual leader of this party. Irfan Haji Ali was its political leader. This party is legally active in the Kurdistan political arena especially in Halabja and its surrounding areas (Kurdish Islamic Movement, 2003). Generally, the influence and function of the party in elections was less successful only obtained a few seats in the Kurdistan assembly but remained in good relations with Iran.

c)       Totality of Kurdistan Islamic Movement - Iraq

d) The historical process of forming the principal Islamic trends in Kurdistan and their relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. The numbers 1, 2 and 3 are the rest of this movement up to now.
Effective Factors in Emergence of the Movement
The history of Islamic movements in Iraq represents a complexity so that they are, by far, incomparable with similar movements in other countries. The Islamic trends of Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish (Shiite and Sunni) in three regions have existed for sometime. The main root of Islamic Movements in Iraq returned to the reasons as follows: British colonial period (especially from the view of Shiites), the collapse of Islamic Caliphate (especially for Sunnis) and suppressing the Shiites and their lack of participation in power after 1920. Besides, the emergence of the Kurdistan Islamic Movement had two other reasons: Firstly, the Islamic fighting against central government to remove the ethnic discrimination and setup of justice. Secondly, fighting against the growth of non-religious and secular trends in Kurdistan and so the revival of Islam. Comparing the effect of Shiite and Sunni movements, the Islamic Brotherhood Movement had an important impact on the Kurdistan Islamic movement, given that the Shiite community is smaller in Kurdistan. The main philosophy of the Sunni Islamic parties’ activity and Islamism in the present age has been the interest to return to the Caliphate system that was a failure by the secular forces. So, enforcing Islamic law is the main subject of Islamic movement and it was the main task of its members including Kurdistan.
However, different conditions made Kurdistan Islamic trends distinct from other Islamic trends in Iraq: (a), the existence of a diverse nation and a strong long-time freedom movement provided a field for development of Islamic trends too. (b), the pressure on the Kurds was more constant than others. So, though until late 1980s the Muslim Brotherhood movement did not have a separate organization in Kurdistan, after pulling out of Iraq and especially after the Halabja chemical attack by the Iraqi regime in 1988, the centre of Muslim Brotherhood activity, practically contrary with other Sunni Groups, organized itself for military conflict against the Baath government. (c), through international support since 1991 Kurdistan was free from the ruling political norm in Iraq that practically had arrested the political activity of non-Baath parties. So, the Kurdish parties were active in the region under their authority, but other opposition parties of Iraq operated out of their related regions in Kurdistan or other countries. (d), unlike the other parts of Iraq where the conflict is sectarian between Shiite and Sunni Arabs, in Kurdistan because of the growth of secularism during recent decades, Islamic parties mostly for political competition with the Left and secular parties to form an Islamic government and revive Islam, came into the political arena.
The philosophy of the Kurdistan Islamic Movement is justified by the principle that all Islamic issues are summed up in five points: Keep the faith, protect life and soul, preservation of race and generation, maintaining finance and economy; and maintain wisdom.[3] Therefore, on this line, these groups and parties partially aimed to keep the faith and gaining their civic and national rights. When they have been affected by other Islamic movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat-e-Islami and Salafism, they had overlapped with the Sunni and Shiite trends in Iraq, as they have had differences with them related to Kurdish rights, political issues and the situation of Kurdistan. Indeed, other Islamic movements have no national-identity problems, but Kurdish Islamic parties politically wanted equality with other Muslim nations, as well. It should be noted that their relation with Islamic movement outside of Iraq, often has been intellectual and ideological and their relationship with the Islamic movement in Iraq especially Shiite has been political but also military too against the Baath regime.
The Study of the various parties and groups in the history of the Kurdistan Islamic movement represents three different trends with certain characteristic tendencies:
1- Religio-national: This tendency belongs to the Kurdistan Islamic Union that it is the most tolerant and compatible with a democratic and modern society. This group did not have a military arm and did not enter into a military phase. Its activity has been in the format of civil institutes. It is an actual representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in Kurdistan and affected by the initial leaders of the movement especially Hasan Al-Banna.[4] They respect other thoughts and intellectual trends in society. Unlike other Islamic party in Kurdistan, the KIU claims that they agree with democracy and human rights playing an important role in bringing democratic rule to Iraq. Theoretically, they have linked modern institutes and thoughts as nationalism to Islam. They agreed with the USA attack and participated in the Iraqi Interim Government. So, this party has considered nationality (Kurdish), democracy and peaceful electoral competition more than others. They outlined the religious issues in the framework of non-violent Jihad missionary works. They believe that democratic ideals supported by the party are compatible with the teaching of the Quran and tradition (Sunnat) as the main sources of Shariat (Jamal, 2004). 
2- Islamic Radical Fundamentalists: A certain example of the groups with this tendency, as discussed, was Ansar Al-Islam that contrary to the KIU their view was same as Talabanism and Salafism. They faithfully followed the orders as the Talban did in Afghanistan. They were sometimes known as a branch of Al-Qaeda. They opposed modernity and the West. They ordered armed Jihad against the USA and the secular groups in Kurdistan. Hence, according to their interpretation of Islam, they pay more attention to the strict preservation of faith. After 2003, these groups were almost eradicated from Kurdistan.
3- Traditional and Moderate Fundamentalists: This tendency is located between the two above spectrums that it is seen in the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan (IMK) and Jamaat-i-Islami. These have been affected by both the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafism. On one hand, they are close to the Muslim Brotherhood after Hasan Al-Banna especially Said Qutb as IMK’s initial leaders were members of the Iraqi Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic party of Iraq. On the other hand, they partially tended to Salafism and had a military wing. However, they were neither the most radical like Ansar Al-Islam nor had the widespread civil activity as the KIU. And finally they accepted party rivalry.

e) The trends of Islamic parties and their relation with nationality and radicalism
Comparing these three trends, the religio-national one, according to its different and positive views on socio-political issues and understanding of the situation in Kurdistan with its special characteristics, had a better stance in Kurdish society. Gaining a high proportion of votes in elections during the recent decade by the KIU shows a better condition for the moderate trend in comparison with traditional and radical fundamentalist ones. 
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[1] Sabah Mofidi is a lecturer at Justice Administration’sInstitute for Scientific-Applied Education and Payame Noor University (Department of Political Science), located in Sine (Sanandaj), Iranian Kurdistan.

[2] In this relation, it should be noted that one of the Komal’s members, Fadhil Qaradaghi, in 1998 wrote a book under “Myth of democracy”.

[3] Imam Shatibi in his Book ‘Almuwafiqat’ has said the aims of Islam are these five principles. The Kurdish Islamic groups that most of them have been Sunni followed this principle (See: Mardokhi, 2004).

[4] Hiwa Mirza the Manager of special and general organizations of KIU has said that: “the internal program adapted by his party indeed is based on the writing of Hasan Al-Banna, Ahmad Alghanushi and other Islamic clergies” (See: Jamal, 2004).