A soldier in the shrine of Abbas (a) during the uprisings.
Starting in March 1991, following Iraq's defeat in the first Gulf War, spontaneous revolts broke out in the Shia dominated south and Kurdish dominated north of Iraq. After having suffered 12 years of Saddam Hussein's regime, the majority of the Iraqi people rose in a righteous bid to free themselves from state sponsored tyranny, oppression, humiliation, and savagery.
In the south, the uprising started March 1st, 1991 in Basra, following the return of the Iraqi army from Kuwait. Within days the uprising had quickly spread to the rest of southern Iraq with cities such as Najaf, Karbala, Kut, and Amara coming under control of the freedom fighters.
In the north, rebellion erupted March 4th, 1991 near Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan. As was the case with the south, the peshmerga freedom fighters had captured most of Iraqi Kurdistan within 10 days of the start of the revolt.
These heroes continued to fight for the righteous cause of freedom from oppression despite being abandoned by the whole world and left to the will of Saddam's savage, well-equipped Republican Guards.
-------------------Suppression of the Uprising-------------------
Loyalist forces were savage in their suppression of the revolt. According to the 1992 report by Human Rights Watch, "Endless Torment: The 1991 Uprising in Iraq and Its Aftermath," :
"In their attempts to retake cities, and after consolidating control, loyalist forces killed thousands of unarmed civilians by firing indiscriminately into residential areas; executing young people on the streets, in homes and in hospitals; rounding up suspects, especially young men, during house-to-house searches, and arresting them without charge or shooting them in masses; and using helicopters to attack unarmed civilians as they fled the cities."
In both the north and the south, oncoming loyalist forces targeted anyone and everyone in their way. A small list of the atrocities committed:
- The elderly were thrown out of hospital windows, and groups of innocent men, women, and children fleeing to safety were gunned down by helicopters.
- In Karbala, the shrines Imams Hussein (a) and Abbas (a) were demolished and used as centers for rape, torture and interrogation.
- Women and children were tied to tanks and paraded through the streets in a bid to discourage the freedom fighters from firing.
- The tanks of the Republican Guard went through the Shia south with graffiti on them that exclaimed, "There will be no more Shia after today."
- It is estimated that more than 2 million Kurds fled the coming onslaught by fleeing into the cold mountains between Iran and Syria. Countless numbers of innocent civilians died from unhygienic conditions, dehydration, and various infections.
- The marshes of southern Iraq, long a source of livelyhood for the Shia Marsh Arabs, were drained, in an effort by the regime to eradicate the culture and population of the Shia inhabitants.