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 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 17:16 GMT
Profile: Kurdish 'satellite' parties
Kurdish village scene
A multitude of parties represent Iraqi Kurds (picture Hiwa Osman)
Other parties active in Iraqi Kurdistan include left-wing nationalist groups such as the Kurdistan Toilers' Party (KTP) led by Qadir Aziz and the Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party (KSDP) led by Muhammad Haj Mahmud.

Both parties have been supportive of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan over recent years, and are members of the PUK-led regional government based in Sulaymaniyah.

During clashes between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the PUK in 2000, a delegation from the KTP and KSDP attempted to mediate between the two sides.

The two parties welcomed George Bush's speech on Iraq to the United Nations General Assembly on 12 September 2002, describing it as "positive and logical".

Radio station

Representatives from the KTP and KSDP participated in the conference of the Iraqi opposition held in London 14-17 December 2002 and the two parties' leaders were elected to the conference's "Co-ordination and Follow-up Committee".

The KTP runs a radio station - Voice of Kurdistan Toilers - and publishes a weekly newspaper - Alay Azadi - in Sorani Kurdish. The Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party publishes a weekly newspaper, Rebazi Azadi.

Left-wing groups active in Iraqi Kurdistan who oppose war on Iraq include the Kurdish wing of the Iraqi Communist Party, the Kurdistan Communist Party and the Iraqi Workers' Communist Party.

In September 2002, Karim Ahmad, leader of the KCP, attacked Iraqi opposition figures who supported US plans for "regime change" in Iraq.

He argued that the United States was a "colonialist country", only interested in removing Saddam Hussein from power in order to dominate Iraq.


The Iraqi Workers' Communist Party (IWCP) was formed in 1993 from four small communist groups. The IWCP accused Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) forces of attacking the organisation's office in Sulaymaniyah in 2000.

The PUK also reportedly prevented the IWCP from holding its 2nd conference in December 2002.

IWCP activists protested outside the conference of the Iraqi opposition in London in December 2002, claiming that the meeting was not representative of the "Iraqi masses".

In September 2002, Rebwar Ahmad, secretary of the party's central committee, called for the prosecution of Islamist leader Mullah Krekar for what the IWCP called "terrorist attacks" on party members, PUK government officials and women students.

The Kurdistan Toilers' Party also faced armed clashes in November 2001 with Mullah Krekar's group (at the time known as Jund al-Islam) in which three of their peshmergas (militia fighters) were killed.

PUK alliance

The Conservative Party, led by Umar Surchi, is a junior partner in the PUK-led coalition government in Sulaymaniyah.

The party represents tribal leaders, and is dominated by the Surchi family.

During 1996 KDP forces clashed with fighters from the Surchi family's home villages, killing Umar Surchi's brother.

The PUK supported the Conservative Party in the short-lived conflict, prompting the Conservative Party to ally itself openly with the PUK.

KDP alliance

The Kurdistan National Democratic Union (YNDK) worked closely with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the late 1990s. The two organisations issued joint statements in 1997 calling on Turkomans and Assyrians to join the PKK's attack on Turkish 'occupation forces'.

Under the leadership of Ghafur Makhmuri, the party remains hostile towards Turkish policy in the region, but has moved away from the PKK to cooperate with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The YNDK publishes a weekly newspaper in Kurdish, Medea.

The Kurdistan People's Movement, led by Abd al-Khaliq Zanganah is also supportive of the KDP regional government. The party publishes Dangi Millet, a weekly newspaper in Sorani Kurdish.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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13 Jan 03 | Media reports
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