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Saddams's Killing Fields

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Saddams's Killing Fields

The 1991 uprisings in Iraq were a series of anti-governmental rebellions in southern and northern Iraq during the aftermath of the Gulf War. The revolt was fueled by the perception that the power of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was vulnerable at the time; as well as by heavily fueled anger at government repression and the devastation wrought by two wars in a decade, the Gulf War and the Iran–Iraq War. United States also had a role in instigating the uprisings, which were then controversially not aided by the U.S. forces present on Iraqi soil.

The revolts in the Shia-dominated southern Iraq involved demoralized Iraqi Army troops and the anti-government Shia parties, in particular the Islamic Dawa Party and Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Another wave of insurgency broke out shortly afterwards in the Kurdish populated northern Iraq; unlike the spontaneous rebellion in the South, the uprising in the North was organized by two rival Kurdish party-based militias: the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and some long-term planning had taken place.

Although they presented a very serious threat to the Iraqi Ba'ath Party regime, Saddam managed to suppress the rebellions with massive and indiscriminate force and maintained power. They were ruthlessly crushed by the loyalist forces spearheaded by the Iraqi Republican Guard and the population was successfully terrorized. During the few weeks of unrest tens of thousands of people were killed. Many more died during the following months, while nearly two million Iraqis fled for their lives. In the aftermath, the government intensified the forced relocating of Marsh Arabs and the draining of the Iraqi marshlands, while the Allies established the Iraqi no-fly zones.

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