When the Ottoman Empire fell after the First World War, the Kurds were divided between four countries: Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. During the division they were not given any State, yet they have been demanding empowerment ever since. Kurdish resistance takes various forms in aforementioned countries. Turkish and Syrian Kurds demand their own federations, while Kurds in Iraq have been seeking to create their own State for many decades.
The Democratic Party of Kurdistan has postulated the creation of Kurdish autonomy within the borders of Iraq since 1961, when the party was started. It is the most important party in the region along with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which emerged from the Democratic Party of Kurdistan. The autonomy was to be the first step to achieve the superior goal – independence. There have been wars and disputes with Baghdad for decades. The tragic settlement took place in 1988, during the so-called Anfal operation, when up to 200,000 Kurds could have been killed, and Iraqi army used poison gas. In 1992, the Kurds gained autonomy thanks to the support of the Americans. However, formally the Federal Region was only registered in the Constitution in 2005. The Region included cities such as Erbil, Duhok and Sulaymaniyah. Despite numerous problems, autonomy’s structures have gradually strengthened. The reasons for this were the American invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, as well as the war against ISIS. It was during this last conflict that the Kurds managed to occupy numerous new territories. It had a huge influence on the decision to organize a referendum on independence. The Kurds thought their position is strong enough despite the lack of support from partners in the region and partners in the world, except for Israel. They decided to take another step to create their own state.