February 1994

Bureaucracy of Repression:
The Iraqi Government in Its Own Words

In two separate shipments in May 1992 and August 1993, eighteen tons of official Iraqi state documents captured by Kurdish parties in the March 1991 uprising arrived in the United States for safekeeping and analysis. A Middle East Watch-led team has conducted research on these documents since October 1992; to date, approximately forty percent of the materials has been catalogued and studied. This is the first report that discusses these documents.

Sample documents captured by the Kurds of northern Iraq in the March 1991 uprising against the regime of Saddam Hussein.


This report was written by Joost Hiltermann, Kurds' Project director at Middle East Watch, and is based on fourteen months of archival research by a Middle East Watch-led team. Shorsh Resool, a researcher on that team, has contributed to the editing process. Overall editorial responsibility for the report lies with Andrew Whitley, executive director of Middle East Watch. Mr. Resool and Mr. Hiltermann jointly provided the translations of the documents that are included in the Appendix. Suzanne Howard was responsible for preparing the manuscript for publication.

Middle East Watch thanks Medico International for its generous financial support for our work on the captured Iraq documents. Without its support and that of several private donors this work would not have been possible.