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1991 uprising in Basra
Part of 1991 uprisings in Iraq
Date1 March – mid-April 1991
LocationBasra, Iraq

Iraqi government victory

  • Mass reprisals against civilians
Parts of Basra taken by rebels and then re-taken by the government

Iraq Ba'athist Iraq

Flag of Jihad.svg Shi'a rebels:

  • SCIRI & Badr
  • Islamic Dawa Party
  • Iraqi Hezbollah
  • Iraqi Army deserters
Commanders and leaders
Ali Hassan al-Majid[1]
6,000 Republic Guard[2] 5,000 Army defectors[2]

The Basra area of Iraq

The 1991 uprising in Basra was the scene of the beginning of the unrest in Iraq following the Gulf War. The uprising started after demoralized troops throughout Iraq began to rebel against Saddam Hussein, in particular after a tank driver in Basra fired at a public portrait of Saddam Hussein. Basra became a chaotic battlefield between military defectors and Iraqi Republican Guard, with most of the fighting taking place at close quarters. Most of Basra had been retaken by mid March, but rebels in parts such as Tanuma managed to hold out until mid April. After Ba'athist forces had regained control, they engaged in a crackdown against civilians and suspected supporters of the uprising.[3]


1 March

The turmoil began in Basra on 1 March 1991, one day after the Gulf War ceasefire, when a T-72 tank gunner returning home after Iraq's defeat in Kuwait fired a shell into an enormous portrait of Saddam Hussein hanging over the city's main square and the other soldiers applauded.[4][5]

4 March

By 4 March the forces loyal to Saddam Hussein had managed to gain the upper hand in the battle, and began a brutal counter-offensive characterised by the arbitrary killing of civilians, with government tanks reportedly firing at buildings and civilians and Republican Guardsmen engaging in massacres against the civilian population.[6]


External links

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