Saddam Kurdish Militia-Jash (Iraq)

Country: Iraq
Details of Formation: The first mention of the group dates back to September 1987.
Details of Termination: In March 1991, during the Sha'aban Intifada/the National Uprising, most Jash defected and joined the Kurdish Peshmerga and guerilla fighting the army. One month later, in April, most re-joined the army for economic motives. The group is therefore an interrupted PGM. The PGM is coded definitely terminated in 2003 after the fall of the regime. Immediately afterwards, Jash members were still active and tried to commit violence against civilians. There is no more mention of the group being active after April 2003.
Purpose: The main purpose of the Saddam Kurdish Militia was to fight alongside the army against domestic and foreign enemies.
Organisation: After the Iran-Iraq war, the militia was transferred under the authority of the Interior Ministry. Some units were attacked to Republican Guards. In 2002, high ranking party and military official met the heads of the jashs and ordered them to carry out acts of sabotage and terrorism. The militia was also allegedly linked to the Iraqi intelligence.
Weapons and Training: Saddam’s Kurdish Militia was well-armed. It had pistols, grenades, knives and AK-47s.
Size: In 1987, there were hundreds of regiments within the Saddam Kurdish Militia. After the end of the Iraq-Iran war, the jash had around 250,000 to 300,000 fighters. In 1991, at a conference, a group of jash members were said to represent 50,000 to 70,000 rifles.
Reason for Membership: The main reason for joining the PGM was the monetary reward and salary members received. Being a jash was an important source of economic survival. One commander mentions having been forced to joining the PGM.
Treatment of Civilians: In 1992, jash members beat civilians, including children.
Other Information: The Jash were an interrupted PGM. It was pro-government from 1987-09-22 – 1991-03-01 and again from 1991-04-05 – 2003-04-09. They were also sometimes called revolutionaries. The term “jash” is a derogatory expression meaning donkey. Members were considered renegades as they fought for the central government which oppressed the Kurds.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD