Iraqi Kurds declared, "We're not going back to Iraq," after Saddam's army chased them from their home. Missiologists called the Kurds a "hidden people group," according to the May 4, 1991, WORLD report, who "don't trust their brethren in Turkey, Syria, Iran or Iraq. They hope they can trust the U.S. Marines" who delivered emergency supplies to displaced Kurds in a safe haven north of the 36th parallel.
One Kurdish leader on hand to receive those supplies was Jalal Talabani, now president of Iraq. On June 4, 2005, Mr. Talabani joined other Kurdish dignitaries and U.S. and UN officials to inaugurate the Kurdish National Assembly, a regional legislature elected during Iraq's January elections that could become the forerunner to a federal system throughout the country.
Mr. Talabani, addressing the assembly in Arabic rather than locally favored Kurdish, stressed national unity. Kurdish leaders "have the opportunity, capability and dare I say obligation to provide a beacon of hope, to provide an example to the rest of Iraq," he said.
"The people of Kurdistan have finally arrived," reported one government observer at the ceremony, who asked not to be identified because of ongoing violence. "Today, the Kurdistan National Assembly as their regional representative body finally received both national and international acceptance, recognition, and endorsement."