Osman (Othman, Uthman), Mahmud

(1938- )
   During the 1960s and early 1970s, Dr. Mahmud Osman was one of Mulla Mustafa Barzani's top lieutenants and his personal physician. For example, he played a key role in negotiating the March Manifesto of 1970, which supposedly provided for Kurdish autonomy within Iraq.
   Following Barzani's final defeat in 1975, Osman escaped to Europe, where he wrote a stinging critique against his former leader. Later he established his own party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party/ Preparatory Committee. At first based in Damascus, Osman moved back into northern Iraq in 1978. The following year he joined Rasul Mamand to form what eventually came to be called the Socialist Party of Kurdistan in Iraq (SPKI).
   Osman was one of the Kurdish leaders who negotiated with Saddam Hussein and his associates after the failed Kurdish uprising in 1991 had been alleviated by the safe haven and no-fly zone imposed by the United States and its allies. These negotiations eventually led to an impasse, and a de facto Kurdish state began to form in northern Iraq. Osman was a candidate for supreme leader (president) during the elections of 1992 but came in a very distant fourth behind Mas-soud Barzani, Jalal Talabani, and even Sheikh Osman Abdul Aziz, the Islamist candidate. Essentially a leader without any following, Osman went into exile in Great Britain, where he played a prominent role as an elder statesman in Kurdish diaspora politics.
   After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Osman returned to Iraq and was chosen to be a member of the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) that served as the provisional government of the state from 13 July 2003 until 1 June 2004. He then was elected to the new Iraqi parliament as a member of the Kurdistan group or alliance of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). In this role he continues to play an important part as an independent Kurdish statesman who is often interviewed about the intricacies of Kurdish and Iraqi politics. He has two sons, Hiwa and Botan, both of whom speak excellent English and have worked in a variety of positions in postwar Iraq.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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