The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) have administered the Iraqi Kurdish region jointly, and often fractiously, since 1991.
Masoud Barzani is the leader of the KDP. Before the war the group was believed to have 15,000 troops plus 25,000 tribesmen. Their weaponry includes small arms, some light artillery, mortars, and SAM7 air defense weapons. Kurdish guerrillas, whose name "peshmerga" means "those prepared to die," have played an important role in the northern fight against Saddam's regime.