Attempts to establish an independent or semi-autonomous homeland for Kurdish nationals have thus far met with failure. The most recent effort, an insurgency in northern Iraq led by Mullah Mustafa Barzani and his sons, Idris and Messaoud, collapsed in 1975 when the shah of Iran withdrew support for the movement. The Kurdish fighting forces (Pesh Merga) numbered on the order of at least 20 to 25 thousand and were under the direction of the charismatic septuagenarian leader, Barzani.