Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using





Facing threats, Baghdad’s Faili Kurds consider taking up arms

By Rudaw 29/6/2017
Faili Kurds meet at Sheikh Tahsen Faili’s meeting room, dewakhan in Kurdish, in Baghdad. Photo: Rudaw video
Faili Kurds meet at Sheikh Tahsen Faili’s meeting room, dewakhan in Kurdish, in Baghdad. Photo: Rudaw video
BAGHDAD, Iraq – With the Kurdistan Region’s planned referendum on independence a hot topic in conversations around Baghdad, Faili Kurds living in the Iraqi capital feel threatened and are talking about the need to defend themselves.

“They say you are Kurdish. If Kurdistan holds a referendum, what are you doing in Baghdad?” Akram, a Faili Kurd, described his recent encounters with Arabs in the city to Rudaw's Baghdad correspondent Bahman Hassan.

Faili Kurds in Baghdad say that every time the Kurdistan Region takes a step forward, the Failis are hit back. The threats against them increase.

One Faili Kurdish man at a Baghdad tea shop said they have asked Kurdish President Masoud Barzani for help. “We as the Faili Kurds in Baghdad ask the Kurdish government and the parties to think about us.”

Others are considering taking their security into their own hands.

Sheikh Tahsen Faili’s meeting room, dewakhan in Kurdish, has become the headquarters for meetings of tribal leaders and notable Faili Kurds to discuss the referendum and the fate of their community.
Some of them support the Kurdish referendum. Others say they are neither for nor against it.
“If the Kurdistan Region wants to declare independence and become an independent state, let it become independent, but not at the expense of the Kurds of Baghdad,” said Sheikh Jawad, a notable member of the Faili community. 

“Today we face the threat of forced migration, similar to what we faced in the past when our homes and property were stolen by the former regime. We expect the moment will come when we will be forced to move and scheming against Faili Kurds will begin again,” said Sheikh Tahsen, a tribal leader.  

Faili Kurds are Shiites who have mainly lived in the south in Baghdad and some of the disputed areas on the southern edge of the Kurdistan Region. Decades ago, they were wealthy leaders of the business community and strong supporters of Kurdish independence movements. That, along with their Shiite faith, made them the target of persecution by the regime of Saddam Hussein which is now labeled as genocide by an Iraqi high court. 

Thousands were killed and as many as 1.4 million were stripped of their citizenship and deported to Iran between the 1960s and 1980. After the overthrow of Hussein’s regime, less than 15,000 have returned. 

Fearing renewed persecution as the Kurdistan Region prepares for a historic vote on independence, tribal leaders in Sheikh Tahsen’s meeting room say they cannot rely on Iraqi political parties or groups to defend them. They want to form their own armed group.
“Of course we are threatened because of the referendum. Therefore, we need to come up with a way to defend ourselves and reach an agreement among ourselves to form a military force. We have already declared that the force we are going to form will be secret and we will not reveal the numbers of the force or the commanders,” said Ali Akbar, a Faili leader.

According to unofficial data, between 2003 and 2017 more than 350,000 Kurds left Baghdad. Now the number of Faili Kurds remaining in the city is about 150,000.



pahlawi kurd | 27/7/2017
its pahli kurds and they should all move back to kurdistan to their own homeland instead of wasting time on arabs fighting other arabs. its no our war. move back to kurdistan and start all over like rest of everyone else in kurdistan.

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

AzadAzadi | 2/17/2018 12:03:02 AM
CORRECTION……..(Please disregard my previous comment on this article. This is a corrected version )………………………Rudaw only publishes Turkish perspective...
FAUthman | 2/17/2018 6:28:48 PM
Azad Azadi, you make good points. Translator issue is no big deal, leaders want to talk confidentially and freely!
US, Turkey will ‘act together’ in Syria: Tillerson
| yesterday at 01:28 | (8)
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 2/17/2018 4:39:35 PM
The fundamental problem "with Tillerson" seems to have been an assumption that having been CEO of a major multi-national corporation automatically...
FAUthman | 2/17/2018 6:10:23 PM
Only your last para is significant. Bla bla no real changes in positions. From the reports in the news three points stand out: 1- A committee is to...
Rex Tillerson’s Latest Visit to Ankara
| 13 hours ago | (5)
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 2/17/2018 5:54:23 PM
The flaw in his statement is an assumption that the Sultan's primary concern is (or might come to be), "the war in Syria." ... ISIS and Syria is...
Dutchman | 2/17/2018 5:57:10 PM
Ischinger is right that the European Union should help creating peace in Syria. The best way to do that is by fully supporting the SDF, YPG and the...
‘Huge escalation risk’ between US, Turkey, Russia in Syria: MSC chairman
| 3 hours ago | (2)
help the kurds | 2/17/2018 12:51:54 PM
We all know Turkey would use chemical weapons and lie about it, DOWN WITH TURKEY
Andrew | 2/17/2018 2:55:10 PM
Multiple Reports from around the World are saying Turkey's Government carried out this gas attack on Kurdish Civilians in Afrin!! I hope this isnt...
Hospital officials, locals report symptoms of gas attack in Afrin
| 11 hours ago | (3)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

1.094 seconds