Faylee Kurds in Iraq, a short account

Faylee Kurds are one of the ancient segments of Iraqi society. They have ruled Iraq east of the river Tigris from Kirkuk to Basra at the beginning of sixteenth century. They live now in the central, eastern and southern parts of Iraq, with biggest population concentration in Baghdad. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Joe Rice, who recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq, told the Washington Post, expressing his personal opinion, that Baghdad is a deeply mixed city. He noted that, "The largest Kurdish city in Iraq? Baghdad. The largest Sunni city? Baghdad. The largest Shiite city? Yep, Baghdad." (By Thomas E. Ricks, a Washington Post Staff Writer, The Washington Post, Sunday, April 30, 2006).
Faylees were prominent in the trade and commerce sector and assumed semi dominant position within this sector. Statistics on the number of Faylees in Iraq is impossible to come by and estimates vary and difficult to ascertain due firstly to the fact that most of them live among other ethnic groups and secondly the cruel and inhumane policies of the former Saddam regime of ethnic cleansing and forcible displacement against the Faylee Kurds.

Faylee Kurds were severely persecuted by the regime of Saddam because of, among others, their social adaptability and mobility, hard work and economic advance, openness and nonsectarian attitudes and open-mindedness; their strong economic position, especially in trade and commerce; their support for the Kurdish national movement and Iraqi democratic forces; and their opposition to the former anti-democratic and totalitarian regime of the Baath party.

In 1969-1971 tens of thousands of Faylee Kurds were forcibly deported from Iraq an starting from April 4, 1980, hundreds of thousands of Faylee Kurds (the names of at least 500 000 of these Faylee Kurds are stored on CDs in the state achieves, according to some government officials whom we have spoken to) were forcibly expelled from the country. They were forcibly deported on flimsy pretexts and arbitrary grounds, the real reasons being political and economic, in a campaign of ethnic cleansing and mass killing. This unlawful campaign was retroactively given a semblance of “legitimacy” by a decision taken on the highest levels of the regime more than a month after the start of the campaign. The decision of the defunct “Revolution Command Council” number 666 was taken May 8, 1980 and after more than two weeks published in the official Gazette, signed by the former dictator, the chairman of the Council and President of Iraq. The state of Iraq under Saddam’s dictatorship unlawfully stripped them of their Iraqi citizenship; confiscated their movable and immovable property; took from them all their official and non-official documents; detained thousands of their young men and women only to disappear without a trace (“more than 20 000, according to current Iraqi Prime Minister, Mr. Nuri al-Maliki).

Faylee Kurds still await the restoration of their rights in the new Iraq. They aspire to a play their role in the political process in Iraq, to regain and safeguard their legitimate rights and vital interests and to be a stabilizing force in society. Faylee Kurds have not been party to the sectarian strife; they have not had nor have any militia forces; and they have mixed with and are on good terms with all sections of Iraqi society, Kurds from the Kurdistan Region, Arabs, Turkomans, Chaldean-Assyrian-Syrianis, Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians, Yazidis, Shabak, Mandaes and other faiths.

Faylee Kurds strongly feel that they are still being marginalized and are outsiders since no political force in Iraq has really bothered to restore to them their constitutional and legal rights despite repeated appeals by Faylee Kurds themselves and promises by these political forces ruling Iraq now. Arab Shiite as well as Sunni politicians are suspicious of the Faylee Kurds for being ethnic Kurds. Politicians from the Kurdistan Region are hesitant towards the Faylee Kurds and their “loyalty” because they are Shiites.

Therefore, Faylee Kurds need the support of the international community, to regain their basic rights and safeguards their legitimate interests, by urging the State of Iraq to honor its constitutional obligations, legal responsibilities and political commitments vis-à-vis Faylee Kurds.

Faylee Kurds main demands are:

1- Restoration of the Faylee Kurds Iraqi citizenship and citizenship rights.

2- Facilitating the return of the Faylee Kurds both those expelled to outside the country and those displaced internally to their original places of residence in Iraq and putting an end to the consequences of ethnic cleansing in these and other places.

3- Reinstatement of Faylee Kurds confiscated official documents.

4- Returning to the Faylee Kurds their confiscated movable and immovable property or compensating the Faylee Kurds for their confiscated property.

5- Providing information on the fate of the Faylee Kurds detained youth and the where-about of their remains.

6- Enabling Faylee Kurds to play their constructive role in the current political process in Iraq by representatives of their own.

7- Putting an end to the de facto discrimination against the Faylee Kurds by Government departments inside Iraq and Iraqi embassies abroad.

Faylee Kurds Democratic Union
November 14, 2009