Faylee Kurds in Iraq, the present


Iraqi society is a mosaic of ethnic and religious sections. There are within the ethnic Kurds different sub-sections, religions, denominations (or sect), places of residence and dialects, each facing a different set of difficulties and problems.

The Faylee Kurds are a sub-section of the Kurdish population of Iraq living mainly in Baghdad and in the eastern areas of central and southern Iraq along the borders with Iran. They speak their own Kurdish dialect (Faylee which is a sub-dialect of Lori). Faylee Kurds are one of the oldest sections of Iraqi population in general and the Baghdad society in particular. They have lived and still live in one of the oldest quarters of Baghdad, a quarter named after them, namely, “Agd al-Akrad”, meaning “The Kurds´ Quarter”.

Faylee Kurds have been and are generally secular and moderately nationalist Kurds and Iraqi patriots. They have not been sectarian or extremists throughout history and this is why they have interacted with the other social, religious and ethnic sections of Iraqi society from all parts of Iraq.

The number of Faylee Kurds in Iraq before the mass-deportation and mass-murder, the ethnic cleansing, was more than double their number now, most of them in Baghdad, Khanaqin and Mendali. The former Iraqi totalitarian regime expelled Faylee Kurds en mass starting April 1980 on unjust, unsubstantiated and arbitrary pretexts. This ethnic cleansing campaign was the largest and most atrocious against Faylee Kurds. Large numbers of Faylee Kurds were earlier expelled in 1969-1970 by the same regime.

The plight of Faylee Kurds continues, among other things, because:

1- Faylee Kurds have neither been extremist nationalists nor religious fundamentalists. They are known to be law-abiding citizens. Faylee Kurds have not carried arms and have not been involved in acts of terrorism.

2- Faylee Kurds are not “under the wings” of any of the neighboring countries governments to act on their behalf or for Faylee Kurds to act as proxies of these countries’ governments.

3- There is no political party or group now in power in Iraq that has the will to act to restore Faylee Kurds rights.

4- There are some doubts among certain circles that Faylee Kurds might be a “chess piece” in the ongoing power game in Iraq and the redrawing of the geo-political map of the country.

5- Influential circles and individuals now in power in Iraq do not want the truth about what happened to the Faylee Kurds under the old regime to come to light because the fact may implicate them in the atrocities that accompanied the expulsion of Faylee Kurds, the confiscation of their property and documents and the internment of their youth.

Decrees Number 666 of 7 May 1980 started the Plight of Faylee Kurds
The decision to strip hundreds of thousands of Faylee Kurds of their Iraqi citizenship, confiscate all their documents and property and the deport them keeping thousands of their young women and men in detention camps was taken by the Revolution Command Council (the highest executive and legislative branch of the State of Iraq, at the time) in Decree No. 666 dated 7 May 1980 signed by Saddam Hussein Chairman of the Council, President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of Iraq. Decree No. 666 is obviously a political decision directed against a whole section of the Kurdish people in Iraq, stigmatizing its members as being of “foreign origin” and accusing them of “disloyalty to the people and fatherland and to the political and social principles of the Revolution”, an accusation tantamount to treason.

As a consequence of this arbitrary and unjust decree hundreds of thousands Faylee Kurds (as well as other Iraqis such as, Kurds from Kurdistan living in Baghdad as well as Turkomans, Arabs and from other ethnic groups) were forcibly and inhumanely deported to Iran starting with Faylee Kurd big merchants from Baghdad on 7 April 1980. The deportees were not allowed to take with them anything apart from the clothes they were wearing when they were picked up from homes, schools, government offices, work places, shops and military units. Thousands of young Faylee Kurds, women and children were detained and then disappeared without a trace. Unconfirmed reports indicate that some of them were use in the chemical and biological experiments and the others were emptied of their blood and vital organs during the war.

The plight of Faylee Kurds in Iraq is part of the overall plight of the Kurdish people in Iraq. The mass forcible deportation of Faylee Kurds from Iraq was an integral part of the policy of Saddam Hussein’s regime of ethnic cleansing.
The forcible deportation of Faylee Kurds in 1969-1971, sending returnee Kurds after the collapse of the Kurdish movement in 1975 to the south in small number scattered among Arab communities, the mass forcible deportation of Faylee Kurds starting April 1980, the Anfal campaign at the end of the 1980s (killing 180.000 Kurds, destroying over 2200 villages and communities, forcible displacing Kurds from Kirkuk, Khanaqin, Sinjar among others), and Decree Number 199 issued by the Revolution Command Council on 6 September 2001 – the correction of ethnicity - giving every Iraqi aged 18 years or more “the right” to change his/her ethnicity to Arabic, are all parts of a concerted campaign of ethnic cleansing by the regime of Saddam Hussein.

The Current Situation
Although more than four year has passed since the totalitarian regime was toppled, Faylee Kurds have not yet regained their Iraqi citizenship, retrieve their documents and property. Very few of the expellees could return to their homes in Iraq. No information is yet available on the whereabouts and fate of their “disappeared” youth. In addition to not regaining anything, their situation inside Iraq, particularly in Baghdad, Khanaqin and Mendali, has worsened drastically because of the rampant terrorism and insecurity. Hundreds and thousands of Faylee Kurds have been killed, maimed and injured by suicide bombers, in car bombs, roadside bombs and kidnappings, and have suffered greatly as victims of extortion and threats.

The new order in Iraq has failed its citizens the Faylee Kurds, who have no presence and play no role what so ever in the ongoing political process. There are no political forces, whether Kurdish or Arabic, that seriously engage themselves or endeavor to alleviate the plight of Faylee Kurds or defend their rights in the echelons of power in Iraq, although Faylee Kurds have tried hard to convince the Government and the political forces in power of the necessity of dealing with the issues relating to the Faylee Kurds.

Faylee Kurds Basic Demands
Since the new order in Iraq and because the political groupings ruling the country have so far failed the Faylee Kurds, there is a growing feeling among them that they need to turn to the outside world for help and assistance, hoping the UN, EU, the Congress, the European Parliament and Governments, as well as political parties in Europe may be willing to intercede with the Iraqi authorities, the Parliament, Presidency and the Government, to restore their rights, put an end to their plight and put right the wrongs done to them and undo the injustices brought upon them by the former totalitarian regime. Faylee Kurds demands are legitimate and elementary in any democratic system of government in the world, namely:

1- Annulling Decree number 666 of 1980 and all its consequences.
2- Reinstating their arbitrarily confiscated Iraqi citizenship.
3- Giving back their unlawfully confiscated Iraqi documents.
4- Returning their illegally confiscated movable and immovable property.
5- Giving them information on the fate and whereabouts of the remains of their “disappeared” youth and other Faylee Kurd political prisoners.
6- Repatriating wrongfully expelled Iraqi Faylee Kurds who want to return to their original places of residence or choose other places within Iraq.
7- Safeguarding their constitutional rights.
8- Giving them the opportunity to play their constructive role and be integrated in the ongoing political process in Iraq.

Political Issues and Problems Need Political Measures
Since it was the state of Iraq that carried out the above-mentioned atrocious ethnic cleansing and mass-murder as well as other illegal and wrongful politically motivated acts against the Faylee Kurds, it is the political, legal and moral duty of the same state of Iraq to put right the wrongs it had brought upon the Faylee Kurds through political means and measures.

The plight, problems and difficulties of the Faylee Kurds stem from Decree No. 666 issued on 7 May 1980 by the Revolution Command Council, the highest executive and legislative authority in Iraq then. Undoing that decree and all its consequences needs a decision by the highest executive authority at present, namely, the Presidency and the Government and the legislative authority, the Parliament, in the form of an amendment to the Constitution or a special law on the question of Faylee Kurds.

The problems of Faylee Kurds in Iraq are political-economic problems that need political-economic solutions through political-economic measures. Instead of such solutions and measures, the Sate of Iraq and its authorities renege on their duties and promises to Faylee Kurds and adopted endless bureaucratic “measures” that often lead nowhere, except in very rare cases where there are the right “connections” to the right political and/or militia groups and/or where bribery is paid. The state of Iraq transformed these political-economic problems between the state and an entire section of society into bureaucratic give and take and “property disputes” between individuals, which practically complicated the problems and made these problems even worse. The judicial processes of these “property disputes” are endless, risky and inconclusive due to rampant corruption and bribery, threats and loopholes in the law.

10 September 2007

e-mail address: m.jafar@telia.com