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Multifaceted Discrimination against Feyli Kurds in Northern Iraq

It is important to reiterate that there are Kurds who have assimilated into their current cultural societies and reject the ideals of separatist Kurds. Their concerns are mostly political in nature and specific to the nations in which they reside.

They are not interested in establishing a united Kurdish country in the four countries they occupy, through Balkanization, land theft, genocide or any of the other violations against humanity that have been addressed in previous articles such as this one. In fact, these Kurds have faced discrimination from the Kurdish community as a result of their unwillingness to support the establishment of a Kurdish state.

The Feyli Kurds in northern Iraq are a prime example. Many of them expressed opposition to a referendum on independence announced by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on June 7, 2017, as they feared it could lead to an escalation of the area’s ongoing crisis.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi laid out the Iraqi government’s official position on June 18, stating, “The Kurdistan Regional referendum on secession is illegal, and the federal government will not support it, fund it or participate in it.”

The United States and Iraq’s neighbors, including Turkey, Iran and Syria, oppose the country’s territorial division.

Fouad Ali Akbar, a Feyli member of the Baghdad provincial council, told Al-Monitor, “They are Shiite Kurds…neither Shiites nor Kurds have done Feylis justice. Most Feylis are moderate and culturally diverse, and this has prevented them from earning the trust of Kurds and Shiites, who, for ethnic and sectarian reasons, have not wanted them to have a stable identity with normal rights like other Iraqi citizens.”

Feyli activist Hassan Abdali said, “We, the Feyli Kurds, consider ourselves original Iraqis. We have deep historical and social roots in Iraq. We defended the country and its people in all the Iraqi liberation movements, in the Iraqi revolt against the British, and we took part in Kurdish movements and Shiite revolutions and also in the fight against the Islamic State (IS). And we faced persecution from Arab and Kurdish nationalist movements.”

Ali Akbar also told Al-Monitor, “The majority of Feylis are voicing concerns about the potential displacement, killing, confiscation of funds and systematic looting that they might face in the event of the declaration of independence of Kurdistan as a result of the threats they receive whenever a dispute between the central government and the KRG erupts.”

Sarwa Abdel Wahid, head of a KRG parliamentary bloc in Gorran (an Iraqi Kurdish political party), said at a joint press conference with Feyli representatives, including legislators, “The referendum to be held in September in Kurdistan is a partisan referendum that does not represent the ambition of all the Kurdish people, as it has failed to go through the legitimate national institutions.”

Featured Image Feyli Kurds in Iraq Source

About Sarah Abed (94 Articles)
Independent journalist and political commentator. Focused on exposing the lies and propaganda in mainstream media news, as it relates to domestic and foreign policy with an emphasis on the Middle East. Contributed to various radio shows, news publications and spoken at forums. For media inquiries please email sarahabed84@gmail.com.

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