Map of Iraqi Kurdistan
  Official territory of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region
  Territory controlled by Iraqi Kurdistan
  Territory claimed by Iraqi Kurdistan
  Rest of Iraq

Kurdification is a cultural change in which something ethnically non-Kurdish is made to become Kurdish, usually in contexts of post-Saddam Iraq, in particular in relation to Assyrian Christians, Iraqi Turkmen, Shabak people and the ethno-religious group of the Yazidis.[1][2][3][4] Kurds claim that Kurdification is used for the implementation of article 140 of the Iraqi constitution which ensured to restore the situation before Saddam Hussein's assimilation and deportation policies against the Kurds during Al-Anfal Campaign.


In Iraq

Until 2011 (end of U.S. main military presence)

Intensified tensions between Kurds and Sunni Arabs have led violent clashes between both of them since Saddam's Arabization. Kurdification or re-Kurdification (post-Saddam) has been an open policy of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq since 2003, according to Gareth Stansfield, a professor of Middle East politics at the University of Exeter.[5]

During the Iraqi civil war, Iraqi army troops flee from their positions around the Nineveh Plains during ISIS attacks. Later, the KRG forces with the support of coalition airstrikes captured those areas back from ISIS. Since then, there have been disputes between pro-government Assyrians and Kurds, as the former ones have asked the Kurds to either leave or promise them autonomy. Some Assyrians sources claimed that the Kurds have clear plans for the annexation of the Nineveh Plains to the Kurdish control and they have "always sent their followers to international forums to interrupt international protection for Assyrians".[6] However, later the president of KRG announced that those areas will be returned to the Iraqi government. The Iraqi president and US ambassador also confirmed this.[7][8] The Hareetz newspaper had reported on 24 December 2014 that the Kurds object to the establishment of a protected Christian enclave, because they want to annex the Nineveh Valley, most of whose residents are Christians.[9][10]

In 2011, some Yazidis activists had claimed about their "concern over forced assimilation into Kurdish identity". Some have accused the Kurdish and Iraqi parties of diverting US $12 million reconstruction funds allocated for Yazidi areas in Jebel Sinjar to a Kurdish village and marginalizing them politically.[4] According to Sweden-based David Ghanim, an economist, the goal of some tactics of KRG had been to push Shabak and Yazidi communities to identify as Kurds which has been strictly denied by KRG authorities. David Ghanim also claimed that the Kurdish authorities are working hard to impose Kurdish identity on two of the most vulnerable minorities in Iraq, the Yazidis and the Shabaks.[11]

On 21 August 2006, Shabak Democratic Party leader Hunain Qaddo, proposed the creation of a separate province within the borders of the Nineveh Plain, in order to combat the Arabization and Kurdification of Iraqi minorities. The Iraqi government voted against the proposition.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]

There have been reports that some Arabs are being displaced in previously mixed Kurdish-Arab villages in Northern Iraq.[5]

After 2011

The Assyrian activist from the Assyrian Patriotic Movement claimed that the entire Assyrian Triangle (between Greater Zab and the River Tigris) has been occupied by Kurdish intruders.[6][10] Some Assyrians in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq also complained that construction plans are "aimed at affecting a demographic change that divides Assyrian blocs". Also some Yazidis, Shabaks and Turkmens have reported that they are facing a policy of cultural and security control against them, especially in areas which belonged to the Kurds before Saddam's Al-Anfal Campaign.[20]

In 2016, David Romano, Professor of Middle East Politics said that without the YPG and the Peshmerga, the Assyrians of northern Syria and Iraq would all likely be dead, lying in some jihadist-dug mass grave.[21]

The Assyrian International News Agency claimed that the Kurds have annexed Assyrian, Yazidi and Shabak villages and which now under Kurdish Control in North Iraq.[22][23] Assyrian politicians of Iraqi Kurdistan have also claimed that some towns have been replaced with Kurdish ones.[22]

See also


  1. Al-Ali, Pratt, Nadje Sadig, Nicola Christine (2009). What kind of liberation?: women and the occupation of Iraq. University of California Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-520-25729-0.
  2. Preti Taneja, Minority Rights Group International (2007). Assimilation, exodus, eradication: Iraq's minority communities since 2003. Minority Rights Group International. p. 19.
  3. "Overcrowding and Kurdification threaten Christians in northern Iraq" (AsiaNews, October 2007)
  5. 1 2 Rebecca Collard / Makhmour. "Kurds and Sunni Arabs Fall Out in the Wake of ISIS Fight". TIME.com. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  6. 1 2 https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/14007-assyrians-need-protection-from-islamisation-and-kurdification
  7. "Iraqi PM: President Barzani told me Kurds have no territorial ambitions in Nineveh". Rudaw. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  8. "http://www.iraqinews.com/baghdad-politics/us-ambassador-confident-peshmerga-return-post-mosul-offensive-locations/". Retrieved 15 November 2016. External link in |title= (help)
  9. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/14007-assyrians-need-protection-from-islamisation-and-kurdification, Haaretz newspaper on 24 December 2010
  10. 1 2 "Assyrians of Iraq and the Nineveh Plain Conspiracy". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  11. Ghanim, David. Iraq's Dysfunctional Democracy. p. 34.
  12. "Cable: 06BAGHDAD3283_a". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  13. Ismail, Mirza (2008-12-01). "The Kurdish Threat to The Yezidis of North Iraq". Assyrian International News Agency. Archived from the original on 2008-12-23. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  14. "Hizballah Cavalcade: Quwat Sahl Nīnawā: Iraq's Shia Shabak Get Their Own Militia". JIHADOLOGY: A clearinghouse for jihādī primary source material, original analysis, and translation service. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  15. "Iraq's Shabaks Are Being Oppressed By Kurds". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  16. "Iraqi Turkmen take up arms in Kirkuk - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  17. "The Hero Yazidis Hope Will Save Them". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  18. Matt Cetti-Roberts. "Inside the Christian Militias Defending the Nineveh Plains — War Is Boring". Medium. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  19. "The Nineveh Plain Protection Units". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  20. "Iraqi Kurdistan Must Ensure Minority Rights - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  21. "http://rudaw.net/english/opinion/21012016?ctl00_phMainContainer_phMain_ControlComments1_gvCommentsChangePage=3_20". rudaw.net. Retrieved 5 May 2016. External link in |title= (help)
  22. 1 2 "Assyrian, Yezidi and Shabak Villages Are Now Under Kurdish Control in North Iraq". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  23. "Kurds Build Cemetery, Park in Heart of Assyrian Area in Turkey". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
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