Arab tribes in Iraq

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Most Iraqis identify strongly with a tribe (العشيرة 'ashira). Thirty of the 150 or so identifiable tribes in Iraq are the most influential. Tribes are grouped into federations (qabila). Below the tribe, there are the clan (الفخذ fukhdh), the house (البيت beit) and the extended family (الخمس khams).

On its accession to power in the 17 July Revolution of 1968, the Ba'ath Party announced its opposition to tribalism ( القبلية al-qabaliyya), although for pragmatic reasons, especially during the war with Iran, tribalism was sometimes tolerated and even encouraged.

List of major tribes ('ashira)[edit]

These prefixes are ignored in the alphabetical ordering of the following list: Al, Al-Bu, Albu, Bani, Banu.

Partial source: Tribes in Iraq, Humanitarian Information Centre for Iraq. 2003.

Bedouin tribes[edit]

  • 'Anezah (The royal families of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain are traced to this tribe. The paramount sheikh lives in western Iraq. This is one of the largest Arab tribes, with clans in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Gulf countries, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Syria, Turkey and Egypt. This tribe was mentioned in pre-Islamic Arabia. some but not all anezah clans were nomads or semi-nomads)
  • Al-Mutayr
  • Al-Dulaim
  • Al-Sulaib
  • Al-Bu Mitaywit
  • Harb
  • Shammar Al-Sulbah
    • Al-Kharsa
    • Sinjara
    • Zoba'
  • Al-Ani
    • Al-Sayih
  • Al-Zayyad
  • Al-Jaghayfa
  • Bani Khaled (plural Al-Khawaled)
  • Bani Rikab
  • Al-Shareefat
  • Al-Rifai'
  • Al-Zagareet
  • Al-Dhufair

See also[edit]


  • Tripp, Charles (2000) A History of Iraq. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-55404-7/ISBN 0-521-55633-3
  • Al-Azzawi, Abbas. Asha'ir al-Iraq (The Tribes of Iraq). Baghdad Press, Iraq.
  • Al-Amiri, Thamir. "Mawsu'at al-Qaba'il al-Iraqiyya" (The Encyclopedia of Iraqi Tribes). 9 vols. Baghdad, 1991-1997.
  • Al-Samarra'i, Younis Al-Sheikh Ibrahim. Al-Qaba'il al-Iraqiyya (Iraqi Tribes). Al-Sharaf Al-Jedid Press, Baghdad, Iraq.
  • Al-Samarra'i, Younis Al-Sheikh Ibrahim. Al-Qaba'il wa al-Biyoutat al-Hashimiya fi al-Iraq (Hashimi Tribes and Families in Iraq). Al-Umma Press, Baghdad.
  • Al-Durubi, Ibrahim. Al-Baghdadiyun, Akhbaruhum wa Majalisuhum (The Baghdadis, Their Annals and Assemblies). Al-Rabita Press, Baghdad, 1958.
  • ath-Thuroihi ,Abdul Maula. (Ar-Riyaadh al-Azhariyyah Fii Taariikh al-Usor al-‘Alawiyyah)