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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]

The term is mainly 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.

"Assyrian, Yazidi and Shabak villages are under Kurdish Control in North Iraq."[5]

Some Yazidis expressed concern over forced assimilation into Kurdish culture and identity. Some have accused the Kurdish parties of diverting US $12 million reconstruction funds allocated for Yazidi areas in Jebel Sinjar to a Kurdish village and marginalizing them politically.[6] According to the Human Rights Watch, in 2009, "The goal of these tactics is to push Shabak and Yazidi communities to identify as ethnic Kurds. The Kurdish authorities are working hard to impose Kurdish identity on two of the most vulnerable minorities in Iraq, the Yazidis and the Shabaks".[7]

Yazidi activists have reported that, since 2003, there have been numerous cases of Yazidi women being abducted and forced to marry members of the Kurdish security force Asayish. A report from Minority Rights Group International.[8]

According to Hunain Qaddo, President of the Iraqi Minorities Council, Shabaks are currently undergoing a process of Kurdification.[9]

On 15 August 2005, Shabaks organised a demonstration under the slogan "We are the Shabak, NOT Kurds and NOT Arabs", demanding recognition of their unique ethnic identity.The demonstration came under fire from Kurdistan Democratic Party militia.[10]

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 Kurdification and Arabization of Iraqi minorities.[11]

In 2008, Mr Mirza Ismail, chairman of London Yezidis Community-Canada, accused the Kurdistan Regional Government of forcing Yazidis to register as Kurds, expanding Kurdish settlements in Yazidi regions, and forcing Yazidis out of Sinjar city.[12]

The minorities of Iraq have also founded parties to represent their people, for example: the Iraqi Turkmen Front, the Assyrian Patriotic Party, the Yazidi Movement for Reform and Progress and the Shabak Democratic Assembly. They have also founded own militias to defend their villages, for example: the Nineveh Plain Protection Units, the Protection Force of Sinjar and the Nineveh Plains Brigade.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

Flags of the ethnic and national minorities in Iraq[edit]

Assyrian Flag Turkmen Flag Shabak Flag Yazidi Flag
Assyrian Flag Turkmen Flag Shabak Flag Yazidi Flag

See also[edit]


  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. ^ http://www.aina.org/news/20140614185547.htm
  7. ^ Ghanim, David. Iraq's Dysfunctional Democracy. p. 34. 
  8. ^ http://www.minorityrights.org/5742/iraq/yezidis.html
  9. ^ https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06BAGHDAD4365_a.html
  10. ^ http://www.aina.org/news/20050816114539.htm
  11. ^ https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06BAGHDAD3283_a.html
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ Quwat Sahl Nīnawā: Iraq’s Shia Shabak Get Their Own Militia
  14. ^ Iraq's Shabaks Are Being Oppressed By Kurds (By Hunain Al-Qaddo)
  15. ^ Iraqi Turkmen take up arms in Kirkuk
  16. ^ The Hero Yazidis Hope Will Save Them
  17. ^ Inside the Christian Militias Defending the Nineveh Plains
  18. ^ The Nineveh Plain Protection Units
  • A. Bazzaz, turkmen.nl "The Kurdification procedure was soon implemented by the Kurdish leadership after toppling Saddam down in April 2003"
  • Park, Bill, The Kurds and post-Saddam political arrangements in Iraq The Adelphi Papers (2005), Taylor & Francis: "The Kurds, who are intent on the further ‘Kurdification’ of Kirkuk before any census is held"
  • Park, Bill, Iraqi scenarios, The Adelphi Papers, Volume 45, Number 374, May 2005, pp. 49–66