Destruction of Kurdish villages during the Iraqi Arabization campaign

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The destruction of Kurdish villages during the Iraqi Arabization campaign refers to villages razed by the Ba'athist Iraqi government during its "Arabization campaign" of areas, excluded from Kurdistan under the Iraqi–Kurdish Autonomy Agreement of 1970.


Some 4,000 villages were destroyed from 1975 until the end of the Al-Anfal Campaign in late 1980s.[1][2]

During the mid-1970s, hundreds of Kurdish villages were destroyed in the northern governorates of Ninawa and Duhok (Shorsh Resool estimate: 369), and around 150 in Diyala (Shorsh Resool estimate: 154).[3]

In 1977–78, in response to the 1975 Algiers Agreement, Iraq began clearing swaths of land along its northern border with Iran. During the first waves of clearances, residents were given five days to leave their homes and as many as 500 villages were then destroyed, mostly in the As Sulaymaniyah Governorate.[4]

In the spring of 1987, Ali Hassan al-Majid instructed that "no house was to be left standing" in the Kurdish villages of the Erbil plain. Only Arab villages would be spared.[5] On October 17, 1987 a population census was conducted, in which respondents could only choose "Arab" or "Kurdish" as their nationality; anyone who refused to identify as "Arab" (including minorities such as Assyrians, Chaldean Christians, Turkmens and Yazidis) was labeled "Kurdish" regardless of ethnicity, and when the Al-Anfal Campaign was officially launched several months later, all non-Arabs were targeted.[6] The total of Kurdish villages that were destroyed during the 1987–1989 Al-Anfal Campaign is estimated to be 2,000.[7]

Major population damaging events[edit]


In late 1991, the international community launched a large-scale project to reconstruct housing in 1,500 of the 4,000 destroyed villages of northern Iraq.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Black, George. Genocide in Iraq: The Anfal Campaign against the Kurds, Human Rights Watch, 1993. pg. xii, 20. ISBN 1-56432-108-8
  2. ^ a b Roberta Cohen, Francis Mading Deng. Masses in Flight: The Global Crisis of Internal Displacement, Brookings Institution Press, 1998, pg. 63. ISBN 0-8157-1512-9
  3. ^ Black, George. (1993). pg. 36.
  4. ^ Black, George. (1993). pg. 37.
  5. ^ Black, George, (1993) pg. 58.
  6. ^ Romano, David; Gurses, Mehmet (2014). Conflict, Democratization, and the Kurds in the Middle East: Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 51. ISBN 9781137409997. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  7. ^ Black, George. (1993). pg. 4.