Just The Facts

Kurds in Iraq

In today’s Iraq, when one faction rolls in, another rolls out.

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Takeaways


  • In Iraq, “Arabization” policies under Saddam pushed many Kurds out of cities where they were not a majority.
  • Baghdad’s minority Kurdish population declined amid heavy sectarian fighting around 2005 and 2006.
  • In Iraq, some six million Kurds comprise roughly 15-20% of the population.

1. In Iraq, some six million Kurds comprise roughly 15-20% of the population.

2. Kurds are an ethnic group within Iraq and encompass several religious sects, both Muslim and non-Muslim

3. Proportionally, at the upper end of this range, this would make Iraq’s Kurdish population the largest of the four neighboring Mideast countries with major populations.

4. Iraq’s Kurdish population is not the largest in absolute terms. (Turkey’s is.)

5. In Iraq, “Arabization” policies under Saddam Hussein pushed many Kurds out of major cities where they were not a majority.

6. Those who left generally relocated toward the Kurdish homeland in the northeast.

7. Baghdad’s minority Kurdish population declined sharply amid heavy sectarian fighting there around 2005 and 2006.

8. Kurdish paramilitary fighters in Iraq are major participants in the coalition military offensive to try to re-capture Mosul from the so-called Islamic State organization.

9. Many Iraqi Kurds were pushed out of Mosul and into its suburbs (or further) decades before the city fell to the terrorist organization.

10. Kurdish fighters in Iraq have been battling the Islamic State forces since mid-2014 with U.S. and European air support and munitions.

Sources: World Factbook, Rudaw News, Foreign Policy, BBC

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