14 dead and wounded.. What is the story of the clan conflict in the Iraqi governorate of Dhi Qar?

Dhi Qar – It was a hot afternoon on Thursday, April 13, 2023, in Al-Islah district, east of the city of Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar Governorate (400 km south of Baghdad), when an armed conflict broke out between two clans, following long accumulations and quarrels over the past three months, according to residents. eliminate.

The story began when the people of the Islah district took to the streets, demanding the provision of water, as the city suffers from a severe water crisis, and they demanded the provision of drinking water and services and the dismissal of the "Qaim Maqam". As a result, the dispute intensified between the demonstrators and the Qa'im Maqam, turning into riots and clashes between the security forces and the demonstrators. According to what Ali Muhammad, an eyewitness from Al-Islah, confirmed to Al-Jazeera Net.

According to Muhammad, the result of the clashes was the injury of some demonstrators and the arrest of more than 15 demonstrators according to Article 4 of the Anti-Terrorism Law, so that the protests continued for more than 3 days, and after the release of the detainees, calm returned to the city, and the tribal sheikhs and notables of the city agreed that the District Commissioner should remain in his position for a period 6 months and then submit his resignation.

worsening of the crisis

As for the armed conflict, it sparked after one of the young men from the Qaimkam's relatives wrote a post on Facebook praising him, to which one of the commentators responded in a negative way, then the situation developed so that the young man went to the place of residence of the suspended person and shot him.

According to the eyewitness, the clan of the suspended person then shot another person from the clan of the owner of the post, turning the Islah district into a fierce war arena, where killing took place according to identity and according to clan affiliation.

For his part, citizen Ali Sami, a resident of the Islah district, says, "The conflict started from ten o'clock in the morning until three o'clock in the afternoon last Thursday, so that the city's atmosphere turned into a street war, and we were never able to leave the houses, and one of the city's notables had tried to communicate with the two parties to stop the conflict, but he was unable to do so.

While he was going to the other clan, his eldest son – who is an officer in the National Security Agency – had joined his father to take part in stopping the problem, but the other clan had ambushed the officer in the middle of the street, where they showered him with bullets to make him fall dead in front of the people, which prompted the clan of the dead officer to mobilize and enter In direct confrontation with the other clan, according to what Sami confirmed to Al Jazeera Net.

security move

As a result of the armed clashes, 4 people were killed and more than 10 injured, while the security forces arrested more than 12 of those responsible for provoking the conflict without ending the story, according to what the security forces announced.

In the context, a security source from Dhi Qar Governorate told Al-Jazeera Net that 5 regiments of the federal and local police and the army moved towards the Islah district to control the situation, in addition to a force from the Anti-Terrorism Service.

The source confirmed that late Thursday night and early Friday morning, the warring clans had closed the main and secondary roads inside the Islah district, where each clan barricaded themselves and built some trenches, and judicial arrest warrants were issued against 4 of the elders of the two clans to arrest them in order to end the tension between them. All Parties.

Despite all the clan conflicts that took place in Dhi Qar during the past few years, no case of clash or direct confrontation was recorded between the security forces and the clans, as the security authorities usually intervene at the end of the conflict or seek to stop it through the region's notables and clan sheikhs, accompanied by campaigns Security to control weapons with a limited scope.

Many clans in southern Iraq have great influence and societal power, in addition to their presence and influence in the political scene, and influence with the armed factions, as this influence represents a wide network of relationships, which makes the security forces unable to implement arrest warrants against those inciting to provoking clan conflicts, according to many of monitors.

Promote sub-identities

For his part, security expert Saif Al-Husseini believes – during his interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that the issue of clan conflicts is one of the obstacles to building a civil state, and that it contributes to strengthening the phenomenon of security instability and the growth of sub-identities at the expense of national identity.

The solution lies in strengthening the power of the state and its ability to enforce the law and hold accountable all those who carry weapons outside the scope of the state, as al-Husseini says, to stress the need to work on creating a national document among the Iraqi clans in those areas that would criminalize this phenomenon and employ the clan structure in rebuilding the state.

According to observers, the increase in the phenomenon of clan conflicts in the south of the country has exacerbated due to the security laxity for long periods, which came as a result of the protests that began in 2019 and the directives of the security services not to bear arms, as this led to clearing the way and invoking old clan feuds.

Clan and armed conflicts constitute a frightening concern for the population in Dhi Qar Governorate, as the amount of weapons used in each conflict is sufficient to declare war, according to what was confirmed to Al-Jazeera Net by the political analyst from Dhi Qar Muhammad Al-Tamimi.

Al-Tamimi believes that there is no solution to this problem except by enacting laws that criminalize this phenomenon and force everyone to resort to the law and the judiciary, in addition to the need to implement large-scale security campaigns to arrest the parties to the conflict and confiscate weapons, and suffice with legally licensed personal weapons, as he put it.

Al-Tamimi continues that clan conflicts cause negative effects on cities in several aspects, including social, security, service and tourism, with the negative messages that this leaves behind about these cities, which weakens the tourism, investment, construction and reconstruction aspects, as he put it.


The Dhi Qar governorate had witnessed many clan conflicts during the current year. In the early hours of the morning of the first of last January, the governorate had witnessed an armed clan conflict that lasted for several hours in the Chibayish district, east of Nasiriyah, between members of one clan, during which they used Light and medium weapons, before the police stopped the conflict.

A few days later, another clan conflict broke out between two clans in Sayed Dakhil district, southeast of Nasiriyah (the center of the governorate), but the rapid intervention forces arrived at the scene and cordoned off the problem and seized light and medium weapons and hand grenades.

And in northern Nasiriyah, specifically in the city of Shatrah, the house of an emir of one of the city's large clans was bombed with an RPG launcher (RPG) in February 2023, following previous clan disputes, which led to an aggravation of the security situation and the exit of armed men in a military parade in the middle of the night. Day and in front of the security services.

During the years 2021 and 2022, Dhi Qar governorate recorded nearly 100 clan conflicts, and these conflicts are part of other raging conflicts taking place in the governorates of Maysan and Basra (south of the country) and other cities.

And the Directorate of Clan Affairs in the Ministry of Interior had announced in 2021 the resolution of 450 clan disputes across the country for the period between July 2020 and June 2021, while the Ministry announced on the tenth of May 2022 the seizure of more than 7 thousand weapons. Between light and medium, most of it was in the possession of the clans.

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