You know, I thought I had this Iraq thing pretty much figured out, after reading The Shi’is of Iraq, most of Charles Tripp’s A History of Iraq, and innumerable newspaper and magazine stories. Sunni Kurds in the north (riven by internal dissension), Sunni Arabs in the center, Shi’i Arabs in the south (long oppressed, some “swamp Arabs” in reed huts dating from Sumerian times), Baghdad a mixture of everything, Jews formerly an ancient and important element of the population but expelled after the foundation of Israel. Oh, and some Turkomans up north. Then I got to page 151 of Tripp and found this description of the megalomaniac dictator du jour (the jour being the late ’50s and early ’60s), General ‘Abd al-Karim Qasim (aka Kassem): “Qasim… came from a modest background and from a family which was more representative of the diversity of Iraq’s varied population than that of most of his brother officers (his father was a Sunni Arab from Baghdad, but his mother was a Faili (Shi’i) Kurd).”
Faili? I searched my Islamic reference works in vain; Google, as so often, saved the day, and I am here to report that “The area around Kirkuk and south to Khanaqin is the preserve of the Faili Kurds, who, unlike the majority of Kurds, are Shias.” They have had a rough time of it (deported in the early ’70s and again, much more brutally and extensively, in 1980), and needless to say they have their own website. From the latter we learn, concerning the origin of the name:

The Faili (Fayli or Pahli) Kurds are an integral part of the great Kurdish people and they speak the Kurdish language in the Laurie and Laki (dialect) accent. The roots of the Faili Kurds go back to the Indo-Aryan (Europeans) immigrants of the first millennium BC…
As for the name of (Faili), there is more than one explanation. In his book (The lexicon of countries, in Arabic Mujam al-Buldan) Yaqout Al-Hamawi mentions in 13th century that the Failis are those who reside the mountains separating Iran and Iraq. In addition, that they are as huge as elephants, the word fil means elephant in Arabic. Another explanation goes to a different direction as it says that the name belong to the ruler of the mentioned area. The historical fact on the root of the name of the Pahli is fully clear. As M.R. Izady notes in his book (The Kurds: A Concise Handbook, London, 1992) the territory inhabited by the Faili, Pahli, Fayli Kurds was known as “Pahla” meaning Parthia since the 3rd century AD. The Arabic texts recorded the name as FAHLA or BAHLA, Arabic lacks the letter “P” from Fahla and it has since then evolved to Faila and later Faili.

Take that for what it’s worth. At any rate, Iraq, like the world in general, is a complicated place. I just thought you’d want to know.


  1. With 5000 years or so of recorded history, it should not be surprising that Iraq has a lot of non-Muslim religions too, including 5%+ Christians and 2%+ “Other”. The Yazidis and Mandaeans are especially interesting.
    P.S. OT, but I have obtained a copy of the History of the Caucasian Albanians by Movses Dasxuranci (miscalled Moses Kalankatuaci), on which I will report when I get around to it. Finger-eating pagans with bad table manners, duophysite Chalcedonian heretics, Christian Huns, and lots of treachery, curses, plagues, massacres, raids, miracles, saints, and conversions.
    Religions of Iraq:
    1,300,000 5.2%
    750,000 3%
    Chaldean Catholics
    420,000 1.7%
    Syrian Catholics
    100,000 0.4%
    Armenian Orthodox
    20,000 0.08%
    Other Christians
    10,000 0.04%
    500,000 2%
    30,000 0.12%
    3,000 0.01%

  2. Finger-eating pagans with bad table manners, duophysite Chalcedonian heretics, Christian Huns, and lots of treachery, curses, plagues, massacres, raids, miracles, saints, and conversions.
    Sounds like loads of fun!

  3. Also, Muhammed was led astray by an Arian Christian heretic monk to whom he had been introduced by Satan in the guise of a deer.

  4. >Pahli
    Dravidians in the Zagros?

  5. About 90% of the residents of Ilam province, located in the west of Iran with the population of 500000 people, are Faili Shiite Kurds.
    Unfortunately, you have ignored this fact.
    I’m looking forward to your reply.
    K. Pallizban
    Ilam- Iran

  6. I ignored it because I didn’t know. Thanks for telling me!

  7. And I add , khoramabad (littel Lur ) Kurd aswell,
    Hussingholi Khan ( Abo Ghadara ) waly pishteko Kurd Faili was the ledar of kurd Faili of Ilam.

  8. Omran Feili says

    First let us agree on the English spelling of the name “Failies” It is Feili not faili, not fayly, not fayly see Britanica as well as others.
    Second Feilies Are Lur, they are cousins of the Kurds as well as Persian .
    They are catagoricaly not Kurds , nor Arabs, nor Persian , just Lur. Some cowardly feilies in Iraq are afriad of their Lurishness so they say they Kurd , so be it. Feilies need no cowards among them .
    The Khorshidi Feili Familie united and ruled the Lurs till 1933, on many occasion all of Iraq was ruled by King of Lurs, for eight hundred years the dynasty ruled , long history is not? Read Ahmed Ameen Zaki , Sharef Name and a tonage of others materials , Tarikhi Luristan der ahdi Qajar by Wali zadeh.
    When twentieth century came only Luristan and Japan were independant on Asia continant (Sony Kurd often illetrate of the Arian History and envious of the Feilies achivemant so they marginalize them on every occation they can).
    Luristan under Ameer ul Omera Gholam Reza Khan Saare mul Saltenah the King of Lurs, who was candidat from Shia Ulamaa of Iraq to be its King, Sony Faisel a British CID servent.. was chosen instead, and Faisal dynasty was joyfully liquidated by Shia General Kassim . When Emeerul Omera Gholam Rezakhan died, Saltanah of the feili Lurs failed .
    Japan lost its independant too in 1945 , ten years after Luristan .
    Plenty of resourses available start with Britanica , Alaam Araey Abbasi by Iskender Torkeman , Ali Razmara History of Political Iran
    And the one which I am working on. We are the Kassite and the True Mede . Who are the Kurds?

  9. The dynasty of the Lurs Feili royal family
    Note: all are from Jangrawe tribe of Selahwarzy ilk.
    The Jangrawee tribe came from Jabel Somaak in the year of 1152, nowadays northern Syria. Note again Syria in the year 1152 did not exist as it is now. Syria became a state at the current terretories in 1948.
    The Jangrawee tribe united the Lurs and put Luristan on the map
    The First ruler Husam el deen Rustam his title was Ata beg meaning litrarey big dadi in mongol language, it was customery to have a Mongol title at that period of time:
    1 Husam el deem Rustam 1152–1174
    2–Surkhaab ibn Ayar 1174 -1184
    3–Shoja el deen Khorsheed 1184–1224 He is the most achieving of all rulers of the Lur and the dynasty goes after his name: The Khorshedee dynasty all the way to Ameer ul Omera Gholam Reza Khan, son of the legendary Hussian Quli Khan Abu ghadareh (father of Simetar) 1860–1896 Khan , 1896 -193
    Many writers quote Lord Curzon, who was not a historian regarding the Lur rulers Dynasty.
    They claim after the killing of Shah Wardy Khan, who was married to Shah Abbas’s sister by Shah Abbas, a rival family,or rival tribe, without bothering to name it , came to power under Hussian Khan 1597–1605. This is a complete and arogant historical malpractice.
    Shah Abbass waged wars against the Lurs all his life, his biographer Iskander Turkmam detail them. His first campaign began in the years 1554 against Mohamdi , Shahwardi khan great grand father who defeated Shah Abbass and expeled the Torkic tribes Shah Abbas wanted to settle in Luristan to dilute its population.
    Second Hussian Khan was Amer Jang (Prince of war) when his causin Shawardy was killed by Shah Abbass . Hussain Khan assume power was natural. Hussin Khan Son and Grand Son were named after his cousin Shahwardy Khan !!
    Hussian Khan conquered Iraq and arrested its Ottoman Ruler Ahmad Pasha and excuted him in Khoram abbad, Iraq became a part of Luristan for 32 years. During the reign of Nader Afshar Lur King Ali Mardan khani Feili 11698–1724, who was Nader Shah commandant in chief as well as ruler of Luristan, he too conquered Iraq and chased the Othoman Armies to Qaars and Erziroom. At all time the three proviances of now a day Iraq :Deyala , Kirkuk and Kut were de facto part of Luristan till British invasion in 1914. More to be said in the future!
    My point here is that there never was a dynastic changes, or rivalary . Shortining of Lurs history is a part of campaign to margenalize them and eleminate their potential.
    Most successful anti feili Lurs are in Iraq.
    Some class of poltical pimps cliaming feili origin are in the core of the campaign
    Final note : All rulers had their last name as Feili. Some used Feili Abbasi, after Abbass son of Ali ibni Aby Taleb fourth Khailef, some used Feili Alawee after Ali the Khalif ans some used Feili Abu ghadareh, and some just feili.

  10. Omran Feili says

    I wellcome coments

  11. Omran Feili says

    I wellcome coments

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