EUAA COI Report. Arab tribes and customary law


This report is meant to provide an overview and provide background information on the tribal dynamics and structures in Iraq as well the major tribal practices and dispute settlement mechanisms applied by the Arab Muslim Iraqi tribes, mainly in western/central and southern areas of the country. Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) is not covered by this report. Issues in disputed territories between the KRI and Iraqi government are not specifically covered.

It provides information on tribal (customary) law in Iraq, tribal practices, and tribal interaction with Iraqi formal law as well as the Iraqi state’s response towards tribes and tribal practices in Arab Muslim contexts. Furthermore, the report provides information on certain aspects of how women are impacted by tribal practices, and tribal responses to Christian conversion and perceived ISIL affiliation. Lastly, aspects of tribal violence that have a civilian and security dimension are addressed: causes, impact on the security situation, and the State’s ability to respond to tribal feuds.

The purpose of this report is to provide relevant contextual information for the assessment of applications for international protection.

The reference period for the report is January 2021 to 23 March 2023. The drafting of this report was finalised on 6 April 2023.

This report was drafted by the EUAA COI Sector. The chapters on women, children, and Christian converts were written by Finland’s Country Information Service within the Finnish Immigration Service.

The following national asylum and migration departments reviewed this report:

- Germany, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Country Analysis.

EUAA would also like to acknowledge ACCORD, the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation, as a peer-reviewer of the report.

Finally, the report was also reviewed by Haley Bobseine. Ms. Bobseine is a PhD Candidate at King's College London’s School of Security Studies. She is an Arabic-speaking researcher, analyst, and advisor to international organizations, with more than 12 years field experience in the Middle East, mostly in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. Her areas of expertise include tribalism, conflict, and security issues.

This report was written according to the EUAA COI Report Methodology (2023) and the EUAA COI Writing and Referencing Style Guide (2023).

Politique de traitement

Depuis 2013, la situation sécuritaire dans la région a été largement déterminée par la montée de l'État islamique en Irak et en Syrie (EI) et par la lutte contre celui-ci. Le 9 décembre 2017, le premier ministre alors en fonction, M. al-Abadi, a annoncé que la dernière partie de la zone occupée par l'EI en territoire irakien avait été reprise, mettant ainsi fin à la guerre terrestre contre l'organisation terroriste. La victoire sur l’EI et la reconquête des zones occupées par l’organisation ont manifestement eu un impact positif et tangible sur les conditions de sécurité en Irak. Toutefois, les cellules de l’EI restent actives dans plusieurs provinces et les forces de sécurité irakiennes, les milices chiites et les peshmergas kurdes mènent toujours des opérations contre l’organisation. Cela se traduit par un niveau de violences, une échelle de la violence aveugle et un impact du conflit sur la population qui varient fortement d’une région à l’autre. Par ailleurs, dans le cadre du conflit avec le PKK, l’armée turque procède à des attaques aériennes et mène des opérations terrestres contre des cibles liées au PKK dans les zones frontalières du nord de l’Irak.