Blood Money Marriage Returns To Iraq

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Flag of IraqThe vacuum brought forth by the absence of a strong state has led to increasing numbers of young women cast into forced marriages as compensation for perceived grievances between tribes. These marriages, called Fasliya Marriage for an Arabic word meaning marriages arranged for compensation, pose a serious threat to the civil rights of women in these tribes as they become pawns to be bartered between warring factions.

The increasing tribal tensions in areas of Iraq, and the absence of government law enforcement upholding federal laws banning the practice, has led to increases in frequency of these marriages through the resurrection of traditional tribal forms of conflict resolution.

Women who are placed into fasliya marriages are prohibited from divorcing their arranged husbands and are stripped of their civil rights as they are now considered bound to their husbands as a form of settlement contract.

According to Al-Monitor, tribal disputes worsened in Basara (in the South of Iraq) and in 2014 the Minister of the Interior Mohammed al-Ghabban and Governor Majid al Nasrawi sought to end the intertribal violence and encouraged chieftains to end their disputes. Information began to spread that fifty women were forced into fasliya marriages to settle the dispute between the al-Shawi and al-Karamsha tribes. This June a tribal affairs consultant in Basara, Sheiky Mohammad al-Maryani stated that the conflict began after the death of a woman during an armed battle between the tribes. In a statement the consultant gave a rather worrying re-assurance that the al-Shawi tribe presented ten, not fifty, women to al-Karamsha to settle the affair. Both tribes refused to comment indicating it was a personal matter.

The resurgence of fasliya marriage is however receiving a strong rebuke from clerics, civil rights advocates and women’s organizations.

Safad Abdelaziz, representing the Protection and Development of Iraqi Family Association, announced an education and public relations program titled “Unite to end settlement tribal laws against women in Iraq” in the hopes that further education can bring social pressure to end this forced marriage practice.

Ms. Abdelaziz in an interview with Al-Monitor is quoted as stating:

“This campaign aims at distributing leaflets in schools, universities and markets to raise social awareness, specifically among women, on the illegality of this practice and the need to end it as it violates domestic and international human rights laws. Representatives of this campaign also visited tribal sheikhs in Diwaniyah and Dhi Qar to encourage them to denounce the practice. Sheikhs, however, were not so fond of the ‘intrusive’ campaign, as they described it. Some sheikhs even prohibited us from distributing the leaflets.”

Reportedly the government was able to end the practice in the 1970’s but lack of enforcement recently in rural areas detached from the oversight of the federal government, and the reliance on tribal leadership, has caused many traditional customs that are out of line with modern ideals of civil rights to return.

The state is beginning to take notice of the denial of the rights of these girls and women and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Iraq called upon the leadership to put an end to “inhumane practices against Iraqi women” and challenged the police and other officials to act as mediators in tribal disputes before chieftains resort to victimizing girls as property to be offered for dispute resolution.

Some pushback is occurring among the religious influences of the country. A representative of the Shiite authority Sheikh Ahmad al-Safi denounced fasliya marriage stating “In any case, a girl should not to be forced into marrying someone she does not want.”

But with the increasing fragmentation and warring among various societies in Iraq, tribalism and abandonment of modern notion of women’s rights will certainly increase if it is not soon abated.

By Darren Smith


The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

15 thoughts on “Blood Money Marriage Returns To Iraq”

  1. No need to mention who destroyed the previous state. #DSisBrave #ConstantPropaganda

  2. Magna Carta and English Bill of Rights were our “beginning” documents. The Declaration of Independence was our Crowning Glory in that we declared independence from not only Britain but the yoke of a Queen and King culture and government. The Brits themselves need a Constitution, Bill of Rights, 14th Amendment making all citizens equal. No more Lord and Lassie. Look at those recent photos of Queen, Prince Charles, his offspring, their offspring. Three generations of imbeciles are enough. And where do they get the red uniforms for Prince Charles and from whence did all the medals come from? I look at that dork photo and tank Dog for our Declaration of Independence and our Constitutional guarantees of “inalienable rights”. One inalienable right is the right to artFay in public. We need a topic on the blog about that. The name of the article could be “Beans, Beans, Two Cents A Quart–“.

  3. Nick,
    That lake was our daily destination on the weekends growing up on East Lake Street near the river. We moved to the other end near Lake Calhoun and of course Lake Harriet and Lake of the Isles. I’m not sure I would even recognize the city after graduating in 1978. They have now adopted a community development plan that would do for neighborhoods what forced busing did for education. What could possible go wrong?

  4. @Saddam-

    Boy, do I ever agree with you! So does this guy, in his way:

    Joining ISIS promises to release these young men from parental pressure, minority status and sexual frustration all at the same time. Karmani says misguided teenagers fell for idea that heading for Iraq and Syria would make them cool. “I’m there with my gun, which is more or less just a penis extension, out there,” he says. “Look at me, I’m a mujahid now… I’m powerful now, I’m sexy now, girls are going to look at me, and there’s girls who would wanna become my bride now.”

    Which makes me think of a Parody Song—

    My Jihadi’s Back!
    A Short Parody Song by Squeeky Fromm

    [Spoken] He went away and you hung around
    And bothered me, every night!
    Until ISIS came to town, then you bugged out
    And ran away in fright!

    My jihadi’s back and he’s got a wedding ring!
    (Al-lah-ack-bar – my jihadi’s back)
    And a big scimitar that he knows how to swing!
    (Al-lah-ack-bar – my jihadi’s back)
    You spread lies that we had been to bed!
    (Al-lah-ack-bar – my jihadi’s back)
    I’m sooo gonna laugh while he’s chopping off your head!
    (Al-lah-ack-bar my jihadi’s back)

    (Hey, you know he loves a good fight!)
    (And, he knows that you’re a Shiite!)

    My jihadi’s back he’s gonna save my reputation!
    (Al-lah-ack-bar – my jihadi’s back)
    And I don’t think you’re gonna like decapitation!
    (Al-lah-ack-bar, my jihadi’s back)

    Yeah, my jihadi’s back- – –
    Do lop, do lop, do lop, LOP!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. Wrong, thread! I am @ a Caribou Coffee near Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis. I have seen 3 Bernie for Prez t-shirts. Just sayn’ Hillary lovers.

  6. I have no idea why men would want to work in a women’s prison. Way too much drama.

  7. Good piece. We need to do everything possible to support the Kurds. Help the Kurds create their own country. And let the savages kill each other.

  8. Jim Crow,
    I never said the DoI was the “end all” document, it certainly is however our most important “beginning” document. What you described that followed it is a constitutional republic struggling to live up to its vision. People need to get it through their head we weill NEVER be a “perfect” union because we are a nation of people that will NEVER be perfect. Human nature is the same as it was in the beginning and it is only through constant effort that we manage to coexist against that nature. It is unimportant whether you believe the United States is exceptional or not, that is an internal belief and one I happen to believe we are regressing our way from.


    “The inalienable rights are the most important thing on Earth to humankind.”


  9. olly: The Declaration of Independence was not the “end all” document or statement. The original Constitution was a solid beginning and the Bill of Rights (first ten amendments) a great improvement. Until we had the Civil War and then the three Reconstruction Amendments (13th freed slaves, 14th made all humans equal and entitled to due process and made the inalienable rights applicable to the states, 15th Amendment gave Freedmen the right to vote) we were not wholly there. Subsequent amendments extended voting rights and other rights to women. Statutes were enacted to implement the Amendments. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was provided for in the 14th Amendment final provision.

    Overall, America has moved forward even in recent years of Bush wars. We are not above everyone else in the world. We are not “exceptional” or “exemplary”. Woodrow Wilson said that we were at war to “make the world safe for Democracy”. That was a bit of a stretch. In WWII we did help with allies to defeat the Nazis and the Japanese. The emergence of terrorists worldwide should make us take notice and yet we need not think that ISIS is only found in the middle east. We have a similar breed in the deep South and deep North. I am Jim Crow– I oughta know. I lived in the worst part of the North and bad parts of the South. I am treated as a minority. I do not go to church. I believe in the Constitution and have faith that the American people will rise above some things. The inalienable rights are the most important thing on Earth to humankind.

  10. Barkindog,
    This is why the principles the United States was founded on are what we need to return to and the key is inalienable rights. There has been and will always be people that have an agenda contrary to those rights. We have the best “system” of government designed for the security of those rights but given the fact most Americans are agenda driven rather than natural rights driven, they don’t vote to secure legitimate rights; they vote to secure an agenda they believe is in their best interests.

    The real tragedy for us is that there are so many people that don’t believe our founding principles are relevant in a 21st century world. They point to what was written in the DoI and declare it to be fraudulent because not everyone was treated as equal, not everyone enjoyed the security of inalienable rights. What they don’t know and were never taught is the DoI was never intended to reflect the way things would be from that point forward but rather it was a vision for the United States to become. The principles at that time were right, 18th century America was not. Our Constiution’s preamble points back to the DoI when it states “In order to form a more perfect union…”. The Constitution’s fundamental purpose is to empower fallbile and agenda-driven people to govern civil society in a way that moves us towards that more perfect union.

    We are still an exceptional nation because we are still able to cling to those fundamental prinicples. We are losing our grip though and have been for the last 100 years. Those founding princiiples are still right but we have regressed as a culture and 21st century America is certainly not right. As long as the progressive left and right are allowed to continue to chase foreign and domestic agendas at the expense of natural rights then we will finally lose our grip on what once made us an exceptional nation.We will then be no different than every other nation and certainly no better at securing rights than Iraq.

    Lastly, inalienable rights are not something that one can just wave off no matter how hard they try. They exist within each of us and while some deny they exist consciously, they feel them subconsciously.

  11. What Iraqi woman would want to marry a yellow belly deserter who hand the advantage against ISIS when it was 20 to 1.
    Man hide behind skirt of woman with baby. Some father model for the future children.

  12. I heard (correct me if I am wrong) that there are people in Iraq who will go into a place of worship and shoot unarmed worshipers. Whether these people are insane or not is an issue. But they wear flags and talk jibberish about other tribes or races. As the Exemplary nation, ie. the United States, we need to listen to John McCain and the RepubliCons who want to send huge numbers of our men and women over there with tanks and missiles so as to correct these people in those territories. Or do we need to listen to John McCain and the holier than thou Americans? Do we have our own troubles here at home which are significant?

    Someone on another blog made a reference to ISIS Without Borders. I dont think he was talking about Doctors Without Borders or anything of that sort.

    This incident in South Carolina makes this dog wonder if we in America are any better or holier than those folks over there in the pirate territories. Blood money marriage rings some bells here in America too. We have a Mormon Dog here in the dogpac who has six wives. We think he bought three of them from their parents. Everything in moderation.

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