- This is a term from Arabic used throughout Kurdistan to denote an entire tribe or even confederation of tribes. Ashiret also conveys the meaning of being tribal as opposed to being nontribal. In recent decades the number of tribal Kurds has dramatically declined due to the forces of modernization. In Iraqi Kurdistan, for example, around 60 percent of the Kurds claimed a tribal affiliation as recently as 1960. Early in the 21st century, however, this proportion had fallen considerably. A similar pattern exists elsewhere, especially in Turkey. On the other hand, the governments sometimes encourage pro-government tribes as a divide-and-rule tactic. The pro-government Bucaks in Turkey remain an excellent, but not unique, example. Tribal affiliation also still explains a considerable amount of the continuing success of such families as the Barzanis, Talabanis, and others.Kurdish tribes are not easy to define because they vary in time and place, and in size, structure, and internal organization. In the 19th century, for example, the very term Kurd meant tribespeople who spoke Kurdish. This imprecision regarding tribe is indicated in the various words used by Kurds to denote a tribal group: il, ashira, qabila, taifa, tira, oba, hawz, and so forth. In general, these different terms range from tribal confederations down to clan, septs, or sections. Tribes are usually defined by kinship, real or mythical. Most Kurdish tribal groups claim descent from a hero of the early Islamic period.
Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. Michael M. Gunter.
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Bucaks — The Bucaks are an influential pro government Kurdish tribe or clan in the area around Siverek, Turkey. They are seen by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a leading example of the Kurdish exploitative landlord class. To announce its… … Historical Dictionary of the Kurds
Jaf — The Jaf are a large and powerful Kurdish tribe historically located on the border area between the Ottoman and Persian empires in what is now southern Iraqi Kurdistan and the Iranian province of Kordestan. The tribe claimed descent from… … Historical Dictionary of the Kurds
Kalhur — The Kalhur Kurds were one of the largest tribes or tribal confederations in the Kirmanshah area of Iran and along the Ottoman Persian border. In the 1830s the Kalhur were still largely Ahl i Haqq, but by the early 1900s when they played an… … Historical Dictionary of the Kurds
Mukri — The Mukri were a powerful Kurdish tribal confederation that existed for hundreds of years south and west of Lake Urumiya in the Persian Empire. In 1623, they helped the Safavid Persians recapture Baghdad from the Ottomans, and they long… … Historical Dictionary of the Kurds
Tribe — See Ashiret … Historical Dictionary of the Kurds