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Tribes and Tribalism: Muntafiq Tribe

TRIBES AND TRIBALISM: MUNTAFIQ TRIBE

A tribal confederation in southern Iraq.

Muntafiq designates a 300,000-member tribal confederation of settled, seminomadic, and nomadic tribes, including the Ajwad, Bani Malik, Bani Saʿid, Dhafir, and Jasha1am. They occupied the banks of the Euphrates from Chabaish to Darraji, and the Shatt al-Gharraf as far as Kut al-Hay. Led by the al-Saʿdun family, they were independent from the Ottomans, who relied upon them to defend lower Iraq against the Wahhabis and the Persians. Before and during the Mamluk period (17491831), they contested the court of Baghdad for power over Basra. After 1831, the policy of Iltizam, which required tribal shaykhs to collect government duties and revenues, eroded tribal relationships as the leaders demanded ever-increasing taxes on behalf of the government. When the Saʿdun became Ottoman landlords and government officials in 1870, reducing their tribes from landholders to tenants, the intense sense of betrayal further undermined their authority and weakened tribal power.

see also mamluks; saʿdun family, al-.


Bibliography

Longrigg, Stephen Hemsley. Four Centuries of Modern Iraq. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925.

albertine jwaideh

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