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    Duck Ownership May Lead to Armed Conflict – Clan Clashes in Iraq

    `The development of simple quarrels into fighting with swords or firearms in Iraq has become widespread, in which victims fall, often due to a simple reason such as a football match or duck ownership.

    Two weeks ago in the southern province of Maysan, a child was killed and four people were wounded during an exchange of fire with Kalashnikovs and even rocket-propelled grenades.

    This “battle” caused a quarrel between two children under ten years old. One of them, who belongs to the Al-Faratsa clan, refused to return a thousand dinars (less than a dollar) he had borrowed from his friend from the Al-Buali clan.

    The latter’s father intervened and hit the other child, and the matter escalated into an armed clash.

    And the worst of it may be that the five victims were just passers-by and did not belong to the two clans, as explained to Media by Sattar Djebar, head of a humanitarian non-governmental organization to support orphans in Maysan.

    A week later, another sword dispute broke out in Al-Kahla district in the same governorate between people from the Al-Nawafil clan, due to one of them insulting an influential religious figure. As a result, three people were killed and two members of the clan were injured, and seven people were arrested after the police deployed to stop the escalation of the quarrel.

    About a month ago, a dispute during a football match between the Al-Fraihat and Al-Rusitam clans led to the death of one person and the wounding of five in the border district of Bani Hashem with Iran, Police Captain Fares Mahdi told Media.

    The problem did not end until the Al-Rastum clan provided 20 million dinars (about 13,300 dollars) as ransom or compensation to the victim’s family, during a joint tribal meeting, according to the police officer.

    In the city of Kut, the capital of Wasit Governorate, south of Baghdad, a young man in his twenties was shot dead during an exchange of fire and the exchange of hand grenades between two clans over a dispute over the ownership of a duck.

    A local official told Media, on condition of anonymity, that a gunfight erupted after two women, one from the Hasaniya clan and the other from the Al-Zubaid clan, quarreled over the ownership of a duck whose price does not exceed five thousand dinars (about 3.5 dollars).

    This issue is extremely sensitive, as Iraqi law considers such practices as “terrorism”, punishable by severe penalties, up to the death penalty.

    Likewise, the Shiite religious authority, which enjoys great influence and respect throughout Iraq, especially in the southern provinces of the country, is seeking to put an end to these quarrels.

    The great Shiite authority in Iraq, Ali al-Sistani, called, during a sermon delivered by his representative, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, to stop these “conflicts and interactions (…) that have plunged the country into a cycle of instability and backwardness.”

    And spread throughout Iraq, which has a population of 40 million people, of whom 40% are under 14 years old, about 7.6 million light weapons, according to a survey conducted in 2017, while the number of undeclared weapons may be much greater.

    The clans’ weapons are not limited to light machine guns, as they have rockets, machine guns, armored wheels, and other heavy weapons that are sometimes used during clan fighting.

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