• What’s In A Name? Iraqis Change Names to Avoid Being Targeted by Militias

    January 30, 2016

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Iran, Iraq


    So, yep, thanks for asking, this war is going well.

    Especially now, as we learn some Sunnis are far more afraid of Iraqi government-supported Shiite militias than they are of anyone from Islamic State. This will not end well, especially since the United States still hopes to get those same Sunnis to turn on ISIS and support the same goals as the Shiite Iraqi government.

    Fear of those Shiite Muslim militias is driving many locals in Diyala Province, where the population is mixed, to change their names to more neutral formulations.

    The reason is simple survival. “Just over the past two months our department has received between 150 and 200 applications for a name change,” said an official working for Diyala’s Directorate of Nationality. “Most of the applications are being submitted by people whose names reveal their sect or the areas from where their family or tribe comes.”

    In the Middle East, a name can tell a lot about its bearer. A surname may indicate which tribe one comes from originally, and thereby which part of the country. A first name or father’s name can indicate which sect one belongs to, especially if one is given a name specific to either Shiite or Sunni Muslims.

    In Diyala, a province with a population where Shiite Muslims, Sunni Muslims and a variety of ethnicities are thrown together, locals say that they fear being targeted for their Sunni religious background, even though they may not actually be very religious. They specifically fear the Shiite Muslim militias, supported by the United States, Iran, and the Iraqi government in Baghdad, who are ostensibly fighting Islamic State. The militias are also engaged in some serious ethnic cleansing directed against the Sunni population.

    Iraq’s Shiite-controlled Ministry of the Interior issued an order two months ago to put a stop to the Sunni name changes, stating that only those who have the name “Saddam” would be allowed to change their names. However, the responsible (Sunni-controlled) department in Diyala has resumed its work in defiance of Baghdad.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “In the Middle East, a name can tell a lot about its bearer.”

      Here too. The USA aka the Dumbest Country on the Planet

      01/30/16 9:54 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      01/30/16 11:44 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      In 1979 my wife and I were living in a large apartment complex and we ran into many Middle Eastern couples. When we asked them where they were from they said Iraq. When we ran into them many years later during the invasion of Iraq they said they were really Iranians but were afraid to tell us the truth during the Iranian hostage crisis. They were indeed Iranians.

      01/30/16 11:55 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Rich said

      “Here too. The USA aka the Dumbest Country on the Planet”
      Indeed, thing is, in this country, if your name sounds anything like a mideast name, regardless what religious sect you belong to or country you come from, you are a “suspected” terrahist!!!

      Ya know, at one point in my life, even “I” experienced discrimination based on my last name. In the late 60’s, in California no less. I was refused a rental application, because the property owner didn’t like “Irishman”. Being young, inexperienced and dumb, I did nothing. But it left a permanent mark on psych. That was when I really learned what discrimination felt like. It’s fucked. From that point on to this day, that little episode made me a different person.

      However, I can’t even imagine what it’s like to experience a lifetime of being part of a religious sect whereby, even though you worship the same deity and identify as a lifetime member of a religious ideology, your life is in constant turmoil and possible death simply because of a belief system that the “powers in control” say is blasphemy. In this case, the difference in the belief systems between Sunni and Shite sects.

      To me, this type irrational mindset redefines the word absurd. Even within my OWN religious ideology, being “Christian”, seeing 100 different “sects”, that for two thousand years or more, have actually TORTURED and MURDERED millions of members of opposite “belief systems” is beyond incomprehensible. In my mind, to worship the SAME “god” yet KILL, in HIS NAME, others with a different way of worshiping the SAME GOD, gives living testimony to the fact.. ..the human specie is still a fucking stone age MORON.

      Ok..rant over. Carry on.

      bartender…gimme a shot of 100prf DarwinWasAnIdiot absinth and a bottle of TwoRollingEyes beer.

      Ok, carry on.

      01/30/16 12:26 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Pitch, I’m buying. A double shot of DarwinwasanIdiot scotch instead of the absinth even though- damned! – it is 200 years aged in permafrost. And I’ll raise a shot glass to Peter for keeping this site open. We owe you Peter! Big Time!

      01/30/16 4:50 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      From what I have read, such problems as you describe did not occur under Saddam Hussein. But that’s ancient history.

      01/31/16 3:15 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      teri said…

      “From what I have read, such problems as you describe did not occur under Saddam Hussein.”

      Saddam..who? er..oh, yeah. Completely forgot. The guy with WMD’s..not. Gawd…seems like a century ago.

      Rich said:
      “And I’ll raise a shot glass to Peter for keeping this site open. We owe you Peter! Big Time!”

      Hear hear!!! Especially for putting up with me all this time. 🙂

      01/31/16 8:04 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      It is unlikely that Sunnis changed theirs names under Saddam, as he maintained a Sunni majority rule. Sunnis were the 1% of his day.

      01/31/16 8:10 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Hey Peter! On a side note, given what just happened regarding the latest Hillary emails disclosure debacle, I’m sure you got something to say about it. In the meantime, here’s a little tidbit that I’ve been saying for a long time. Hillary’s “little black book” of favors due and dagger’s waiting. I especially like the way Mike nails it at the end…

      quote”The permanent government (i.e. federal bureaucracy) is up in arms about the threat to their “Mandate of Heaven” represented by the imminent foundering of the SS Hillary Clinton. The fact that Hillary has the keys to the kingdom in terms of message traffic and insider knowledge of the White House-originated conspiracy against the Constitution known as Fast and Furious makes the timing on how the Obamanoids deal with this very dicey. To accomplish the removal of the Clintons from the election in time to substitute a Biden/Elizabeth Warren switcheroo, they have to have Hillary’s agreement to accept a preemptive pardon. If Hillary decides to go all Samson on them and pull down the temple with her, they’re screwed. If Hillary waits too long to work the deal offered, she’s screwed. The FBI underlings are said to be in open revolt already with whistleblowing sounding in the distance and yet THEY, as an institution, are interested in keeping their participation in F&F(Fast & Furious) via the actual smuggling of arms by their creatures the Miramontes brothers a secret. There’s enough blackmail material here to make the eyes of the most corrupt and Byzantine operative of the Tsarist secret police in Hell permanently crossed.”unquote
      “There’s enough blackmail material here to make the eyes of the most corrupt and Byzantine operative of the Tsarist secret police in Hell permanently crossed.” Hahahahahahahahaahahaha!

      Black book indeed. Even the FBI is afraid she’ll burn WDC to ashes. And she CAN. But like a commenter there said… “Wait till she’s nominated.” Either way, something is going to happen. Either the “rule of law” becomes a standing joke or WDC politically burns to the ground. Either way, I’m gonna be laughing my ass off while getting shitfaced.

      01/31/16 8:20 AM | Comment Link

    • Links 31/1/2016: OpenELEC 6.0.1, Linux Lite 2.8 | Techrights said...


      […] What’s In A Name? Iraqis Change Names to Avoid Being Targeted by Militias […]

      01/31/16 1:01 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Poor Hill has a berning feeling also (cackle). Hear hear for Peter!

      01/31/16 8:06 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      What I meant was that from all the writings I have read, which includes articles written by Iraqis, under Saddam the various sects got along well at the street level. Even non-Muslims were not afraid of their neighbors. (Which does not mean that the power elite running the country were not mainly of one sect or another, or that there was not preferential treatment given to one sect within the Saddam government and military.)


      This whole set of candidates, excepting Sanders and Trump, who arose out of the blue as far as the political brokers in the US are concerned, are a bunch of suck-ups to the MIC. They are basically plants to keep the war system going. That includes the war-pig, Clinton. In my latest post on my blog, I included links to a couple of articles on her that you might find interesting. Someone is looking into some of the more questionable donations the Clintons received into their Foundation. I hope she goes to jail (never going to happen, I know), but without putting the bankers and whole bunch of other shits in there with her, it would hardly be meaningful.

      – Teri

      02/1/16 3:29 AM | Comment Link

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