About Jaff Tribe   -   The Role of Jaff Tribe in the History of Kurdish People
The Role of Jaff in The History of The Kurdish People

The British occupation after the World War I (1914-1928) was the start of a new era of the despised colonial occupation of our country that followed long and bitter decades of Ottoman rule. The nation under the British faced severe political, social, and economical circumstances, that resulted in huge scars on the lives of our people. This led the citizens to revolt to resist the new occupiers, paying a high price in lives and wealth, where the Jaff tribe bore a large burden of it. Kurdistan became the main arena of revolution and struggle against the occupiers, who faced our people at times with iron fist and fire, and with trickery and machinations at another Under such hard conditions, and as a consequence, the Jaff tribe bore the largest burden of the injustices given their significance, influence, and role in Kurdistan. In the midst of that hardship, Kareem Beg ben Fattah Beg ben Mohammed Pasha Jaff became the leader of the Jaff tribe, who indeed proved worthy of it. He succeeded in maintaining the unity and cohesion of his large tribe, continuing the tradition of accompanying the seasonal travel as practiced by his fathers.

In 1918 and throughout the 1920s, he decided to finally settle in the new Kalar village, which whish began to develop and prosper as it became the main center of the leadership of the Jaff tribe. Following the pattern of their Emirs, Begzadas and other distinguished persons before them, the Jaff nomadic tribe, and due to the prevailing conditions and emerging new circumstances in the land, they continued to settle in the Gar'Mian and Shahrazoor and other around Kirkuk, Sulaimania and Dyala areas, until this new pattern of life became dominant to overcome the old roaming way. In both cases (nomad then settlement), the Kurds never abandoned their sense of firm national belonging and attachment to the land of their beloved country, despite all the hardships and tribulations, which they went through for a long time. This chapter is allocated as a testimony on some of the stands, events, and evidences to corroborate clearly the principled way of life of the Jaff tribe of the struggle in the their modern history, after the British occupation of Iraq in particular, for the objectives of the people and their legitimate aspirations for better life. In addition to the patriotic stand taken by the members of the Jaff tribe, together with other Kurdish fighters with Skaikh Mahmood AlHafeed in the Battle of Shuaiba in 1925, they were also frontrunners when they participated actively in the national revolution of 1920 when the sons of the Roghzaie and Tarkhani clans of the Jaff tribe supported the uprising of the revolutionary Ibrahim Khan in Kifri. They were the avant-garde guard revolutionaries who liberated Kifri town where a local government was formed which included Haj Mohammed Tarkhani and Mohammed Jan Roghzadi. Those individuals suffered from the oppression, terror, and intimidations, like the other revolutionaries in Kifri from the aftermath when the town was reoccupied. The members of the Jaff tribe also took a fully supporting stand with Shaikh Mahmood AlHafeed and his reoccurring uprisings in Sulaimania, and particularly after the return of Shaikh Mahmood from exile in 1922 when the proclamation of his independent government in Sulaimania, and the clashes and fighting with the British that followed. At that period, there was an emergence of leaders from clans of the Jaff tribe like Khalifa Younes, Mohammed Ali Wasman, Rostum Roghzaie, Mahmood Khatter, and Ismaiel Ozeiri, who were the leaders of the main fronts of the Jaff revolutionary forces. It is imperative in this respect to point out the courageous and outstanding stands which the revolutionary Khalifa Younes Roghzadi during the battles of the revolutionaries with the British army after the new fall of Sulaimania in 1924 following the withdrawals of the fighters. His daring stand was phenomenal with Saber Beg in the Greeza battle of 1925 when they and their followers inflicted a punishing defeat on the British forces under the command of Colonel Lauwance, which fled in fright under the cover of four planes, that were bombing the fortresses of the Jaff forces in the vicinity causing heavy losses in lives and property. In February 1931 the sons of the Jaff tribe led by Kareem Beg and Dawood Beg, together with other allied tribes and Shaikh Mahmood AlHafeed, engaged in the legendary battle of Awbareek, when they excelled in fighting and defeating the large government forces, supported from the air by the R.A.F., breaking the sudden siege of the enemy despite their superiority in number and armament.

The patriotic path of the Jaff elite, the Emirs, distinguished individuals, and other persons of the tribe in the Hewa party in the early years of the 1940s, an honorable landmark which their people pride themselves with, and a testimony of their acclaimed political and nationalistic awareness, together with their brethrens of Gar'Mian district in the Hewa party. They played a significant role in the reconciliation conference of the party that was held in Kalar village in the summer of 1944 and succeeded in solving the internal differences that inflicted the party at that period. The village of GezaKan, near Kalar, also embraced the conference in 1945 known as the Qandeela conference, which was allocated to the support of the Barzan revolution of 1945. As a consequence, the Jaff cavalrymen, led by Mustafa Beg Jaff, and other cavalrymen of other tribes, conducted some revolutionary activities against government positions and departments in the area, without achieving the intended objectives. The distinguished participation and initiatives of the Jaff members of the Iraqi parliament during the monarchy period, in the contribution to the demands and requirements of their people; individuals like Mohammad Beg ben Fattah Beg Jaff representing Kirkuk, whose courageous stand regarding the case of Kirkuk in 1930 when he called for the deputy prime minister at that time Ja'afar AlAskari, and the deputy British High Commissioner to the necessity to implement the requirements and the rights of the Kurdish people which were previously adopted by the League of Nations.

Also Ezzat Beg ben Othman Pasha Jaff who was elected to represent Sulaimania, and Ahmed Beg and Hameed Beg ben Majeed Beg the members of the Jaff from Halabcha. There was also the revolutionary Dawood Beg ben Fattah Beg ben Mohammed Pasha Jaff the member from courageous Kirkuk, who retained his membership throughout nine successive parliamentary sessions during the forties and fifties. The events and other happenings that the Jaffs participated in the following stages, are too numerous to be outlined in this research; but we mention in this regard to their sincere participation in the September liberation uprising, and their sacrifices in it, including their active involvement in the events of Darbandikhan in 1961, and the battle of Zale Safar in Gar'Mian district in 1963 under the leadership of Khasro Jaff and Dr. Hassan Jaff, whose braveries were outstanding in that battle. Mustafa Beg Jaff was elected to represent the tribe in the Kurdish Revolutionary Council, led by Mullah Mustafa Barzani in 1964.

Lastly, we wish to state that what had been outlined about the history of the Jaff tribe is a fraction of a wider history of struggle full of events and happenings, which requires much further studies and research to shed light on its various aspects. Further Observations on the Struggle in the late History of the Jaff tribe There is no that the heads (chiefs) of the Jaff tribe had great role in the sever ct between the Ottoman and the Iranian states, over the domination of Kurdistan. This conflict was clearly magnified after the battle of Jalderan in 1514, which took place between Sultan Yawez Selim and Shah Ismaeel AlSafawi, whereby Kurdistan endured great damages and catastrophes and then was divided between the Ottomans and the Safawaites. The conflict was in many ways at the expense of the Kuerdish people, and took the form of sectarian between sheiasm and the sunnism, whereby both states inflamed and horrendously manipulated the differences for their own interests , trying to influence the Kurdish people to take sides. The Safawaites tried very seriously to destroy the independent Kurdish emirates because the majority were sunnis. This policy continued till the reign of Nadir Shah Afshar and the Qajaries. The Ottomans were more cunning and clever than the Safawaites in their dealings with the Kurdish people and were able to allure the emirates to their side through Mulla Idrees Albadleesi, which made them puppets of the Ottoman state to be used according to its own interests, whenever it suited it. At this point in history, the destruction of all the Kurdish emirates which existed since 1848 became the central policy of both states, consequently that policy was achieved and Kurdistan was under the direct rules of each of them. On this path the massive Jaff tribe, spreading on both sides of the borders, stood in the middle of the conflict, and being a significant force, which has its own weight at this stage with its prominent position, became a direct target. It was logical for the Ottomans and the Safawaits, each recognizing the danger and weight of this tribe, to exert all their efforts and pressure to alienate and distance it from the other. That Aman Allah Khan the ruler of Ardalan suppressed and annihililated huge number of Jaff tribe members, arrested and imprisoned it’s leader Walad Beg in Qaslan fortress together with Habib Beg and his sons. Basil Nikitin mentioned in his book (the Kurds) that Jaff tribe for a long period in time settled in the vicinity of Jwanro a province of Ardalan , which was under the the Ardalan rulers. Those rulers had two motives in strengthening their authority; first an ambition to dominate the fertile province of Jwanro; and secondly their apprehension of the strength and fighting power of Jaff tribe.

The hatred between the two tribes reached an epic level following the killing of Zahir Beg the leader of Jaff by Khan Ahmed Khan. After the disappearance the leader Zahir Beg, the tribe went through a period of weakness and disarray, though it did not despair or abandoned its ambition to retain its traditional role to remain the power which should not be disregarded. The well known French historian Jan Core said that after the killing of Nadir Shah Afshar, Mirza Mehdi AlIstarabaddi , the Shah’s confidant , assistance from the leaders of the Kurdish tribes which formed fifty sects of the inhabitants of Kirmanshah and Kurdistan ( Ardalan ), when only Jaff and Mangor tribes answered his call ( Khwaja Tajdar book, edition 1). The peculiarity of the terrain inhabited by the Jaff tribe, distinguished this tribe in its bravery, proficiency, and sheer number of its members, made it feel capable of facing the Iranian and the Ottoman states, obliging them to show respect toward its leaders and seeking their friendliness (The Kurds – Shakir Khesbak , page 37, Baghdad 1972).

The Ottoman Sultans showed even more good will toward the tribe, when it supplied Sultan Morad Pasha IV with a large number of fighters during his campaign on Baghdad, showing unique bravery in the battles. From there they bestowed the title of Jaff The Muradien, which was entitled to generous gifts and gratuities only awarded to special persons or groups. This friendliness between the tribe and the Ottoman State made Jaff take a prominent position in the conflict between two States. Quoting what Mohamed Amin Golestana in this respect in Mojmel Altawareekh : Afsharie we Zendeie – p. 300, that Abdulla Pasha, the Ottoman ruler of the Zehab province which was then under the Ottoman rule, had an armed conflict with Mohamed Khan Alzind because of the latter’s incursion in Zehab, and the Pasha’s subsequent appeal for help from Jaff tribe under the leadership of Qadir Beg bin Tahir Beg Jaff, and also from the Bajilan tribe, then managed to evict the invading forces of the Iranian Zindins. Claudius James Rich , says : “Jaff tribe had a thousand cavalries and four thousands armed men, their men are the bravest of the Kurds and acclaimed amongst all the Kurdish tribes, the armed men are the bravest of the fighters.”

Keikhesro Beg Jaff cooperated with Abdulla Baban against Mahmood pasha Baban, which showed in the battle of Qara gol which took place between Abdulla Pasha with support from the Iranian army under the leadership of Ali Merza the Crown Prine of Iran in 1821, and the army of Mahmood Pasha Baban with the support of Dawood Pasha the ruler of Baghdad, who were convincingly defeated, then Abdulla Pasha was appointed the ruler of the Baban Emirate ( History of Sulaimaneia and Surroundings , Mohamed Amin Zaki Beg , p.143 ). Kaikhesro Beg Jaff died when he was just 44, and succeeded by his son Mohamed Pasha Jaff who became the leader of the tribe.

Al-Amir Kareem beg

Al-Amir Dawood Beg Jaff

Mohammad Beg Jaff

Mustafa Beg

One of the Jaff tribe clans

The Jaff shephered in the sheep-walk

Kaikhesro Beg

Jaff Tribe

By Dr.Sarwat Jaff
jaffsarwat@yahoo.com jaff.sarwat@gmail.com