Sheikh Wasfi Al-Assi, a prominent figure of the Al-Obaid tribe, was officially appointed as the emir of Al-Obaid tribe in Iraq, the Arab nation and the world, replacing former emir Anwar Al-Assi, who died in mid-November.
Wasfi Al-Assi, who is currently a member of the Iraqi parliament, has received the support and approval of the majority of the Al-Obaidi family and tribe to take office as the emir of the Al-Obaidi tribe.
The inauguration ceremony of Wasfi Al-Assi was held in a large hall in Kirkuk province on Thursday, September 29, in the presence of hundreds of sheikhs and personalities of the Al-Obaid tribe, as well as academics and citizens of different Iraqi provinces.
The ceremony followed a consultative meeting held a few days ago at the home of the late Haji Nazim Al-Assi, a prominent figure in the tribe, said Sheikh Ma'ad Fandi during the ceremony.
"To be frank with you, three of our uncles were present at the consultative meeting," Fandi said, referring to a number of prominent figures and the sheikh of the Obed tribe.
The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the tribal flag and the late Anwar Al-Assi's robe to the new emir, an old tradition of the tribe.
Al-Obaidi is one of the Arab tribes in Iraq, settled around Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia. It hails from the tribe of Zubaid, in Najid of Saudi Arabia. The tribe was founded by Obaid son of Sultan Jabr bin Maktoum Al Zubaidi, after they deserted Saudi Arabi to Iraq in 1750.
They settled in Iraq-Syria-Turkey triangle and due to their expansion, they faced rivalry from neighbor Arab tribes such as Al-Shammar. Al-Obaidi's became the ruling Sheikhs of that region and to this day carry the right to use the title of Sheikh.
On Wednesday evening, September 28, Sheikh Raad Al-Assi, one of the sheikhs and personalities of the Al-Obaid, published a statement on behalf of 10 Obaidi personalities, expressing their protest against the appointment of the new emir ceremony.
The statement, posted on Raad Al-Assi's official Facebook account, called for the ceremony to be postponed until after the 40th day (Arbaeen) of the death of late Emir Shiekh Anwar Al-Al-Assi. "This ceremony creates divisions between these tribes, clans, families and hatred among our sons," it said.
Former chief of the Obed tribe (Sheikh Anwar Al-Assi) passed away on September 13, 2022 in Kirkuk.
On Friday, September 23, in a statement signed by three leaders of the Al-Obaidi tribe in Kirkuk, all brothers and sons of Mazhar Al-Assi, referred to the appointment of Sheikh Qais Mazhar Al-Assi, as the "emir of Al-Obaidi tribe" in Iraq and Arab countries.
The three brothers, Burhan, Ghassan and Qais, are nephews of late Anwar Al-Assi, the former emir of the tribe. However, Wasfi Al-Assi's family and other figures of the Obed tribe quickly insisted that they "do not represent the tribe" and stressed that "the mechanism for electing the emir of the Al-Obaid is not prqacticed in this way.”
From the time of the monarchy to the present day, the Al-Obaidis have been seen influencing the politics of Iraq. Most recently the Al-Obaidi family has taken a strong and leading role in controlling the defense ministry in Iraq as many of the most experienced generals of the Iraqi army come from this family.
Jibour, Obaid, Hadidi, Hamdani, Tamim, Mafraj and Shammar are among popular tribes in Kirkuk. They are divided between two blocs: The Arab United Front led by Al-Obaid and the Arab Council led by al-Jibour, particularly current acting governor of Kirkuk Rakan Al-Jibouri.