His tomb at Al-ʻUzair on the banks of the Tigris near Basra, Iraq, is a pilgrimage site for the local Marsh Arabs.
In the aftermath, the government intensified the forced relocating of Marsh Arabs and the draining of the Iraqi marshlands, while the Coalition established the Iraqi no-fly zones.
The wholesale destruction of these marshes ended a centuries-old way of life that prevailed among the Shiite Marsh Arabs who made the wetlands their home, and ruined the habitat for dozens of species of migratory birds.
The Iraqi government stated that the action was intended to produce usable farmland, though a number of outsiders believe the destruction was aimed against the Marsh Arabs as retribution for their participation in the 1991 uprising.
The southern marshes have traditionally been home to many Marsh Arabs.
Saddam Hussein extended this work in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as part of ecological warfare against the Marsh Arabs, a rebellious group of people in Baathist Iraq.
The Mesopotamian Marshes, which were inhabited by the Marsh Arabs, were almost completely drained.
In 1994, 60 percent of the wetlands were destroyed by Hussein's regime – drained to permit military access and greater political control of the native Marsh Arabs.
In a 2011 study focusing on the genetics of Marsh Arabs of Iraq, researchers identified Y chromosome haplotypes shared by Marsh Arabs, Iraqis, and Assyrians, "supporting a common local background."
The Marsh Arabs (Arabic: عرب الأهوار
in recent times, occasionally with a Western-style jacket over the top) and a keffiyeh ("headcloth") worn twisted around the head in a turban, as few could afford an ʻiqāl. The society of the Marsh Arabs was divided into two main groups by occupation.
The majority of Marsh Arabs are Twelver Shiʿi Muslims, though in the marshes small communities of Mandaic-speaking Mandaeans (often working as boat builders and craftsmen) live alongside them.
Wilfred Thesiger commented that while he met few Marsh Arabs who had performed the Hajj, many of them had made the pilgrimage to Mashhad (thereby earning the title Zair);
Many of the Marsh Arabs' codes of behaviour were similar to those of the desert tribes.
Most Marsh Arabs lived in arched reed houses considerably smaller than a mudhif.
Many scholars have proposed historical and genetic links between the Marsh Arabs and the ancient Sumerians based on shared agricultural practices and methods of house-building.
A 2011 Study showed that Marsh Arabs have a high concentration of Y-chromosomal Haplogroup J-M267 and mtDNA haplogroup J having the highest concentration, with haplogroups H, U and T following.
According to this study, Marsh Arabs have the following haplogroups.
This was done primarily to eliminate the food source(s) of the Marsh Arabs and to prevent any remaining militiamen from taking refuge in the marshes, the Badr Brigades and other militias having used them as cover.
The Marsh Arabs, who numbered about half a million in the 1950s, have dwindled to as few as 20,000 in Iraq, according to the United Nations.