Books

An Iraq of Its Regions: Cornerstones of a Federal Democracy?



The fall of Saddam Hussein's regime may have marked a watershed in Iraqi history, but to the majority of Iraq's eighteen governorates, the most dramatic challenges lie ahead. With the formation of federal entities south of Kurdistan due to begin in 2008, fundamental changes to Iraq's state structure can be expected over the coming decade. The parameters of this open-ended process are poorly understood in the West. There seems to be a widespread belief among commentators that the federalisation of Iraq will lead, more or less automatically, to the creation of three large regions based on Iraq's dominant ethno-religious communities, the Shiite Arabs, the Sunni Arabs and the Kurds. However, if the Iraqi constitution is adhered to, such an outcome is actually quite unlikely. According to the Iraqi charter, ethnicity has no role to play in the delineation of Iraq's federal map. Instead regions - geographically defined by the conversion or amalgamation of existing governorates - will form the building blocks of the new Iraq. This volume is the first to offer a comprehensive overview of regionalism as a political force in contemporary Iraq.

Professor Eric Davis reviewed the book for MERIP commenting:

"James Denselow’s essay, "Mosul, the Jazira Region and the Syrian-Iraqi Borderlands," deftly demonstrates the problems created by Western colonialism in the post-Ottoman Middle East, underscoring that these problems have less to do with ethnicity than with social, cultural and economic disruption of traditional patterns of life. The ill-defined nature of the Syrian-Iraqi borderlands, and the divisions created among tribes and ethnic groups as some members were arbitrarily placed on one side of the border or the other, provided a recipe for unstable relations and conflict between the two states. Richard Schofield’s well-written chapter, "Borders, Regions and Time," is one of the best accounts of the shaping of the borders of modern Iraq. He is one of the few contributors who gives political economy its due, showing the importance of oilfields in Great Britain’s calculations when drawing the boundaries"


America and Iraq: Policy-making, Intervention and Regional Politics Since 1958

Using a range of innovative methods to interrogate US foreign policy, ideology and culture, the book provides a broad set of reflections on past, present and future implications of US-Iraqi relations, and especially the strategic implications for US policy-making. In doing so, it examines several key aspects of relationship such as: the 1958 Iraqi Revolution; the impact of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War; the impact of the Nixon Doctrine on the regional balance of power; US attempts at rapprochement during the 1980s; the 1990-91 Gulf War; and, finally, sanctions and inspections. Analysis of the contemporary Iraq crisis sets US plans against the ‘reality’ they faced in the country, and explores both attempts to bring security to Iraq, and the implications of failure.

 

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