|Title of host publication
|The Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism
|Place of Publication
|Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
|Published - 30 Dec 2015
Since it was constructed by Britain as a Sunni-hegemonic nation-state in 1920 and a monarchy in 1921, Iraq has been confronted by sectarian (mainly Sunni–Shi'i) and ethnic (mainly Arab–Kurdish) challenges. The monarchy and its divisive tribal policy were abolished by the 1958 revolution, but the other challenges remained. The promotion of pan-Arabism by most regimes, too, complicated the crystallization of an Iraqi national community: most Shi'is and Kurds were wary of being “drowned” in a unified Sunni Arab ocean. While the monarchy was semidemocratic, it was succeeded in 1958 by highly authoritarian regimes. The American occupation and the demise of the Baath ushered in three major developments: Iraq became a democracy, albeit a seriously flawed one; political hegemony passed into Shii hands; and the Kurds won real autonomy. By 2015 the democratization of Iraq had still failed to create an integrative patriotic unity and resolve the ethnic and sectarian tensions.