Amatzia Baram, Noga Efrati, Ronen Zeidel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


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.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISBN (Electronic)9781118663202
ISBN (Print)9781405189781
StatePublished - 30 Dec 2015


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