Activists in post-Saddam Iraq (2003-10) were in the process of forging a new discourse. They rejected what Dahlerup and Freidenvall (2005) termed the 'incremental track' in favour of a 'fast track' discourse. Development, of the country and/or women, was no longer accepted as a prerequisite for democratic rights. Rather, activists believed that immediate measures must be taken to ensure women's inclusion for the simple reason that there can be no democracy without adequate representation of women. Yet, realities in Iraq undermined this discourse; 'representation as presence' did not result in the subsequent 'representation of ideas' hoped for by these activists. Moreover, the rising tide of communal politics threatened not only to sweep away past hard-won advances but to de-prioritise women's concerns-again.