With each day that passed after the 2003 invasion, the United States seemed to sink deeper in the treacherous quicksand of Iraq's social discord, floundering in the face of deep ethno-sectarian divisions that have impeded the creation of a viable state and the molding of a unified Iraqi identity. Yet as Adeed Dawisha shows in this superb political history, the story of a fragile and socially fractured Iraq did not begin with the American-led invasion--it is as old as Iraq itself. Dawisha traces the history of the Iraqi state from its inception in 1921 following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and up to the present day. He demonstrates how from the very beginning Iraq's ruling elites sought to unify this ethnically diverse and politically explosive society by developing state governance, fostering democratic institutions, and forging a national identity.
Dawisha, who was born and raised in Iraq, gives rare insight into this culturally rich but chronically divided nation, drawing on a wealth of Arabic and Western sources to describe the fortunes and calamities of a state that was assembled by the British in the wake of World War I and which today faces what may be the most serious threat to survival that it has ever known. Featuring Dawisha's insightful new afterword on recent political developments, Iraq is required reading for anyone seeking to make sense of what's going on in Iraq today, and why it has been so difficult to create a viable government there.
Adeed Dawisha is distinguished professor of political science at Miami University in Ohio. His books include Arab Nationalism in the Twentieth Century (Princeton), Syria and the Lebanese Crisis, and Egypt in the Arab World.
Acknowledgments ix Chapter One Introduction 1 Chapter Two Consolidating the Monarchical State, 1921-1936 8 Chapter Three Framing Democracy with a Certain Indifference, 1921-1936 40 Chapter Four The Uncertain Nation, 1921-1936 67 Chapter Five Turbulence in Governance, 1936-1958 92 Chapter Six Potholes in the Democratic Road, 1936-1958 120 Chapter Seven Nationalism and the Ethnosectarian Divide, 1936-1958 136 Chapter Eight The Monarchy's Political System, 1921-1958 148 Chapter Nine The Authoritarian Republic, 1958-1968 171 Chapter Ten The State Rules without Rules, 1968-2003 209 Chapter Eleven Politics in the New Era, 2003- 242 Chapter Twelve W(h)ither Iraq? 275 Notes 291 Bibliography 343 Afterword to the 2013 Edition: So Much Promise, So Many Disappointments 359 Index 375