Shi'i Islam has been the focus of sustained attention since the success of the Iranian revolution in 1979. Yet beyond the Iranian case, the role of Shi'ism in politics across the Middle East has attracted little serious research. Even less attention has been given to Shi'ism and Shi'ite militancy in Iraq - which preceded the Iranian revolution - and less still to their nature and origins; the social movements they engendered; the ideological responses they gave rise to; and their specific sources of power and legitimacy. This book attempts to fill the gap in our understanding of Shi'ite ideology and social and cultural identity in Iraq. It is also a useful resource for analysis of the current conflict in Iraq, as the suppressed, majority Shi'ites are certain to play a crucial role in any future shaping of that country.
Faleh A. Jabar was a Visiting Fellow at the School of Politics and Sociology at London University's Birkbeck College. He wrote extensively about Iraq and the Middle East in such works as Post-Marxism and the Middle East; Ayatollahs, Sufis and Ideologues: State, Religion and Social Movements in Iraq; and (as co-editor) Tribes and Power: Nationalism and Ethnicity in the Middle East, all published by Saqi Books.