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 social actors involved; the ideological responses they gave rise to and the specific sources of power and legitimacy the ulema (rulers) wielded. This book is an attempt to fill the gap in our understanding of the social and cultural identity created through the ideology of Shi'i Islam in Iraq.
Faleh A. Jabar is a Visiting Fellow at the School of Politics and Sociology at Birkbeck College, London University. He has written extensively about Iraq and the Middle East. His works include Post-Marxism and the Middle East and Ayatollahs, Sufis and Ideologues: State, Religion and Social Movements in Iraq and (as co-editor) Tribes and Power, all published by Saqi Books.