An Iraq of Its Regions: Cornerstones of a Federal Democracy?

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Overview

The fall of Saddam Hussein's regime may have marked a watershed moment in Iraqi history, but to the majority of Iraq's eighteen governorates, the most dramatic shifts in power have yet to occur. In 2008, federal entities will begin to form in south Kurdistan, triggering a series of fundamental changes in Iraq's state structure. This open-ended process is poorly understood in the West, with many believing that federalization will lead to the creation of three large regions based on Iraq's dominant ethno-religious communities: Shiite Arabs, the Sunni Arabs, and the Kurds. However, if the Iraqi constitution is upheld, such an outcome is actually quite unlikely. According to the Iraqi charter, ethnicity does not play a role in the delineation of Iraq's federal map. Instead, regions geographically defined by the conversion or amalgamation of existing governorates will form the building blocks of the new Iraq.

In this volume, contributors offer the first comprehensive overview of regionalism as a political force in Iraq. Their essays present a richly detailed yet cogent analysis of the political and geographical challenges Iraq will face in the upcoming decade.

Contributors: Hashem Ahmadzadeh (University of Exeter); Liam Anderson (Wright State University); James Denselow (King's College); Fanar Haddad (Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter); Alastair Northedge (Université de Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne)); Sajjad Rizvi (Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter); Richard Schofield (King's College); Gareth Stansfield (Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter); Reidar Visser (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs); Ronen Zeidel (University of Haifa)

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Editorial Reviews

Middle East Policy - Wayne E. White

Visser and Stansfield illustrate why those focusing on tactical military success must look deeper.

Middle East Quarterly - Michael Rubin

A unique work that should become the handbook for any serious discussion of Iraqi regionalism

Middle East Policy
Visser and Stansfield illustrate why those focusing on tactical military success must look deeper.

— Wayne E. White, U.S. Department of State, ret.; adjunct scholar, Middle East Institute

Middle East Quarterly
A unique work that should become the handbook for any serious discussion of Iraqi regionalism

— Michael Rubin

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231700054
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/18/2007
  • Series: Columbia/Hurst Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Reidar Visser is a research fellow specializing in Iraqi politics at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo. He is the author of Basra, the Failed Gulf State: Separatism and Nationalism in Southern Iraq. Gareth Stansfield is reader in Middle Eastern politics at the University of Exeter and the author of several books, including Iraq: People, History, Politics.

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