Red Star Over Iraq: Iraqi Communism Before Saddam

Overview

Recent outbreaks of sectarian and ethnic violence have thrown Iraq's stability into doubt, suggesting the country's politics are a farce and its political parties are nothing more than the protectors of ethnosectarian interests. Because of the artificiality of the Iraqi state and its absence of deep-seated political institutions, skeptics fear the country is destined to revert to primordialism, yet Iraq's present situation is largely the result of Saddam Hussein's infamous rule over the past three decades, ...

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Red Star Over Iraq: Iraqi Communism Before Saddam

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Overview

Recent outbreaks of sectarian and ethnic violence have thrown Iraq's stability into doubt, suggesting the country's politics are a farce and its political parties are nothing more than the protectors of ethnosectarian interests. Because of the artificiality of the Iraqi state and its absence of deep-seated political institutions, skeptics fear the country is destined to revert to primordialism, yet Iraq's present situation is largely the result of Saddam Hussein's infamous rule over the past three decades, exacerbated by the deprivations of international sanctions.

Johan Franzén underscores the role of these destabilizing factors, arguing that before Hussein's ascent to power, diverse parties representing a variety of ideological platforms characterized Iraqi government. The largest and most important of these groups was the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP), the only true cross-sectarian party in Iraqi history drawing support from all of Iraq's communities. From its inception in 1934 to its demise at the hands of Hussein in 1979, the ICP continuously resisted various regimes and spread communist ideology throughout Iraq. At times the party achieved considerable success, though it ultimately failed to seize absolute power. Red Star Over Iraq analyzes this rich history to project a different picture of a future Iraq.

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review

No college-level Middle East collection should be without it!

From the Publisher

"One of the great virtues of Franzén's study lies in its interweaving of the story of the Iraqi Communist Party with the story of Iraq itself. He succeeds in bringing out, through exemplary and detailed research, the ways in which the party's sometimes turbulent inner political debates and struggles did not prevent it from appealing to a wide spectrum of Iraqi society. In doing so, he reminds us of the courage and imagination of the thousands of Iraqis who believed that the ICP held out a better prospect for the country than strident nationalism on one hand, or sectarian division on the other." --Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231702300
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 9/13/2011
  • Series: Columbia/Hurst Series
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Johan Franzén is lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of East Anglia and the author of A Modern History of Iraq. He holds a Ph.D. in Middle East history from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and has published extensively on the politics and history of the Arab world.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations xi

A Note on Transliteration and Style xii

Glossary xv

Acknowledgements xix

Introduction 1

1 The Making of a Nation 5

2 The Iraqi Communist Party and the Advent of Ideological Politics 33

3 Communists, Kurds, and Arab Nationalists in Revolutionary Iraq, 1958-1963 85

4 'Non-Capitalist' Development, 'Arab Socialism' and Armed Rebellion During the Reign of the Arefs, 1963-1968 127

5 Nationalism, Patriotism and 'Progressiveness' in the Era of Ba'thi Consolidation of State Power, 1968-1979 185

Conclusion 245

Bibliography 249

Index 263

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