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Negotiating in Civil ConflictConstitutional Construction and Imperfect Bargaining in Iraq$
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Haider Ala Hamoudi

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226315348

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226068794.001.0001

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Iraqi Divisions

Iraqi Divisions

Chapter:
(p.32) Chapter Two Iraqi Divisions
Source:
Negotiating in Civil Conflict
Author(s):

Ala Hamoudi Haider

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226068794.003.0003

This chapter describes the nature of the divisions between the major groups in Iraqi society. It shows how these disparate communities— Sunni, Shi’a and Kurd— not only contested political power within the nation state, but also had very different ideas on the manner in which the state should be organized, in particular respecting federalism and the role of Islam in the state. The Shi’a were a majority community internally divided on the question of federalism (though initially led by federalist forces) but generally united in their commitment to Islam and the Shi’a clerical elite. They were also uncompromisingly majoritarian in their outlook, and opposed countermajoritarian institutions of almost any sort. The Kurds were considerably more secular, but committed above all else to a deeply confederal Iraqi union. The Sunnis were Iraq’s historic ruling community. They were nationalists and centralists, and deeply opposed subnational particularism. These were divisions that were not easy to bridge in the context of bargaining over the terms of constitutional text, no matter how earnest or time consuming that bargaining might be.

Keywords:   Iraq, Sunni, Shi’a, Shi’ism, Kurds, Nationalism, Federalism, Islam, Islamic Constitutionalism, Najaf

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