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Title: The power of ideas : communism, Iraqism and Pan-Arabism in the ideological formation of the Iraqi Communist Party, 1958-1979
Author: Franzén, Johan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 2268
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2009
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This dissertation analyses the ideological development of the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) during the period 1958 to 1979. Chapter I investigates the formation of the new Iraqi state during the British mandate, focusing on how the introduction of modem education was crucial for the development of a new intelligentsia that championed novel forms of political thinking. The latter part of the chapter analyses the emergence and political development of the ICP from 1934 until 1958. Chapter II is a detailed study of the ICP's ideology as it developed under the leadership of Yusuf Salman Yusuf (Comrade Fahad) in the 1940s. Chapter III looks at the Qasim period (1958-63), during which the ICP was at its strongest politically by virtue of its alliance with the regime. Chapter IV analyses the period that started with the bloody overthrow of Qasim in February 1963 and ended with the Ba'thist coup of July 1968. Finally, Chapter V is a study of the Ba'thi period 1968-79. Using a methodology for studying ideology developed from the works of Martin Seliger, John B. Thompson and Michael Freeden as well as the theories of Antonio Gramsci, the study argues that the intelligentsia is key for the development and success of ideologies. In Iraq, the spread of communism and other modern political ideologies was thus preceded by the introduction of modem education wresting didactic monopoly from the 'ulama'. Furthermore, the thesis shows how Iraqi communism was torn between the `fundamental' and the 'operational' dimensions of its ideology. Over the period of study, new 'master-ideas' challenging the ideational core of communist ideology were gradually introduced, eventually precipitating a split along ideological lines in 1967, with one side firmly rooted in 'operational' ideology whereas the breakaway organisation desired the return to a purified `fundamental' ideology. The thesis demonstrates how the ICP acted consistently within ideational frameworks laid down by the confines of its ideology. The study thus forms a vital part of the history of modern Iraq in that it shows the importance of ideology and the motivational power of political beliefs in a country deemed perennially to be dominated by patrimonialism, clientelism and tribalism. This way, the study challenges the almost comprehensive academic consensus that prescribes a sort of insusceptibility to ideology and political belief systems in the modem history of Iraq.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available