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Title: Ethnofederalism in post-2003 Iraq : alternative explanations of political instability
Author: Mistaffa, Jalal Hasan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 0943
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2016
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Political instability in post-2003 Iraq is easy to detect even by a non-specialist observer. Nevertheless, why Iraq has become politically unstable is a question that has received controversial and sometimes contradictory responses. Partial ethnofederalism is the adopted political system in post-2003 Iraq which several scholars believe causes political instability and threatens the integrity of states. Accordingly, the charge is that ethnofederalism formalizes antagonistic minority identities and empowers them with institutional capabilities. By extension, identity formalization and institutional empowerment make the minorities move towards secession. Thus, the question addressed in this dissertation is to what extent partial ethnofederalism really can be held responsible for political instability in post-2003 Iraq? This dissertation defends partial ethnofederalism against its critics and argues that, far from being the root cause of political instability in Iraq, it has in fact ensured that instability has not turned into disintegration. Three defenses are paramount and constitute the bulk of my argument in support of ethnofederalism in Iraq. The first defense criticizes the critics’ method of approaching ethnofederalism in which they consider it as an independent variable (causing the disintegration of states) rather than a dependent variable (the outcome of ethnic elite negotiations). Considered as a dependent variable in post-2003 Iraq, ethnofederalism was the only viable option. They second defense investigates the history of Iraq and argues that whenever the central governments adopted an ethnic form of autonomy, political stability prevailed and, conversely, whenever the central government rescinded such autonomy arrangements political instability followed. The third defense originates from the question of: if ethnofederalism is not responsible for instability, then what can explain its existence in Iraq? To answer this query, an alternative explanation is offered. I argue that two other factors majorly contributed to the existing political instability in Iraq that are not ethnofederal in nature, namely insufficient legitimacy of the processes that led to re-establishment of the state and deficiencies found in both the processes and structures of some state institutions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Kurdistan Region
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available