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Title: The battle between tie and turban : impediments to democratization in Iraq
Author: Alkifaey, Hamid Jaber Ali
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 8929
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2016
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The basic contention of this study is that democratization in post-2003 Iraq has faltered due to a multiplicity of reasons that include the role of religion in politics, lack of democratic tradition, weak sponsor commitment, the legacy of the dictatorial regime, exclusionary policies, stateness problem, interference by regional powers, rentier economy and sectarianism among others. Long years after toppling the Ba’athist dictatorial regime, the establishment of stable democratic institutions continues to elude Iraq. I argue that post-2003 Iraq could not completely eradicate the long historical tradition of despotic governance due to both deep-seated religious beliefs and tribal values, along with widening societal ethno-sectarian rifts which precluded the negotiation of firm and stable elite settlements and pacts across communal lines. After exploring the different definitions of democracy, I discuss the adverse effects of these endogenous impediments to democratization; arguing that they were compounded by a hostile regional environment and the rise of sectarian fundamentalism and armed groups and militias which have mushroomed later due to terrorist threats and outside support. I will examine how the fear by neighbouring countries of a region-wide domino effect of the Iraq democratisation process caused them to adopt interventionist policies towards post-2003 Iraq that helped to stunt the growth of democracy. The lack of resolve and commitment by the sponsor and initiator of the post-2003 democratic process, the United States, undermined the prospects of democratic consolidation. This is compounded by serious administrative mistakes such as the Deba’athification policy and disbanding the Iraqi army which caused a security vacuum that the US forces were not able to fill. This is in addition to the absence of strong competent leaders which the Iraqi society failed to produce. The contribution of this study is to identify clearly the main impediments to democratization in Iraq, providing the evidence for each of them. Identification of the problem is crucial for finding solutions which are not impossible if the right leaders, who are ready to make difficult decisions, emerge.
Supervisor: Massey, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Iraq ; Democratization