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Title: Exclusion and authoritarianism in Iraq : explaining the limits of institutional design and ethnic conflict management in a divided society
Author: Mako, Shamiran
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 3111
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2016
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This dissertation seeks to explain and ascertain the relationship between state institutions and ethnic conflict in Iraq. The central argument is that institutions matter, and a divided society's early institutional setup during the critical period of state formation and statebuilding determines that state's sequential response to subsequent group conflict. Contextualizing the role of state institutions alongside ethnic elite behaviour facilitates the development of a nuanced understanding of the interplay between the state and its divided society. As a theory-building endeavour, the dissertation identifies the conditions under which groups grievances are advanced, the processes that lead to their mobilization, and the institutional constraints that shape their trajectory. By identifying historically-contingent causal links during critical junctures and under more gradual processes of change that generate cumulative effects and patterns of ethnic dominance, we observe that ethnic elites and institutions determine the parameters of ethnic dominance and re-dominance of the state during critical statebuilding periods where more inclusive governing options would have increased inter-ethnic cooperation and cohesion. In doing so, it explicates the causal mechanisms linking institutional design and ethnic conflict in divided, post-colonial states. I posit that ethnic conflict in divided societies emerges as a process rather than an abrupt rupture in the state's structural and institutional composition. Specifically, as a social process, it unfolds overtime, at varying speeds, and with divergent outcomes in a given state and within a given institutional context. This process is preconditioned by the presence of two interdependent variables at the time of state formation and throughout various statebuilding periods-authoritarianism and exclusion that produce and reproduce patterns of ethnic dominance. Conceptualizing the effects of these variables requires a temporal analysis of their development overtime and in a given institutional setting. In the case of Iraq, the state's institutional response to discord has played a decisive role in moulding ethnic and religious mobilization and patterns of ethnic dominance in response to exclusion and authoritarian governance during three critical junctures-1920 as a result of exogenous state formation and state building by Britain; 1958 with the coup d'état and the birth of the republic, culminating in the Ba'thist takeover in 1968 that cemented autocratic single-party rule; and, finally, post-2003 resulting in state reformulation and exogenously imposed democratization that has produced a stagnating state. The dissertation applies both qualitative and quantitative research methods within political science in order to frame the empirical puzzle. It draws on archival research using the British National Archives in London, the Ba'th Party archives at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress. Extensive empirical research was also conducted at Harvard University's Law School library which houses pertinent documents regarding cross-national legal codes. The quantitative component consisted of multiple linear regressions using the Fragile State Index which contains aggregate data measuring various socio-economic and political indicators. Lastly, the work also relies on elite interviews with community members in and outside of Iraq as well as American policy makers to gain a deeper understanding of U.S. policy outcomes on Iraq's post-2003 governing trajectory. The dissertation's findings are significant as it is the first study of its kind to apply multi-level research methods to the temporal study of ethnic conflict, authoritarianism, and democratic transition in Iraq. The findings are triangulated in order to reframe our understanding of the processes that lead to ethnic mobilization, which has implications for measuring the success or failure of post-conflict statebuilding in ethnically divided societies undergoing transition from authoritarian rule.
Supervisor: Swenden, Wilfried ; Saouli, Adham Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: state institutions ; ethnic conflict ; Iraq ; state formation ; state building ; cumulative effects ; ethnic dominance ; authoritarianism