The title of your research?!
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 4
1.2 Problem Statement (Main Argument) 4
1.2 Significance of Research 6
1.3 The Main Research Question 7
1.4 Scope and Limitations 8
1.5 Research Design and Methodology 10
1.6 Chapter Breakdown 12
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 13
2.1 Introduction 13
2.2 Identity in Divided Societies 13
2.3 Context of Identity in Iraq 19
2.4 Kurdish Regional Government Identity 25
2.5 Conclusion 29
CHAPTER 3: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 30
3.1 Introduction 30
3.2 Conceptual Framework 32
3.3 Relationship between Ethnicity, Cultural identity and National Identity 34
3.4 Religious Sectarianism by Ethnicities as a function of National Identity 35
3.5 Conclusion 37
CHAPTER 4: NATION AND NATIONALISM 38
4.1 Introduction 38
4.2 Iraqi Nationalism 41
4.3 Challenges to Iraq Nationalism 44
4.4 Conclusion 48
CHAPTER 5: ETHNO-NATIONALISM 49
5.1 Introduction 49
5.2 Ethno Nationalism in Iraq-Kurdistan (Past) 52
5.3 Addressing Ethno Nationalism 56
5.4 Conclusion 59
CHAPTER 6: RELIGIOUS SECTARIANISM 60
6.1 Introduction 60
6.2 Religious Sectarianism in Iraq 64
6.3 Challenge of Religious Sectarianism in Iraq 67
6.4 Conclusion 70
CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSION 71
7.1 Main Findings 71
7.3 Reflections on the Research Questions 72
7.3 Contributions of the Research 73
The primary problem with Iraq is the presence of many ethnicities and religious factions that complicate the process of government formation and establishment a unified national identity. The primary argument of this study is that despite the various divisions, the country still has a nationalism, albeit an ethnosectarian one. The research on the state of Iraq is essential to provide a different insight into the continuing search for methods of fostering political stability in a country that has been in political and social upheavals for more than half a century. The primary issues of discussion with regards to the Iraqi nationalism are religious sectarianism, ethnonationalism, nation and nationalism and identity of divided societies. The literature review of nation and nationalism is focused on the general foundations of making a country and how the people stay united despite their differences. Ethnonationalism attempts to contextualise the current state of Iraq as a function of different ethnic communities fighting for power and national resources. Discussion on religious sectarianism shows how an intensified belief system affects the possibility of change, even if the shift in thinking leads to benefits for individuals and communities. The study concludes by delving into the main arguments and findings from the literature review as well as reflections of the research questions and future implications.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.2 Problem Statement (Main Argument)
Nationalism [you could say it is the ideology of unity, it is the twofold feeling of belonging, first a feeling of belonging to a group of people and second a feeling of belonging to land]. is an essential aspect of every country’s socio-political and economic life and often determines the various faction and systems that govern people. Since the 19th and 20th century the processes of industrialisation and technological advancements have accompanied a myriad of changes in the running of government and the underlying theories of nationalism (Cortés, 2017). Different nations have adopted different approaches to self-determination, such as monarchism, kingdoms, democracy, and republicanism. A significant number of countries in the modern era seek to move from traditional methods of governance to adopt a nationalism that unites the people despite the religious, tribal, and racial differences (Cortés, 2017). The objective of this study is to explore nationalism in a modern nation-state; namely, Iraq to identify the various causes of the political and social challenges that hinder the unification of the Iraqi people. From the onset, this study is based on the premise that although Iraq has a nationalism, it has not been shared by the whole population since [you could say since there are different ethnic and religious groups and the feeling of belonging to such groups is stronger to the feeling of belonging to one nation as Iraqis] different factions in the society attempt to take control of the government and the systems at the expense of the rest of the society [this is not clear and that is not the reason why there is a lack of feeling of belonging]. The study will first offer background into the nationalism of countries with diverse communities to lay a foundation for the discussion of national identity in Iraq, or lack thereof. Then the thesis critically reviews the literature to analyse the different concepts that hinder a sense of civil democracy for the people of Iraq. Notably, this study focuses heavily on the history of Iraq and the Middle East region, a factor that is crucial in understanding the modern state .
One of the primary assumptions about countries that experience political turmoil, such as Iraq, is that their society is deeply divided along ethnic and religious lines, and there is a lack of a national identity. However, according to Horowitz (1985), every country in the world consists of people who are from different ethnic backgrounds. Divisions within a nation are common as exemplified by societies such as Ireland where there are differences between Protestants and Catholics or in former Yugoslavia between Muslim, Croats, and Serbs (Steiner, Jaramillo and Maia, 2017). The problem in Iraq, however, is that there are different ethnic and religious groups such as the Kurds, Sunni, and Shia, they have not identified an effective method of co-existence where all the people are united despite their differences [what about elections and government formation in Iraq?]. Proving that countries can exist even within a framework of having groups with different beliefs have been the subject of study by researchers such as Alesina and Reich (2015). If a country like the US can have different races and people from all over the world sharing a democracy, then it is also possible for Iraq to formulate an approach that ethnic and religious differences do not hinder the national identity.
Mainstream media [such as? Give us some evidence from the mainstream media] has presented an image where Iraq is a troubled and divided country. While the above premise may be true, this thesis offers an alternative argument that the source of Iraq’s political upheavals is not due to the presence of different ethnic and religious groups, but rather the lack of tolerance [you mean the source is the political culture of the peoples in Iraq?]. The presence of many entities is in itself a factor of Iraq nationalism [the is not clear] and the problem is to find an approach of harmonisation. Alesina and Reich (2015) and Horowitz (1985) agree that co-existence, as opposed to the total lack of national identity, is often the primary problem in Iraq [has Horowitz mentioned Iraq in his analysis?]
1.2 Significance of Research
The reader might question the significance or the need to explore the Iraqi national identity, and how this thesis is helpful to Iraq and the globe. Primarily, globalisation has turned the world into a single virtual space where people can move quickly between borders for business, education, and entertainment. When a country like Iraq is continuously engaged in political and social turmoil, there are reverberating effects on every side of the globe in terms of economic development and peace. Achiume (2019) notes that having different ethnicities in one area is common, and the state of one of the tribes can often determine how the entire community, in this case, the globe, exists. Statistical data from Guelke (2010) indicates that 75 % of the world’s known stateless populations belong to minority groups who lack a sense of identity, primarily due to political unrest in their places of birth. Therefore, is this study can offer insights into enhancing nationalism in Iraq into a civil and unified national identity. Having achieved that the benefits reach to the entire global population.
The immediate benefits of the study are the possibility of limiting the conflict in Iraq between the Shia and Sunni as well as the Kurds and Arabs [you mean, if if was used as a policy paper or when the ideas discussed in the thesis were to be put into practice]. The factions mentioned above are divided due to their political history that is marked by conflict and fight for control over Iraq’s national resources. Therefore, research into the state of nationalism can offer an approach into the formation of a government representing all communities, and the new administration can steer the country into economic development and civil democracy based on the rule of law [this line of reasoning does not follow! How a new administration, do you mean, a new administration where it has a form of nationalism with a strong feeling of belonging of the people to one nation]. Guelke (2010) contextualises the significance of historical studies into different nations in that the resulting solutions can always be replicated into other regions experiencing the same problems or in the future.
1.3 The Main Research Question
[this is not how research question is written, you need to write it in a paragraph form and you need to tell the reader what is the primary research question, and how the sub-questions are relevant in finding asnwers and also validating your main argument] What constitutes identity in divided societies? How can Iraq identity be defined within the current social political environment? How has ethnicity affected Iraq national identity? What is the role of religious sectarianism in diminishing Iraq national unity? What are the challenges of ethno-nationalism and sectarianism in Iraq?
1.4 Scope and Limitations
Given that nationalism is a broad subject, the scope of this study is considerably broad and consists of five significant sub-topics namely identity in divided societies, nation and nationalism, Iraqi history and national identity, ethnonationalism and religious sectarianism. The first factor of division within the same society is not limited to Iraq but also covers other countries such as Ireland which were equally divided but have developed structures to foster national unity. Steiner, Jaramillo and Maia (2017), Achiume (2019) and Guelke (2010) are adamant that effects in one part of the globe affect the entire worldly population and their political studies are not usually limited in scope to the specific region under review. Nation and nationalism will delve into how countries are formed for longevity as opposed to sharing of power [do you mean, power sharing is not effective in deeply divided societies?] that does not last to benefit the citizens. However, this thesis strictly focuses on the underlying theories of nationalism and in the light of these makes an analysis of the case of Iraq. The section on Iraqi history and national identity exhibits how the problems of past regimes have caused the current political and social problems in the country. Fliervoet (2018) relays that without a proper understanding of a country’s history, it is often challenging to contextualise modern success or failure concerning national identity.
Ethno-nationalism and religious sectarianism are the two subjects that are strictly within the scope of Iraqi borders. Iraq is deeply divided along ethnic and religious lines, this is a factor that will be the basis of discussion. The Kurds, the Shia, and the Sunni, often traverse the larger Middle East region, and the scope of the study may include countries such as Syria, Turkey and Saudi Arabia [be aware that your case study is Iraq and you should make reference to those other cases by way of reference] (BBC News, 2017). Therefore, it can be argued that while this study is based on the crisis of national identity in Iraq, analysis of factors related to other nations and subjects help to contextualise the argument further.
Considering the scope of this thesis, one of the primary limitations is time to conduct ethnographic research that would help the researcher be a part of the Iraq society to experience the hardships of the people [but you are an Iraqi and you are a part of the Kurdish community in Iraq – so you have addressed this limitation]. By being part of the community for some time, the researcher observes the ethnicities and religious groups to get primary data for analysis. Lack of primary data led to the use of an alternative methodology discussed in the section below [yes this is a limitation]. The second limitation involves a lack of a definitive way to determine whether the information coagulated from secondary sources is accurate. To minimise the possible errors emanating from such a constraint, the study uses peer-reviewed research articles, books, and publications from government, and reputable organisations such as global news agencies. Thirdly, given that every country has sovereignty, it is challenging to access classified data and information about Iraq from either the state government of foreign intelligence services to understand if there are external interference and sabotage to Iraq national identity. Finally, comparative analysis of literature on the subject shows that there is often a cultural bias and the researcher’s interpretation of the issue in Iraq might be inclined to only a single perspective (Connor, 1994). [and you need to tell us how you have overcome this bias or how you have tried to minimize it while acknowledging it and being aware of it]
1.5 Research Design and Methodology
This thesis is not based on empirical data and does not have an experiment and therefore it does not rely on primary data for analysis. The thesis has chosen a qualitative research design that relies exclusively on secondary data to answer the main research question. Doody and Bailey (2016) inform that research questions do not always have to guide a study to a definite answer, which is one of the objectives of this exploratory research. Unlike a quantitative model that relies heavily on statistical and experimental data, the qualitative approach is essential due to the use of historical data that does not require any testing or evaluation of a premise [are you sure that qualitative does not need testing or evaluation!]. However, the study acknowledges that the exploration of the nationalism and religious sectarianism of Iraq are all incumbent on having a strong command of the information of reference. The rationale for choosing a qualitative study is the need to foster openness in the discussion and to ensure that the researcher does not present a conclusive argument [you need to elaborate more on this, why qualitative is the correct method to answer your main research question and validate your main argument]
Since the subject of nationalism in Iraq is still under study as the politics in the region advance, the research employs the exploratory research design. According to Swanson (2015) the approach is applicable for any subject that has not been studied conclusively and the researcher aims to explore the study further to present a new perspective. National identity Iraq has been the subject of numerous studies, most of which have portrayed the country negatively as one without a nationalism [give evidence of such studies please]. While exploration can sometimes means scientific testing and experimentation, this study is more inclined to the approach that studies, examines and analyses the already existing phenomena in a bid to form a new concrete view (Reiter, 2017). The study submits that the choice of exploratory research design is based on the newly found increase in self-reflexivity in social and political studies [what does it mean]. Swanson (2015) is more precise in his explanation when he says that social sciences are purposeful to maximise the understanding of generalizations – [ do you mean that the method you have chosen maximises understanding on the case study of Iraq]
The primary role of a literature review is to offer the researcher a comprehensive overview of past reports, articles and academic submissions about a topic to lay a foundation for a new investigation (Denney and Tewksbury, 2013). Given the broad scope of the study, the two types of reviews employed are scoping and critical. According to Grant and Booth (2009), the scoping type is employed at the introduction of research to set the background and explain the rationale for conducting the study. The study uses critical literature review by analysing peer-reviewed studies to explain concepts of nationalism, ethnonationalism and religious sectarianism. While the critical element compares different researchers to determine gaps about Iraq nationalism, the analytical factor is essential to explain how the different concepts contribute to the crisis of national identity in Iraq. The literature review approach is often suitable for exploratory research (Grant and Booth, 2009; Swanson, 2015). [I think you want to say, the research design also includes: using literature review as a conceptual framework that guides the themes discussed in the subsequent chapters in this thesis.]
1.6 Chapter Breakdown
please write a brief of each chapters in a couple of paragraphs here
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
[you ought to start with: This chapter reviews the established literature on national identity with reference to two key concepts nation and nationalism, and also it discusses the challenges to national identity; ethno nationalism and religious sectarianism. Th e current wave of globalisation in the 21st century can often leave many countries without an identity especially if the people are more concerned with what other nations are doing and attempting to copy. Most states take pride in a status that defines the people, promotes the culture and upholds a spirit of nationhood which separates their inhabitants from the rest of the world. However, the identity and nationalistic values of one country do not necessarily follow the trajectory of other countries. A nation may have an identity and a set of values that are entirely acceptable to the citizens but loathe the rest of the world. In other times, the choice of national identity of a nation may not work for its benefits and instead can cause discord and conflict within the state. The objective of this chapter is to explore [you mean review the literature on] nationalism with a particular focus on the national identity crisis in Iraq. The chapter is divided into three parts namely nationalism, ethnonationalism and religious sectarianism. The following discussions are crucial to understanding the state of Iraq, its identity, the role of religion in shaping nationhood.
2.2 Identity in Divided Societies
Existing literature has demonstrated that divided societies present a specific challenge to the practice and theory of conflict resolution, administration and prevention because of the cultural, religious and tribal or ethnic cleavages that result from a broad range of factors such as perceptual and emotional ones, subjective experience as well as material factors [this sentence is not clear] (Kachuyevski and Olesker, 2014; Horowitz, 1985). According to Horowitz (1985), identity is not immutable or exogenous. In contrast, identity is constructed and negotiated by a broad range of groups and individuals via various processes over time. However, Horowitz (1985) believes that once identity is built and socially embedded, it increasingly becomes a likely referent object of security. In deeply divided societies, ethnic affiliation affects social life and family, including a more formal organisational life (Dawood, 2016; Horowitz, 1985). For comparative analysis differentiating between unranked and ranked societies, group differences, the seriousness of division, and centralisation of groups are significant.
Horowitz’s (1985) views are supported by Kachuyevski and Olesker (2014). Kachuyevski and Olesker (2014) conducted a study with the aim of developing a conflict analysis framework that plays an integral role in capturing the intricacy of tensions in alienated societies. The study included different viewpoints regarding identity frontiers between ethnic minorities and majorities in increasingly segregated societies. Kachuyevski and Olesker (2014) have analysed the literature on social security and social boundaries with the aim of creating a typology signifying four dyads of perceived identity that exemplify the various ethnic or cultural connections within the separated societies. Kachuyevski and Olesker (2014) mentioned Estonia and Crimea exemplifying how tension escalation can arise from distinct views, led by the group who view the extreme danger to the social security even in cases where the undesirable boundary construction is not mutual. Kachuyevski and Olesker (2014) found that in such divided societies, third parties can play an essential role in alleviating conflicts, including constructing a broad range of political solutions that address the essential identity concerns. However, Kachuyevski and Olesker (2014) pointed out that the undertaken methodology must tackle the desires of the ethnic or cultural group whose societal security is increasingly endangered while at the same time balancing out the desires of the other side. Kachuyevski and Olesker (2014) further found that a sense of cultural links to ethnic kin might suggest alienation from the state, including contrary boundary construction – do you mean the boundary of the culture?
Both Horowitz (1985) and Kachuyevski and Olesker (2014) agree that ethnic groups, which are tied heavily to kinship, are bounded in a manner that maximises the effective utilisation of the political structure, including providing a broad range of services that are replacements for what the modern western countries offer. Concerning the severity of division, Horowitz (1985) holds that the Caribbean, Asia and Africa have the most severe divisions and a similar experience with colonialism. The groups are defined by inscriptive differences such as dress, religion, grammar, language, and colour (Horowitz, 1998). Horowitz (1998), furthermore, describes ethnicity as familistic and argues that individuals that belong to ethnic groups recognise each other as kin for a wide array of reasons (Dawood, 2016; Horowitz, 1998; Horowitz, 1993; Horowitz, 1991). One of these reasons is attributed to the fact that ethnic discrimination is less acceptable than nepotism. Extending the kinship network in a broad range of ways increasingly permits the group to form an ethnic political organisation, and minimise transaction costs in order to be politically active. Boundaries are malleable and point out that when ethnic fragmentation leaves a group disadvantaged, it can incorporate or amalgamate, [in other words, Horwitz believes that ethnicity is not fixed but malleable, it could change over time and ethinc gourps could make compromises to reach to political agreements]
Dryzek John cited in Steiner, Jaramillo and Maia (2017) and Ugarriza and Caluwaerts (2014) dispute the idea that identity tensions are merely a matter of multiculturalism. That is to say, Dryzek argues that it is wrong to treat identity conflicts as a sheer issue of multiculturalism. In other words, Dryzek believes that societies that are perceived as most deeply divided as far as identity is concerned are in most cases not divided at all when it comes to culture. Dryzek provides an example of Northeren Ireland where he points out that there are little differences between Protestants and Catholics – culturally speaking (Steiner, Jaramillo and Maia, 2017). Similarly, he also provides an example of former Yugoslavia and asserts that there are little differences between Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. Identities, according to Dryzek, are bound up with discourse, and that nations are not the product of culture or gene, but rather the product of discourses (Ugarriza and Caluwaerts, 2014). [you could elaborate further, that by discourses he means political discourses and you could explain how political discourses produce identities]
Ethnic loyalties are in most cases, the outcome of the transactional networks connected to the state. Moreover, ethnic bonds create ties between the citizens and bureaucrats, and in a broad range of ways help sense of fairness, reciprocity and a trust that was necessary for the post-colonial and colonial state (Horowitz, 1985; Horowitz, 1989). Drawing on the comment of Marx regarding social class affiliation, Horowitz (1989) thinks that ethnicity is more compelling of a distinction when compared to a class.
Scholars have explored three principal approaches that have been applied to ethnic conflict; namely, cultural pluralism, economic interests, and modernisation theory. According to Horowitz (1985), these approaches do not explain the case that the social psychological theory may explain. In other words, Horowitz (1985) points out the limitations associated with cultural pluralism, economic interests, and modernisation theory as they are applied to ethnic conflict. Concerning economic theories, Horowitz (1985) disputes the idea of ethnic division of labour by arguing that in a significant number of societies, groups favour different lines of work hence making the majority of the economic theories regarding economic competition causing conflict moot. Drawing from his psychological theory, Horowitz (1985) asserts that much of the conflict between groups emanate from group comparison. In other words, he argues that individuals assess their worth or ability relative to other individuals and since group identity is in most cases central to individual identity especially in Africa and Asia, their self-esteem is strongly impacted by a comparison of their group to others. As pointed out by Horowitz, colonial policies played a critical role in strengthening group identities. On the other hand, colonial policies created backward and developed groups.
Within ethnically divided societies, power as an end in itself is similar to the case in western societies for two broad reasons: first, power plays a critical role in confirming group worth and second, in ensuring group survival (Dawood, 2016; Warsza, 2018; Horowitz, 1985; Kachuyevski and Olesker, 2014). Horowitz (1985) provides a useful insight regarding the situation when an ethnic group tries to secede from a state. In particular, Horowitz divides regions and ethnic groups into those that are advanced, and those that are backward. According to Horowitz (1998), backward groups are characterised as not disposed to achievement, ignorant, stereotyped as lazy, less wealthy, and less educated. On the other hand, advanced groups are characterised as benefiting from non-agricultural employment and education. Both backward and advanced regions, with reference to Horowitz (1998), are increasingly defined based on their relative economic position of the region of an ethnic group within its nation. Within the realm of backward regions. Therefore, Horowitz (1998) argues that backward groups will have little reason to stay in the state since they increasingly fear extinction and being discriminated agaisnt.
Moreover, advanced groups surviving in background areas would not want to secede from the state primarily because they would in most cases benefit from exporting their capital and labour into the larger country since their region is characterised as backward (Horowitz, 1998; Horowitz, 1985, Horowitz, 1977). Scholars such as Wolf and Yakinthou (2013) and Kuperman (2015) supports the idea fronted by Horowitz (1985) that electoral systems in deeply divided societies promote the formation of ethnic parties, that in turn extend and deepen the pre-existing ethnic tensions. Sources of ethnic parties, as pointed out by Horowitz (1998), encompass incentives of political elites to cultivate ethnic support, an external imperative of the group, and community dimension of ethnicity. In general, scholars agree that divided societies have a similar experience with colonialism. [be aware that your aim here is to review the literarure on identity and identity formation — in a couple of sentences summaries what scholars tell us, that identities are … and these become the basis for national identity ]
2.3 Context of Identity in Iraq
A short cultural, topographical, and historical view of Mesopotamia, iand a broad range of territories that constitute modern-day Iraq, offers an essential background to discuss the issue of identity in Iraq. According to Kirmanj (2013), Iraq is the motherland of the world’s most primitive civilisations such as Babylon, Assyria, Akkad, and Sumer. Following the weathering away of those civilisations during the 16th century BC [double check this date] the Persian Empire conquered this area. The area was later captured by the Greeks and continued to be under the rule of the Greeks for nearly two centuries. Persians regained control of the area in 224AD and dominated it until the Arab Muslims took control of the area. In particular, various Muslim empires such as Abbasids and Umayyads, and the Ottomans have governed the area (Kirmanj, 2013).
The British colonial administration played a critical role in creating the modern-day Iraq. The British colonial administration created the modern-day Iraq from the previous Ottoman outlying areas of Mosul, Basra as well as Baghdad. Some ethnic, cultural and religious forces shape the modern-day Iraq (Kirmanj, 2013). It is estimated that more than 97% of the country’s population subscribes to some form of Islam. The other 3% of the population comprises a small number of Jews, Mandeans, Yazidis, and Christians. At least 77% of the Iraq population is Arab, and out of this, 75% are Shiite Muslims (Kirmanj, 2013). In general, the historic Mesopotamia is the home to a significant number of religious and ethnic groups, including Arabs, Assyrians, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Kurds, Yazidis, Jews and Bahia (Warsza, 2018).
Notwithstanding the encouraging picture of progress, including the latest security improvements in Iraq, the country remains in a tantalising situation. There is still a broad range of political issues that Iraq must address going forward. One of such issues is political reconciliation between diverse religious and ethnic groups (Kirmanj, 2013). Other issues encompass the request of amending the constitution, the issue of feudalism, the sustained regional row between the region of Kurdistan and other parts of the country, management of the country’s oil reserves, including the law required to police the sharing of benefits from Iraq’s natural resources.
The country’s major powers, including Kurds, Shiite and Sunni, still differ on the nature of the state, its identity, as well as its structure. A significant number of scholars think that the ongoing chaos, sectarian violence, and civil unrest witnessed in Iraq today are the outcomes of the United States incursion and its unsuccessful attempt to enforce order and law (Kirmanj, 2013; Dawood, 2016; Warsza, 2018). Other scholars blame the British colonial administration for failing in the process of state building when they invented the modern-day Iraq.
Dawood (2016) supports Kirmanj’s (2013) views and argues that the US invasion of Iraq, including the subsequent removal of Saddam Hussein, played an integral role in structuring Iraq along ethnic and sectarian divisions via late governments and governing council. Following the creation of a political system that was increasingly characterised byan ethnic majority, Dawood (2016) points out that the United States, including its allies, initiated a process of state building. In particular, the Bush administration placed much emphasis on building institutions while at the same time neglecting national identity, including processes aimed at preserving it. Kurds, Shia, and Sunni were given government positions who used them to benefit their ethnic or sect group (Dawood, 2016). Eventually, a significant number of the institutions that were built by the US and its allies failed to bring about social cohesion, and social integration.
Warsza (2018) echoes the views expressed by Kirmanj (2013) and Dawood (2016) by arguing that Iraqi nationalism has been constituted in reaction to foreign rule, mainly British and Turkish rules. In particular, Warsza (2018) thinks that the emergence of new enemies, the Americans, as oppressors and representors of a new culture, has compelled Iraqis to attempt to overcome local divisions. In other words, Iraqis have been trying to determine what constitutes the collective Iraqi identity, by way of differentiating it from other regional identities such as Pan-Islamism and Pan-Arabism.
The dynamics of events witnessed in the Middle East, and particularly Iraq, can be viewed through a prism of the need for a sphere of influence, revision of the borders, and a delayed recovery from the colonial system and its outcomes (Dawood, 2016; Horowitz, 1985; Horowitz, 1998). Iraq is in most cases is described as the most irrational experiment of the British colonial administration – how so?
Traditionally, walls and moats played a significant role in safeguarding cities and their inhabitants in Iraq. Consequently, walls and moats increasingly defined the façade lines of the lesser social and political units. However, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, walls and moats in Iraq have been revivified to play a different function (Dawood, 2016). Following the US invasion of Iraq, the US army started establishing elevated cement walls with the aim of protecting their administration centres and military bases. By erecting high cement walls, the US was able to exercise power in Iraq as an occupying force. A significant number of the walls were built in Iraqis main cities, including the capital Baghdad. Even though political leaders in the country have promised to remove these walls following the US withdraw, these walls are still intact. During the reign of Saddam Hussein, checkpoints were employed with the aim of controlling young Iraqis trying to escape military service and blocking passage of individuals who were wanted by the Iraqis government. To this effect, checkpoints were hated and feared by Iraqis. Even today, the majority of Iraqis perceive checkpoints as sectarian and divisive because they are increasingly employed to deny or permit an individual to enter a city, a neighbourhood, including a whole province. Notably, access to the cities or neighbourhood depends on some factors, including tribal name, family, religious identity, ethnic identity, and residence [try to connect those cement walls to the debate on identity? Do they have a role in shaping indentity? If yes, how? if no, then you could remove this part from your discussion]
Walls, checkpoints, trenches and moats have been increasingly causing barriers, division, and conflicts among the Iraqis. Consequently, it is progressively becoming challenging to perceive Iraqis as amalgamated people and land (Dawood, 2016). According to prominent scholars in Iraq, such as Ali-al-Wardi and Hanna Batatu, the divisions that existed during the 19th century were not by ethnicity or religion as some people might expect (Dawood, 2016). The critical division, as argued by those scholars, was between the tribal countryside and metropolises. The chief standards within the cities were religious while the principal values among the tribes were ethnical and secular (Dawood, 2016). Moreover, within the tribal areas and cities, there existed groups that were belonging to different social classes, sects or faiths. Groups belonging to different tribal and ethnic origins lived in separate quarters referred to as “Mahallahs.”
As one of the main sects of Islam, Shiism emerged following the death of Prophet Mohammed. The Muslim community was sharply divided on the issue of the successor to Prophet Mohammad, leading to harm and disunity to the community. The Sunnis thought that the successor was to be an elected member of the Prophet Muhammad’s tribe known as “Quraysh” (Kirmanj, 2013). The Sunnis argued that Prophet Muhammad deliberately refrained from appointing his successor and left this responsibility to community leaders based on the idea of consultation. To this effect, they endorsed the appointed of Abu Bakr as the successor to the prophet.
On the other hand, Shiite had a different opinion. They argued that Prophet selected his son-in-law and cousin (Ali) as his replacement during his last pilgrimage before his demise. Moreover, the Shiite thought that the successor to the prophet should be a member of the prophet’s family. Traditionally, Shiism was strongly supported by southern Iraq and the major cities of al-Kadhimiya, Kufa, Najaf, Karbala, and Basra increasingly emerged as Shiite cultural and learning centres (Kirmanj, 2013).
The Sunni religious community identity is less developed when correlated to dominant Shiite. During the reign of Abbasid and Umayyad empires, the Sunni Arabs in Iraq enjoyed supremacy until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of present-day Iraq by British colonial administration. The Kurd are another significant ethnic group in Iraq. During the reign of Safavids and Ottomans, the Kurds enjoyed some degree of autonomy, and consequently, they were able to establish a broad range of Kurdish principalities, such as; Badlis, Hakkari, Soran, Baban, Badinan, and Ardalan (Kirmanj, 2016). However, some of the policies adopted by Ottoman ended Kurdish self-rule. Presently, in Iraq, the Kurds comprise a bulk in the four provinces of Dohuk, Erbil, Suleimaniya, and Kirkuk – Kurds also form a significant minority in the two provinces of Diyala and Ninawa.
Today, Iraq is characterised as an unstable country chiefly because the underlying sources of ethnic conflicts and instability are yet to be addressed [what does it mean?]. The primary power brokers in Iraq are mainly Kurds, Shiite, and Sunni who increasingly disagree on the nature of the national identity and structure of the state (Kirmanj, 2013; Warsza, 2018; Dawood, 2016). The present disputes and tensions between sectarian, religious and ethnic groups in Iraq constitute the most fundamental component of the country’s predicament. The country constitutes of individuals from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. Respecting the national and cultural differences of Iraq, and recognising and embracing diversity are the most pressing issues facing the Iraq people [why this is the case?]
The idea of “Iraqiness,” according to Iraqi and western scholars, refers to the fact that Iraqi people are direct descendants of Arab, Assyrian, Babylonian and Sumerian peoples. To this effect, the Iraq identity has evolved naturally and that it is not an invented phenomenon, as some scholars tend to believe. Some scholars, like Marquardt, think that the Iraqi nation has been secular for a long time, and a significant number of citizens in the country identify themselves with their nation as opposed to their religious and ethnic identity (Kirmanj, 2013). Both Shiite and Sunni Arabs, according to Marquardt, share a collective identity and that both have provided support to Iraq political leaders that have stressed pan-Arabism. However, Marquardt thinks that the Kurds are not fit into this category – [so this means whe have more than an identity within Iraq, the Iraqi identity and another identity that is not seen as a part of it, namely Kurds] (Kirmanj, 2013).
2.4 Kurdish Regional Government Identity
Between 1980 and 1990s, Iraqi Kurds suffered grievously under the Iraqi regime. However, the miscalculation of Saddam in Kuwait, and his invasion of Kuwait provided the Iraqi Kurds with a rare opportunity for the inclusion [?] of Kurdistan in the state of Iraq (Fliervoet, 2018; Nader et al., 2016). Following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq troops, the Iraqi Kurdistan Front (IKF), composing of the Iraqi Community Party, KDP, PUK and a significant number of smaller Kurdish parties increasingly joined hands with the aim of condemning the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and demanding immediate withdraw of Iraq forces (Kirmanj, 2013; Ahmad, 2003). Moreover, Kurdish leaders suspended all operations against the Iraq regime until the complete withdraw of Iraq troops from Kuwait [what does this act of Kurdish leaders mean?]
Since 1991, the Iraqi Kurds have increasingly stood firmly amidst a significant number of challenges and transformations in Iraq and the Middle East. However, the Kurdistan region experienced severe suffering under both internal and global sanctions. In 1992, the Iraq regime imposed a total ban on all petroleum products, medicine, including foodstuff in the Kurdish region (Kirmanj, 2013). To this effect, the Kurdish region has increasingly become a region isolated from other parts of Iraq. [you should remind the reader that this isolation has contributed to the formation of Kurdish Identity as opposed to Iraqi Identity]
In 1992, Kurdistan succeeded in holding its first general elections in the history of Iraq. Following the general elections, the PUK and KDP gained an approximately equal share of the vote. The two parties unanimously agreed to share the government cake on a 50-50 basis under the leadership of Barzani Masoud (Fliervoet, 2018). However, a conflict emerged between two parties over the sharing of resources. In particular, PUK accused KDP of failing to share custom incomes from one of the checkpoints on the border between Iraq and Turkey. A war ensued between KDP and PUK in which KUP succeeded in removing KDP troops from the essential areas within the Kurdistan region (Nader et al., 2016). In 1996, the conflict between the two major parties worsened, and Barzani was compelled to establish a strong relationship with Baghdad with the aim of consolidating his power. The relationship between the Baghdad regime under Saddam Hussein and KDP shocked the world, including the Kurds. With the assistance of Bagdad forces, KDP succeeded in defeating PUK and took control of the Kurdistan region. Following the withdraw of Saddam forces from Kurdistan region, PUK regrouped its forces in Iran and with the support of Iran weapons succeeded in regaining control of the areas they had previously occupied.
The international community, including the United Kingdom and the US, saw the escalating conflict between PUK and KDP. After a broad range of efforts from the global community, a peace agreement was eventually signed that ended the instability and fighting in the Kurdistan region (Nader et al., 2016). Another general election was called in which the two parties agreed to share seats. Following the collapse of Saddam Hussein, elections were perceived as one of the most important developments in Iraq. Elections were favoured with the aim of establishing a form of domestic sovereignty. Even though the elections were held legitimately, Shiite and Kurds parties dominated the entire election process. A significant number of people turned out to vote in Shiite areas in Iraq and the Kurdistan region. Elections in Iraq following the death of Saddam Hussein took place in 2005 under exceptional circumstances of military force, insecurity, including uncontrolled insurgency (Shallcross, 2015). KDP and PUK, the main parties in the Kurdistan region, reached a power-sharing agreement with the aim of ruling the Kurdistan region, including acting as a powerful political force in Iraq. In the elections that took place in December 2005, the Kurdistan region secured 53 seats. These seats were down from 75 seats that were controlled by Kurdistan region following the elections that took place in January the same year. The Kurdish people started to get worried after the non-Arab and Arab factions increasingly started strengthening their positions in Iraq government, including opposing the demands of the Kurdish. Until today, the Kurds are still fighting for the positions in Iraq despite facing many challenges.
Some scholars [such as?] believe that European imperialism and the US invasion of Iraq played an integral role in influencing the identity in Iraq by dividing ethnic and cultural groups in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. Following the European imperialism, and recently the US invasion of Iraq, Iraqis were increasingly divided across ethnic and cultural lines. Even though the majority of the Iraqis population is Muslims, the country is divided into Kurds, Shiite, and Sunnis. The Kurds, who are a minority, are increasingly facing a broad range of challenges as they attempt to re-establish their identity in Iraq following the death of Saddam Hussein. In many cities in Iraq, the Kurds are divided up and are still being divided even we speak today [this is a weak argument, perhaps kurds are the reason to this division as the Iraqi central government is no longer present in the Kurdistan region] The US and Great Britain imported a wide array of ideas and policies to Iraq, some of which have played an important role in dividing the Iraqi people. However, some scholars trace the division of Iraqi people across ethnic, cultural, and religious lines following the death of Prophet Muhammad. In particular, The Sunnis and Shiite were increasingly divided regarding who should be appointed as a successor following the demise of Prophet Muhammad.
Another line of thinking is that walls, particularly the ones erected by the US following the fall of Saddam Hussein, have played an important role in dividing the Iraqis people across ethnic lines. Even after the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, successive Iraq governments have continued to erect a significant number of walls aimed at dividing the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people continue to perceive walls as a strategy employed by the Iraq government with the aim of scoring political points, including dividing the Iraqi people across ethnic lines. As far as the Kurdistan region is concerned, the Kurdish people have suffered and have been continuing to suffer even today as they attempt to defend their identity in a country that is deeply divided along ethnic lines. The two main parties in the Kurdistan, KDP and PUK have been fighting each other for some time over the distribution of resources within the Kurdistan Region. However, in the recent past, the two parties have agreed to work together by putting aside their differences –[can we argue that this is the result of an emerging Kurdish identity and the establishment of social cohesion in Iraqi Kurdistan? ]
The concluding remarks of this chapter …
What are the main points,
What is the function of this chapter – the function is, it helps as conceptual framework
How this chapter is linked to the rest of the chapters in this theiss
CHAPTER 3: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The current wave of globalization in the 21st century has made global politics a matter of concern for countries in the same and different regions. When a crisis occurs in one part of the globe, there is a high likelihood that nations from the other areas experience the repercussions, making identities of various a matter of global concern.
The crisis of national identity in Iraq and most of the Middle Eastern nations, which is marked by war, economic turmoil and political instability is a subject of concern for both eastern and western countries who have globalised their trade and governance. The objective of this chapter is to explore the crisis of national identity in Iraq by examining the theoretical and conceptual framework that defines Iraqi nationalism. In so doing the chapter will establish the various facets of national identity and show the relationship between the different elements in a bid to form a solid national identity for Iraq.
Careful consideration of the existing literature on national identity indicates that previous scholars have not identified an explicit theory to explain the formation and basis of national identity in any one country in the world. However, in his study of National Identity and specifically the Middle East, Smith (2013) aruges that distinct states can have particular theoretical underpinnings that explain the formation of their national identity. In the context of thesis, the theory of Turkish origins that describes how the modern Turkish tribes came to existence is the closest approach to elaboratie the doctrine of national identity in Iraq. For instance, reference to the BBC (2017), the Kurds are one of the indigenous people of Iraq, and they inhabit the mountains areas of the Middle East that traverse the regions of Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Syria and Iran. Therefore, by the theory of Turkish origins in Central Asia, it can be concluded that one of the determiners of Iraqi national identity is the tribes and ethnic communities, some of which are rooted in the neighboring states (Smith 2013, BBC News, 2017). If the Kurds did not live in both Iraq and Turkey, then the theory of origins in Central Asia would not be applicable in this study. An alternative argument is that the relevant authorities cannot adequately solve the crisis in Iraq without also addressing the issues in the lager Middle East region (Smith, 2013) – [please tell us what is the theory of Turkish origins and what does the theory actually theorize? What does it say?]
Hashemi (2016) contends that national identity is based on ethnic communities such as the Kurds in Iraq is a subset of political theory [not clear!]. However, the study submits that political philosophy is too broad a concept for consideration given that it encompasses factors such as law, order, justice, governance, policies, rights, language, statutes, foreign policies, authority, government legitimacy, property and liberty. According to Smith (2013), the approach of Turkish origins consists of sub-categories such as the ‘Sun Language Theory’ that defines the antiquity and purity of the original language of a community as a function of the overall communication in a country (Smith, 2013). For example, if the Kurds originated from Turkey, their contribution to Iraqi nationalism is critically analysed to determine their level of influence, a factor that further causes disagreements in policy and government formation. By the logic of the political theory of Hashemi (2016), the ethnicity and language of the Kurds is a significant determinant of Iraqi nationalism and the formation of national identity.
Fenton (2013) studied ethnicity as a function of nationalism and determined that the concept is too profound to warrant the development of a theory of ethnicity. According to the author, modern ethnicity defines capitalism, nationalism, class, and welfare, all of which are critical factors that either enhance or destroy national identity as tribes and clans compete in running the state. While Fenton (2013) agrees with Smith (2013) and Hashemi (2016) on the essence of tribal nationalism, he disagrees on the approach to adapt to fully understand the crisis of national identity in Iraq and other Middle East countries. The following section examines the key concepts that relate to the above theories.
3.2 The Conceptual Framework
In her discussion on political theory, Hashemi (2016) noted that a national crisis occurs due to competing interest or, in this case, differing conceptual frameworks of nationalism. The three main competing concepts that define the Iraqi national identity are ethnicity, identity and the nationalism. First, the existence of different ethnic communities in Iraq such as the Arabs and the Kurds has resulted in the rise of a concept called ethnonationalism. According to Connor (1994), ethnonationalism is a form of national and cultural identity where the country is defined through an ethnic narrative such that communities define nationalism with diverse heritage, language, faith, and ethnic ancestry. Therefore, it can be argued that ethnonationalism is a distinct concept that encompasses cultural, political, and religious definitions of different factions within the same country – [ethno nationalism is, when an ethnic group makes appeals to their ethnic orgins as the legitimator of their nationalism such as Kurdayati — the appeal is to the Kurdishness of this particular nationalism]
Secondly, identity as a concept is rather vague and unspecific for a country like Iraq where the formation of government and determination of policies must factor the religious, ethnic and cultural beliefs. According to Fenton (2013), identity politics in Iraq are based on multiculturalism, and there is no precise definition of nationalism in the country [perhaps there is, Arab nationalism, and Kurdish nationalism]. Iraqi people not only have to deal with the identity of their country on the global sphere, but the Sunni Shiite and Kurds have to maintain their values in contrast with the other communities. Therefore, unlike civic nationalism, identity in Iraq is based on a complex and consistent linkage that can also be a basis for divisions in a country (Safran, 2008).
Thirdly, the competition between religious, cultural, and ethnic identity affects the main factor of Iraqi nationalism. The conceptual framework of both academic and practical implications of research in Iraqi identity is that the different facets lead to a confusing framework of governance and socio-economic systems that both scholars and government officials cannot fully decipher. Fenton (2013) contends that the three concepts are symbolic are their relationship is best explained through competition theory. Primarily, competition theory operates on the premise that communities exist at a competitive equilibrium and leads to the pushing of antitrust policies in government. For example, Franzén (2011) contends that a tenuous Iraqi national identity emanates from different political purposes and national pride for the Kurds for having political dominance of the Sunnis and the Shiite. However, competition theory sometimes sees a complementary relationship between competing values as witnesses in Iraq when the phrase “Iraq first, Sunni or Shiite second” signified unity against a common foe in the United States in 2003 (Wong, 2004). The fundamental question then is how the different facets of Iraqi identity contribute to the crisis and what could be the possible solutions.
3.3 Relationship between Ethnicity, Cultural identity and National Identity
The relationship between the three concepts above is best understood through the previously mentioned theories that dictate the state of national identity. Theories of Turkish origin in central Asia and Sun Language can elaborate on the ethnic concept that heavily influences Iraqi politics and governance structures (Smith, 2013). However, political theory as explained by Hashemi (2016) is the basis for a cultural identity that determines the laws, policies, forms of justice and government of Iraq. Essentially, even the formation of the ruling administration is deeply rooted in culture. For example, the Ba’ath regime created a significant rift between the Shia and the Sunni in Iraq because the administration had Shia leaders in more than 75% of the country’s regional leadership, the sectarian politics intensified, leading to a divergence between Shia and Sunni nationalism (Alaaldin, 2018). However, the national leadership led by Saddam Hussein consisted of Sunni Ba’athists who controlled the government and the army meaning there were two influential, and opposing factions in Iraq during the Ba’ath regime as the power of the state belonged to the Sunni, but the Shia had the people’s support. In the context of competition theory by Fenton (2013), the concepts of ethnicity and cultural identity determined how the state of Iraq was government since 1980 to the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Further, given that BBC (2107) reported on the continued disagreements in the government [when?], the competing values are still influential in the country, which signifies the strength of rooted cultures and ethnonationalism as concepts of developing a national identity.
Essentially, the relationship between the different elements of Iraq’s national identity’s conceptual framework is the primary cause of a crisis in the country. Therefore, the only possible way of developing a strong Iraq identity is first dealing with the various issues such as differences in culture and ethnicity before structuring a national dialogue about nationalism. Both Smith (2013) and Fenton (2013) agree that ethnicity can be a positive element of national identity, but the constituent entities must be willing to objectively discuss how to co-exist and develop formidable policies to run a government. The above sections (3.1, 3.2) were focused on the overall culture, ethnicity, language and identity of Iraq people. The following part delves into the role of religion in national identity with a particular focus on the three main groups; the Sunni, the Shia and the Kurds.
3.4 Religious Sectarianism by Ethnicities as a function of National Identity
Although ethnicity and cultural identity are critical to Iraqi nationalism, the third element that hinders the progress of Iraq national identity is religious sectarianism. According to Makdisi (2000), sectarianism refers to differences between subdivisions within a group leading to attachments of inferiority and superiority as the different denominations within the same faith display prejudice and bigotry towards each other. The conflict between the Sunni and the Shia communities has not always been linear as exemplified by historical accounts due to the various instances of cooperation and hatred between the tribes. For example, the Sunni people of Saudi Arabia supported the Shia dominated Iraq during the Iraq-Iran conflict, but the two groups are enemies in the 21st century as they seek religious control of each other (Hashemi, 2016). Therefore, it can be argued that religious sectarianism in Iraq has shifted the politics of the country, and ethnicity has propelled the division leading to the coining of a new term known as ethnosectarian identity [how it is new, and who says that this terms is new?].
According to Alaaldin (2018), a combination of sectarianism and ethnicity does not only divide the people of Iraq but is a weapon for achieving their intended goals by different tribes. For example, given that most of the Ba’athist leaders were Sunni, the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein came with de-Baathification of the Iraq leadership including in civil service. BBC News (2017) noted how the people of Iraq are prone to sensationalism and making political decisions based on past injustices and grudges between the religious and ethnic sects. Consequently, there are several conflicts in the country at any one time as Iraq people fight with the Kurds while the Sunni oppose the Shia policies on religious doctrine [this sentence is not clear]. From the above critical review, there is enough evidence to conclude that national identity in Iraq cannot be measured as a single factor but constitutes different elements primarily ethnicity, religious sectarianism and cultural identity. Each concept is essential to solving the pertinent issues of nationalism in Iraq.
The fundamental question regarding Iraqi national identity is the role of the different factions such as ethnicity, culture and religion to ether enhancing a civic nationalism or destroying national unity. From the above analysis, there is enough indicative evidence that despite the rich history of diverse cultures in Iraq, this diversity has been a source of upheaval in governance and and an obstacle to unifying the state. Variations in the religious doctrines of the Sunni and the Shia communities continue with the aggression against each other, and the country remains in a state of disarray as each group and sect seek control of the government. Given that the same problems in pre-Saddam and during the Saddam Hussein era were present, the problem is fundamental, and the country must first solve the ethnic, cultural and religious issues before seeking a solution for a lasting national identity.
CHAPTER 4: NATION AND NATIONALISM
Before understanding the crucial tenets of nationalism, there is a need to define the most basic elements of the concept, a nation. According to Gellner (2009), a nation is a large community of people formed based on commonalities such as language, culture, laws, norms, history and ethnicity. From the onset, the study [you mean this dissertation or the study of Gellner?] acknowledges that the definition of a nation is more inclined to the people than the attributes of the country. Jessop (2011) agrees with the interpretation of Gellner (2009) and provides a more elaborate definition that seeks to separate the nation from a state. A state refers to the territorial patch of land where the nation is the home and a government exercises and manages all the mentioned elements of nationhood. Although the terms state and nation are used interchangeably, Jessop (2011) and Gellner (2009) agree that their distinction is essential depending on the subject of discussion. In the context of this study, nation, and the group of people it carries, are more pertinent to a country’s identity and nationalism than the territorial element of boundaries represented by the state.
Nationalism as a concept relies on the actions of the people of a given country to actualise a specific idea about the state’s identity. According to Antonsich (2015), nationalism is the identification of the nation and supporting the interests of the country, especially concerning other states. From the above definition, there are several identifiable elements of nationalism that are key to this study [key of what of this study?]. First, the citizens must embody the identity of a country and secondly, the concept is better defined when the nation is compared to others. The aspect of a state as described by Jessop (2011) consolidates the definition of nationalism when the concept is evaluated from a perspective of differences between two or more nations. Therefore, nationalism may mostly be based on national identity but can also mean patriotism, separatism, isolationism or sectarianism as will be discussed later.
Although nation and nationalism are defined separately, there is a need to understand where the two concepts interconnect. Antonsich (2015) contends that the two referents are critical in determining how politics and social life is organised in a country. However, in his discussion, Antonsich (2015) does not definitively determine which one of the two is more significant the nation or nationalism. For instance, without a democracy, people with the same identity and in different countries may have the same spirit of patriotism, but without nationalism, a nation may exist albeit with turmoil and anarchy [this is not clear, what do you mean?]. Alesina and Reich (2015) contextualise the above example when they contend that nations stay together when citizens share enough values and preferences such that they can communicate with each other on how to build and progress the country. Therefore, it can be concluded that a nation is a function of nationalism. While Antonsich (2015) is more inclined to examining democracy and nationalism as two distinct concepts, Alesina and Reich (2015) are adamant that the two are complementary and must be discussed as a unit … [nationalism is the ideology of unity of a nation, and a nation is a group of people with political sovereignty … ]
If nationalism is a significant aspect of a nation, then the fundamental question is how a country can attain a favourable form of nationalism for the sake of the citizens. This dissertation acknowledges that there can be positive or negative nationalisms depending on the inclination of people. Alesina and Reich (2015) note that homogeneity among the people and to some extent the government is the metric for measuring and instilling nationalism. The elements that help to build a nation are education, common language, building infrastructure and prohibiting destructive cultures such as tribalism and genocide. Gellner (2009) notes that nationalism took root as critical to nation building during the first half of the 20th century when different countries formed a new identity after the end of the war period. For example, since the 1800s France was a country of different dialects and languages such that the French language was foreign to have of the inhabitant of modern-day France (Alesina and Reich, 2015). However, using the French revolution and later in much of the 19th century, French rulers employed the concept of nationalism, or creation of identity, to form the French nation (Alesina and Reich, 2015) – [so you argue that nationalism brings about nation and not the other way around – this is a modernist interpretation]
Nationalism can have both a positive and a negative effect on a particular state as well as on the rest of the world. Butt (2010) writes that while nationalism has been significant in bringing the people of a nation in a region together, it has also been the basis for the division of the global population into camps through religion, politics and economics. For example, countries that encounter disasters thrive from such a problem when there is a good spirit of nationalism that also unites the rest of the world. However, countries, where governments and certain factions promote destructive cultures and values, have a negative and conflicted form of nationalism that not only endangers the citizens but also affects global peace (Butt, 2010; Gellner, 2009). The following section considers the nationalism of Iraq as one of the highly conflicted nations of the world whose precarious state affects even the rest of the world [ – what does this mean?]
4.2 Iraqi Nationalism
The nationalism of Iraq has been studied and analysed mostly by scholars from the western world. In his book on the politics of the Middle East, Reich (1990) notes that the nationalism of Iraq stems from the ancient Mesopotamia including the civilisations of Babylon and Assyria. The preceding statement is a testament to the assertions of Alesina and Reich (2015) that one of the ways of creating an identity is through national development. Although the country’s nationalism has advanced immensely in the 21st century, Reich (1990) believes the revolutions in the 1920s and the 1950s against British colonisation were the primary motivation behind what is the identity of modern-day Iraq. The statement collaborates with Antonsich (2015) in that the separatism from other nations is arguably the most critical factor in creating a national identity in a country [- it is not clear to me how you have linked the views of the two scholars!]
While ancient Mesopotamia gave the world its earliest civilisation, modern Iraq was created and identified by the British in the early 20th century. According to Kirmanj (2013), one of the identifying characteristics of Iraq is the national wealth and economy which is rich in oil production. Ethnic and religious diversity are also nationalistic elements that separate the country from the rest of the Middle Eastern states. Research on the growth of identity and culture in Iraq has a similar theme of national pride emanating from foreign occupation. For instance, Moaddel, Tessler and Inglehart (2008) note that Islamic nations that experienced European and American domination have the most contrived sense of national identity whose primary aim is to oppose that of the dominant country. The development of nationalism through domination was the subject of analysis when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Wong (2004) in the New York Times wrote that officials in government were worried that by invading the country, they aggravated their initial concerns by creating a sense of national unity [-but during and after the invasion the Iraqi people became very much disunited, Shia vs Sunni, Kurd vs Arab, secular vs religious]
The state of Iraqi nationalism today can be termed to be firmly rooted in opposing American domination. The phrase “Iraq first, Sunni or Shiite second” is a testament that even opposing ethnic communities are united against a common foe, a factor that further exemplifies nationalism [who has made this statement?] (Wong, 2004). Moaddel, Tessler and Inglehart (2008) collaborate Wong (2004) when he informs that the national values of the Shiite in Iraq are inversely related to their attitudes towards American values. For example, when the US legislators and citizens fight for the legalisation of same-sex marriage, Iraq unites to castigate the LGBTQ community in their country. When the basis of nationalism in a country is what other countries do, then there is a high likelihood of poor values and elements of national identity [please elaborate on this assertion, how?]
Part of the problem with Iraq nationalism comes from the divisions among the various ethnic communities in the country. According to Franzén (2011) a tenuous Iraqi national identity emanates from different political purposes of the Shiite, the Sunni and the Kurds. For example, national pride for the Kurds is associated with having political dominance of the Sunnis and the Shiite. A survey of 2700 Iraq nationals in 2004 indicated that the three communities only unite against foreign Muslim militants and other dominant countries such as the US and the British (Moaddel, Tessler and Inglehart, 2008). Therefore, the fundamental question is whether the shared common resentment towards America will be the basis of Iraq national identity. The study submits that the alluded crisis in Iraqi nationalism will only resolve when the country’s officials develop values that focus on their citizens as opposed to the foreign powers.
Politics and governance are central to any discussion concerning nationalism. Since the creation of Iraq in 1920, the country has had a form of government that unites the people albeit for the selfish gains of those in power. For example, a 2004 study by a group of New York University students found that despite the capture of Saddam Hussein who had deprived the country for his political ends, the Shiite, the Sunni and Kurds were still united against the US (Smith, 2019). The leader created a legacy of disease, deprivation, torture and death within his own country but the nationals still chose to see his capture as humiliating and a threat to Iraq nationalism. Saddam’s capture created a vacuum that worsened the already loose sense of nationalism among the people, thus advancing the crisis of national identity further.
The impact of a negatively contrived sense of nationalism in Iraq has brought turmoil to the locals as well as the rest of the world. The decisions of the government are primarily to blame for the state of nationalism. For instance, when Saddam imitated the Iraq-Iran conflict in 1980, the leader did not anticipate the intensity and duration of the political impact that would outlast his death (Blaydes, 2015). The fundamental question, then, is if the people of Iraq are to be blame for the crisis in the nation especially given that the country has had a dictatorial government and the citizens did not necessarily choose their leaders. Furthermore, given that some of the communities within Iraq are of Iranian origin, the country was polarised with a section of the population vehemently opposing the national identity created by the Ba’ath regime. Gellner (2009) contends that nations, where citizens fight each other based on events in other countries, do not progress and experience unprecedented crises that hurt the national image. A long series of authoritarian regimes coupled with the continued threats of Kurdish irredentism only serve to worsen the crisis. Kirmanj (2013) notes that despite the many problems in Iraq, religion has been the equalising factor and most of the nationals are proud Muslims albeit with differing degrees of radicalism. The following section will delve further into the challenges that face Iraqi nationalism and the possible solutions [the possible solution to what?]
4.3 Challenges to Iraq Nationalism
The nationalism of Iraq has been challenged by numerous issues, primarily the instability of the government which results in lack of peace and stability. This thesis acknowledges that research is biased by only studying the negative attributes of Iraq due to the plague of war since the reign of Saddam Hussein. Reich (1990) notes that after the establishment of the country by the British, Iraq was a relatively calm and well-governed nation whose problems began with the Saddam Hussein’s regime. From the profile of the country, as compiled by the BBC (2018), the changes in administration from the 1930s also occurred within specific national values, albeit with still an oppressive government. For example, the disunity of Iraq is evident in that the monarchy formed after the end of British reign was overthrown by Abd-al-Karim Qasim, who started a series of coups and hostile government takeovers that ended with Saddam (BBC, 2018) [please double check the accuracy of facts and dates!]. If the political system had stayed a monarch, the country would have had a sense of identity like the neighbouring Saudi Arabia which is relatively more peaceful [how so? Elaborate please – what about Turkey it is a republic or Iran?]
The challenges in governance can be explained by the primary motivation for leaders to seek power. According to Le Billon (2005), Iraq has a system of oil governance where every political and national decision is centred on oil production and sale. The BBC (2018) confirms the assertion when they inform that each coup since 1958 was based on disagreements on oil production. However, the politics of oil and governance escalated with the Saddam regime as the leader wanted to monopolise the global oil market through high prices and unreasonable demands. Essentially, the nationalism of Iraq may have worsened when Saddam became president but was always challenged by lack of Democracy and disputes in the leadership.
The other challenge to Iraq national identity is internal conflict between the various ethnicities that constitute the Iraq state. According to BBC News (2018) [you know that you will be better off by incorporating academic sources and not news agencies] most of the wars pre-Saddam reign occurred with other countries such as the conflict with Iran and the annexation of Kuwait. However, internal strife and disagreements between the Kurds, Shiite and Sunni is the greatest threat to democracy and the establishment of a new government. According to Yesiltas (2014), there is still controversy over the possibility of a united and democratic government in Iraq, due to the conflicts between the state and the non-Arab minorities. Primarily, the dominance of Arabs informs the proposal for the formation of a country around an Arab narrative, but the non-Arab minorities such as the Kurds do not favor the proposal (Yesiltas, 2014). In comparison, there was a sense of unity under the Monarch and republican governments of the 1960s-1980s despite Arab narrative that characterised the country’s national identity. Therefore, it can be argued that the emergence of war and the fall of Saddam Hussein was the turning point that frustrated all efforts towards a united and democratic Iraq. In their analysis of the challenges facing Iraq, Lamont and Boduszyński (2017) concluded that both the government and the people are stuck with the memories of the country, which challenges any efforts to create a new Iraq identity [and what are those memories?]. An alternative argument would be that democracy in the country would entail the reconciliation of various narratives of Iraq’s history, and by extension identity. Both Lamont and Boduszyński (2017) and Yesiltas (2014) agree that the Kurds, the Shiite and the Sunni have varying ideas of what Iraq should be, thereby frustrating national unity and identity.
There is a need to interrogate whether the fall of governance in Iraq is solely the blame of the leaders who took the oath of office [what do you mean?]. Bremmer (2019) sought to study the Iraq national identity crisis in the context of the involvement of other countries, primarily British and the US. The authors determined that while the country’s challenges of national identity emanate from internal problems, the US contributed to the issue by leaving a power vacuum after invading the country and possibly acquiring control of oil production. If the US had continued with occupation until the country transitioned fully, then the conflict between the various groups would have ended. By leaving the country desolate and without the government, any positive results from the war would not have lasted. Gould (2013) disagrees with the sentiments of Bremmer (2019) when he writes that the failure to establish a new democratic government was an inevitability even for the US. If national identity is created and developed by the citizens and leaders of a country, then the US involvement in creating Iraq would have seemed like a form of colonisation. Essentially, the state cannot blame the US because creating a national identity is difficult without having in place the pillars that are going to support a civilised life (Gould, 2013).
The perspective of South World News (2019) is that the involvement of the US and other superpowers in Iraq is inevitable [this is not considered as a peer reviewed academic statement]. For instance, the Kurds have become a dominant force in the region by attracting investors and help from the US and other countries. However, while such a development may seem like progress towards democracy, the support of the US towards the Kurds aggravates the Shiite and the Sunni, widening the rift between communities and by extension limiting a united nationalism. In his report, Gould (2013) supports the view of the South World News (2019) when he writes that some of the officials in the US regret the continued involvement with Iraq, which has become an impediment to national identity as opposed to the intended help. Primarily, there are opposing views on whether the US and allies are more helpful to Iraq nationalism. For instance, O’Driscoll (2018) is adamant that the conflict of national identity is self-inflicted by Iraq. The author basis his argument on the knowledge that the Shiite, Kurdish, Sunni and other elites all benefitted from both Iraq’s oil wealth and American cash intended to help in rebuilding efforts after the invasion. However, the wealth has not trickled down to Iraq’s citizens, leading to a crisis of governance that can explain collapses.
Please write a concluding paragraph for this chapter
In conclusion, a nation is a function of nationalism. Iraq has an existential crisis of national identity that continues to affect the possibility of creating a democratic society.
Develop on the above statements …
CHAPTER 5: ETHNO-NATIONALISM
From the sections above, a recurring theme can be identified that several ethnic groups taking part in the formation of a country’s identity, and this is the basis of discussion in this chapter. According to Connor (1994) ethnonationalism is a form of national identity where the country is defined through an ethnic narrative. Precisely, Connor (1994) writes that in ethnonationalism, “nations are defined by a shared heritage, which usually includes a common language, a common faith, and common ethnic ancestry” [page number!] From the definition, there are two fundamental principles to consider. First, the country must have more than one ethnic or tribal group for ethnonationalism to apply. In his conceptualisation of the pioneering work of Connor (1994), Conversi (2002) contends that the author chose the term ethnonationalism as an indication of commitment to two strong elements [that are?] on the people of a given state. Secondly, unlike nationalism, where the loyalty is only to the nation-state, ethnonationalism denotes allegiance to an ethnic group embodied in a specific country without forgoing loyalty to a nation deprived of its state. Therefore, it can be argued that an ethnonationalism is a bloated form of patriotism where the citizens have to balance their loyalty to the state versus outsiders while still showing allegiance to the tribesmen will over other communities. The ethnic element is crucial to ethnonationalism because belief in a putative descent is the holding factor for people under this form of nationalism (Connor, 1994; Conversi, 2002).
There is a need to determine the source and history of ethnonationalism. Although the concept was primarily accepted and studied in the last half of the 20th century, Connor (1994) contends that the Greek were the first to introduce ethnic nationalism when by listing kinship, language, cults and customs as the elements that define Greek identity. The word ethnos originated from Greek and is the equivalent of a nation, which is Latin. Therefore, there is no significant difference between ethnonationalism and nationalism because every country has a diverse group of people whose language, norms and values are part of the larger construct of nationalism. Conversi (2002) agrees with Connor (1994) when he states that even in the contemporary world, all nationalism is ethnically predicated and most of the people who deny that their countries are ethno-nationalistic often confuse nationalism with patriotism. There is a gap in the literature on whether having people speak different languages but in the same region constitutes ethnonationalism. Connor (1994) explains that while western nations may not have ethnic groups, the legally documented immigrants qualify the countries to be ethnic nationalists.
The fundamental question, then, is whether ethnonationalism has a distinct set of characteristics that differ from nationalism. According to Safran (2008) the basic political tenet of ethnonationalism is that while all subgroups are part of the national identity, each of them has a right to self-determination. Research is unclear on the extent of national identity and whether the people of a given group are allowed to exceed certain limitations such as laws and acceptable norms. Unlike civic nationalism defined and explained earlier through the studies by Jessop (2011) and Gellner (2009), the identity of people in such countries is determined by kinship and common blood as opposed to political membership. For example, while the pride of being an American is universal in most people citizens in the US, the people are still divvied into red and blue states. However, Iraqi people not only have to deal with the identity of their country on the global sphere, but the Sunni Shiite and Kurds have to maintain their values in contrast with the other communities. Therefore, unlike nationalism, ethnonationalism is based on a complex and consistent linkage that can also be a basis for divisions in a country (Safran, 2008) [do you intend to say that ethnonationalism of different groups in a country becomes the primary challenge to national identity in such a country?]
If creating a national identity for people who speak the same language and are of common blood is challenging, then it follows that ethnic nationalism can be frustrating to the leaders and citizens of a country. In her representation to the UN Human Rights Council, UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume (2019) noted that the concept of ethnonationalism denotes a form of racism that denies millions of people around the world a sense of identity. The globalisation of citizenship in the current century has shifted the nature of nationalism such that even people from various countries but with the same citizenship are seen as different. Consequently, to Guelke (2010) ethnonationalism has been the source of some of the most horrific civil wars and disputes in the post-cold war era. Violent conflict and horrific ethnic cleansing are some of the results and challenges associated with adopting a racial form of nationalism as people want to subject others to their values for political or economic gains accrued by a tribesman ruling the state. Achiume (2019) agrees with Guelke (2010) when she cites statistical data showing that more than 75% of the world’s known stateless populations belong to minority groups, who lack a sense of national identity.
If ethnic nationalism is existent in the current world, there is a need to question objectively whether the concept applies in both the eastern and western world. By the logic of Connor (1994), even countries like the US where democracy and civic nationalism are pride to the nation have a distinct form of ethnic nationalism on account of having different races reside in the same states. The study submits that research on ethnonationalism has been biased on only focusing on ethnic communities in Eastern and African countries while the west is viewed as united. For the sake of this study, the following section will delve into the nationalism of Iraq from the perspective of having different ethnic communities. The Iraq-Kurdistan ethnic element has driven the Iraq politics for several decades especially after the Saddam Hussein reign. In the following section, we shall investigate the challenges that accompany having two prominent communities at the helm of a country’s national identity. If the statistics of Achiume (2019) are accurate, then this chapter determine the extent to which Iraq citizens are subjected to a form of tribalism or racism emanating from ethnonationalism.
5.2 Ethno Nationalism in Iraq-Kurdistan (Past)
The Kurds are one of the indigenous people of Mesopotamia, and they inhabit the mountains areas of the Middle East that traverse the regions of Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Syria and Iran [do you need BBC for the above common knowledge?] (BBC News, 2017). In the studies of nationalism and ethnonationalism in the Middle East region, the Kurds are an essential element that determine how the countries relate to each [not clear]. Given that the Kurds are predominantly Iranian, the group is often referred to as Indo-Europeans and speaks a language in the Indo-Iranian branch (Hennerbichler, 2012). The spread of the Kurds in the mountain region of the Middle East means that they have no distinct country, but are united through race, culture and language. Therefore, ethnonationalism is a strong concept because people from different territorial states can have the same sense of identity even without a place to call home. There were between 25 and 35 million Kurds in the Middle East as of 2017 (BBC News, 2017) [so what? What does this data help us with and why the number is relevant to your case in hand?]
In his hypothesis on the origin of the Kurds, Hennerbichler (2012) found that DNS-tracings place the community in the Neolithic Northern Fertile Crescent aborigines, which is modern day Iran. However, the political element of the Kurds can be traced during the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century as the community was incorporated as part of the new Safavid Dynasty (est. 1501) in Persia (Taucher, Vogl and Webinger, 2015). Therefore, even the language, culture and common blood of the Kurds had a state-nation, and the community cannot definitively say they have no origin. The BBC News (2017) [too much of BBC] notes that the scattering of the Kurds and the beginning of the struggle for identity started in the 20th century, after the first world war, when the Treaty of Lausanne overruled the previous agreement that sought the formation of a Kurdistan state. Consequently, the marking of Borders for Turkey and the neighbouring countries did not leave the territory for the Kurds, hence the continued crisis of belonging.
The creation of identity often requires a leader with a singular vision to guide the people into the required sense of nationalism. Mustafa Barzani was the longest-serving leader of the Kurdistan people who used the Kurdistan Democratic Party to lead movements against the governments of Iraq from the 1940s until his death in March 11th 1979 (Waisy, Ramli and Hung, 2014). Having been exiled from Iran to the Soviet Union, Barzani returned to Iraq in 1958 and led a series of revolutions against the government in Baghdad with the support of the CIA, Mossad, KGB and other nations that has interest in the Middle East. Waisy, Ramli and Hung (2014) contend that the cold war years were the closest the Kurds came to forming a democratic state and having an identity especially given the support of the US. The primary achievement of Barzani was his relaxation of the assimilation policies created for the Kurds by the Iraq government with the help of outsiders (Taucher, Vogl and Webinger, 2015).
As mentioned earlier in, the formation of a national identity is heavily incumbent on the locals, albeit with the help of other strong nations. The premise mentioned above was best exemplified when the Kurdish movement collapsed in the early 1970s when the US withdrew from the Iraq-Iran agreement of Algiers in 1975 (Waisy, Ramli and Hung, 2014). Primarily, the deal ended the quarrels between Iran and Iraq on border disputes and conflicts, and both countries did not consider Kurds as part of their nationality probably due to the previous years of unrest led by their leader Barzani (CIA Archives, 2019). From the collapse of the Kurdistan movement, the study acknowledges that Barzani and the Kurdistan misinterpreted the US foreign policy towards them between 1960-1975 (Waisy, Ramli and Hung, 2014). While the US would have wanted the promulgation of Democracy for the Kurds, the self-interests of Americans surpasses any nationalistic s goals of other people, hence the disappointment of the Kurds.
The fall of the Kurdistan movement and the death of Mullah Mustafa Barzani has devastating effects on the unity of the Kurdistan people and their ability to resist opposing forces in the Middle East. According to Joost (2008), the Anfal campaign of 1988 that led to the death of between 50000 and 100000 Kurds was the most significant indication of how the community had become without a leader and an agenda. Human Rights Watch and other democratic nations termed the campaign as a Kurdish genocide pioneered by the government of Iraq that wanted to annihilate the remaining Kurdish fighters that have gained prominence from 1985 (Kurdistan Regional Government, 2018). The killing of the Kurdistan people confirms the claims by Achiume (2019) that ethnic, national identity is more destructive and is a form of racism that separates people more than it unites. The Anfal genocide led to the realisation that the Kurds are relatively weak in war, demanding other options to create a national identity.
The Anfal campaign was condemned globally and pressure mounted on Saddam Hussein and the Kurdistan Democratic Party leaders to seek a resolution to the conflict. In the BBC News (2017) provision of critical events in the Iraq-Kurdistan profile, 1991 signified change and the possibility of success of ethnonationalism as Saddam Hussein created a haven for the Kurds on the border while he started negotiations for peace with Kurdistan leader Jalal Talabani. Although the rest of the world viewed the Kurds as victims in the conflict with Iraq, the start of wars and aggressive campaigns towards Baghdad only shows that they were parties and victims of the turmoil in the region. Rogg and Rimscha (2007) contend that while the Kurds were justified in their search for national identity, they also created numerous problems that contributed to the conflict in Iraq. Therefore, ethnonationalism, as exemplified by the Kurdistan-Iraq conflict, can still lead to the formation of national identity but with the significant cost of loss of life.
5.3 Addressing Ethno Nationalism
The above discussion shows that ethnonationalism in Iraq from the perspective of the past before the beginning of the search for peace and national identity for the Kurdistan and the rest of the Iraq people [structure of sentence is not clear]. According to BBC News (2017), the year 2002 marked the beginning of the search for peace between the Kurds and the Iraq government in a framework that is not based on war and revolution. However, Rogg and Rimscha (2007) contend that the decisions towards civility have not precluded the Kurds from being part of the numerous conflicts in Iraq, whether internal or due to aggression from other countries. Therefore, research indicates that although the current state is relatively more preferable for the Kurds, there are still instances of unrest that come from other challenges for the region. In the context of ethnonationalism, the Kurds and the rest of the Iraq communities may not fight but share in the need to create a stable region, especially after the plague of war that started in 2003 and ouster of Saddam Hussein. Primarily, a sense of identity is evident in Iraqi Kurdistan as the son of Mustafa Barzani, Masoud Barzani led his people between 2005 and 2017 (Rogg and Rimscha, 2007).
The autonomy of the Iraqi Kurdistan people has been a source of pride for the Kurds who undertake norms and events that are pertinent to their Kurdistan culture. For instance, Goran (2017) notes that one of the prominent ways of showing ethnonationalism is the continued celebration of the pioneer leader of KDP Mustafa Barzani. Unlike the pre-Saddam era, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan match to the town of Barzani in Erbil to the burial site of Mustafa Barzani as a reminder of the beginner of the revolution towards independence and self-rule. In comparison, most of the countries with a civic nationalism celebrated dead leaders who impacted the state significantly with regards to self-determination or ending an oppressive era. Therefore, ethnonationalism and a civil national identity are similar in the dependence of history and culture for self-identification (Jessop, 2011; Gellner, 2009; Goran, 2017). The 2003 removal of Saddam regime also led to the realisation of the possibility of coexistence between the Kurds and the Arabs, albeit with a formulated regional environment structured for lasting peace and stability (Joost, 2008). Such a premise shows that different ethnics can coexist under a system of ethnonationalism.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein and the start of talks for a new government, the ethnonationalism of Iraq would be tested by a margin of fairness and integrity of the elections. According to Joost (2008), the 1992 elections that led to a deal for sharing power between the Kurds and Iraq parties collapsed due to complicated working relationships. Therefore, the 2005 and the 2010 elections were the ultimate tests of the growth of both PUK and KDP as the representatives of Arabs and Kurds in Iraq. Makiya (2010) contends that both elections were unquestionable genuine and the enthusiastic participation of all ethnicities in Iraq was a testament to the working of nationalism rooted in various ethnic cultures. BBC News (2017) concur with Makiya (2010) in that the accession of Massoud Barzani in June 2005 may have brought joy to the Iraqi Kurdistan, but there was no concern by the Arabs.
One of the challenges to the ethnonationalism of the Iraqi Kurdistan is the jihadist group Islamic state that declared war on three Kurdish enclaves on the border of Iraq and Syria (BBC News, 2017). Although the IS is an enemy to many countries in the globe, the Kurdistan community are at the forefront of the fight against the insurgents because they need to protect their Kurdistan Region from occupation by Arab insurgents. The need for territorial protection against enemies is a core element of nationalism whether civic of ethnic. The Crisis Group (2015) wrote that western nations aided the Iraqi Kurdistan in their fight against IS, an indication other country can identify with the struggle for national identity when there are true motives. As of February 2019, Raphelson (2019) from the National Public Radio reported that the US planned to give the Kurdish forces final assistance that would eliminate IS.
Since the fall of Saddam regime and the start of peace negotiations between the Kurds and Iraqis, Iraqi-Kurdistan became confident of their identity such that the group pushed for independence from Iraq. Consequently, the government scheduled a referendum on September 25th 2017 with the intention of Kurd secession from Iraq, which enjoyed a supportive majority vote of 92% (BBC News, 2017). However, Mansour (2017) from the Washington Post reported of the fall of the intended independence plans after the Iraq prime minister ordered forces to capture some of the Kurdish areas. Articles and commentary from both the BBC News (2017) and Mansour (2017) had previously cited the lack of preparedness of the country for a decisive vote given the instability of the region. The unreliability of governments to uphold decisions by the electorate is one of the effects of ethnic nationalism, as experienced with the 25th September 2017 referendum.
The people of Iraqi-Kurdistan have made significant progress in self-determination and presenting themselves as a force in the Middle East region. Although the Kurds failed to gain independence after a resounding vote for secession, the group has established themselves as a force in the Middle East politics (Al Jazeera, 2019). By the time of writing this report, the Kurds were yet to get independence, primarily due to their focus on eliminating ISIS and returning stability to the region. Therefore, it can be argued that the government of the Kurdistan Region may have learned from the last failure [which last failure?] and therefore wishes to have a foundation for the creation of the new country. Barkey (2019) contends that the Kurds may not get independence soon, especially after the intention by the Trump administration to withdraw troops supporting the Kurdistan army against ISIS.
This line cannot be derived from the pervious sentences! Essentially, ethnonationalism in Iraq-Kurdistan is still under development.
Please add a concluding paragraph … summarizing the main idea of your
CHAPTER 6: RELIGIOUS SECTARIANISM
Besides the concepts of nationalism and ethnonationalism, the third element that hinders the progress of Iraq national identity is religious sectarianism. According to Makdisi (2000), sectarianism refers to a form of bigotry and discrimination where differences between subdivisions within a group lead to attachments of inferiority and superiority. Therefore, religious sectarianism is the situation where different denominations within the same faith display prejudice and bigotry towards each other (Cortés, 2017). From the above definition, the keywords bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, inferiority and superiority show a lack of unity and divergence. Therefore, this thesis argues that religious sectarianism is defective to the search for nationalism and identity for people of the same faith. Makdisi (2000) and Cortés (2017) agree that while sectarianism can occur on many platforms, religion has been the basic foundation of most of the bigotry and discrimination arising in groups with a similar doctrine.
The various religions of the world have a form of sectarianism within them. In his study of the American religious marketplace, Cortés (2017) focuses on the divisions in the Christian Faith between Protestants and the Catholics with each group attempting to show superiority over the other. For the sake of protecting their culture, different denominations enact strict and internally legalistic rules based on religious traditions, which are then used as the metric for measuring the faithfulness of rival groups to the particular deity. Baker (2017) contends that the strictness of the rules determines whether a religion takes a passive, fundamentalist or extremist view. For example, Ford and McCafferty (2006) note that the religious sectarianism in Ireland was first fundamental and then took a radical approach as the Protestants and the Catholics started physical altercations. Therefore, there are different levels of religious bigotry and the occurrence of avoidance of conflict depends on the level of fundamentalism and extremist within each faction (Baker, 2017).
In the Islamic context sects emerged as opposing currents to the dominant religion and expressed protests against domination and class exploitation. For instance, some of the medieval Muslim sects that started religious sectarianism were the Karmathians, Ismailians, and Kharijites, all of whom undertook an anti-feudal stance in their social orientation (Makdisi, 2000). In the modern religious context, most of the Islamic literature was written through the predominant Sunni chronicles, which are opposed by the Shia and other minority sects. Al-Jamil (2016) writes that for centuries, the Imams of the Shi’a faction of Islam had started numerous risings ranging from self-immolation of few-numbered groups to strategic military operations in a bid to overthrow the predominant Sunni doctrine. However, the Shia failed due to the entrenched orthodoxy of the Sunni doctrine regardless of using sullen passivity, unplanned violence or hopeless insurrection (Al-Jamil, 2016). Irrespective of whether sectarianism emerges from Islam, Christianity or Judaism, there is a consensus in the literature that changing religious beliefs is arguably harder than fighting a physical war (Al-Jamil, 2016; Makdisi, 2000; Cortés, 2017).
The rivalry between the Sunni and the Shia as discussed continues to the modern Middle East politics. Most of the conflicts and wars in the Middle East analysed from the perspectives of two national states fighting against each other. However, Robinson et al. (2018) adopt a different view in that the instability in the Middle East between the predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia and the Shia Iraq can be analysed through religious sectarianism. The Sunni and Shia sectarian conflict has existed for the last 1300 years but has developed significantly in the 20th and 21st century (Robinson et al., 2018). For example, most of the political analysts use the old concepts of nationalism such as modernity, democracy, fundamentalism to explicate the issues in the Middle East. Hashemi (2016) contends that the feud between the Shia and the Sunni shapes the identity, attitudes, prejudices and political boundaries even in policy development. The Middle East region is deeply sectarian – you mean Iraq is deeply sectarian?
Given that religious sectarianism is a function of a country’s politics, this thesis submits that divisions of subgroups within the same faith affect the political formation of deeply polarised regions such as the Middle East. Research has been biased on only analysing the sectarian politics of the Middle East and other Islam countries. Cortés (2017) writes of the political implications of the sectarianism between the Catholics and Protestants of the United States, especially in the state of Massachusetts. For instance, in 1829, there were numerous anti-Catholic and anti-Irish campaigns in the town of Boston while Catholic organs like the Catholic Telegraph wrote of the defects on Protestantism (Cortés, 2017). Consequently, the political landscape was marked with religious anecdotes as policies and laws had to consider the stance of each group. Other countries where political decisions relied on sectarianism include Russia, Syria, Pakistan and Ireland other European nations. [this is not clear] for the Muslim countries, sectarianism arose from the different explanations given to the faithful about the message of Allah and his messenger Mohammad (Mahsood and K, 2017).
Thus far, this thesis has established that religious sectarianism is an intricate part of the political landscape of the Middle East. In retrospect, the Middle Eastern nations have three competing elements in their bid to establish a national identity; nationalism, ethnicity and sectarianism. Martini, Williams and Young (2013) acknowledge the possibility of complexities in the Middle Eastern democracy when they note that unlike ethnonationalism and nationalism, sectarianism does not have clear metrics of determination. Furthermore, the Sunni-Shia narrative in the Middle East is so complicated that even US intelligence must consider the sectarian narrative in their intent to promote peace and stability in the region. Mahsood and K (2017) are unclear on how the Holy books and chronicles of Islam can be used to create a sense of community between the different religious factions in the Middle East. Therefore, with regard to the merger of sectarianism and ethnicity, the study submits that it is difficult to predict the future of politics in the Middle East. The following section of the study narrows the discussion to religious sectarianism in Iraqi and the contributions to the crisis of national identity.
6.2 Religious Sectarianism in Iraq
Scholars and political commentators like Robinson et al. (2018) have studied Iraq as a sectarian division with the underlying assumption that the country has always been on a fixed path of sectarian and ethnic civil war. However, Hashemi (2016) thinks that given that the Shia group predominantly occupies Iraq, the same metrics of sectarianism used to measure the Middle Eastern politics cannot be applied in Iraq exclusively. Therefore, the forces of ethnicity and sectarians have led to the coining of a new term, ethnosectarian nationalism which further shows the complications in Iraq identity. The Sunni-Shia conflict has not always been linear as exemplified by historical accounts. For instance, Saudi Arabia, which is predominantly Sunni, supported the Shia dominated Iraq during the Iraq-Iran conflict (Hashemi, 2016). Fundamentally, religious sectarianism in Iraq has shifted the politics of the country, leading to the dynamism and fickle nature of human identity.
The sectarian nature of the Iraqi society can be discussed and understood from three critical eras namely; pre-Ba’ath, Ba’ath and post-Ba’ath sectarianism. According to Robinson et al. (2018), the period between 1920 and 1968 represents the pre-Baath era which saw the development of three modes of nationalism after the creation of the Iraq state in 1921. Iraqi nationalism, Sunni nationalism and Shia nationalism existed in the same framework with the last two competing to control the contested notion of a unified state. Given the dominance of the Shia community, the leaders in Iraq in the 1950s and the 1960s attempted to form the Islamic Dawa Party which tried to influence national politics with Shiite Islamic thought (Alaaldin, 2018). However, the group failed to advance the ideology of the party because they opted for an intellectual as opposed to a political framework. The differences between Sunni and Shia intensified with the introduction of the Baath era in 1968 (Robinson et al., 2018).
The Baath regime under Saddam Hussein created the most significant rift between the Shia and the Sunni in Iraq. According to Alaaldin (2018), the government initially adopted a pluralism approach by acknowledging the other sect’s primary from the Kurds. However, with the appointment of Shia leaders in more than 75% of the country’s regional leadership, the sectarian politics intensified, leading to a divergence between Shia and Sunni nationalism (Alaaldin, 2018). However, the national leadership led by Saddam Hussein consisted of Sunni Ba’athists who controlled the government and the army (Robinson et al., 2018). Therefore, there were two strong, and opposing factions in Iraq during the Ba’ath regime as the power of the state belonged to the Sunni, but the Shia had the people’s support [you mean, they were the majority of the population?]. The period between 1968 and 2003 was marked with the military-aided occupation of Sunni in Shia communities while the Shia led numerous revolts and protests against the regime (Robinson et al., 2018; Alaaldin, 2018).
The post-Baath era inherited a sectarian identity which has defined most of the political decisions in Iraq today. According to Kéchichian (2013), Saddam Hussein left a legacy of sectarian division that only escalated after his ouster and death as the Shia and Sunni revisited their rivalry on an unprecedented scale. From a Sunni perspective, they have to explain and defend their oppression towards the Shia. However, the Shiite were more concerned with exerting revenge and attempt to control the government (Haddad, 2013). In the context of trying to create a national identity, the country would have opted for setting aside the difference as use the opportunity for starting afresh with a shared framework that includes the Shia and the Shiite. However, the deeply ingrained characteristic of sectarianism where people refer to history for decision affected any progress the country would have made in establishing an ethnosectarian nationalism.
The implications of the continued politics of sectarianism without forgetting the Iraq-Kurdistan narrative is that Iraq has too many elements of consideration when conducting negotiations for the creation of national identity. For example, Haddad (2013) contend that during the 10th anniversary of the ouster and death of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi people and leaders did not have many courses for celebration as questions abound on whether the 10-year blame politics between the Shia and Sunni were worth it. For instance, the civil war escalated in 2007 as both the Shia and the Sunni attacked mosques and other places considered to be of sentimental value to the other community (Kéchichian, 2013). Therefore, it can be argued that the problems and issues in Iraq are deeply rooted in sectarianism and ethnicity and not necessarily bad leadership. Robinson et al. (2018) show the fragile nature of ethno-sectarian countries like Iraq when he writes that the Sunni controlled the government during the Baath regime, but have taken the side of opposition post-2003, thereby deepening the crisis of national identity.
The fundamental question, then, is what the future holds for Iraq considering the ethno-sectarian narrative that divides the Kurds, Arabs, Sunni and Shia. From the submissions above by various scholars, there are limited recommendations on how to solve the Iraqi crisis as most academic literature and political commentary focus on the problems in the county (Robinson et al., 2018; Alaaldin, 2018; Haddad, 2013). Therefore, this thesis submits that the future implications of religious sectarianism in Iraq are uncertain and subject to further exploration. Historical accounts suggest that the political landscape in the country shifts significantly and the current Shia-Sunni divide may change in the future. There is a consensus in the literature that without addressing the ethnic and sectarian split between the various faction, Iraq may experience hardship in having a single identity.
6.3 Challenge of Religious Sectarianism in Iraq
While religious sectarianism has challenged the progress of the Iraqi nation and identity, the country has also affected how people view each other under a profoundly religious and ethnic society. According to Alaaldin (2018), sectarianism does not only divide the people of Iraq but has become a weapon used by various factions to achieve their intended goals. For example, given that most of the Baathist leaders were Sunni, the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein came with de-Baathification of the Iraq leadership including in civil service. Such a campaign confirms the assertions by BBC News (2017) and Mansour (2017) that the people of Iraq are prone sensationalism and making political decisions based on the current climate and with minimal considerations of the future implication. The removal of Baathist civil servants led to the paralysis of services and the economy, such that any progress that would have occurred halted immediately. Alaaldin (2018) informs that of the 30000 who were removed from public service, only 15000 returned to work after winning appeals. Therefore, the most limiting factor of sectarianism is the communities’ need for revenge, instead of focusing on ways to build a collective society. Governance in Iraq was subjected to turmoil especially with the sectarian civil war that arose after the bombing of a Shiite mosque in 2006 (Alaaldin, 2018). An alternative argument would be that governance influences sectarianism in Iraq because the composition of government later determines how the people will view each other. If Saddam Hussein had balanced his government to include both the Shia and Sunni, there is a high likelihood that the religious conflict post-2003 would not have occurred.
The second challenge from religious sectarianism occurs to the people who co-exist among each other in the communities. In 2016, Muthanna (2016) from CNN undertook an assignment to examine how the fights against Shia and Sunni affects the people are the grassroots and urban places. The journalist writes of a couple where the man is Shia and the woman Sunni, who cannot announce their marriage to the community or their families for fear of backlashes and the possibility of death. Therefore, religious sectarianism has the same effects as racism in some countries where the marriage between people of different socialisation is supposedly illegal. Shea (2003) contends that the illegalisation of relationships or union between the Shia and Sunni amounts to a limitation of religious freedom, which has become part of the Iraq society since 2003. While the rest of the world views religious freedom as a factor in different religions, Shea (2003) notes that the same occurs in Iraq when Islamic leaders impose blasphemy and apostasy laws on followers of a particular sect.
For the sake of maintaining freedom and observance of human rights, a section of Iraq people have started a campaign on religious tolerance to educate young people in universities who can then replicate the same ideas as future leaders (Muthanna, 2016). Both Muthanna (2016) and Shea (2003) agree that to avoid weaponised religious sectarianism, the government in Iraq must recognise Islam through the factual wording of the holy books as opposed to sensationalised messages aimed at promoting a sub-group of Islam over other sects.
In their analysis of the challenges facing Iraq beyond insecurity and political instability, Beehner (2006) identified that whether it was rebuilding the economy, creating a new constitution, sharing revenue, or developing foreign policy, sectarianism was a central factor of consideration. Therefore, the concept does not only cause conflict and crisis of national identity but also determines policy and halts most of the intended progress by the regional leaders. When scholars like Shea (2003) wrote about the future of Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the critical question of the role of religious politics sought to know whether the Shia would tolerate Sunni and work together or there would be instances of attempting dominance. Follow up studies by Beehner (2006) and Muthanna (2016) revealed that most of the prediction of the effects of religious sectarianism came to pass such that the Shia and the Sunni were still fighting for the same reasons ten years later in 2013. Given that the people of Iraq cannot abandon their religious views for the sake of Democracy, education and tolerance are probably the best approaches to having a national identity while still maintaining the ethno-sectarian society. Muthanna (2016) contends that a section of Iraqi young people is tired of conflict and open to change, which is achieved through honest education as opposed to radicalisation.
Your concluding remarks for this chapter should be here …
CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSION
This thesis put forward the argument that the state of Iraq is disadvantaged in numerous ways with regards to the formation of national identity. With reference to the definitions of nation and nationalism, Iraq has territorial borders and a non-functional government but lacks the unifying factor of nationhood that makes a country bear the name nation. Divisions along ethnic and religious lines are the primary hindrances to progress in Iraq as well as catalysts for civil unrest. Primarily, there is a general inclination to establish a nationalism around the Arab narrative, a factor that angers the Kurdistan people whose independence has stalled due to civil disagreements. The conflict between the Shia and the Sunni has also escalated such that a religious metric measures the division of power as opposed to the needed matters of policy. A section of Iraq people from the Shia and Sunni is willing to pioneer a new era of change, which can only occur through education and true religious doctrine based on the accepted holy books and chronicles. This thesis ,therefore, recommends further research on the possibility of Iraq having an ethno-sectarian nationalism due to the various elements dictating the politics of the region. Having fully discussed the crisis of national identity in Iraq, the study summarises the research based on four main points namely; the main findings, answers to the research questions, contributions of the study and future implications.
7.1 Main Findings
The most important finding is that unlike most of the other countries in the Middle East and other parts of the world, Iraq has not managed to successfully disengage from its destructive history that still dictates the politics of the day. While history has often been used to motivate people into acting rightly for the sake of national unity, the various regimes such as that of Saddam Hussein left a painful legacy that still divides the Kurds, Arabs, Shia and Sunni entities. Secondly, the national identity of Iraq can be defined as an ethnosectarian nationalism. Given the numerous communities and religious faction, the division of power and resources in Iraq is heavily dependent on the influence of given communities. Consequently, the tribe whose leaders are at the helm of power are deluded into thinking they have the hegemony of influence and power over others, a situation that often leads to conflict later when the leaders leave the office. Concerning the primary argument of the study, it can be concluded that the national identity of Iraq is highly volatile and can change depending on the political climate of the day. Therefore, the study is not conclusive and instead opts to submit that the government cannot foster the identity of the divided society without first addressing conclusively the historical injustices that divide the citizens. Therefore, if the Kurds and the Arabs can settle the political grudge that emanated during the rule of Saddam Hussein, then the Sunni and Shia may also discuss the acceptable religious doctrine for all and unite the country.
7.3 Reflections on the Research Questions
The literature review enabled us to answer some of the research questions conclusively while others are still subject to more study. Although the review answered the first question for a country like Ireland or the US, the same is still a mystery for the primary subject of investigation, Iraq. The constitution of identity cannot be answered universally since every country has a unique rationale for peaceful co-existence between various socializations. The second and third questions [what were those guestions?] were answered conclusively in that Iraq does not only have a nationalism, but it is uniquely identified as an ethno sectarian national identity. However, the competing concepts and desires of the different ethnicities and religious factions is the reason for the current political upheavals in the Iraq state. The last two questions elaborated about how the currents state of Iraq nationalism is related to the past, current and possible future challenges of ethno-sectarianism in Iraq.
7.3 Contributions of the Research
The primary contribution of this study is presenting an alternative argument as opposed to the popular notion that Iraq is a troubled country without any hint of national identity [isn’t this what you have been arguing throughout your paper?]. From the analysis of most research, there is an apparent gap in literature where scholars do not consider the possible positive implications of having numerous ethnicities and religious factions in one country. The bias has led to a significant portion of the research to just focus on the negative aspects of Iraqi nationalism without due regard for the complex nature of their history and systems of social governance. Future researchers can draw from this information about how both religion and ethnicity can be a source of national identity or the cause for political upheaval. While other studies usually focus on one area such as religion, this research has collectively analysed the major factors affecting Iraq, ethnicity, history, religion, sectarianism and political conflict, in one forum.
Careful consideration of the situation in Iraq suggests that the crisis might continue for some time despite the creation of frameworks for the creation of a Kurdistan nation separate from the people of Iraq. Still, projecting the future is challenging, especially since the political climate in the Middle East region is highly volatile. If the country does not first solve issues related to historical injustices between the various entities, the foundation for a new government and civil democracy will not be stable, and the people can easily fall into civil war and unrest. The ethnosectarian nature of Iraqi nationalism may be the cause of the crisis, but can also be the basis of a strong and diverse unified country.
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