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Research Report

Looking into Iraq

Martin van Bruinessen
Jean-François Daguzan
Andrzej Kapiszewski
Walter Posch
Álvaro de Vasconcelos
Edited by Walter Posch
Copyright Date: Jul. 1, 2005
Pages: 150
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep07015
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 7-12)
    Walter Posch

    The political situation in Iraq continued to be a dominating factor in the international arena throughout the year 2004 and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Two years after George W. Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq, the country is still far from stable and its further transformation towards a ‘secured, democratic, unified and prosperous country, at peace with itself, its neighbours and with the wider world’, as stated in the EU-US Dromoland Castle declaration¹ (which has been reiterated by the EU on several occasions since), seems far from being accomplished.

    A fierce insurgency is...

  2. (pp. 13-24)
    Andrzej Kapiszewski

    On 30 January 2005 the Iraqi people voted in three elections: for a national parliament (Transitional National Assembly), for 18 district councils and, for voters in the three semi-autonomous Kurdish provinces in the north, for an Iraqi Kurdistan National Assembly. The most important for the future of Iraq were, of course, elections for the National Assembly.

    Last January was not the first time Iraq witnessed elections. The Hashemite monarchy, which ruled Iraq from 1921 until 1958, adopted a British-style parliamentary system. Opposition parties existed and participated in elections. Then, during Saddam Hussein’s rule, elections were also organised, but as Hussein...

  3. (pp. 25-44)
    Walter Posch

    Conventional wisdom tells us that Iraq is neatly divided into three dissimilar ‘ethnic’ chunks consisting of Sunnis, Shias and Kurds, each of them intrinsically hostile to one another and thus causing a situation prone to ethnic and sectarian strife. The country is therefore permanently at risk of sliding into civil war, or at least serious unrest. Notwithstanding the existence of ethnic and confessional diversity, this conceptualisation has serious flaws: first, it mixes ethnic and religious categories, thus creating ‘ethnoreligious’ ones; second, it ignores outright the existence of Arabs; and third, it ignores the reality in Iraq of mixed families, like...

  4. (pp. 45-72)
    Martin van Bruinessen

    Is a new, stable relationship between the Kurds of Iraq and the rest of that country, short of separation, possible? During the Cold War, the question would not even have been put in that form; the international system took the territorial integrity of existing states for granted (the only exception being Bangladesh’s separation from Pakistan). Eritrea’s separation from Ethiopia in 1991, the wars in former Yugoslavia and the break-up of the Soviet Union marked the beginning of a period in which ethnicity acquired a higher degree of legitimacy as a relevant factor in the international system. It was an international...

  5. (pp. 73-86)
    Jean-François Daguzan

    Ce communiqué de victoire, publié à la mi-2003 par William Kristol et Lawrence Kaplan, est en droit de laisser sceptique l’observateur européen, même si ses auteurs laissent l’avenir pour le moins ouvert. Ces clameurs de succès ont réapparu avec les élections irakiennes autour de ce « Bagdad année zéro », selon les termes de Hakim Ben Hammouda². La route a bien commencé à Bagdad pour paraphraser Kristol et Kaplan, mais vers où se dirige-t-elle pour ce pays et pour les Etats-Unis³ ? Cette « victoire de la démocratie » n’est-elle qu’une victoire à la Pyrrhus et quelles conséquences peut-elle avoir...

  6. (pp. 87-94)
    Álvaro de Vasconcelos

    The US intervention in Iraq revealed the enormous difficulty that the EU faces in its attempt to forge a common foreign policy in a context of serious divergences with the United States. The Iraq crisis encouraged many groups to believe that the EU should stay out of Iraq: for some, keeping a distance was necessary because it was deemed impossible to define a common stance on postwar Iraq; others wanted to avoid helping Bush in any way and thereby contribute to his re-election. With President Bush’s electoral victory the latter argument is no longer valid, and what is more, the...

  7. (pp. 95-104)
    Walter Posch

    Instability and violence continue to dominate the situation in Iraq and the country’s future remains unpredictable. In ‘Looking into Iraq’ the authors have tried to analyse the main trends and challenges in post-Saddam Iraq and to identify those trends and factors that in all likelihood will shape Iraq’s future. Most authors have in one way or another touched on the issue of ‘ethnification’, the emergence of Islamism as a political power and the insurgency. Some of these trends and factors became manifest only after the toppling of the regime, others predate it. In general, the contributors have achieved agreement on...