Political economy of modernisation in Iraq: Challenges and consequences
This article is featured in Orient III/2023.
Post-Saddam American modernisation in Iraq, which was supposed to implement an example of a new Middle East based on the liberal democracy model in this country, effectively led to the establishment of a weak elected government against anti-modernisation forces after 2003. The formation of this government and the cessation of modernisation led to the tendency of socially disillusioned Iraqi forces to experience the defeat of Iraqi democracy facing with discourse of ISIS or the victory of pro-traditional forces (Al-Ketletol Sadriyah) in 2021 elections. The answer to the main question of this article, which is the reason for the failure of American nation-building in Iraq, should be found in three factors: “the nature of the fundamental history of Iraq in the modern order,” “the historical nature of American nation-building policy after World War II,” and “the hybrid nature of the Islamic religious state or traditional classes discourse, which was able to establish itself as a liberating force among the disenfranchised social forces in post-2003 Iraq.” The result of this process was the cessation of modernisation and modern nation-building in Iraq. This article examines the reasons for the failure of these projects in Iraq by examining three models of modernisation: “modernisation from above or British colonial modernisation” in monarchial regimes; “army-centred” modernisation, which resulted from a military coup and the Ba’ath party; and “American liberal democracy modernisation”.
Ebrahim Abbassi is Associate Professor in political sciences at Shiraz University. He holds a BA (1998), an MA (2001) and a PhD (2009) in Political Science from University of Tehran. He has been Director of the Persian Gulf Center for Strategic Studies (2013-2016) and Dean of the School of law and Political Sciences at Shiraz University (2018-2022). His current research interests include political and social developments in Iran, Persian Gulf studies and terrorist groups in the Middle East.
Adel Nemati is a PhD student. in Political Sciences at Shiraz University. His research focuses on the history of Iran and the Middle East.
Mohsen Shokri is a PhD student in Political Sciences at Shiraz University. His research focuses on the political economy of the Middle East.
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