President Obama with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
-This essay was published by The Foreign Policy Institution in September 2011
-Eric Davis is professor of political science at Rutgers University and former director of Rutgers’ Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He is the author of Memories of State: Politics, History, and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq (University of California Press, 2005) and the forthcoming Taking Democracy Seriously in Iraq (Cambridge University Press, 2012
2-[Text] For an analysis of the Mahdi Army, see my, “Sectarianism, Historical Memory and the Discourse of Othering: The Mahdi Army, Mafia, Camorra and ‘Ndrangheta,” in Chris Toensing and Mimi Kirk, eds., Uncovering Iraq: Trajectories of Disintegration and Transformation (Washington, DC: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, 2011), pp. 67-113.
3-[Text] Al-Hayat, July 5, 2011.
4-[Text] Abu Dira‘a literally means, “owner or possessor of the shield,” which implies that no one can penetrate his armor and thus he is invincible. Abu Dira’a, who brutalized many victims along Haifa Street in Baghdad, is also referred to as the “Shiite Butcher” for torturing his victims with electric drills before killing them.
5-[Text] “Iraq's Sadr Says Iran Will Not Hand Over Militant,” Agence France Presse, August 10, 2011. For the possible outbreak of violence between the Sadrists and the League of the Righteous, see, “Mahdi Army vs. League of Righteous: Fears That Fresh Violence Between Shiites Could Spread, Niqash, July 14, 2011, http://www.niqash.org/content.php?contentTypeID=75&id=2864&lang=0
6-[Text] For a discussion of Iraq’s early political development, see my Memories of State: Politics, History and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 2005), pp. 55-81.
7-[Text] Having visited polling stations during the June 1980 parliament elections while conducting research in Iraq, it was clear to me that only candidates hand-picked by the Bacth Party were allowed to stand for office.
8-[Text] For al Maliki’s efforts to use kingship ties to influence the decisions of the IHEC, see: “A Family Tie Too Tight: Nepotism Runs Deep in Iraq Politics,” Niqash, July 21, 2011, http://www.niqash.org/content.php?contentTypeID=75&id=2868&lang=0
9-[Text] Thomas Carothers, “The Backlash Against Democracy Promotion,” Foreign Affairs, Mar. – Apr., 2006, pp. 55–68.
10-[Text] See the National Democratic Institute (NDI) poll, Iraq’s Democracy at the Tipping Point, November 23, 2010; and the ABC/BBC/NHK poll, Iraq - Where Things Stand, March 16, 2009. The poll’s results were summed up as: “Dramatic advances sweep Iraq, boosting support for democracy.”
11-[Text] For the details of this program, see,
12-[Text] As of September 9, 2011, 340 journalists have been killed, see, http://www.brussellstribunal.org/Journalists.htm
13-[Text] For a discussion of the development of civil society in Iraq, see my, The Historical Genesis of the Public Sphere in Iraq, 1900-1963: Implications for Building Democracy in the Post-Ba‘thist Era, in Seteney Shami, Publics, Politics and Participation: Locating the Public Sphere in the Middle East and North Africa (NY: Social Science Research Council Books, 2010), pp. 385-427.
14-[Text] This research, in which I conducted focus groups with 600 Iraqi youth, will be published in preliminary form in a forthcoming Special Report, Iraqi Youth between Optimism and Cynicism, to be published by the U.S. Institute of Peace.
15-[Text] Admittedly, I am referring largely to educated and middle class youth. Poor Iraqi youth continue to bear the brunt of unemployment, lack of education and exposure to violence and displacement. In the larger study that builds upon the focus groups, I focus more on the “other Iraq,” namely the underprivileged and disadvantaged sectors of Iraqi youth.
16-[Text] Wladimir Van Wilgenburg, “Abductions Target Kirkuk Doctors,” Rudlow, May 7, 2011, http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/iraq/3797.html
17-[Text] For a discussion of this issue, see my, “Iraq’s Water Crisis Threatens its Economic and Political Development,” December 14, 2011; http://new-middle-east.blogspot.com/2010/12/iraqs-water-crisis-threatens-its.html
18-[Text] See the Gallup Poll, Arab Youth Express Strong Entrepreneurial Spirit, June 9, 2009, in which Iraqi youth expressed very high levels of commitment to entrepreneurship: http://www.sbdc-iraq.com/files/128100279569_doc101488_RFA_FD801-2010-002_webfnl-1.pdf; For the problems faced by Iraqi entrepreneurs, see: Sameeksha Desai, “Entrepreneurship in Iraq: Understanding the Constraints,” http://www.ony.unu.edu/middayforum/UNU.%20Background%20Readings%20on%20IRAQ.pdf
19-[Text] The Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry can be accessed at: www.i-acci.org/
20-[Text] This term should no doubt be revised to reflect that fact that many oil-producing countries are also rich in natural gas resource, such as Iraq.
21-[Text] For an analysis of “rentierism” (excessive dependence on oil wealth for state revenues), see Bassam Yousif and Eric Davis, “Iraq: Understanding Autocracy - Oil and Conflict in Historical and Socio-Political Context,” in Ibrahim Elbadawi and Samir Makdisi, eds., Democracy in the Arab World: Explaining the Deficit (London and New York: Routledge, 2011), pp. 227-253.
22-[Text] For efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development to promote small business in Iraq, see the discussion of the Tijara Project at: http://iraq.usaid.gov/node/34.
23-[Text] “Turkish Investors Favour Iraq as Unrest Sweeps Region,” Reuters, March 30, 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/30/iraq-turkey-investment-idUSLDE72T28120110330
24-[Text] “Iraq Looks Beyond Nabucco Gas Pipeline,” UPI, April 7, 2011, http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2011/04/07/Iraq-looks-beyond-Nabucco-gas-pipeline/UPI-89351302178500/
25-[Text] “Many Christians Fell Iraq, With Syria the Haven of Choice,” New York Times, August 5, 2004, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/05/international/middleeast/05syria.
26-[Text] “U.S. Officials Voice Frustrations With Saudis Over Iraq,” The New York Times, July 27, 2007, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/27/world/africa/27iht-27saudi-web.6857553.html?scp=1&sq=us%20voices%20frustration%20with%20saudis&st=cse; This article notes that of the 60-80 fighters entering Iraq each month to join Sunni Arab insurgent organizations, over half were Saudi.