From Existential Struggle to Political Banality: The Politics of Sect in Post-2003 Iraq

  • Citation: Haddad, Fanar. "From Existential Struggle to Political Banality: The Politics of Sect in Post-2003 Iraq." The Review of Faith & International Affairs 18, no. 1 (2020): 70-86.
    • Topics:
    • Regional Studies
    • Keywords:
    • Iraq
    • sectarianism
    • U.S.
    • invasion
    • cycles of sect
    • populism
    • Shi’a
    • Sunni

This article focuses on the case of post-2003 Iraq to chart the evolution of the politics of sect between 2003 and 2018 particularly with reference to Sunni and Shi’a identity categories. More specifically it examines the shifts in the social divisiveness, political utility, and perceived depth of the Sunni-Shi’a cleavage. What emerges is a gradually altered enabling environment with a changing set of incentive structures that have diminished the political salience of sectarian identity between 2003 and 2018. This is chiefly evidenced in the transformation of the parameters of political contestation, the parameters of populism and, by extension, the parameters of electoral politics.

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