Iraq: From Fragmentation to (De)Centralization?

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In the last fifteen years, Iraq has been continuously described as on the brink of dissolution: its social fabric too diverse and fragmented to sustain a system devoid of a center of gravity able to impose its will over a wide array of competing internal and external power centers. Yet despite the many tragedies that have struck the “Land of the Two Rivers,” the Iraqi State remains a crucial point of reference for millions of citizens. Indeed, neither the civil war nor the brutal occupation of huge parts of the country by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) and the many flaws that characterized the post-2003 order succeeded in tearing Iraq apart. Nevertheless, the challenges Baghdad has to face remain daunting. While often overshadowed by security and geopolitical concerns, center-periphery relations are a factor that could prove crucial for the fate of the fragile democracy built on the ashes of the former Baathist regime. The situation is well symbolized by the vitality of the debate over devolution, which pervaded the history of the Iraqi polity and rose to prominence again from 2003 onwards. This analysis aims to delineate the features of the decentralization movements active in post-Saddam Iraq, with particular emphasis on the southern and central governorates. Areas which, in contrast with the aspirations of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), receive only limited and sporadic coverage, especially in the West.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteThe Arch of Crisis in the MENA Region. Fragmentation, Decentralization and Islamist Opposition
Numero di pagine11
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018


  • decentralization
  • federalism
  • fragmentation
  • iraq


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