This paper argues that the conceptual basis of the political community in Iraq has shifted since the US-led invasion of 2003, and a political ideology has emerged to underpin the formation of the new political system and govern the state’s relationship with society: communalism. The study argues that the new concept of the political community contains the seeds of a process of “hollowing-out” the state, weakening its developmental role. This reflects a shift away from the modernist/developmental definition of the state’s role during colonial and post-colonial phases, and toward an identitarian-collective definition, which could be linked to the neo-liberal postmodernist context as well as to the pre-eminence of sectarian classifications in Iraq’s political community. The study finds that communalist ideology has contributed to hollowing out of the Iraqi state, as well as to obscuring the nature of the social contract underpinning it. Iraq’s “hybrid regime” was a natural result of the post-2003 ideological transformation of the political system. Furthermore, without a departure from the current conceptual framework and its procedural implications, the nature of the Iraqi state is unlikely to change.
* This Article was published in the 14th issue of AlMuntaqa
, a peer-reviewed academic journal for the social sciences and humanities. You can read the full paper here