Federalism, Trust, and the Problem of Sectarianism in Iraq

Title: Federalism, Trust, and the Problem of Sectarianism in Iraq
Authors: Saayman, Matthew
Date: 2013-09-10
Abstract: This paper examines the problem of sectarianism in Iraq. It begins from the premise that Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has increasingly centralized power in his own hands and that the sectarian violence seen after the 2003 invasion could re-emerge. The paper seeks to answer the following question: will restructuring Iraqi federal relations contribute to resolving sectarian tensions? First, the paper examines the sources of sectarianism in Iraq. While Iraq may be a heterogeneous and an artificial state, the violence seen after the invasion was not inevitable and was instead caused by a weak state apparatus and by exclusionary regime practices. Second, the paper examines how a federal system of government generates trust among the citizenry. The paper provides an overview of federalism and its various forms, it examines the concept of trust and its related concept social capital, and it applies these concepts to the modern political history of Ethiopia and of Nigeria. While Ethiopia uses a model similar to the consociational model to mitigate ethnic divisions, Nigeria uses the territorial model for the same purpose. Both models are found wanting in the way of ameliorating relations between the major groups. Third, the paper identifies the concept of regional federalism and defines it as a synthesis of consociationalism and territorial federalism. It examines the articles of the Iraqi constitution pertaining to federalism and to the treatment of minorities. The Iraqi constitution is implicitly a regional federal model but certain provisions have not been enforced in practice, especially those pertaining to the rights of minorities or the devolution of power from the central government. The safeguarding of certain constitutional provisions, Article 125 and Article 119 for example, could aid in resolving sectarian tensions. The paper concludes with a discussion of factors that may affect the likelihood of federal relations being restructured.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/26097
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers