Iraq's Dysfunctional Democracy
by David Ghanim
September 2011, 255pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39801-8
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39802-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Iraq will continue to be associated with the United States—in particular, the U.S. failure to create a peaceful and democratic society in the wake of its invasion and prolonged war. As a result, political events in Iraq will continue to play a major role in American foreign policies for years to come.

This book examines Iraq since 2003 and argues that a new democratic Iraq cannot be grounded on destructive politics of victimization, narrow nationalism, sectarian confessionalism, and a consensual, power-sharing political arrangement.

This book provides an in-depth analysis from an Iraqi perspective on the political development in Iraq since 2003, thereby filling a gap that currently exists in the discussion of this embattled nation. Within its pages, author David Ghanim scrutinizes the many contradictions of the new experience in Iraq and exposes the myth of a “new democratic Iraq.”

By providing a unflinching look at the dysfunctional nature of democracy in Iraq, the centrality of violence in Iraqi society and politics, and the deterioration of the rights and treatment of minorities and women in Iraq, Iraq’s Dysfunctional Democracy exposes how the New Iraq after the nearly decade-long involvement of the United States is becoming a republic of corruption. Complex issues such as ethnic federalism, ethno-sectarian elections, politics of victimization, deceptive legitimacy, and the effects of de-Ba’athification are covered in detail, serving to illuminate the multilayered obstacles to stabilizing Iraq—a country that serves as the linchpin for the security of the Middle East as well as the rest of the world.

David Ghanim, PhD, is an independent scholar of Middle Eastern studies and gender studies. His published works include Praeger's Gender and Violence in the Middle East. A native of Iraq, Ghanim holds his doctorate from the Corvinus University of Budapest in Hungary.


"A hard-hitting critical analysis of Iraq's post-2003 political order and a welcome addition to the growing literature on post-Saddam Iraq. Policymakers as well as scholars and students of Middle East politics will benefit from this well-researched and cogently argued book." —International Journal of Middle East Studies, November 1, 2012

"This is a lucid and passionate book. . . . A good exposition of the sorry state of Iraq." —Middle East Journal, November 1, 2012

"This is a necessary, timely glimpse at the short-term future of a still-important nation." —Booklist, December 1, 2011

"David Ghanim offers a refreshing rethink of post-2003 Iraq. Above all, he explains why many ideas that are seen by Westerners as the keys to a solution in Iraq are in fact highly problematic in the Iraqi context and at times counterproductive. This includes concepts like power-sharing, federalism and ethno-religious collective rights." —Reidar Visser, Author A Responsible End? The United States and the Iraqi Transition, 2005-2010

"In this sweeping overview of Iraq's post-2003 political landscape, David Ghanim delivers a passionate yet detailed assault on the edifice of the new Iraqi state. Highlighting every major state-building trope—democracy, elections, pluralism, justice—he exudes love for his native country even as he excoriates its new leaders for falling short on all these fronts. For those who want to understand why Iraq remains weak, internally divided, and thoroughly corrupt, Ghanim's book is an excellent place to start." —Joost Hiltermann, International Crisis Group
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