Why consociationalism has not united Iraq
Rees, Ashley A.
This thesis examines the reasons that consociational theory has been unable to unite Iraq's disparate religious and ethnic communities and prevent sectarian violence. It describes, analyzes and applies Arend Lijphart's theory of consociationalism to Iraq in order to determine if the resulting instability stemmed from theoretical flaws, problems in its application, or if specific characteristics of Iraqi culture caused the power-sharing model to fail. In light of scholarly support for a consociational government i,n Iraq, this proj ect will explore if consociationalism was attempted in Iraq, and if so, what went wrong in its implementation. To do so, this thesis analyzes Iraq's constitutional provisions in light of Lijphart's theory to determine that it was consociational. Having established this, the thesis then highlights the divisive nature of Iraq's constitutional process and the intensified Shi'a-Sunni tensions that resulted. Lastly, it considers theoretical criticisms of consociationalism with regard to Iraq, specifically highlighting the role of key Shi'a and Sunni leaders in eroding inter-ethnic relations. This analysis of consociationalism's failure in Iraq highlights the points of departure from inter-group cooperation in Iraq and draw conclusions about the causes for current Shi'a-Sunni tensions.