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The Legacy of Iraq

From the 2003 War to the 'Islamic State'

Edited by Benjamin Isakhan

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Examines the complex and difficult legacies of the Iraq war of 2003 and their critical relevance today

In March 2003, a US-led ‘Coalition of the Willing’ launched a pre-emptive intervention against Iraq. Their ambitious project was to turn Iraq into a liberal democracy, underpinned by free-market capitalism, its citizens free to live in peace and prosperity. However, the Iraq war did not go to plan and the coalition were forced to withdraw all combat troops at the end of 2011, having failed to deliver on their promise of a democratic, peaceful and prosperous Iraq.

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Part I: The Aftermath of War: Strategic Decisions and Catastrophic Mistakes

1.The De-Baathification of post-2003 Iraq: Purging the Past for Political Power
Benjamin Isakhan

2. The Contested Politics of Iraq’s Oil Wealth
Philippe Le Billon

3. Torture at Abu Ghraib: Non-disclosure and Impunity
Aloysia Brooks

Part II: Iraqi Politics since Saddam

4.Shattering the Shia: A Maliki Political Strategy in Post-Saddam Iraq
Benjamin Isakhan

5. The Dangerous Legacy of a Flawed Constitution: Resolving Iraq’s Kurdish ‘Problem’
Liam Anderson

6. Between ‘Aqalliya’ and ‘Mukawin’: Understanding Sunni Political Attitudes in Post-Saddam Iraq
Ronen Zeidel

7. Post-Withdrawal Prospects for Iraq’s ‘Ultra-Minorities’
Nicholas Al-Jeloo

Part III: The Plight of Iraqi Culture and Civil Society

8. Doing Democracy in Difficult Times: Oil Unions and the Maliki Government
Benjamin Isakhan

9. ‘If you are female, you risk being attacked’: Digital Selves, Warblogs and Women’s Rights in post-Invasion Iraq
Perri Campbell and Luke Howie

10. The Impact of Coalition Military Operations on Archaeological Sites in Iraq
Diane C. Siebrandt

Part IV: Regional and International Consequences of the Iraq War

11. Ethnic Cleansing in Iraq: Internal and External Displacement
Howard Adelman

12. The Shia Ascendency in Iraq and the Sectarian Polarisation of the Middle East
Ranj Alaaldin

13. Humanitarian Intervention after Iraq: The Politics of Protection and Rescue
Binoy Kampmark

14. Iraq, the Illusion of Security and the Limits to Power
Joseph A. Camilleri

Conclusion: The Iraq Legacies and the Roots of the ‘Islamic State’
Benjamin Isakhan


About the Author

Benjamin Isakhan is Associate Professor of Politics and Policy Studies and Director of the Middle East Studies Forum in the Alfred Deakin Institute at Deakin University, Australia. He is also Adjunct Senior Research Associate, Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa and an Associate of the Sydney Democracy Network at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Democracy in Iraq: History, Politics and Discourse (Ashgate, 2012) and the editor of 6 books including The Edinburgh Companion to the History of Democracy (Edinburgh University Press, 2015 [2012]). Ben’s current research includes a 3-year funded project entitled ‘Measuring Heritage Destruction in Iraq and Syria’.

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