Rebuilding the Iraqi State: The Regional Dimension of Ethno-Sectarian Conflict (2003-2016)
Ahmed, Zubir Rasool
Date: 27 February 2017
University of Exeter
PhD in Middle East Politics
This thesis addresses the relationship between state-building and ethno-sectarian conflict in Iraq from 2003 to 2016 in the regional context among Iraq’s core neighbours: Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The purpose of this study is to examine how and why Iraq's neighbours engaged in the process of state-building in Iraq after the ...
This thesis addresses the relationship between state-building and ethno-sectarian conflict in Iraq from 2003 to 2016 in the regional context among Iraq’s core neighbours: Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The purpose of this study is to examine how and why Iraq's neighbours engaged in the process of state-building in Iraq after the fall of Saddam's regime. Part of this research’s significance lies in the fact that there is a lack of research projects that examine Iraq’s state-building process in its regional dimension, and of studies that address internal and external factors that shape security policies in the Persian Gulf. The majority of previous studies so far have addressed the state/nation-building process in Iraq as an internal issue among Iraq’s different sectarian, ethnic, and political factions. However, this study has found that the involvement of Iraq's neighbours in the ethno-sectarian conflict has been an enduring part of the state-building process in post-2003 Iraq. Furthermore, one of the central issues that this study has demonstrated regarding the involvement of Iraq's neighbours is the constant interaction of three main variables: security complex dynamics, ethno-sectarian conflict, and the state-building process in post-2003 Iraq. Based on the theoretical contribution of RSC, this research has found that the engagement of Iraq’s neighbours in the state-building process and ethno-sectarian conflict following the U.S. invasion of Iraq is rooted in the RSC dynamics of Iraq with its neighbours in the region, on the one hand, and among the neighbours themselves, on the other hand. The engagement of Iraq's neighbours in the state-building process in Iraq has been driven by both internal and external dimensions of the regional security complex. Moreover, the thesis found that both Turkey and Iran have built institutional bases for their leverage in post-2003 Iraq. Turkey through the KRG and a part of the Arab Sunnis, and Iran through the Shi'a-centric state and part of the Iraqi Kurds, have built institutional links with Iraq's components. However, both Saudi Arabia and Syria lacked the capability to build such institutional relations with post-2003 Iraq, and this has been a main cause for their ineffective positions in the process of state-building in Iraq after 2003.Thus, the ethno-sectarian conflict in post-2003 Iraq has been a form of intervention by Iraq's neighbours in the state-building process.
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