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The Legacy of IraqFrom the 2003 War to the 'Islamic State'$
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Benjamin Isakhan

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748696161

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748696161.001.0001

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Shattering the Shia: A Maliki Political Strategy in Post-Saddam Iraq

Shattering the Shia: A Maliki Political Strategy in Post-Saddam Iraq

(p.67) Chapter 4 Shattering the Shia: A Maliki Political Strategy in Post-Saddam Iraq
The Legacy of Iraq

Benjamin Isakhan

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter considers Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's efforts to utilise his incumbency to maintain the veneer of democracy while becoming increasingly dictatorial and authoritarian. In doing so, Maliki's government shares much in common with other ‘hybrid regimes’ in which governments hijack nominally democratic mechanisms such as elections, media freedoms, political opposition, and civil society as part of their strategy to retain, rather than diffuse, power. The chapter focuses on Maliki's first two terms in power and examines the ways in which he has been able to systematically fracture the Shia political elite to such an extent that once tenuously united factions now stand bitterly divided. It concludes by reflecting on the reasoning behind such an approach and the prospects of Iraq's democracy moving beyond the blatant power grab of the incumbent Maliki government.

Keywords:   Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq, democracy, authoritarian, Shia elite, Iraqi politics

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