Identities and cultural diversity

. A. Hussain Shaban

2011 / 5 / 7

Identities and cultural diversity
State and citizenship in Iraq

By Dr. A. Hussain Shaban*

 An Intellectual, Academic Researcher, Legal Consultant and Author of over than 50 books within International Law, Constitution Law, Politics, Ideological conflict, Islam, culture, Human Rights and Civil Society. From his books: The Iraqi- Iranian conflict, 1981. The ideological struggle in the International Relations,1985. America and the Islam , 1987.The New issues in the Arab- Israeli conflict, 1987. Storm on “The Land of the Sun”, 1994.Panorama of the Gulf War. 1994. Islam and Human rights, 2001. Islam and International Terrorism, 2002. The Tolerance in the Arab- Islamic Though, 2005. Smashing of mirror , Marxisist and Difference,2009. Identities Controversy in Iraq, 2009. Indictment ,2010.

First: National identity and referential authority of the state
On the 31 of the past August (2010) USA forces began to withdraw from Iraq as a first step under the US-Iraq agreement signed between the former US President George w. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Practical withdrawing included approximately 91000 US troops, where dozens of military bases have been dismantled, with five military bases and some 50,000 us, will be limited to train Iraqi forces, especially since their sites will be outside the cities and communities and participate in military missions only when needed and necessary, The U.S. President Barack Obama announced that battle gear for U.S. troops in Iraq is over. Thus be around seven and a half years have elapsed since the occupation of Iraq on 9 April 2003.
The war for which the result was a fait accompli did not last for more than three weeks, beginning with the American bombardment on the morning of 20 March 2003 and concluding with the fall of Baghdad. Not only did it target a tyrannical regime that had ruled Iraq for 35 years, Washington persistently sought the destruction of the entire Iraqi state by dismantling its military and security institutions after inflicting heavy damage to their infrastructures, viable facilities and economic establishments, in addition to it acts of rampant sabotage that larceny that swept the country.
The decision to disband the Iraqi armed forces as promulgated by US Administrator L. Paul Bremer- who succeeded Gen. Jay Garner- synchronized the law of the Ba’athi faction (The former ruler faction) which created a backlash, the impact of which still lingers in the political process once preconceived to serve as a prototype for the US Government to market its own political project worldwide.
After the invasion, and in the absence of the state and order, Iraqis were forced to return to traditional authorities, if they even existed, which cannot serve as an alternative for the state that encompasses historic accumulation. Such authorities were various including religious, denominational, tribal, provincial, political and familial in orientation. The situation was terribly chaotic and reflected a bitter reality as some sectarian and ethnic powers established their own places in the new composition and
would never step aside from these acquired privileges once they were won; on the other hand, some of those who participated in the quota system and the sectarian- and ethnic division started to feel that it was pointless. As such, a nebulous image of the new Iraq began to emerge, whereas the former image has already faded. After all, the state remained the unifying element that links all its components, structures and bureaucracies.
Throughout the last seven years and half, Iraq has passed through four phases. The first one witnessed a direct American administration represented by the military governor Jay Garner and lasting for several weeks (from 9 April until Paul Bremer s taking over the reins of power in 13 May 2003); this phase was characterized by chaos, absence of order and organized vandalism. Phase two was characterized by an American rule with pro forma participation by some Iraqi forces. This phase which had lasted for one year defined the stereotypical image of Iraq as had already been preconceived by Western- and American strategic and political circles two decades previous. The third phase was an American-International one in aspect, especially upon the issue of Resolution 1546 on 8 June 2004 by the Security Council and the formation of the interim government; whereas in the fourth phase, elections were held and a permanent constitution was drafted. These continuous phase, culminating in a new election in 7 March 2010, under intense competition between the number of electoral lists,no one could landslide victory, making State in floating situation, especially after failing to form Government and denominate an accepted Prime Minister, despite over eight months.
To understand the new Iraq , we have to focus on this phase with all its details and secrets given that what has been declared was, basically, the cornerstone of the American strategy which followed the theory of creative chaos and which was implemented in the case of Iraq: dismembering the state and its institutions and rebuilding it by means of an American conception and which create large cracks in national unity with rising subsidiary identities to prohibitive community identity based on the idea of citizenship transient communities and ethnic groups, religions, languages, strains, which led to a real setback not only on an Iraqi level, but also on the American one, as it has stained the reputation of the United States and caused tremendous financial and human losses that accelerated- in turn- the occurrence of the financial crisis in the United States and throughout the world, and which raised issues such as mortgage, bankruptcy of banks and monetary institutions and witnessed the dissolution of major insurance companies.
In the second phase, Iraq was ruled by a ‘reputable’ civil governor-- as his fellow politicians would like to call him, namely Paul Bremer. He was the sole giver of orders including for members of the Governing Council which was instated by him as well. This period was rife with administrative and financial corruption and was characterized by subjugation of the Iraqi powers which dealt with the occupier. It was often said that the first and second interim governments were merely non-governing governments . Simultaneously, security conditions deteriorated, violence and organized crime surged, and resistance attacks increased, and uncontrollable violence.
It was Bremer- who came to set the foundations of "new Iraq" as President Bush - who promised that democracy would reign and freedom would become the rule- consolidated sectarian violence and ethnic tensions through the composition of the Governing Council, designating alien formulas for the various factions and which proved to have dire consequences as it awakened both old and new conflicts pertaining to political sectarianism.
Second: Identity and political sectarianism
Fueled by British occupation, contemporary political sectarianism began to take shape, and since the foundation of the modern Iraqi state in 1921, successive regimes occasionally endeavored to exploit such a trend in order to extend their influence and hegemony, mainly through nationality laws. These included in particular Law 42 of the year 1924 which had been promulgated even before the adoption of the first Iraqi Constitution (constituting basic law) in 1925 and Law 43 in 1963 as well as the ensuing discriminatory laws issued by the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council in the period from 1968 to 2003, which resulted in the deportation of nearly half a million Iraqis and which transpired, remarkably, during the Iran-Iraq War and its aftermath (in accordance with resolution 666 issued 7 May 1980)[4]. However, this political sectarianism would be transformed upon the invasion of Iraq in 2003 into an even graver form- or perhaps at least a darker side of it, namely that of societal sub-sectarianism.
In either of the cases, and for both sides, after witnessing all this strife and these purges, sectarian- and ethnic violence became the most prominent feature which would define the polity known as the Iraqi State during the post-invasion period.
Sectarian (Shiite-Sunni) entrenchment has dominated the scene, noticeably after the bombing of the shrines of Imams Hassan Al Askari and Ali al-Hadi in Samarra on February 22, 2006. The Arab-Turkmen-Kurdish dispute with regard to Kirkuk has escalated, aggravated even more by Arab-Kurdish tensions concerning federal borders; and moreover, Christian Chaldean-Assyrian alignment as well as that of other religious and ethnic sects has become firmly consolidated. With such givens, we may borrow the late prominent Iraqi sociologist Ali Alwardi s epithet "sectarians without religion" to label those girded in the armor of sectarianism and sub-sectarianism; in fact, this expression is still applicable and is rather the most precise description for such individuals in present times, as the devout Muslim is incapable of being sectarian as Islam rejects sectarianism. As for coexistence between sects, rather than being taken in a context of entrenchment and feuds, it should be considered a model paradigm for pluralism and diversity.
The second phase of the American rule sought to present Iraq in accordance with the American portrayal which has been circulated by tens of studies, research papers and articles in academic-, political- and strategic research centers; this image has reduced Iraq into sects and ethnicities, particularly during the last two decades, or even more than that, during the Iran-Iraq War which has been often either Islamiczed through its consideration as an Islamic-Islamic conflict, or even sectarianzed by considering it a Sunni- Shiite conflict, while still others have viewed it as an Arab-Persian conflict. In any case, it was a futile war far removed from all such characterizations; in fact, it was merely a venture in which each side sought to exterminate the other.
Third: Identity and Iraq s new form
After the war waged against Iraq by Coalition Forces on 17 January 1991, which resulted in the ultimate defeat and withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait and forced Iraq- in the process- to capitulate to unjust resolutions, especially Resolution 687 issued by the UN Security Council on 3 April 1991, about 60 resolutions were issued in total. All imposed a strict embargo on the country for 13 years, during which time Iraq was portrayed as being nothing more than a collection of sects and ethnicities or minorities without any prevailing component that might define the Iraqi nationality. In this manner, the Iraqi nationality was approached as a deconstructive and fractionated prospect and was reduced into minor ethnic and sectarian sub-identities; it was never taken in its collective form within a unified state characterized by religious-, cultural- and ethnic diversity and comprised of sub-identities that inhere within the context of a larger one.
The talk about a "safe haven" mostly denoted the question of Kurds (latitude 36), and then there had been debate concerning protecting the - Shiite in the south through a no fly zone (latitude 32). As for the Sunni population, they were often accused of collusion with the previous regime with all its drawbacks.
The fragmented image drawn for Iraq does not include Kurds, - Shiite and Sunnis only. In fact, other components were tackled such as Turkmens and Assyrians-Chaldeans, as well as adherents of minor religions such as Mandaeans and Yezidis, but none of this was for the sake of rights of citizenship or equality, only to widen the divide between them.
If this mosaic structure of Iraq had always been a source of strength throughout ancient and contemporary Iraq s history, then addressing society s rights is an essential condition which cannot be overlooked with regard to norms of human rights. The Western prejudicial image clearly harbors intent, taking advantage of voracious appetite for privileges and collecting as much booty as one can, even if these come via the aid of the occupier and at the expense of the collective identity.
Fourth: How to divide Iraq?
Ethnically speaking, we can say that Iraq is composed mainly of Arabs who constitute the majority at 80% of the population which establishes Iraq s historic and contemporary identity in addition to Kurds, an ethnicity whose rights were partly recognized by Iraqi Constitutions since 1958 for being "partners in the national state of Iraq" (the 1958 Constitution) and for the fact that Iraq is comprised of two principal Ethnicities, Arabs and Kurds (the 1970 Constitution). Currently, Kurds are demanding more guarantees in accordance with the formula of federation in lieu of the previous autonomy formula of 1974. Additionally, Iraq has a minority of other ethnicities such as Turkmens and Assyrian-Chaldeans. [6]
It is not feasible to talk about an ethnic concord in Iraq without granting the ethnic rights of Kurds and cultural- and administrative rights of Turkmens, Assyrian-Chaldeans and other minorities, as well as guaranteeing human rights in a country established on the basis of equality and full citizenship; especially when former governments had disregarded rights of minorities and human rights in general, precipitating- as a consequence- isolationist trends, which have been aggravated by the complexities of the post-invasion events, including the Law of Elections and Parliaments that ensued. In fact, such trends reflected an ethno-sectarian polarization which had already been propagated by Paul Bremer in the Governing Council.
On a religious basis, Iraq is comprised of Muslims who constitute approximately 95% of the population, Christians, Yezidis, Mandaeans and other minor religions. Islam, by far, is considered the dominant identity of the Iraqi society and has been the main component of the country for 1400 years, bearing in mind that Iraq was once the center of Arab-Islamic civilization. Undoubtedly, securing the rights of religious minorities will protect the unity of the entire Iraqi society; conversely, subduing ‘the other’ under the pretext of having been victimized in the past, or the pretence of representing the majority s voice in the present-- in addition to disregarding regular rights--are all precipitating factors in the collapse of Iraqi society and the disintegration of the national identity.
This is supposed to be the real image of a historic unifying Iraq, rather than being a virtual one, that is comprised of many Iraqs, many cities and provinces, many religions and ethnicities. Admitting distinction and uniqueness is an essential prerequisite just as paying respect to personal rights is a consolidation of the right of citizenship, especially upon adopting the indispensable principle of equality in accordance with charters of human rights.
Fifth: Citizenship and Nationality in the Past and Present
One feature that distinguishes Iraqi Law from any other is its stipulation that for an Iraqi individual to obtain citizenship, he must obtain a Civil Status Identity Card and an Iraqi Nationality Certificate .According to my known there is no such bizarre law exists anywhere else in the civilized world. In point of fact, such practice is tantamount to an entrenchment of sectarianism in Iraq according to the formula of Sir Percy Cox and Miss Gertrude Bell- which would become legalized later on; the British rule of "divide and rule", especially after the 1920 Revolution in order to ferment schism among Iraqis, and Muslims in particular and up to the time of the more recent formula of Bremer-Negroponte-Khalil zada.
The first Nationality Law in Iraq was Code Number 42, issued in 1924 upon the entry of the Treaty of Lausanne into force on 6 August 1924, whereby Ottoman nationality was converted to Iraqi nationality (for all citizens bearing Ottoman nationality and residing in pre-independence Iraq) [7]. The aforementioned law regulated the conditions by which non-Ottoman individuals might obtain Iraqi nationality: "Any person had born in Iraq who has attained his majority and whose father was born in Iraq and was at the time of that person s birth ordinarily in Iraq provided that this item does not include those who were born before August 1924"[8]. This law further subdivided holders of nationality into Class-A "original", and Class B "sub-affiliation".
In 1963, the Iraqi Nationality Law was amended under Code 43, whereby new restrictions were introduced for obtaining Iraqi nationality; moreover, the Minister of the Interior was given the prerogative of considering those who were born in Iraq to a father who was born in- and is habitually resident of Iraq. This clause was invoked and implemented for those who failed to obtain the Iraqi Nationality Certificate before the entry of this law into force. It emphasized the principle of jus soli (for both the father and the son) according to the province right, and the right of filiations on the condition that the father is continuously and permanently resident in Iraq, in addition, it demands applying in a written statement to the Minister of Interior for his approval [9]. This chauvinist and sectarian aspect was covertly consolidated by the Revolutionary Command Council s Regulations 131 of 1972 and 803 of 12 July 1977 which made the acquisition of an Iraqi nationality for an individual who is born (as well as whose father was born) in Iraq contingent on the Minister s discretion and the interest of the authorities. Not even compulsory military service- as in the case of much international law- can assist someone in obtaining Iraqi nationality.
In February 1980, the Revolutionary Command Council issued Regulation 180 concerning the granting of Iraqi nationality to foreigners married to Iraqis, whereby the Minister of Interior has the right to grant the Iraqi nationality to foreigners married to Iraqi men or women [10].
This coincided with the propaganda that was raging between Iraq and Iran after the Iranian Revolution and which stiffened the resistance of Iraqi authorities towards political currents, especially the opposition. The whole process did not stop only at the classification of "hostile" trends but rather launched a full-scale campaign of deportation against tens of thousands who were deemed a "fifth column", thus augmenting the cruelty of the Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988) and stirring up domestic unrest and contempt.
After these deportations, the Iraqi Government confiscated all assets belonging to the deportees and formed the committee for the so-called “Deportees Assets Administration" to invest such properties thereby transgressing all human rights considerations, where Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others, and no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property."
The system of citizenship is a judicial one; it is not a contractual relationship that seeks consent of the two parties. In this sense, it is different from "nationalization" which is basically a voluntary action. Consequently, due to its bias and discrimination, the Iraqi law rendered nationality acquisition- which is a right for all citizens- just another version of "nationalization" that necessitates submitting a request to be approved by the Minister of Interior and the ruling authorities [11].
The administrative law set out some new regulations pertaining to nationality during the interim period and after the promulgation of the permanent Constitution, in which it is stated in Article 11 that every subject who holds the Iraqi nationality is deemed an Iraqi citizen who has full rights and obligations since his citizenship is the basis for his relationship with the state; however, such laws remained ambiguous and inconspicuous as they did not include a plain text that annuls the law of getting the Iraqi nationality certificate that necessitates that all Iraqi identity holders apply for the Iraqi nationality certificate, even when this requires an annulment of the law of getting the Iraqi nationality certificate which was the main instigator of discrimination, and according to the Nationality Law 42 of 1924.
The law also permits that an Iraqi may hold more than one nationality, bearing in mind that two million Iraqi hold foreign nationality. In general, this law prompted many discrepancies that need to be addressed by the legislature. For instance, many Jews were forced to leave Iraq under the notorious Law of 1950, which stripped many of their Iraqi nationality. Many of those Iraqi Jews and their sons have become active members in Israel Defense Forces and the Mossad, so if any such as these are restored their nationality, they will pose a threat to the security of Iraq and the entire Arab world, as Iraq is still at war with Israel according to law and is not a signatory in the Rhodes Armistice Agreement of 1949. Now the question that poses itself here is: "How can an Iraqi-born Israeli who is also a holder of American nationality be accepted as an Iraqi citizen under such ambiguous circumstances? The legislature should make exceptions that can avert such confusion.[12]
Sixth: cultural diversity and sub-identities
Taking interest in cultural diversity in regard to aspects of nationality or ethnicity, religion or sect, dynasty or dialect was never satisfactory; in fact, there is even a disregard for pluralism that could lead to intolerance and disrespect of ‘the other’, and denying others rights will always disturb the unity of Arab societies. Perhaps, this is one of the deficiencies that has characterized the Iraqi state and undermined its unity.
Intellectual-, cultural- and political elites have often approached the question of cultural diversity in terms of generalities and have prioritized major centralist slogans at the expense of a reality replete with multiplicity and ethnic-, cultural- and lingual diversity; at other times, this reality has been overlooked altogether at the expense of recognizing ‘the other’. Diversity is not a set of superfluous minutiae; rather, it is an indispensable necessity.
Any authoritarian or arbitrary unity will necessarily pose a threat to other minorities living in the society; unfortunately, intellectual-, cultural- and political elites have never established a "unified" legal and humanitarian position with regard to religious-, cultural- and lingual diversity. Consequently, many divisions of the society such as Christians, Kurds and Turkmens, as well as other non-Arab or non-Muslim minorities, were unable to hold senior positions in the state such as the office of the President or Commander of the Army or Chief Justice, while this would customarily be their right if we are before a modern state.
This myopic distortion of minorities residing in Iraq or the Arab world has been omnipresent for thousands of years, and doubting their loyalty was always a component of any given scenario being attributed at times to some historical considerations such as al-Barmakids, and Abou Muslem Al Kharassani, the crusaders wars and the likes of such. The Arab-Persian conflict and the role played by Populist were played upon and exploited quite heavily during the Iraq-Iran War, thereby igniting hatred between people--bearing in mind that it is not external influence or questioned loyalty that will prompt sedition, but negligence in delivering rights to citizens. Perhaps, discrimination and oppression will cause some people to adopt narrow-minded isolationist positions or even render them empowered by foreigners.
Recognizing minority rights and national diversity is a privilege that emphasizes the importance of sub-identities as being a primary component of a larger genuine identity in which no sub-identity can be eliminated or concealed. Now the question is: What is the difference between the single Arab culture and the unified Arab culture, that recognizes multiplicity in its own society, bearing in mind that the Arab world and the Iraq one in particular, have always been a magnet for other civilizations, cultures and religions?!
Seventh: Identity and human rights
The system of collective- and individual cultural human rights admits the right of any nation for equality between its entire people and considers all cultures- with all their differences and distinctions- to be an integral part of the common heritage of mankind. It emphasizes the importance of protecting culture and guaranteeing the right of all peoples to develop their own cultures in addition to securing every individual s right in participating freely within his own society, practicing arts and literature, contributing to scientific development and enjoying intellectual freedom, etc.
The International Bill of Human Rights maintains that all cultures are equal, rejects discrimination between nations and peoples, and deplores all concepts of superiority or hegemony; this has also been upheld by UNESCO and the Mexico City Declaration of 1982 in regard to the right of respect for cultural identity.
Peoples right of cultural identity provides individuals and groups the right to practice their own cultures, as well as to coexist with other cultures according to both local and international criteria. To recognize the right to culture means the right of any culture to exist and develop by means of its own dynamics, independence and inherent characteristics and without neglecting common factors at the human-scale or values of cohabitation and interaction between nations, peoples and groups.
International law has witnessed positive progress during the last three decades in terms of minorities rights, many international treaties and conventions have addressed the issue of discrimination. The issue of special rights has also garnered major interest, especially after signing "The Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities", which was adopted by United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992, and which became known as the "Declaration of Minority Rights". In 1995, a team was formed on the basis of cultural rights and took responsibility for concern over minorities rights.
Special rights means the preservation of identity and personal characteristics, tradition and language in the context of equality and non-discrimination, and which was stated in The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights promulgated by United Nations General Assembly in 1966.
The acknowledgement of cultural-, ethnic- and religious diversity in itself is a confession of a poignant reality resulting from the pointless denial of the rights of others, which was exploited by external powers to seed civil unrest, leading eventually to this state of fragmented national unity and undermined national security.
Eighth: The American-International Phase
The third phase through which the Iraqi state passed after the American invasion in 2003 is to be considered in outline: American-International with an "Iraqi" participation. In the forefront, were the promulgation of the administrative law for the interim government on 8 March, 2004; and the declaration of transferring "sovereignty" to Iraqis on 28 June in reaction to the Security Council s Resolution 1546 of 8 June, 2004. It confirmed the role played by Multi-National Forces under American leadership and paved the way for holding elections on 30 January, 2005.
Simultaneously, the third phase witnessed an escalation in resistance attacks on the one hand, and terrorist attacks (suicide bombs, sectarian and ethnic pogroms, decapitations, etc.) on the other; it was so severe and acute that it inflicted heavy casualties on the United States and the Multi-Nationality Forces as well as financial losses [14]. Seven and half years have passed, and the occupying forces and the governmental forces are still losing their grip over the conditions in Iraq despite the relative improvement in security conditions in the country during mid-2008; the signing of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in late 2008; and the pledge to withdraw from Iraq made by President Obama during his electoral campaign which he re-emphasized upon entering the White House in the outset of 2009. Then he executed in August last 2010. Although, the decision to withdraw from Iraq did not materialize completely, it is, however, possible now, and this could be due to Baker-Hamilton recommendations of late 2006 which had been discarded by former President Bush or it might be due to the American stalemate in Iraq and the heavy losses in personnel, material and money, or possibly, it might be due to the massive financial crisis which started with mortgage, then reached major banks and insurance companies and ended by affecting all aspects of economy and life.
Phase four started after the 2005 elections; although the United Iraqi Alliance (Shiite) won the elections, the winners failed to form the government only after an arduous effort, after that the presidency, vice presidency and the national assembly.
According to a timetable already set by the American administration, a draft for a permanent constitution was promulgated on 15 August, for which a referendum was carried out on 15 October, and then on its basis elections were held on 15 December 2005, despite the reserved position taken by the “Sunni” Accord Front – the third component of the political apparatus which won 44 seats in the Parliament out of 275, and where the Kurdish list won 53 seats coming in second during the elections behind the “Shiite” Alliance list which won with 138 seats.
Municipality elections precipitated a new reality by the big win of the State law list, headed by Al-Maliki, but the elections of March 2010, show a new political and sectarian and ethnic assembly.
Dr. Ayad Allawi and his list has got 91 seats and the list of Al-Maliki gets 89, the national coalition headed by Mr. Ammar al Hakim gets 70 seats.
The Kurdistan Alliance list has cracked by the victory of opposition, but generally remained combination Kurds more coherent Add to other small lists.
The Federal Court having brought the case issued the explanation that the larger cluster is not winning cluster but the winner was formed by the Parliamentary Bloc This has made a fortune in Maliki government could be formed and I think that this is what will be satisfactory of both major parties the United States and Iran.
That would become one of the challenges facing the political process, especially after the relative improvement that the security condition has witnessed and the relative retreat of the sectarian fragmentation, however, new problems will emerge the new government, especially in terms of the governorate authorities, the question of Kirkuk and that of oil agreements, alongside crumbling political alliances and blocs.
Ninth: Iraqi Federations and the Identities Debate
The question of federation and law of governorates -which was promulgated in the Parliament and then postponed another 18 months- cast many theoretical and practical problems over the unity and future of Iraq; these may coincide with many scenarios that depict the division of Iraq either directly or gradually, the latest of which was that proposed by Joseph Biden that plans to divide Iraq into three federations (similar to cantons) with borderlines equipped with checkpoints between the three of them, and providing identity cards with 300,000 troops from “the coalition forces”. The estimated cost of this project reaches one billion dollars.
This law of governorates, along with the growing influence of warlords, rampant militias, rise of sectarian violence, dissemination of corruption and bribery, embezzlement of public funds, the trafficking of oil have all shrouded federation and federal law with confusion and ambiguity. Before that, the Iraqi Constitution had created such impression through making federal (union) authority and laws serve the authority of the governorate and their laws by the time that the two are in contrast.
This is not to forget the repercussions of the question of distributing revenues and the oil contracts signed by the Kurdistan Government without the federal authority noticing. Another issue is the confused state of powers enjoyed by the federal armed forces towards governorates, including the Peshmerga. It is necessary to investigate the issue of federalism and their relevance to the question of identity.
Federalism entered the Arab political literature two decades ago. In the 1990s and after the fall of the bi-polar world order and at the end of the Cold War, the ideological conflict entered into a new phase and the concept of federalism came to be ascendant, especially in Iraq and Sudan.
“Kurdish federalism” and the “federalism of South Sudan” are both open to discussion and ‘implementation’ with constitutional formulas that prompted controversy and induced many parts of the Arab world to consider this option and call for it whether on the basis of genuine or coveted privileges.
We are about to expound aspects of the Iraqi Federations and not only “Kurdish federation”: prerequisites, requirements, challenges and threats facing it, and its reflections on the Arab reality whether to consolidate the national unity or to confront foreign challenges and potentials for fragmentation and division facing it.
After all, the project of the centralist state and monopoly of the political and administrative decision making are no longer feasible in a world heading towards de-centralization and expanding the circle of individual participation, especially with such an atmosphere of excluding ‘the other’.

Ten: the constitution and the complex situation
One of the problematic and central issues that resulted in pugnacious dispute in the committee for drafting the Iraqi Constitution between political powers in and outside the National Assembly was the issue of federations or the so-called ‘law of governorates’. Section five of Article 113 went on to define the components of the federal system by saying: it is composed of “a capital and non-central governorates and municipal administrations”.
Although the Iraqi Parliament promulgated the law of governorates in 2006, its implementation was delayed for 18 months due to the conflicts it stirred up and the threats intimated by some powers about withdrawing from the government and which might undermine the entire political process. Its execution was halted pending amending the constitution or forging a new accord that could promote the law of governorates as per the Accord Front aspirations, meanwhile, the Alliance list bets on time to coerce the opposing parties to concede to the aforementioned resolution of the Parliament, bearing in mind that it represents the majority.
Despite the fact that Article 114 has already stated that the Province of Kurdistan is a federal province, the current debate revolves around: borders and authorities of the province and the discrepancies surrounding some items cited in the constitution that aggravate the confusion between it and the federal authority, especially in terms of extending the idea of provinces to the south and the center under pretexts of ‘special nexus’, ‘sectarian cohesiveness’, and ‘historical grievance’.
As if all of that has no reference to the domination of a strict centralist state and limitation of authority in its hands at the expense of its relations with provinces and parties, not only in the south and the central region or for sectarian considerations, but also in the west and the north and the rest of Iraq. Such an issue is not well-understood by the parties calling for southern federation or perhaps yearning for privileges make them cling to any means in order to achieve the ultimate goal which they consider ‘the haven to sect’. Baghdad, however, remains intractable to the process of division or sectarianism after all operations of sectarian cleansing and forced deportations for the purpose of altering its demographics, as it represents a melting pot in all religious, ethnic, and social dimensions.
If federalism were an administrative system that addressed urgent historic-, political-, social- and economic needs in order to organize a society and enhance governorates’ participation in the responsibility of decision-making, whether in their specific issues or in the state’s general affairs, then reasons such as ‘adjudicating grievances’ or ‘achieving the right’ or ‘counteracting discrimination’ are not sufficient to establish a federal rule. Without proper historical cultural development and a dire need for establishment and management of the affairs of the state and society, a federal system cannot be established; as for issues of ‘grievance’ or ‘historic injustice’ or ‘sectarian formation’ or ‘discrimination’, they should be addressed in the Constitution and under the section of rights and obligations, whether that constitution is federal or not.
Finally, to consolidate a national sense of belonging to Iraq as a country, discrimination has to be resolved, political sectarianism has to be banished, and national oppression has to be terminated. To preserve one’s unique identity and make it interact in the context of multiple and diverse Iraqi citizenship is an element of strength rather than weakness. A citizenship needs free citizens and a civil society devoid of sectarian, ethnic or tribal or political allegiances without which there will necessarily be a need for a ‘magic wand’ for existing problems and conflicts. In this sense, when we talk about conditions of democracy, we mean conditions of citizenship in a modern state, and a unified law and constitution, and not on the basis of the democracy of sects, ethnicities, quotas or other divisions remote from the essence of citizenship in its modern sense.
Finally, if there is any weakness in the Iraqi identity due to oppressed rights, especially of the minorities and the lack of freedoms, equality and full citizenship in a state of law, the occupation helped further destroy this state and tear apart the collective Iraqi identity, especially upon dismantling the Iraqi Army and promulgation of sectarian- and ethnic quotas, leading- in the process- to infighting.

Sources and References:

[1] Bremer, Paul and Malcolm, McConnell. 2006. My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope, and Shaban, A. Hussain, 2007. "Ijtithath al-Ba th….wa Shay an al-Musalahah wa al-Musa alah wa al-Azl al-Siyasi," in: Al-Zaman. 5 & 6 August.
[2] See: "Al-Iraq: Siyaqat al-Wihdah wa al-Inqisam: al-Nasr am al-Hazimah!" in:Hal al-Ummah al-Arabiyah 2006-2007: Azmat al-Dakhil wa Tahaddiyat al-Kharij, edited by Ahmad Yousef Ahmad and Nevine Massad (Beirut: Centre for Arab Unity Studies, 2007).
[3] See Shaban s review for Bremer and McConnell. My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope, in: al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, year 29, 329 (July 2006), pp. 156-174.
[4] Citizenship is a right no one can deny in accordance with article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. The international society tried to lessen cases in which no citizenship is granted to individuals by signing the international agreement "Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness) in 30 August 1959 (entered into effect in 1960); later it was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1961 and was implemented in 13 December 1975. Among its clauses that any signatory state is required to grant citizenship to anyone who is born on its lands, also this citizenship is given as follows: a- after birth and according to law.
b- based on a written statement submitted to the concerned authorities.
See: Shaban, A. Hussain Man Huwa al-Iraqi?
[5] Shaban, A. Hussain, "tadaris al-kharitah al-siyasiyah al-iraqiyah," in: al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, year 29, 333 (November 2006), pp. 48-68.
[6] See: Iraqi provisional constitutions of 1958 and 1970.
[7] See: Abu Hatem, "mualahazat amah ala tatbiq al-jinsiyah al-iraqiyah,", p. 7
[8] Compare with article 8 of law 42 in 1924.
[9] Compare with article 6 of law 43 in 1963.
[10] Shaban, A. Hussain, Asifah ala Bilad al-Shams, p. 231.
[11] See Law 43 in 1963.
[12] See law 1 of 1950.
[13] Minority rights declaration of 1992.
[14] See: "hal sa yusbi al-iraq aswa al-hilul al-say ah
[15] ibid.
[16] Shaban, A. Hussain, ”bayan ihtilayan: al-qadiyah al-kurdiyah bayna al-ta tir wa al-tashtir".
See also: Shaban, Abdul Hussein –Jadal al Hawyat fi Al Iraq (conflict or controversial identities in Iraq), Al Mustaqbal Al Arabi journal, issue 369, November 11/2009.
See also: Jadal al Hawyat fi Al Iraq , Al Dawlah wa Al Muwatanah (conflict or controversial identities in Iraq, State identities and citizenship), Arab Scientific Publishers,Inc, Beirut, 2009.
[17] See the permanent Iraqi constitution.


First: National identity and referential authority of the state
Second: Identity and political sectarianism
Third: Identity and Iraq s new form
Fourth: How to divide Iraq?
Fifth: Citizenship and Nationality in the Past and Present
Sixth: cultural diversity and sub-identities
Seventh: Identity and human rights
Eighth: The American-International Phase
Ninth: Iraqi Federations and the Identities Debate
Ten: the constitution and the complex situation

ÇáÚÏÏ ÇáÃæá ãä ãÌáÉ ÌÇãÚÉ ÇÈä ÑÔÏ(åæáäÏÇ) ¡ äíÓÇä / ÇÈÑíá¡ 2011
Modern Discussion