Saturday, August 18, 2007

# Posted 2:01 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE BIRTH OF ISLAMIC POLITICS IN IRAQ: Brigadier 'Abd al-Karim Qasim led a coup d'etat that overthrew the Iraqi monarchy and replaced it with a republic in 1958. In 1960, Qasim allowed the formation of political parties, including an Islamic party. Initially, Sunni and Shi'ite groups submitted
...requests to form two distinct Islamic parties. Initially refused licences because of their sectarian nature, a single religious party was eventually permitted -- al-Hizb al-Islami (the Islamic Party). The party's leader was the Sunni layman Nu'man 'Abd al-Razzaq al-Sammarai, but its sponsor was the Shi'i Grand Ayatollah Muhsin al-Hakim. Although it was dedicated to the ultimate goal of forming an Islamic order, its hostility to atheism, materialism and communism was very much to the fore, helping to explain its appeal for Qasim at the time.

The emergence of the Islamic Party was the public symptom of feelings in certain circles of both Sunni and Shi'i Iraqis of a need for the reorientation of political life, not on sectarian or communal grounds, but rather in terms of Islamic obligations, more generally understood.

(Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, p.160)
You may have noticed that this is my third consecutive post based on a quotation from Tripp's book. This is the first time I have really engaged with Iraq's modern history and am learning quite a bit. I finished Tripp's book this morning and would recommend it to others. It struck me as very comprehensive and quite even-handed, although it may be more detailed and less user-friendly than most beginners would want.

For a second perspective, I have begun reading Phebe Marr's The Modern History of Iraq. I am 30 pages in, and it strikes me as a better option for beginners, since it focuses more on broad trends and ideas without providing as much of the detail that an expert would want.


(5) opinions -- Add your opinion

Brigadier 'Abd al-Karim Qasim

Just to say to those who keep saying that Iraq ruled by part of sec. Islamic, after Britt’s left Iraq and setup the monkey.
Brigadier 'Abd al-Karim Qasim he is from south Iraq he is from al-Kute city (Wasiá¹­, http://www.citypopulation.de/Iraq.html) he is a shi'it.
I'm sorry, but the war has been ongoing since 2003, the debate about it has been ongoing since before then, and this is the first book you've read about modern Iraq?!?!
Yes. That is a fair criticism. But there is some value in reading numerous lengthy articles, official reports,congressional testimony, etc. -- in addition to in-depth newspaper coverage, countless blog posts and weekly debates on Sunday morning television.

If I might inquire, Anon 4:41, are there specific issues you believe are only well-covered by books? Which books would you recommend that I read?

That is not a rhetorical question, since I have begun a major reading project. Non-book recommendations are welcome as well.
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