Mako Publishes Paper on De-Ba‘thification In Post-2003 Iraq

Shamiran MakoAssistant Professor of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, published a recent paper as part of the Project on Middle East Political Science’s Report on Religion, Violence, and the State in Iraq.

Mako’s paper, entitled “Institutionalizing Exclusion: De-Ba‘thification In Post-2003 Iraq,” can be read here. From the text of the article:

The American invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq in 2003 was accompanied by an almost entire institutional reconfiguration of the state. After regime change toppled the Ba‘thist autocracy, the occupation was characterized by failed statebuilding resulting in elite fractionalization, ethnic exclusion, and socio-economic and political decline. This article examines institutional failures that impeded democratic consolidation in post-2003 Iraq. I argue that the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) cemented patterns of exclusion and ethnic dominance through the creation of the de-Baathification Commission immediately following the invasion.

The Commission’s pervasive purging of former Ba‘thists signaled to the Sunni-Arab community that their status had been relegated to that of a  persona non grata (see Haddad in this collection),  which crystalized the community’s intransigence toward accepting the new political order. As a result, the absence of parallel, cross-communal peacebuilding initiatives intensified interethnic distrust of the statebuilding process, which exacerbated communal fractionalization and exclusion at the onset of the transition. Far from being an instrument of transitional justice, de-Ba‘thification became a jurisdictional tool for institutionalizing discrimination by previously excluded Shia and Kurdish elites who captured the political playing field post-2003. As a discriminatory institution advocated largely by Shia elites in exile and Kurdish elites in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), it intensified segmental  cleavages  and markedly altered the country’s democratic transition.

Shamiran Mako’s research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics with a focus on authoritarianism, civil wars, democratization, institutional capacity building, governing in divided societies, and American foreign policy with a regional interest on the Middle East and North Africa. Specifically, she explores the historical and contemporary drivers of inter and intra-state conflicts that produce weak and fragile states and examines ways in which successful conflict mitigating strategies relating to post-conflict state and peacebuilding can be applied to states in the MENA region.