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Identity and Nation in Iraq

Sherko Kirmanj
Identity and Nation in Iraq
ISBN: 978-1-58826-885-3
ISBN: 978-1-62637-079-1
2013/321 pages/LC: 2012034892
"A welcome addition to the scholarship on Iraqi identities."—Diana P. Hatchett, Kurdish Studies

"Well-argued and timely."—Choice

"The core argument of this book may be a familiar one, but it is imbued here with a sophistication and attention to historical detail that commands attention. Kirmanj skillfully skewers conventional wisdom, offering a powerful and timely corrective to the dominant narrative on the issue of Iraqi nationalism. His admirably balanced analysis of Iraq's political history deserves to be widely read."—Liam Anderson, Wright State University      


Sherko Kirmanj offers a balanced, critical analysis of the evolution of Iraqi national identity and the process of national integration, tracing a history of antagonisms and violence that began with the creation of the state in 1921.

Challenging approaches that variously blame the legacy of the Baathist regime or the US invasion for the sectarian violence that plagues Iraq, Kirmanj delves into the political and social dynamics involved across the decades. His focus is on the enduring conflicts between Iraq's Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds—and on the challenges of forging a nation when the groups involved share no collective identity or attachment to a single homeland.


Sherko Kirmanj is senior lecturer in the College of Law, Government, and International Studies at University Utara Malaysia.


  • Foreword—Brendan O'Leary.
  • The Context of Identity in Iraq.
  • The Formation of Iraq.
  • Faisal and the Dream of a Nation.
  • The Emergence of National Integration.
  • The Failure of National Integration.
  • The Process of National Disintegration.
  • A Disintegrated Nation.
  • The US Invasion: Opening Pandora's Box.
  • The Paradoxes of Nation Formation in Iraq.