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IraqA Political History$
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Adeed Dawisha

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157931

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157931.001.0001

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The Uncertain Nation, 1921–1936

The Uncertain Nation, 1921–1936

(p.67) Chapter Four The Uncertain Nation, 1921–1936

Adeed Dawisha

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the efforts to create a nation out of Iraq's disparate communities. One of the most urgent and important tasks that was undertaken by the new Iraqi state was to mold disparate communities, divided by ethnicity, sect and tribe, lacking social and cultural connections, into one viable nation. This was no easy task for the King and his government. The state that the British assembled in 1921 had major fissures between Arab and Kurd, Sunni and Shi'ite. These fault lines overlapped with, and indeed were cemented by, the cultural and economic disparities that existed between the urban and rural areas. Of the rural population, much of which was abjectly poor and illiterate, 65 percent was Shi'ite and only 16 percent was Arab Sunni. These communal divisions would prove to be some of the most obstinate hurdles to social and political integration in Iraq during the first decade and a half of the country's life, and even beyond.

Keywords:   Iraq, nation-building, disparate communities, Arab Sunni, Shi'ite, Kurds

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