This book proposes a significant reassessment of the history of Iraq, documenting democratic experiences from ancient Mesopotamia through to the US occupation. Such an analysis takes to task claims that the 'West' has a uniquely democratic history and a responsibility to spread democracy across the world. It also reveals that Iraq has a democratic history all of its own, from ancient Middle Eastern assemblies and classical Islamic theology and philosophy, through to the myriad political parties, newspapers and protest movements of more recent times. This book argues that the democratic history of Iraq could serve as a powerful political and discursive tool where the Iraqi people may come to feel a sense of ownership over democracy and take pride in endorsing it. This could go a long way towards mitigating the current conflicts across the nation and in stabilizing and legitimating its troubled democracy. Taking an interdisciplinary approach and referring to some of the most influential critical theorists to question ideological assumptions about democracy and its history, this book is useful to those interested in political and legal history, human rights and democracy.
'This book is a serious and in-depth reading of Iraqi political history. Isakhan's argument, bolstered by an impressive array of source material, is a direct affront to the use of violence to impose a wholesale American "democracy" on a society that has its own rich history of egalitarian and collective forms of governance.' Muhsin Al-Musawi, Columbia University, USA 'Democracy in Iraq expertly excavates democratic traditions that have long been buried in Western Orientalism and Bathist totalitarianism. In demonstrating that a will towards collective and participatory governance has existed over the centuries, Benjamin Isakhan rescues assessments for Iraqi democratisation from the kind of negative determinism, deracinated from history and local culture, that has dominated scholarly and policy debates.' James Piscatori, Durham University, UK