Federalism, Secession, and International Recognition Regime: Iraqi Kurdistan, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Federalism, Secession, and International Recognition Regime

Iraqi Kurdistan, 1st Edition

Edited by Alex Danilovich


236 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138328815
pub: 2018-10-09
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pub: 2018-10-10
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Federalism is widely believed to be an efficient tool to quell ethnic conflict, yet recently there has been a pronounced global tendency among ethnic minorities to break away from larger nations. Iraqi Kurdistan, a region within the newly established Iraqi federation, also harbors plans to proclaim its own sovereign state. This volume analyses the factors that have caused the Kurds to change their minds about living in a federal Iraq, and the reaction of their neighbors and the international community at large.

Using a broad theoretical framework of federal studies and secession theory, this book examines the causes for the breakup of ethnic federations fuelled by nationalism as well as the international regime of recognition of newly formed entities. It provides a first-hand account and theoretically informed interpretations of the Iraqi situation, showing that federalism is not always a universal remedy for ethnic and religious conflicts; it also emphasizes that the international recognition regime is a significant variable in peoples’ actions and aspirations to sovereignty.

Enriching the ongoing debate on federalism and self-determination, this volume will appeal to scholars and students of politics, international relations, and comparative politics, as well as those interested in federalism, the Middle East and Kurdistan.


"This excellent collection of essays edited by Alex Danilovich who spent years in Iraqi Kurdistan is timely and demonstrates with lucidity that federalism is the best possible choice for the Kurds in Iraq." - Gerard Chaliand, PhD, Professor and Prominent French expert in geopolitics, non-conventional warfare and the Middle East

"This important book presents an accurate picture of the Iraqi Kurdistan of the 2010s and its relations with Baghdad, as well as regional and world powers. It also puts emphasis on the Kurdish sectarian and collective expectations as they were expressed before, during and after the September 2017 referendum on independence." - Hamit Bozarslan, PhD, Professor, Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales, Author of Révolution et état de violence. Moyen-Orient 2011-2015 (CNRS Editions), From Political Struggle to Self-Sacrifice: Violence in the Middle East (Marcus Wiener) and co-author of Revolutionary Passions, Latin America, Middle East, India (Routledge).

Table of Contents


Alex Danilovich


CHAPTER 1 The Paradox of Federalism and the Iraqi Federation

Hemin R.A. Akreyi

CHAPTER 2 Seeking Sovereignty under Modern Conditions: The Case of Iraqi Kurdistan

Anwar Anaid

CHAPTER 3 Together We Stand, Divided We Fall: Transcending the Obstacles to Internal Sovereignty in Iraqi Kurdistan

Nigel Greaves

CHAPTER 4 From Shotgun Marriage to Amicable Divorce? The Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Self-determination, Secession and Recognition in Comparative Perspective

Francis Owtram

CHAPTER 5 KRG Survival in Iraq and in the Middle East: Non-Alignment and Sectarian Neutrality

Sara Salahaddin Mustafa


CHAPTER 6 Kurdistan: the Strategy of Secession and International Recognition Regime

Ryan D. Griffiths

CHAPTER 7 Iraqi Kurdistan Independence Aspirations and the Neo-Ottomanist Turkey

Emel Tugdar and Serhun Al

CHAPTER 8 Iran’s Regional Hegemony and Iraqi Kurdistan’s Independence

Sardar Aziz and Sherko Kirmanj

CHAPTER 9 Israel's Periphery Doctrine and the Kurds

David Romano and Shivan Rojhilat

CHAPTER 10 China’s Energy Strategy in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan

Hugo El Kholi

CHAPTER 11 Kurdish Interests and US Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Alex Danilovich and Paula Pineda

CHAPTER 12 Russia’s Strategy Towards Iraq and Kurdistan

Alex Danilovich and Kirill Vertyaev


Alex Danilovich

About the Editor

Professor Alex Danilovich was professionally trained in the USA, USSR and France, and has developed scholarly expertise in comparative politics, constitutional law and international relations. The results of his research have been summarized in many scholarly articles and several books, such as Russian-Belarusian Integration: Playing Games Behind the Kremlin Walls, Ashgate, USA/UK, 2006; Iraqi Federalism and the Kurds: Learning to Live Together, Ashgate, UK, 2014; Iraqi Kurdistan in Middle Eastern Politics, Routledge, UK, 2017.

Alex Danilovich worked as an expatriate professor and academic administrator in Iraqi Kurdistan over several years. He is a recipient of the American Political Science Association award for Outstanding Teaching in Political Science. Currently, Alex Danilovich works as a Senior Associate at the Institute on Governance, an Ottawa-based think-tank, on a project related to Iraqi federalism.

About the Series

Federalism Studies

Federalism Studies
The end of the Cold War profoundly altered the dynamics between and within the various states in Europe and the rest of the World, resulting in a resurgence of interest in the concept of federalism. This shift in balance has been further fuelled by the increase in the number of conflicts arising from the disaffection of the diverse ethnic or religious minorities residing within these states (e.g. Sudan, Iraq). Globalization is forcing governments not only to work together, but also to reconsider their internal roles as guarantors of economic growth, with regions playing the major part. Federalism Studies offers academics a complete and in-depth understanding of federalism and intergovernmental relations in historical, theoretical and comparative contexts. Intended to be international and interdisciplinary in scope, the books in the series are designed to build a common framework for the constructive analysis of federalism. Contributions are welcome on topics which explore federalism as a theory; as a political system and as a form of conflict management.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy