Nationalism, Sectarianism, and the Future of the U.S. Presence in Post-Saddam Iraq

Nationalism, Sectarianism, and the Future of the U.S. Presence in Post-Saddam Iraq

Nationalism, Sectarianism, and the Future of the U.S. Presence in Post-Saddam Iraq

Nationalism, Sectarianism, and the Future of the U.S. Presence in Post-Saddam Iraq

Excerpt

The ouster of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq has led to a variety of new and important questions about the evolution of Iraqi society and national identity. These questions concerning how Iraqis view themselves have serious implications for the U.S. military presence in Iraq which remains in the aftermath of Saddam's removal. A new Iraqi nationalism or sectarian chauvinism may feed anti-U.S. efforts and actions, endangering U.S. troops and disrupting Iraqi reconstruction. It is correspondingly vital that Iraqi nationalism does not begin to define itself with anti-Americanism as a major component.

This monograph, by Dr. W. Andrew Terrill, addresses the critical questions involved in understanding the background of Iraqi national identity and the ways in which it may evolve in the future to either the favor or detriment of the United States. The monograph also provides particular attention to the issue of Iraqi sectarianism and the emerging role of the Shi'ite Muslims, noting the power of an emerging but fractionalized clergy. The result is a thoughtful and probing report including policy recommendations for U.S. military and civilian decisionmakers that helps to illuminate the complex subjects of Iraqi nationalism and sectarianism and their relevance to the U.S. presence in Iraq.

The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offer this monograph as a contribution to the national security debate on this important subject at this juncture of our nation's history as it grapples with a variety of problems associated with rebuilding Iraq. This analysis should be particularly valuable to U.S. military strategic leaders as they seek to better understand Iraq political culture. Additionally, the background information provided should be of great value to those involved in duties associated with the U.S. presence in Iraq.

DOUGLAS C. LOVELACE, JR.
Director
Strategic Studies Institute . . .

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