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The Struggle for Iraq's Future How Corruption, Incompetence and Sectarianism Have Undermined Democracy by Zaid al-Ali

The Struggle for Iraq's Future How Corruption, Incompetence and Sectarianism Have Undermined Democracy


The Struggle for Iraq's Future How Corruption, Incompetence and Sectarianism Have Undermined Democracy by Zaid al-Ali

Many Westerners have offered interpretations of Iraq's nation-building progress in the wake of the 2003 war and the eventual withdrawal of American troops from the country, but little has been written by Iraqis themselves. This forthright book fills in the gap. Zaid Al-Ali, an Iraqi lawyer with direct ties to the people of his homeland, to government circles, and to the international community, provides a uniquely insightful and up-to-date view of Iraq's people, their government, and the extent of their nation's worsening problems. The true picture is discouraging: murderous bombings, ever-increasing sectarianism, and pervasive government corruption have combined to prevent progress on such crucial issues as security, healthcare, and power availability. Al-Ali contends that the ill-planned U.S. intervention destroyed the Iraqi state, creating a black hole which corrupt and incompetent members of the elite have made their own. And yet, despite all efforts to divide them, Iraqis retain a strong sense of national identity, Al-Ali maintains. He reevaluates Iraq's relationship with itself, discusses the inspiration provided by the events of the Arab Spring, and redefines Iraq's most important struggle to regain its viability as a nation.


A well-researched study of how Iraq has gotten into its current, worsening, and possibly terminal mess ... Ali's analytical clarity and his inside knowledge fill the gap in understanding Iraq that, for non-Iraqis at least, has widened markedly since America pulled out of its misadventure. -Max Rodenbeck, New York Review of Books -- Max Rodenbeck New York Review of Books A devastating picture of the structural political flaws that have brought the country to the point of breakup. -Choice Choice

About the Author

Zaid Al-Ali is a lawyer specializing in comparative constitutional law and international commercial arbitration. He was a legal adviser to the United Nations in Iraq from 2005 to 2010. He often serves as a commentator on Iraqi and Arab issues for BBC, Al-Jazeera, Channel 4, and the New York Times among others. He lives in Cairo, Egypt.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd January 2014


Zaid al-Ali

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Yale University Press


304 pages


Political structure & processes
Constitutional & administrative law



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