Iraq After the Referendum: Stuff of Nightmares

Politics in Iraq has descended into a struggle for survival. The different communities – Kurds, Shi’a and Sunnis – seem to be readying for when the last of the political niceties have been said, and they have to fight for position. For the US-led coalition, an exit strategy is, in many ways, no longer dependent on what happens on the ground. It is more dependent on ticking the boxes – holding elections, drafting the constitution and securing its passage in the referendum.

The World Today Updated 15 October 2020 Published 1 October 2005 5 minute READ

Professor Gareth Stansfield

Professor of Middle East Politics, University of Exeter

Particularly following the devastation of the in Iraq is no longer based on realities, but instead on token results that can be presented to his increasingly dissatisfied populace. A successful referendum could, irrespective of the emerging civil war, herald the end of large-scale US troop presence. Rejection would be the stuff of nightmares for Iraq, the region and the international community.

Iraq is on the cusp of a new era. the constitution commission approved a draft constitution on August 28 and in the middle of this month, a nationwide referendum will either accept or reject it. This is, arguably, far more important for the countries of the coalition than for Iraqis, as its acceptance could signal the beginning of their long-awaited exit strategy.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.