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Red Star Over Iraq: Iraqi Communism Before…
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Red Star Over Iraq: Iraqi Communism Before Saddam (Columbia/Hurst)

by Johan Franzen

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Recent outbursts of sectarian and ethnic violence in Iraq have made many observers question the viability of the state itself. It is said that due to the artificiality of the state and a lack of deep-seated political institutions, Iraqi politics is doomed to endlessly revert back to primordialism. Political parties are mere facades for the real intention of pursuing ethno-sectarian interests, the argument goes. But the present situation has largely been caused by Saddam Hussein's infamous rule over the past three decades, combined with the plight of international sanctions. Before Saddam's ascent to power in the late 1970s, however, the Iraqi political spectrum was full of political parties operating from ideological platforms. The largest, and arguably most important of these groups, was the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP). The ICP stands out as the only true cross-sectarian party in Iraqi history, drawing support from all of Iraq's diverse communities. From its inception in 1934, it continuously fought the various regimes in power and endeavoured to spread communist ideology throughout Iraq. At times the party achieved considerable success in this regard, although ultimately never able to seize power. Red Star over Iraq analyses the twists and turns of the ICP from its inception until its ultimate demise as a significant political force at the hands of Saddam in 1979. ( )
  HurstPub | Nov 4, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0231702302, Hardcover)

Recent outbreaks of sectarian and ethnic violence have thrown Iraq's stability into doubt, suggesting the country's politics are a farce and its political parties are nothing more than the protectors of ethnosectarian interests. Because of the artificiality of the Iraqi state and its absence of deep-seated political institutions, skeptics fear the country is destined to revert to primordialism, yet Iraq's present situation is largely the result of Saddam Hussein's infamous rule over the past three decades, exacerbated by the deprivations of international sanctions.

Johan Franzén underscores the role of these destabilizing factors, arguing that before Hussein's ascent to power, diverse parties representing a variety of ideological platforms characterized Iraqi government. The largest and most important of these groups was the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP), the only true cross-sectarian party in Iraqi history drawing support from all of Iraq's communities. From its inception in 1934 to its demise at the hands of Hussein in 1979, the ICP continuously resisted various regimes and spread communist ideology throughout Iraq. At times the party achieved considerable success, though it ultimately failed to seize absolute power. Red Star Over Iraq analyzes this rich history to project a different picture of a future Iraq.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:26:18 -0400)

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