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Rebuilding Governance in Iraq

Working papers

While the priority in Iraq remains on military issues, emphasis is shifting towards establishing civilian forms of governance that are legitimate and sustainable. Although driven by the noble aim of building a democracy, the approach to political reform by the US-led coalition poses real concerns: it is based on a liberal ideology, badly attuned to Iraqi history and society. This article argues that reorganizing state-society relations governance in Iraq will not be an easy task, but the chances of success will be greatly enhanced if the strategy chosen is more comprehensive, draws on evidence not ideology and focuses on processes. Based on a recent study, the article proposes a broader, more open-ended framework for rebuilding governance in Iraq and discusses priority issues, opportunities and challenges, based on the current context in Iraq and drawing on literature from similar efforts around the world.

Julius Court and Goran Hyden