The 1990-1991 crisis in the Middle East and the disturbances that followed in Iraq's Kurdish and Shi'i areas have starkly exposed deep-seated divisions in the Iraqi population. Iraq has essentially been dismembered along the lines of the three Ottoman provinces that were arbitrarily assembled into a state by the British after the First World War.
This book examines the complexities stemming from this situation. It focuses on the intertwined and contradictory cultural, political and religious divisions in Iraqi society during the country's formative years, 1920-1960, offers a new explanation of the social categories and 'cultural packages' in conflict since Iraqi's inception as a modern state, and points out the reasons behind the unity or fragmentation of group connections, loyalties and identities.
By explaining the volatile nature of 'class' associations, and then redefining 'class' as 'social groups', conditioned primarily by communal and religious affiliations. Dr. Lukitz establishes improved terms of comparison in a situation where the sheer number of conflicts creates an ambiguity of identity and meaning. Iraq: The Search for National Identity shows why the factors that normally express a nation's statehood, such as its army or national political parties, cannot forge national unity while preserving the supremacy of one section of society over others. The Shi'i soldiers' feeble identification with Saddam Hussein's goals, compared with the loyalty of the Sunni Republican Guards, is a notable examples of the lack of national cohesion.