Project

Roadblocks to Democracy in Iraq

They represent a turning point in democracy building in Iraq, and therefore, bring some light to the rather bleak picture.
The future of democracy in Iraq is shrouded with doubt because there is a feeling that things go slowly. Three years have passed since the US military overthrew the thirty-five years old dictatorship in Iraq but violence has not slowed down and the state of anarchy is still prevalent. The amount of violence is incredible and it has reached a point where it spares neither the military nor civilians and neither coalition soldiers nor Iraqis. A state of rebellion has been going against the foreign soldiers since they first came to Iraq. Then violence was quickly veered towards Iraqi nationals who were suspected of cooperating with the US forces, and lately the Sunni-Shiite lashes and back-lashes have been making the news. The first waves of rebellion are suspected to be orchestrated by the followers of Saddam Hussein and more precisely former security agents in order to circumvent the US military superiority (Davies, 2004). An average of fifty-five attacks on coalition and Iraqi military has been reported last year (Clark, 2005). It is clear that as long as the country remains instable, it would be hard to conduct any projects of nation-building.
In such context, various observers and scholars started criticizing the very attempt of the US at democratizing Iraq putting forward the argument that democracy cannot be transplanted into a foreign soil but it rather should be home-grown. Indeed, a lot of talk has been going on whether it is proper to "export" democracies to nations in lack of. The US deems it a responsibility to expand the culture of democracy in the authoritarian states, notably Iraq. However, the fact is that there is Iraqi resistance to the American project. Surely, the resistance does not necessarily represent the majority of opinions but it has been particularly fierce. This nurtured a debate on whether there should be a transfer of democracy from one nation to another in the first place. One of the arguments that emerged from such debates is that each country has its own pace of democracy-building. In this respect, the violence and state of insurgency are understandable responses to imposition of a foreign concept or form of democracy. Whether the state of insurgency is a response to the imposition of democracy or not, there is one thing sure which is that Iraq has to restore order if it wants to grow into a democratic nation.
A scholar, Bradley Cook, pertinently investigates the very implications of the process of democratization concluding that the difficulty experienced in Iraq is predictable (Cook, 2005). He first of all puts the issue into its historical context. Iraqis have not experienced democracy as a concrete reality for a long time. Four decades under the rule of the Ba’ath party had alienated Iraqis from the concept of democracy rendering it an abstraction, argues Cook. It does makes, according to him, all the difference to be growing in environment which is based on democracy, like American society, as opposed to a culture where there is none. This could be an explanation for why there is a national resistance to the US project of democracy in Iraq. He further assures that the democratization process as such is often violent, chaotic, and requires time. Read from this lens, the current situation Iraq is quite predictable. Bradley sees that the

Back To Top