‘ABD AL-KARIM QASIM Sectarian Identities and the Rise of Corporatism in Iraq

Eric Davis


Yā wahdatnā hilli hilli khalli al-isti‘mār yuwalli
(Achieving unity will allow us to rid ourselves of imperialism)
Colloquial saying from the July 1958 Revolution
Perhaps no other issue is as controversial when evaluating the July 14, 1958 Revolution in Iraq as the legacy of its leader, Staff Brigadier ‘Abd al-Karim Qasim. Fifty years after his death, Qasim remains an enigma. Loved by the poor, reviled by Pan-Arabists, and having enjoyed a revival after 2003, the strong opinions that Qasim has evoked from all segments of Iraqi society raise a number of important questions.(1) What type of a political leader was Qasim? How should his political legacy be evaluated? Why have so many Iraqis viewed him in a nostalgic manner? What do answers to these questions tell us about contemporary Iraqi politics and the prospects for a stable, tolerant and pluralistic Iraq?


History; Sociology; Cultural Studies; Humanities

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