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Type: Thesis
Title: The Kurdish and Iraqi counter-quests for nationhood and the transformation of Iraqi Kurdistan into a quasi-state.
Author: Rafaat, Aram
Issue Date: 2012
School/Discipline: School of Humanities: History and School of Social Sciences: Politics & International Studies
Abstract: This thesis addresses the protracted Iraqi-Kurdish conflict that has been plagued the country since the incorporation of the Kurdish region into the newly created Iraq in the 1920s. Rejecting the legitimacy of the Kurdish annexation since the beginning, Kurdish nationalists rejected Iraqi rule in Kurdistan and portrayed Iraq as an occupier rather than legitimate ruler. The ‘liberation of Kurdistan’ from ‘Iraqi occupation’ became the main objective of the Kurdish nationalist movement (Kurdayeti) since the formative years of Iraq. Kurdayeti manifested itself as an alternative to Iraqi nationalism. Kurdayeti created Kurdish political parties as autonomous political entities outside of Iraqi control and monopolised the political sphere in Kurdistan. Advocating for the Kurdish quest for nationhood, Kurdayeti challenged the Iraqi quest for a unitary state that insisted upon Iraqi state sovereignty over all of Iraq. Viewing Kurdayeti as a main challenge to the integration of Iraq, successive Iraqi regimes were unwilling to include or even tolerate Kurdayeti. To eliminate its influence in Kurdish society, Iraq adopted policies intent on de-legitimatising and criminalising Kurdayeti, while authorising the use of violence against it. This process proved to be counter-productive. It not only resulted in the failure of the Kurds to integrate into Iraq, but it also resulted in the weakness of Iraqi nationalism in Kurdistan and the gradual deterioration of Iraqi authority in the Kurdish region. Consequently, the Iraqi state failed to rule a significant part of the region, particularly rural Kurdistan. The absence of Iraqi authority in rural Kurdistan helped the Kurds to establish de facto self-rule, at least after 1961. In many cases the Kurdish de facto self-rule areas were so developed that they could be considered as unrecognised quasi-states. The Kurds experienced three unrecognised quasi-states in the modern era: the first was from 1961 to 1975; the second from 1991 to 2003, and the third from 2003 onward. A theme that runs throughout the thesis is that nations without states that have their own nationhood projects are less likely to integrate into what is considered to be a ‘foreign’ or imposed state. It is less likely that Nations Without States (NWS), that have de facto control of their own territories, and that have achieved the establishment of a quasi-state, can be administered by the central government, even if the territory in question were to be recaptured by the central government. The development of a separatist region into an unrecognised quasi-state is more likely to result in the devolution of the parent state from a sovereign state to a recognised quasi-state. Countries that have gone through these developments are in fact countries of two quasi-states. Since 1961, Iraq can be considered, albeit intermittently, as a country of two quasi-states: a recognised Iraqi quasi-state and an unrecognised Kurdish quasi state.
Advisor: Doyle, Timothy John
Chacko, Priya
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Humanities and School of Social Sciences, 2013
Keywords: Kurds; Kurdistan; Iraq; Shiite; Sunni; nation; nationalism; USA; Arabs; Islam; state-building; nation-building; Quasi-state
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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