x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Book review: Iraq's Democratic Moment is a dark and painful journey through history

A scholarly account of Iraq in the early 20th century reveals a country riven by coups and bloodshed.

Growing up in a Baghdad saturated with politics, the late Foulath Hadid swore allegiance to Iraq's past visions of pan-Arab unity and independence. So evident was this belief in his writing that he was once credited as predicting the uprisings of the Arab Spring.

Hadid's account of Iraq's push for democracy in the 20th century is a profound testament to the country's political legacy. The first of many uprisings, documented in 1920 against the British, marks the beginning of a long and dramatic struggle which at one point culminates in a coup every few months. When the goal of nationhood is finally achieved, it leads to yet more contentions by an increasing number of parties, each with vastly differing ideals of governance.

Despite its complexity, Hadid maps out Iraq's political psyche with precision. Just as blame is rightly cast on the perpetrators of the many conflicts that have arisen, credit is duly granted to those figures who have served as the national conscience throughout. The latter group especially casts a positive light on the turbulent times that have passed and those anticipated by Hadid in Iraq's future.