Building a Stable Democracy in Iraq, Free Essay

Published: 2022-03-01
Building a Stable Democracy in Iraq, Free Essay
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Democracy
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1608 words
14 min read

The American-Iraqi war is long gone. Even then, America's involvement in Iraq has ensured more questions than the solution it provided when it toppled the dictatorial regime of the despot Saddam Hussein and his cronies. Then Federalism was imposed. What was the motive behind America's involvement in the democratic process of Iraq? Was it justifiable to scrap the then central governance and impose federalism to the People? Did America solve a problem or did it just create a crisis? As a continuation of the public discourse, this paper explores the salient characteristics of the three governance systems and then analyzes why Federalism was preferred to confederation and a unitary state. This is not devoid of the pre-existing conditions that favored federalism above the others despite the fact that there too were pre-existing conditions would have favored them.

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How does a federal republic look like?

A federal government involves two types of governments all working together for the good of the people of the Federal Republic of Iraq. Here, there would be a superior national government serving the national interests of Iraqis and supervising local governments that are distributed across the 18 provinces of the former Republic of Iraq. Building democracy in Iraq entails the creation of systems that would foster an increased participation of the people on matters of public interest and swallow antagonism. Through a Federal state, Iraqis would elect 18 representatives who are sent to Baghdad the capital and form the Upper Legislative house. Then there would be the lower house that would entail elected members of parliament representing the former Multimember Districts (MMDS). The two houses would capture a diversity across the ethnic diversities of Iraq (Shiite, Sunni, the Turks, Kurds and Arabs) and a deal would be arrived between the upper and lower houses Otherwise, on how to elect the president of the republic, if left to the popular vote, Shiites who are a 60% majority of Iraq population would dominate and this would be a recipe for sectarian violence.

Then, a federal government rules through the strong principles of a constitution. It is such a constitution that would clearly outline the sharing of power among the above-proposed governance and thus provide checks and balances. Alongside a constitution, a federal state has a strong federal judiciary that will ensure that the Federal government and the local governments are working well with no conflicts. Laws are passed by both houses but may apply differently as will be accented to by the local state governments.

Besides, power will be shared as per the provisions of the constitution amongst the federal government and the local government.

Then there is the unitary state. Unlike the Federal Republic, a unitary state has power concentrated to the central government. Under a central government, Iraq would have the elected representatives from the Multimember districts form the parliament that will serve under a one elected head of state by the people of Iraq. The president leads major appointments, declares emergencies and is a national symbol of unity. However, according to the Foreign Affairs article of June 2003, in such a case, the Shiite would dominate just like Saddam Hussein was a Shiite and minority tribes like the Sunni would be suppressed in leadership. While he enjoys the majority electorate, the head of the state his highly vulnerable of becoming a despot like Saddam Hussein had become in Iraq before he was toppled. The Foreign affairs article calls him Primi-Inter-Pares meaning the head of the state is unchallenged.

Here, the parliament will be the supreme law-making body and the laws will apply uniformly across the 18 provinces of Iraq. This becomes another hindrance to democracy it being that diversity and local uniqueness has been negated.

A more evolved democratic unitary state government would entail an elected head of state, a prime minister, an upper house representing the 18 former provinces of Iraq and representatives from the multimember districts. Here, power is shared amongst the elected president who has a dominant control of the upper house and the prime minister who has his dominance at the lower house. As such, the prime minister closes the power gap between states and the central government. Alternatively, there can be a supreme elected president who serves with other presidential triumvirate consideration in which case if a Shiite is elected in Iraq; Sunnis have their representative, Kurds and Arabs serving with the Shiite president.

Finally, there is the Confederate administration. A confederate would be similar to a federal state; however, while in a federal state it is a law and thus conditional to be under the federalism, in confederates, local states that wish to pool together merge leaving it voluntary to join and leave. Such deem to concentrate economic or military muscles. There will be no voting, power stays in one state; say, Baghdad in the case of Iraq and the Confederate representatives are appointees of the people unanimously elected and are the ones who plan on what ought to be done or not. A confederate would fuel the animosity among the ethnicities bearing from the fact that they would be formed on tribal lines.

America meant well for Iraq by imposing its American federalism in Iraq. It will be remembered that America's intervention was necessitated by Sectarian violence in the country bogged with the dictatorial administration of Saddam Hussein a Shiite. Sunnis, Kurds and Turks must have felt lied. Corruption, nepotism and tribalism and distributing national proceeds from oil trade have been pointed at the key issues of contention by the Foreign Affairs article. At the center of all its diversity.

If Federalism was juxtaposed with a unitary administration, federalism would win. Bearing in mind that Iraq is a country of Sunni, Shiite, Turkmen, Arabs and Kurds; there seems to be a wide diversity and alongside the struggle for economic power in a corrupt, nepotistic and ethnic country led by a Shiite, political power and dominance was still an issue. The only way proceeds of the oil trade would be shared equitably was through a strong constitution that gave power to the people by calling for state establishments. Then it would state that capture the diversity and not tribal states. Iraq would depict a strong democracy forming states about the boundaries of the former 18 colonial provinces. Besides, a strong judiciary would come into place and supervise that indeed, federalism was working well in Iraq. The same constitution would provide selected positions of women in the upper house and this would increase the participation of the segregated minority women in matters of public interest.

A president would be elected by 18 representatives who are not a majority Shiite, Sunni, Kurd, Turkmen or Arabs. This would be a president of all Iraqi and not just a few of them. Then they will be unified under him.

But unitary would fuel the already existing animosity and struggle for power among the Iraqi ethnicities. Shiites would always have their way since they are the majority (60% of the country's population). And other tribes would fight them. Then even if a presidential triumvirate provides posts for tribal presidents, there will be a continuous struggle for power and this will be an avenue for chaos. In the case, a Shiite would again dominate just like he would if an elected head of state by all Iraqis assisted by an elected prime minister by the multimember district parliament would.

For a confederate, the situation is even worse of; forming tribal confederates would cause more sectarian violence that has ever in Iraq. Tribes with military units would always fight to express their dominance over one another. Then the people will be misrepresented as there are no elected leaders. In such a case, warriors who lead winning battles with other confederates would be the de-facto leaders.

Iraq's diversity is thus the big factor that ought to be considered when contemplating on what type of administration to go for. Her need to distribute power was not a political demand by an individual but rather a demand by circumstances. That there is a dominant tribe whose elected president turns into a despot and that Iraqis had descended into civil strife demanded only federalism.

Historically, unitary had been the rule, it too would have sufficed but would never close the ethnic gap. Unitarian also resembles the old Hashemite monarchial administration that would find populism among the Sunni minority that would woe them that all tribes are being considered. Now that it had failed with the despot Saddam Hussein proving to be an enemy to the people's democratic rights, it was time for a change.

A confederation would have sufficed too; oil-producing Southern or Northern would have their confederates. Then the central Arabs would get no proceeds. And people would have their power to them depending on how good they would fight. Minority ethnicities would submit to the minority and the state of Iraq would be peaceful. However, this would be a leap backward after all the achievements made in an independent Iraq. Tribes would turn against one another and wealth would never be shared among central Iraqis where there is no oil.

So America did the best by imposing federalism in Iraq. Ruled under the then a unitary administration system, there was a problem. Some tribes had no democratic power as it was concentrated on the majority Shiite. Then the tribes began turning on one another necessitating a new system of administration. Confederates would even do more harm of dividing the people about their tribes and turning them against one another. And the best option remained to be federalism. It would suffice in a nation of diverse ethnic groups by capturing and acknowledging differences and local uniqueness.

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