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Chapter 4 highlights the ways in which urban Assyrian intellectuals took advantage of Law 251 in their dealings with the state. In their magazines and clubs, they used accepted narratives to argue for greater cultural, political, and administrative rights. This campaign was pursued subtly in the press, but more vocally in popular culture. Assyrian intellectuals and singers also engaged with Arab and Kurdish intellectuals, contributing to a hybridized Iraqi sphere that cut across sectarian and ethnic divides, contributing to Assyrian intellectual discourses that extended far beyond Iraq’s borders.
In a sculpted frieze on a lintel of the so-called Temple of Allat at Hatra (second century AD), two rows of sitting camels converge towards a possible royal portrait. The two lead animals were previously interpreted as Bactrian camels. We reconsider this interpretation in light of recent information on ancient and contemporary practices of hybridisation between Camelus bactrianus and Camelus dromedarius.
In Chapter 6 I investigate the increasing use of Private Security and Military Contractors as armed guards, mainly in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, during the USA’s lengthy occupations there, but also elsewhere. I question whether this represents the erosion of international and domestic US prohibitions on mercenarism and find that it does not; as with the previous two cases, these prohibitions changed rather than disappeared. This process occurred as the US government incorporated armed contractors into its operational command and control structures, while the private firms themselves developed mechanisms of self-regulation through a code of conduct and a professional association. Communications technology played a major role in process at first, but then bureaucratic dynamics took precedence. The boundaries between public and private violence have shifted, but most recognisable forms of mercenarism remain prohibited.
Recently, military leaders have tackled twin crises: soaring rates of suicide and rising levels of divorce among service personnel and veterans. Suicide prevention programs run alongside interventions to buttress couples. Many researchers have posited a correlation between relationship failure and lethal self-harm, with some military commanders identifying Dear Johns as the commonest cause of suicide. This chapter excavates a long tradition of associating Dear John letters with servicemen’s deaths by suicide. But it also scrutinizes the hypothesis that failed relationships, particularly those ended by letter, are the primary cause of suicide. More complex understandings of both why relationships fail under wartime pressure and why some service personnel have taken their own lives, are required. The chapter argues that military studies tend to underestimate the challenges deployment poses to intimate partnerships. By treating the couple as a self-contained unit whose dysfunctions emerge from within, researchers have often emphasized the psychological damage spouses do to service personnel, minimizing the emotional havoc war wreaks on those in its orbit.
Throughout the mid-1980s, the Soviet-American rivalry in the Muslim world had remained a “zero-sum game.” Even after Mikhail Gorbachev embraced perestroika and Ronald Reagan toned down his Cold War rhetoric, the two superpowers continued to butt heads. Then between 1988 and 1991, the “end of history” seemed to arrive and George H. W. Bush trumpeted the emergence of a new world order based on cooperation, not confrontation, between capitalist America and communist Russia, even in volatile places like the Persian Gulf. By the early 1990s, however, American and Russian policymakers recognized that the Cold War was more likely to be followed by ethnic and religious conflict than by global peace and prosperity. In late 1991, Gorbachev lost his battle to reform the Soviet Union. Muslims in Chechnya and other non-Russian minorities sought independence. Elsewhere, the multiethnic regime in Yugoslavia disintegrated, with Christian Serbs slaughtering Bosnian Muslims; Islamists won elections in Algeria' and Islamic radicals toppled the pro-Soviet junta in Afghanistan. By January 1993, both Bush and Gorbachev were gone and all the hope for a new world order had been replaced by the fear that the post-Cold War Muslim world was becoming the epicenter of a “clash of civilizations.”
The implementation of democracy in Iraq in 2004 shifted the balance of power between Sunnis and Shias, creating a security dilemma in which the Shia-dominated state struggled to credibly commit to positive future treatment of the newly weakened Shias. I propose that police integration addresses this commitment problem because it gives included groups reason to expect better treatment, and because it is costly for the state to renege on police integration once implemented. I first show that Iraqi Sunnis, who believe the police are integrated interpret service provision as fairer, perceive that their group has better access to government jobs and expect less future repression by the police or the government. These outcomes map onto commonly identified motives for conflict, including horizontal grievances, unemployment, and the commitment problem. I then test the link between integration and support for violence. Using an experiment embedded within the survey, I find that Sunnis exposed to information that the police are integrated are significantly less likely to support anti-state violence.
This chapter provides an overview of policing in modern Iraq, with a special focus on the role of sectarian identity in citizen–police relations. Following the 2003 US invasion and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the transitional government initially purged Sunnis from the state security forces. However, the government soon faced domestic and international pressures to reintegrate Sunnis into the police as a counterinsurgency measure. In some areas like Anbar and parts of Baghdad, these pressures led to substantial inclusion of Sunnis in the police. In other areas, local politicians resisted Sunni integration so they could distribute police jobs as political patronage. Drawing on interviews with Iraqi citizens, I show just how salient the police’s makeup is to ordinary citizens’ relationships with the state. Citizens see access to positions in the police as a path toward empowerment and, at times, self-preservation. At the same time, they perceive that officers behave differently depending on their sect, with shared identity smoothing interactions between citizens and the police.
This chapter highlights key findings and proposes a path forward for the implementation of police integration in power sharing and post-conflict agreements. I identify several key lessons of police integration. In particular, it has the potential to provide societywide net benefits, making it a promising first step toward reconciliation where intergroup trust is especially low. When it comes to implementation, police integration is applicable to an unusually wide range of settings because unlike legislatures and cabinets, the police are no less effective in autocracies compared to democracies. I close by proposing a potential extension of my argument: Integration of other service-providing bureaucracies such as public education or healthcare may have similarly positive impacts on citizen–state relations by helping the government credibly signal its intentions to historically marginalized citizens.
Given the advantages of police integration, why do leaders not integrate the police in every divided society? I first explore the possibility that dominant-group civilians oppose integration, for example out of concern for a loss of jobs or fear that newly-integrated minorities will renew hostilities once integrated. Instead, I find that an overwhelming majority of Iraqi Shias and Israeli Jews support police integration. On the other hand, politicians and community leaders often oppose police integration for personal gain. Iraq, local politicians resist sectarian integration for fear that it will limit their opportunities to distribute jobs in the police as patronage in return for political support. In Israel, Arab community leaders who seek to create an independent Palestinian state view participation in the police as a dangerous normalization of the status quo. To discourage Arabs from joining the police, they portray participation in the police as collaboration with the enemy. Thus, implementation of police integration tends to be limited not by mass-opposition but by instrumental political concerns of political elites.
The police are a critical but understudied institution in divided societies. I argue that integrating marginalized groups into the police improves citizens’ attitudes toward the state, not just in terms of their experiences today but also their expectations of the future. Integrating the police signals the government’s commitment to included groups’ security. The signal is critical because police departments are difficult to purge. Once integration is implemented, it is difficult for the state to undo. I propose that the difficulty of purging the police, and consequently the credibility of the government’s signal to an included group, depends not just on how many officers come from each group but also how those officers are distributed. This chapter also introduces the two main cases for analysis, Iraq and Israel, and summarizes the main findings.
This chapter tests two intermediate links in the chain connecting police integration and citizens’ behavior. Interviews and focus groups reveal that citizens use cues like officers’ accents, names, and facial hair styles to determine their identities. Comparing survey responses with data on officer demographics suggests that citizens’ perceptions correlate closely with actual local integration. On the other hand, marginalized-group citizens appear not to translate their local-level observations of integration into perceptions that the institution overall is integrated. I demonstrate that citizens process observations of police demographics through their accumulated experiences with the police and the state. In the shadow of historical exclusion, citizens update perceptions of the institution incrementally.
In communities plagued by conflict along ethnic, racial, and religious lines, how does the representation of previously-marginalized groups in the police affect crime and security? Drawing on new evidence from policing in Iraq and Israel, Policing for Peace shows that an inclusive police force provides better services and reduces conflict, but not in the ways we might assume. Including members of marginalized groups in the police improves civilians' expectations of how the police and government will treat them, both now and in the future. These expectations are enhanced when officers are organized into mixed rather than homogeneous patrols. Iraqis indicate feeling most secure when policed by mixed officers, even more secure than they feel when policed by members of their own group. In Israel, increases in police officer diversity are associated with lower crime victimization for both Arab and Jewish citizens. In many cases, inclusive policing benefits all citizens, not just those from marginalized groups.
Chapter 9 takes a closer look at one of the book’s overarching themes, the relationship between faith and firepower. In the existing literature and the news media alike, much weight is given to the rhetoric Iranian leaders used during (and since) the Iran-Iraq War and the importance of faith and revolutionary fervor in understanding the Islamic Republic and its prosecution of the conflict. As this chapter demonstrates, the IRGC sources and Iran’s actions reveal a different story. By taking those as the basis of analysis, here the book illustrates that Iranian leaders prosecuted the war by relying on all the tools at their disposal, which included both faith—religious commitment, revolutionary ideology, and popular morale—and firepower—military professionalism, strategy, and weapons. In the second half of the chapter the theme of faith and firepower is utilized in another way, to examine how the Guards conceptualized the war in relation to Islam and the Iranian Revolution, and to demonstrate that they did so in order to expound the significance of the conflict.
Chapter 2 traces the development of the IRGC’s efforts to document the Iran-Iraq War, including the people, activities, and publications that make up that enterprise. It focuses on the project’s origins and foundations, the work undertaken to record the history of the war as the conflict was ongoing, the methodology and approach applied to those efforts, and the publications that have resulted therefrom and on which the present book is based. In doing so, it demonstrates that the development of the IRGC’s documentation of the war mirrors the evolution of both the Iran-Iraq War and the IRGC as a whole, which highlights how the project emblematizes the organization and the war’s centrality to its legitimacy and identity. It argues, in other words, that in order to understand the IRGC, we must understand its members not just as Guards but also as historians.
Chapter 3 begins the analysis of the IRGC’s history of the Iran-Iraq War. It examines how the IRGC authors explain the war’s outbreak and the lead-up to the Iraqi invasion. Like other historians of the conflict within and outside Iran, the IRGC authors strive to tease out the variety of causes that led to the war and, in particular, to understand the role of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution in the war’s onset. These connections between the war and the revolution constitute both a prime concern for the Revolutionary Guards and a main theme of the present book. According to the Guards, the success of the revolution was the most important catalyst for the Iraqi invasion. Further, Iraq made the strategic decision to strike while the revolution was still hot—to attack the Islamic Republic in the midst of its revolutionary transition, when the new regime’s power was tenuous and its readiness for war diminished.
The Introduction begins with a look at how the contested legacies of the Iran-Iraq War have permeated the debate concerning Iran’s relations with the United States, which draws the reader into the story by demonstrating that the IRGC’s efforts to construct the history of the war represent an important front in the struggle for Iran’s future. After setting out the book’s main subjects and arguments, the first chapter then provides a brief overview of the Iranian Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War, and the IRGC. The following section discusses the existing literature on those topics, the book’s contributions thereto, and the approach to the subject and methodology. The Introduction concludes with a narrative outline of the rest of the book.
Chapter 5 presents the story of how Iran finally turned the tide, of how the revolution progressed to the point that it could help instead of hinder the war effort. What the IRGC authors term “the epic of Khorramshahr”—Iran’s retaking of that city after months of Iraqi occupation—marked the culmination of the reversal. For the Guards, the liberation of Khorramshahr represents a case in which faith could be used effectively against firepower. Though the Iraqi forces retained their advantage in firepower, the Iranians’ faithful determination gave them the ultimate edge in their fight to retake the city. The liberation of Khorramshahr signified a turning point both in the war and for the Revolutionary Guards. The campaign marked the IRGC’s most substantial participation in the war to that point and initiated its transformation into the powerful and professional military that experience has allowed it to become.
Chapter 12 ties together the book’s central themes and highlights its main contributions. It argues that the Revolutionary Guards have endeavored to write the history of the Iran-Iraq War because of the way the Guards view the importance and meaning of the conflict in Iran today, the way they understand the nature and dynamism of history, and their commitment to what they view as the historical imperative of keeping the war alive.
Chapter 7 examines the numerous difficulties Iran faced following the invasion of Iraq. In its last six years, the Iran-Iraq War became more and more difficult for the Islamic Republic to prosecute, forcing Iranian political and military leaders to come up with ways to keep the war going. The liberation of Khorramshahr had greatly bolstered morale and popular support and had generated enough initiative to drive the war into Iraq. But that initiative began to run dry after the invasion, as successive Iranian operations failed to produce the desired results – a decisive victory that would force the acceptance of Iran’s ceasefire terms and ensure the security of the country. In addition to these military challenges, in the later stages of the conflict Iran was forced to confront the war’s pluralization as the parties to and the scope of the conflict expanded.
Chapter 8 completes the chronological analysis of the IRGC’s history of the Iran-Iraq War by examining how the Revolutionary Guards assess the conflict’s conclusion. As the indelible declaration from Supreme Leader Khomeini made clear, deciding to end the war was agonizing for Iran, akin to drinking from a poisoned chalice. The assessment of the IRGC sources presented in this chapter reveals why that was so and why the decision was finally made. Understanding the disquiet that surrounds Iran’s acceptance of the ceasefire also reveals the IRGC’s view of the conflict as unfinished, a view that represents one of the ways the Iran-Iraq War continues to have a profound impact on the Islamic Republic.