The Modern History of Iraq

Phebe Marr with Ibrahim al-Marashi

Fourth Edition • February 21, 2017 • 500 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813350066 • $47.00 USD$60.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813350387 • $33.99 USD$43.99 CAN

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The Modern History of Iraq is a remarkably readable account of contemporary Iraq, placing in historical perspective the crises and upheavals that continue to afflict the country. This text weaves together several important themes, including the search for a national identity, the struggle to achieve social and economic development, the changes in political dynamics, and the impact of foreign interventions, to provide readers with a holistic understanding of modern Iraq.

Revised and updated throughout, the fourth edition features more discussion of cultural identity and media and society. In addition, this edition includes two new chapters on the events and shifts in the country of the early twenty-first century—the US intervention and withdrawal, the stabilization and subsequent unraveling of the Maliki government, the effects of the Arab uprisings, and the rise of ISIS—and their political, economic, and social consequences. Written by noted Iraq scholar Phebe Marr with new co-author Ibrahim al-Marashi, this text is essential reading for readers who seek to understand modern Iraq in the context of historical perspective.

Phebe Marr is a noted scholar and historian of the modern Middle East and a leading consultant and commentator on Iraqi politics. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Middle East Journal and on the Board of Directors of the Hollings Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Institute for International and Strategic Studies and the Middle East Institute. She has published numerous scholarly articles and chapters and has taught Middle Eastern history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and California State University, Stanislaus.

Ibrahim Al-Marashi is Associate Professor of Middle East History at California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of Iraq’s Armed Forces: An Analytical History.

List of Illustrations
A Note on Transliteration

1. The Land and People of Modern Iraq
Legacy of the Past
The Land
The People

2. The British Mandate, 1920–1932
The British Occupation and the Institutions of the Indian School
The 1920 Revolt and Its Results
The Kurdish Problem
Oil and the Slow Pace of Development
The Nationalist Movement: Composition and Outlook
The 1930 Treaty and the End of the Mandate

3. The Erosion of the British Legacy, 1932–1945
An Era of Communal and Tribal Rebellion, 1932–1936
The Bakr Sidqi Coup, 1936
Attempts to Liberalize and Their Failure
The Army in Politics, 1937–1941
The 1941 Coup
The Second British Occupation and Its Legacy, 1941–1945

4. The End of the Monarchy, 1946–1958
Further Attempts at Liberalization
The 1948 Wathba and the War in Palestine
Oil and Economic Development
The Uprising of 1952
The Accession of Faisal II
Opposition and the Establishment
The Hashimite Monarchy in Retrospect

5. The Qasim Era, 1958–1963
The Military Revolt of 1958
The Struggle for Power Between Qasim and Arif
The Challenge of the Nationalists
The Challenge of the Communists
Liberalization Attempts and their Failure
The Social and Economic Revolution
Erosion of National Unity
Foreign Policy Failures
The Qasim Regime in the Balance

6. The Arab Nationalists in Power, 1963–1968
The Iraqi Ba‘th in 1963
Ba‘th Failures
The Arif Regime, 1963–1968
The Coup of 17 July 1968

7. The Era of Ba’th Party Rule, 1968–1979
Consolidation of Power, 1968–1973
Ba‘th Foreign Policy: The Radical Phase, 1969–1973
The One-Party State
Relations with the Kurds
The Nationalization of Oil
Socialist Economic Development
The Social Transformation
Iraq’s Foreign Policy: The Pragmatic Phase, 1975–1980
Opposition to the Regime
The Impact of the Iranian Revolution
The Ba‘th: The End of Its First Decade

8. The Saddam Husain Regime, 1979–1989
Saddam as President
The Outbreak of War with Iran
The Course of the War
The War’s Impact on Foreign Policy
The War’s Impact on National Cohesion
Economic and Social Effects of the War
The War’s Effect on Politics and the Military
Saddam’s First Decade

9. The Saddam Husain Regime, 1990–2003
The Occupation of Kuwait: Causes and Motivations
Iraq’s Invasion of Kuwait and Its Impact
The Gulf War, 17 January–28 February 1991
The Intifada of March 1991
Regime Survival and Reorganization
The Imposition of Foreign Control
Regime Consolidation and Its Limits
Changes in Regime Ideology
The Kurds in the North
The Shi‘a in the South
Opposition from Abroad
A Decade of Stagnation

10. The US Attempt at Nation-Building in Iraq, 2003–2006
Occupation of Iraq
Bremer and the CPA: Direct Rule and an Attempt at Nation-Building
Opposition to the Occupation
The 15 November Agreement: Changes in US Plans
The IIG of Ayad Allawi, June 2004–May 2005
The Elections of 2005: The Emergence of the “New” Iraq
The Sectarian Civil War in Baghdad, 2006–2007

11. The Stabilization and Destabilization of Iraq under Maliki, 2007–2014
The Subsiding of the 2006 Civil War
Kurdish Political and Economic Development
Maliki’s Consolidation of Power, 2007–2009
Relations with the United States: The Status of Forces Agreement
The Local and Regional Elections of 2009
Maliki and the National Scene in Baghdad
The Parties and Contenders of the 2010 Election
The 2010 Election: Results and Aftermath
Maliki’s Second Term: 2010–2014
The 2014 Elections and the Post-Election Stalemate

12. Iraq and the Challenge of the Islamic State, 2014–2016
The Abbadi Government
The Islamic State’s Conquest
The Birth and Consolidation of the Islamic State
Transnational Terrorism
Abbadi’s Attempts to Reform
The Future of a Post-Islamic State Iraq

13. Economic, Social, and Cultural Change in post-2003 Iraq

Epilogue: The Future of Iraq

Appendix: Tables
Political Personalities

“This book is well written, meticulously researched, and simple to read. It is so well done that it might as well have been titled ‘Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Iraq but Were Afraid to Ask.’ Highly recommended.” –Choice

Praise for Previous Editions:
“I have been using Phebe Marr’s The Modern History of Iraq in my upper-division undergraduate courses for years. The students have always enjoyed the book as a compendium of information and facilitator of discussion. It is detailed, yet not too pedantic, and it is readable without sacrificing academic integrity. Her third edition is most welcome, as the time elapsed since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 has allowed for insight and interpretation into the events surrounding the invasion and its important aftermath. While there are many books on Iraq that have come out since 2003, none have the combination of coverage and recent and current events situated within the modern history of Iraq going back two centuries. One cannot begin to comprehend the Iraq of today without a thorough understanding of its historical context, and Marr’s book expertly provides both.” —David W. Lesch, Professor of Middle East History, Trinity University, author of The Middle East and the United States

“This book aims to present a ‘clear, readable one-volume account of the emergence of modern Iraq and the forces that shaped it.’ Marr (member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Middle East Institute) accomplishes the formidable task with the best one-volume study of the subject in English….A very valuable, comprehensive, informative, balanced, objective study, with excellent bibliography, notes, and charts. Highly recommended.” –Choice

“This is a tour de force of the history of modern Iraq, probably the most turbulent history in the 20th century Middle East. . . . This is a highly intricate political, social and economic history, yet Marr’s account remains fluent and lucid throughout. Reading the book is sheer pleasure also because it brings together profound understanding of the people and the land, filling many gaps in our knowledge and creating a rich tapestry that is rarely seen in contemporary historical literature.” —Amatzia Baram, University of Haifa; Senior Fellow at the US Institute of Peace

“This comprehensive work provides a wealth of detail and acute insights into the evolution of modern Iraq while remaining readable and clear in style and structure. It should prove indispensable for academics and students as well as for journalists and policy-makers seeking to understand the development of contemporary Iraq.” —Bernard Reich, George Washington University

The Modern History of Iraq is a solid work of historical research, well-written and extremely well-organized, rich in content and texture, compact, easy to read, and totally free of bias…. a clear and readable one-volume account of the emergence of the new state and the forces that created it.” —Jerusalem Post Magazine

“The best one-volume work on Iraq in English, or in any other language of which I am aware…. The comprehensive coverage of Iraq’s economic and social history, as well as the political, will be welcome d by people interested in the Middle East, lay and specialist alike.” —Middle East Journal

“Marr has written an authoritative work that meets a great need: an up-to-date, readable, and comprehensive treatment of recent Iraqi history.” —AAPSS Annals

“The author has specialized in the study of Iraq for some years and this is evident in the authority of the scholarship that is presented here. Utilizing primary and secondary sources in Arabic and interviews with key personalities extending over some years, the analysis is sound and persuasive.” —American Arab Affairs

“(Marr) has thus produced a fine example of history at its best. In fact, this may well be the best book on modern Iraq now available… Moreover, Marr has written her book in a style easily accessible to students and nonspecialists. The more informed reader will benefit from the wealth of material brought together in one volume.” —Frank Tachau, University of Illinois, Chicago

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