The Southern Iraqi Uprisings of 1991: the Fracturing of an Ethno-cultural Mosaic and the Rise of Religious Nationalism Open Access

Hassoun, Mustafa (Spring 2019)

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The Southern Iraqi Uprisings of 1991: the Fracturing of an Ethno-cultural Mosaic and the Rise of Religious Nationalism

By Mustafa Hassoun

This paper will analyze the development of modern Iraqi-Shia identity. The core argument is that the 1991 Shia Uprisings in Southern Iraq serve as a seminal moment in the development of said identity and are the first instance of resistance that is fundamentally Shia in nature in modern Iraqi history. The paper will begin with relevant background to the conflict then proceed by analyzing the events of the Uprisings . The conflict will be looked at through the frame of specific drivers, including but not limited to, government policy toward the ethnic population and foreign intervention. It will then place each of the conflicts in the modern Iraqi context. The paper will finish with a discussion of the importance of the research and how it counters the existing narrative surrounding modern Iraqi politics. The goal of the comparison is to highlight how the Shia identity developed, strengthened, and expanded in Iraq. Also, the discussion will provide the structure for other ethnic conflicts that are developing to be analyzed and said analysis will help to structure a framework to temper ethnic conflict.

Key terms: Ethno-nationalism, Shi’ism, Repressive Government Policy, Saddam Hussein, Iraq

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: A Modern History of Iraq (Briefly)—5

1A: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire—5

1B: The Iraqi Monarchy—10

1C: The Iraqi Republic—13

1D: The Baathists take Hold—19

1E: 1979 and Saddam Hussein—24

1F: Iraq until the First Gulf War—26

Chapter 2: The Fracturing—31

2A: The First Gulf War—31

2B: The Uprisings—42

Chapter 3: A Shattered Mosaic—46

3A: The Immediate and Near-Immediate Aftermath—46

3B: The Marsh Arab Question—49

3C: Long-term Consequences—53

Lessons Learned and Conclusion—56

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