Mitigating Sectarian Conflict in Iraq, Lebanon and Malaysia: an exploration of the consociational model and political elite behavior Open Access

Husain, Sarah (2016)

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Since the fall of Saddam Hussein and establishment of democracy in the early 2000s, sectarian violence in Iraq has only increased. When creating a new political system, ethnic and religious were taken into consideration and certain institutions were put into place to facilitate cooperation between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish political leaders. Their institutions were directly inspired by political scientist Arend Lijphart's consociational democracy model. His model has four principle institutional characteristics: a grand coalition, proportional representation, segmental autonomy and mutual veto. I will compare the case of Iraq to two other cases of countries with sectarian conflict, Lebanon and Malaysia. This thesis examines the extent to which Iraq, Malaysia and Lebanon are consociational democracies and whether or not those consociational institutions contributed to conflict mitigation. Additionally, this thesis focuses on the importance of political elite willingness to cooperate, a vital factor that Lijphart fails to sufficiently explain when evaluating the success of consociational democracies. While Lijphart considers Malaysia and Lebanon relatively successful cases of consociational democracies, I argue that Lijphart's analysis does not capture the full picture. Malaysia was successful in mitigating ethnic conflict however it was not truly a consociational democracy. Lebanon is definitely a consociational democracy, but its political elites were only willing to cooperate within those institutions for a short time, and when cooperation broke down, the country fell into a civil war. Iraq implemented some consociational institutions but political elites were unwilling to cooperate within those institutions. Lijphart overgeneralized his model and did not adequately consider the role of political elites' willingness to cooperate when assessing the success of a consociational democracy to mitigate sectarian conflict Therefore Iraq should not further implement the consociational characteristics of Lijphart's model to mitigate conflict. Looking forward, Iraq should focus on the behavior of its political elites in addition to institutions they work within.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction 7-25

Definition. 9

The Consociational Model. 10

Examining application of the Consociational Model. 15

Case of Lebanon. 16

Case of Malaysia. 18

Applying the Consociational Model in Iraq. 19

Conditions under which the Consociational Model was successful. 21

Hypotheses. 24

Chapter 2: Methodology 25-28

Chapter 3: Malaysia 29-45

Application of the Consociational Model. 29

Malaysia's Favorable Conditions. 31

Post World War II to Alliance Party formation. 35

Malaysia under Tunku Abdul Rahman. 39

Conclusion. 43

Chapter 4: Lebanon 46-58

Application of the Consociational Model. 46

Lebanon's Favorable Conditions. 49

Lebanon Pre-1943 Independence. 52

The Second Republic. 54

Conclusion. 58

Chapter 5: Iraq 59-76

Application of the Consociational Model. 59

Iraq's Favorable Conditions. 62

U.S invasion of Iraq and establishment of democracy. 64

Iraq under Nouri al-Maliki. 71

Conclusion. 76

Conclusion 79-81

References 85-86

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