Autonomy Impaired: Centralisation, Authoritarianism and the Failing Iraqi State

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Regional autonomy is guaranteed in the constitution of Iraq, yet between 2006 and 2014 the Shiite prime minister at the time, Nouri al-Maliki, did his utmost to limit the power of both Kurds and Sunnis. Maliki worked to further centralise governance and amassed greater controls and power—from militarily to legislative—for his party. Instead of strengthening and securing Iraq, Maliki's actions have led to a rise in both Kurdish and Sunni nationalisms, which has resulted in civil war and the effective failure of the Iraqi state. This article analyses how Maliki's actions enabled the rise of the Islamic State, and have changed the dynamics of Iraq. It proposes that, in light of these changes, the best way forward for the effective running of the country is the implementation of federalism across Iraq.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-332
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Early online date18 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Editor of Ethnopolitics.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Governance, Leadership and Trust
  • Peace and Conflict
  • Security and Resilience


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