The most glaring aspect of America's failure at democratizing Iraq has been policymakers' inability to take local political culture and values into consideration. Democracy was understood to consist of such trappings as a well-drafted constitution, regular elections, and a vociferous parliament; it seems no thought was given to the influence of tribal affinities and networks or the implications of sectarian identity on politics. Constitutions, elections, and parliaments are important elements in democratic systems, but they do not in and of themselves lessen autocratic rule, as can be witnessed in many Middle Eastern countries. Something else in terms of political practice must exist for autocracy and despotism to be blunted. I argue here that attention should be given to private forms of political engagement that are rooted in tribal and Islamic norms and practices.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science