Compulsion in religion : Saddam Hussein, Islam, and the roots of insurgencies in Iraq / Samuel Helfont
- Helfont, Samuel
- New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 
- Copyright Date:
- Physical Description:
- xii, 290 pages ; 25 cm
- The penetration of Iraq's religious landscape 1979-1989 -- Saddam takes control -- Co-opting and coercing religion in Saddam's Iraq -- Co-opting and coercing Shi'ism -- Suppressing the Islamist opposition -- Addressing the limits of coercion and co-optation -- The Gulf War and its aftermath 1990-1993 -- Continuity and change in the Gulf War -- Iraq's religious landscape in the wake of the Gulf War -- The faith campaign 1993-2003 -- A transformed religious landscape -- The regime and the Shi'is in the 1990s -- Mechanisms of control -- Putting the system to work -- The invasion of Iraq : war and the emergence of religious insurgencies -- American misconceptions about Iraq and the 2003 invasion -- Emergence of religious insurgencies in Iraq -- Conclusion : Saddam the counter-insurgent and other reflections on ruling Iraq.
- This book draws on newly available archives from the Iraqi state and Ba'th Party to present a revisionist history of Saddam Hussein's religious policies. The point of doing this, other than to correct the current understanding of Saddam's political use of religion through his presidency, is to argue that the policies promoted then directly contributed to the rise of religious insurgencies in post-2003 Iraq as well as the current and probably future crises in the country. In looking at Saddam's policies in the 1990s, many have interpreted his support for state religion as evidence of a dramatic shift away from Arab nationalism, toward political Islam. But this book shows that the 'Faith Campaign' he launched during this time was the culmination of a plan to use religion for political ends, begun upon his assumption of the Iraqi presidency in 1979. At this time, Saddam began constructing the institutional capacity to control and monitor Iraqi religious institutions. The resulting authoritarian structures allowed him to employ Islamic symbols and rhetoric in public policy, but in a controlled manner. By the 1990s, these policies became fully realized. Following the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, religion remained prominent in Iraqi public life, but the system that Saddam had put in place to contain it was destroyed. Sunni and Shi'i extremists who had been suppressed and silenced were now free. They thrived in an atmosphere where religion had been actively promoted, and formed militant organizations which have torn the country apart since.
- 9780190843311 (hardcover ; alk. paper)
0190843314 (hardcover ; alk. paper)
- Bibliography Note:
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 239-277) and index.
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