Concentrating on the period since 1990, this article analyses the rise of sectarianism in Iraq with reference to the literature on the economics of conflict. The article posits that rising sectarianism cannot be viewed as the simple result of ongoing sectarian divisions, but is the
consequence of the interaction of adverse initial conditions and of damaging policies and actions. Economic sanctions (1990–2003), I argue, laid the social and political basis for elevated sectarianism; post-occupation economic policies enabled this heightened sectarianism to be violently
expressed. The article does not argue that sectarian sentiments or narratives are absent or irrelevant in Iraq, but rather presents a political-economic analysis of how and why such narratives have been ascendant.
The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies is a new peer-reviewed, tri- annual, academic publication devoted to the study of modern Iraq. In recognition of Iraq's increasingly important position on the world stage, the time is right for a new journal dedicated to scholarly engagement with the country.