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Displacement and statecraft in Iraq: Recent trends, older roots

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This article discusses the relationship between state formation and refugees, linking statecraft – the 'art' of state building – and displacement in post-2003 Iraq. It uses the testimonies of displaced Iraqis now living in Syria to show how parties and militias in Iraq targeted specific groups, including religious minorities such as the Mandaeans. They created new forms of exclusion, forcing some communities to flee. In some cases, they compelled people to leave abruptly; in others, hostile forces gradually encroached upon the target groups. Some organizations had their origins in pre-2003 dynamics and were not the first in Iraq to use displacement as a means to implement a political design.
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Keywords: Iraq; Mandaeans; militias; refugees; sectarianism; statecraft

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of East London

Publication date: November 28, 2011

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  • 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.
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