The Iraqi Identity: Faisal’s Unsolved Legacy


The problem of creating a sustainable national identity has been one of the major conflict sources, which Iraq has suffered from its early days onwards. This study examines the rationalistic roots of Iraq's identity problem, and how King Faisal's era (1921–1933), which encompassed the British mandate period, both contributed to this problem and tried to evade it. The aim of this study is to gain a basic understanding of Iraq's identity problem, which has been set in motion under King Faisal I, whose legacy is yet to be solved regarding the Iraqi peoples' feeling of belonging. Starting off with the problematique of a national identity framework in Iraq's case, this study elaborates on problems of defining the Iraqi identity, and sheds light on the major sources of which it is fed off; pan-Arab nationalism, tribalism, religion and language. The central argument of this study is that identity is a major indicator for power politics including other aspects of society.

Keywords: Iraq, national identity, Arabness, King Faisal I, power politicsDOI: