Ryan J. Suto's Blog

17 January 2013

Non-Self Determination: Foreign Elements in Iraq's Post-Conflict Electoral Design

This paper about the US's decisions regarding Iraq's elections after the fall of Saddam Hussein can be found here.


This paper discusses the elections which took place in 2005 after the US-led invasion of Iraq. Specifically, it focuses on the policy choices made by foreign and foreign-chosen actors regarding those elections. After offering a background of the post-invasion setting, the electoral system for these elections was described. Lastly, offered are four critiques. First, that the January 2005 election to create a body to write a new constitution should have resulted in a much more representative body given the importance of constitution writing. Next, the de-Ba’athification process itself served to undermine the legitimacy of the transitional elections. Moreover, a truth commission for state-sponsored injustice and the use of amnesty would have proven to be a better model for transitional justice than de-Ba’athification. Lastly, foreign influences in Iraq were a primary hindrance which rendered the transitional process largely unsuccessful. This paper argues that the chief problem with democracy at gunpoint is that as a process it is not chosen democratically, and as such bequeaths upon the resultant systems an original sin of external imposition. The paper suggests that such foreign actors in the future should consider more fully the ramifications of imposed democracy.

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