ABSTRACT

The lines dividing the Iraqi population in the state-formation stage were vertical, as they separated first and foremost community from community. By vertical I mean inter-communal lines perpendicular to cross-communalhorizontal-lines. That is to say that, although inter-communal divisions were affected by the state-building process, they retained their primacy in the majority of social and political relationships during the years here in focus. The shifting associations inside the communal groups were also vertical, composed of temporary alliances and associations between tribes and confederations. Short-lived, cross-communal connections were also vertically characterized by shifting associations of Shi‘i tribes and confederations with Baghdadi politicians. These temporary associations, although weakening the community internally and undermining its potential influence on the country’s politics, did not make the axis rotate definitively to a horizontal position.