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REVIEW: A City of Two Tales

By Feisal Amin Rasoul al-Istrabadi,  November 21, 2014

The Struggle for Iraq’s Future: How Corruption, Incompetence and Sectarianism Have Undermined Democracy, by Zaid Al-Ali. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014.

Negotiating in Civil Conflict: Constitutional Construction and Imperfect Bargaining in Iraq, by Haider Ala Hamoudi . Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2013.

Neither author of these two books would argue that the times through which Iraq has been passing over the past ten years constitute the best of times. Still, for Haider Ala Hamoudi, a professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh and former legal advisor to the Iraqi parliamentary Constitutional Review Committee, the constitutional glass in Iraq is half full. For Zaid Al-Ali, a former legal advisor to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), the glass — in this case representing all of Iraq — is and always has been at best fractured and now may well be totally shattered. Given the state in which Iraq finds itself, there will be a natural tendency for Al-Ali to appear to be correct in this latter judgment.

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