“Zaid Al-Ali tells a story of almost continuous political crisis, caused not only by ‘corruption, incompetence and sectarianism’ but also by the failure of the constitution making effort as well as of the resulting constitution.  For Al-Ali the American war and occupation, and especially the disastrous conduct of the latter are at the root of political and constitutional failure, that the externally imposed Iraqi elites in charge did very little to rectify.

In his presentation, the ethnic and sectarian divisions of Iraq were at best intermediary causes, not historically deep-seated, and they were greatly exacerbated by the occupation’s policies.  Al-Ali’s narrative is well written, argued and documented, paying equal attention to constitutional process, administrative decisions, party politics, economic policy and local struggles, both during and after the formal American occupation. It will be invaluable for all those seriously concerned with Iraq and its region”.