World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


Iraq under Occupation (209) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: WED, 21 / 11.30 am -1.30 pm

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description:

Chair: Sajad Jiyad (Centre for Islamic Shia Studies)

Paper discussant: Christina Bache (Istanbul Policy Center, Sabanci University, Turkey)

Paper presenter: Tamara Drenttel (University of Arizona, Tucson / American University of Beirut), “Gendered Narratives of Violence: Trauma, Suffering, and the Daily Reality of Iraqi Women”
The insecurity originating from the 2003 U.S. invasion, the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the subsequent coalition occupation and the sectarian violence that ensued erased the previously assumed boundaries between the battlefield and the home. As a result, the perception of the home as a protected space has been proven false. Although the official war in Iraq has ended, the occupation and the violence that it begat has only exacerbated women’s suffering. Given the central role Iraqi women play in the public and private sphere, the repercussions of women’s oppression and the deterioration of their well-being stands to disrupt all facets of Iraqi society, drawing the effects of war over generations. The victimization of females is considered a low priority of the Iraqi government and the international occupying forces. As a result, there has been a dearth of scholarly work on this topic. Using a variety of academic, governmental, non-governmental and journalistic sources, this paper seeks to understand, through the narratives of Iraqi women, how violence has defined their social experiences, thus exposing them to increased risk and trauma and ultimately reshaping their daily lives. This paper will examine the circumstances that allowed gender-based violence at the community level to emerge, as well as the motivations of the major local groups that are using gender-based violence as a tactic to further their own objectives in post-2003 Iraq, causing violence to become a fundamental element in the every day lived reality of Iraqi women. A number of actors at the community level, including criminal gangs, militias and conservative Islamist groups, have used the insecurity and dismantling of the Iraqi social, economic, and governmental apparatus to strategically victimize and exploit women. Yet, abhorrence and hatred are not the ulterior motives behind violence against women. Instead, women are viewed as valuable commodities-to be used to advance personal, financial, religious, nationalistic, and political aims.

Paper presenter: Pedro Rojo Pérez (Independent Researcher, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, TEIM), “The Iraqi Resistance: Part of the Solution, no Part of the Problem”
The present Iraq is a country in conflict, and its capital Baghdad is one of the most violent cities in the world. It is a country under occupation, never the less, resistance to this occupation is trying to be ignored the international community. The multiple reasons for this marginalization will not be the issue of this paper, but, the need to face the reality of the role of armed and political resistance in the failure of the original plan of the United States and his allied for occupied Iraq. Whatever the question of this failure was a bad planning or a strong resistance to their project, the reality seven years later is a country drawn into the chaos, the corruption, inter sectarian killing, massive migrations, where the social and economic system is totally destroyed, where the different governments had demonstrated their incapability to control the country or to rebuild it’s infrastructure. Meanwhile, there has been a complete ignorance of the forces that denounce this situation. The international community mix legitimate resistance, as expressed in international law, with terrorism, when reality shows that every resistance group condemns the killing of civilians each time it happens. This paper tries to draw a detail image of the different fronts of the national resistance, their political programs, and specifically focus on ways they propose to solve the actual situation restoring the complete sovereignty of the country, creating a real democratic system that will protect the unity of the country and the stability and the rights of their citizens. It also will be an important point of the paper to clarify the differences between resistance and terrorist groups in Iraq. The analysis of the programs, statements and speeches of the principal groups of the resistance will be use to prepare this paper, as well as private meetings that have been taken place with the top political leaders or Iraqi resistance based in Amman, Damascus and Baghdad during the last two years. It will also be a good opportunity to analyze the results of the international conference on this issue, which I coordinate, that will taking place in Spain in March 2010. It is expected to finish with a declaration signed by the most relevant Iraqis political groups with an unified proposal for the definitive solution of the Iraqi conflict. We will try to expose this proposals and why it would have to be taken into serious consideration if the international community seeks for a real and stable solution for the present conflict in Iraq.

Paper presenter: Gulshan Dietl (Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University), “Securing the Turf in Iraq: present constraints and future challenges to Iran”.
In an oft-quoted statement, Khatami claimed, ‘regardless of where the United States changes regimes, it is our friends who will come to power’. The Post-Saddam Iraq is widely perceived to be a strategic gain for Iran. Such a perception has already evoked responses ranging all the way from celebration to fear and counter-measures. A deeper and detached analysis, however, yields a very different result. One, as many as fifty thousand US troops will remain in the country for a foreseeable period of time; ostensibly to conduct training and counter-terrorism operations. Two, the Saudis would retain/deepen their involvement in response to sectarian divide in Iraq as well as the Iranian presence there. Three, Iraq is emerging as an actor in its own right. Ironically, it is vis-à-vis Iran that Iraqi nationalism is defining and asserting itself. The Iranian concept of Wilayet-e Faqih is explicitly rejected; Najaf is being promoted as the centre of Shiism at the expense of Qom; the Iranian Kurdish secessionist group ‘Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK)’ is finding a sanctuary in Iraqi Kurdistan; the Iranian takeover of the islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Thumbs is being termed the Iranian occupation; a determined entry in the global oil economy is pursued; and finally, the Iraqi foreign minister has entered the Persian/Arab Gulf controversy by claiming it to be the ‘Gulf of Basra’.