Abdi 2008 Ancient Mesopotamia and Iraqi national ideology

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Journal of Social Archaeology The online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1177/1469605307086076 2008 8: 3 Journal of Social Archaeology Kamyar Abdi Mesopotamia and Iraqi national ideology From Pan-Arabism to Saddam Hussein's cult of personality : Ancient Published by: can be found at: Journal of Social Archaeology Additional services and information for Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions: Citations: at UNIV MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST on June 23, 2011 jsa.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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Copyright © 2008 SAGE Publications () ISSN 1469-6053 Vol 8(1): 3–36 DOI: 10.1177/1469605307086076 Journal of Social Archaeology A R T I C L E 3 From Pan-Arabism to Saddam Hussein’s cult of personality Ancient Mesopotamia and Iraqi national ideology KAMYAR ABDI Department of Anthropology, Dartmouth College, USA ABSTRACT This article explores the nationalist ideologies in Iraq from the end of the Ottoman era to the fall of the Ba’ath regime in 2003, with emphasis on how Iraq’s past, especially ancient Mesopotamia, was used by various Iraqi regimes to promote their political agendas. The article particularly focuses on the developments of Pan-Arabism in Iraq and the formation of an Iraqi nationalist ideology under the Republic and the Ba’ath regime. It also considers the cult of person- ality that developed around Saddam Hussein by selecting elements from the ancient past and projecting a whimsical image of Saddam Hussein as the latest manifestation of a great line of Mesopotamian leader-heroes. The article explores how archaeology and archae- ological discoveries fit into these broader social, cultural, political, and ideological developments. KEYWORDS cult of personality Iraq Mesopotamia nationalism Pan-Arabism Saddam Hussein at UNIV MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST on June 23, 2011 jsa.sagepub.com Downloaded from
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4 Journal of Social Archaeology 8(1) INTRODUCTION Whether for or against the pre-emptive US–British invasion of Iraq in 2003, observers from a broad range of political spectra seem to agree that the fall of Saddam Hussein and his Ba’ath regime marks the end of a grim era in Iraqi history. While it was known for a long time that life in Mr Hussein’s Iraq was far from the utopia the Ba’ath propaganda machine was trying to portray, it was only with the collapse of his regime that the world began to grasp the depth and breadth of atrocities committed in what has been aptly described as the ‘Republic of Fear’ (Makiya, 1998).
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