When Parliaments Ruled the Middle East

Iraq and Syria, 1946–63

Matthieu Rey

An essential study of parliamentary politics in postwar Iraq and Syria, before the consolidation of authoritarian rule under the Ba’th Party When

English edition
25 February 2022
344 pp.
15 x 23cm
ISBN 9781649031167
For sale worldwide

$79.95

This book is currently not available for purchase.

An essential study of parliamentary politics in postwar Iraq and Syria, before the consolidation of authoritarian rule under the Ba’th Party

When Parliaments Ruled the Middle East explores three main interrelated issues to clarify what happened between 1946 and 1963 in Iraq and Syria: how and why a parliamentary system prevailed in both countries in the aftermath of the Second World War; what social effects this system triggered, and, in turn, how these changes affected the system; and finally, why the elites in both countries were unable to overcome the unrest that brought an end to both a liberal era and to a certain kind of political game.

Drawing on a vast array of sources and rich archival research in French, English, and Arabic, Matthieu Rey highlights the processes of the parliamentary system in the modern era, which are very common to post-independence countries and to any representative regime. He tackles the intersection of multifaceted political phenomena that were present in that moment in Iraq and Syria, including regular elections, the implementation of emergency law, the freedom of the press, the open expression of opinions, the formation of new political parties, frequent military coups, and the joint exercise of power by members of the old classes and reformist newcomers.

Treating this period as neither an epilogue of the liberal order nor a prelude to authoritarianism, and stressing the contingent, improvisatory aspects of political history, Rey fundamentally questions the transitional nature of the period and in doing so proposes new ways and tools of examining it.

To read an excerpt, click here.

For the Table of Contents, click here.

 

Matthieu Rey

Matthieu  Rey is director of contemporary studies at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (IFPO), Beirut, and a CNRS researcher specializing in contemporary Middle Eastern history, with a special focus on Syria’s and Iraq’s political systems. He is also an associate researcher at the Collège de France and the Wits History Workshop. He obtained his PhD from the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHSS), Collège de France in 2013. His research interests include state-building and policymaking in the contemporary Middle East and Southern Africa. He is the author of Histoire de la Syrie XIX–XXIe siècle (A History of Syria, 19th–21st centuries, 2018).
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