Exploring the Rationale for Decentralization in Iraq and its Constraints

Ali Al-Mawlawi
Content Type
Working Paper
Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
The decentralization agenda emerged in Iraq after 2003 as an imperative to create an internal balance of power that would mitigate against the rise of another authoritarian regime. By exploring the political motivations and calculations of elites, this paper sheds light on why devolution of powers to sub-national entities failed to bring about meaningful change to the daily lives of ordinary Iraqis. While administrative authorities have been largely devolved, fiscal decentralization lags due to resistance from concerned central authorities, leaving sub-national actors with limited capacity to exercise their newly afforded powers.
Authoritarianism, State Formation, State Building, Decentralization
Political Geography
United States, Iraq, Middle East, Baghdad