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The Mandate System: High Ideals, Illiberal Practices

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Chapter Summary

An interesting aspect of the situation in Iraq and Syria is the beginning of the emergence of a fairly vibrant public sphere during the Mandate. The author had already mentioned that this process had already started in the Mashriq in the late Ottoman period. In Iraq in the 1920s and 1930s, some members of the small but growing educated and professional middle class actively pushed for more liberal and democratic institutions. Since the construction of a genuinely representative parliamentary system would have worked to the advantage of the more liberal forces, one does not have to be a believer in conspiracy theory for it to have made sense for Britain and its local Iraqi allies to provide a system which offered the shadow rather than the substance of a genuinely democratic and liberal polity.

Keywords: late Ottoman period; liberal forces; liberal polity; Mashriq; parliamentary system



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