30April
2020
Webinar |   Will COVID-19 Mark the Endgame for Iraq’s Muhasasa Ta'ifia?

DATE: 15-04-2020 | TIME: 14:00 - 15:00 BST

Speaker: Ahmed Tabaqchali, Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of AFC Iraq Fund and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the American University of Iraq (AUIS).

Moderator: Renad Mansour, Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House, Middle East & North Africa Programme

The state’s control of oil rents underpinned Iraq’s post-2003 political order characterized by Muhasasa Ta’ifia or sectarian apportionment, a governance system which involves the control of state resources by an inclusive government of all ethno-sectarian parties, in proportion to the seats won by each party in parliamentary elections. In the past, Muhasasa Ta’ifia enabled the political order’s continuity and apparent stability through multiple crises, including the 2008 financial crisis and the war with ISIS.

In a recent article, Ahmed Tabaqchali examines how the crash in oil rents, brought about by COVID-19’s disruption of the world economy, exposes the structural inconsistencies and inherent contradictions of the Muhasasa Tai’fia system. The article argues that the current Iraqi political elite is ill-equipped to resolve the multi-faceted challenge facing the country because of its increasing fragmentation and the erosion of its legitimacy, advanced institutional decay and fundamentally different oil dynamics.

In this webinar, part of the Chatham House-Arab Reform Initiative project on the Future of the State in MENA, the article’s author will discuss the deficiencies of the Muhasasa Ta’ifia system and will offer his insight into the future of this governance model in the context of a worsening economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and existing demographic pressures.

The event will be held on the record.

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All attendees will have the chance to submit questions via the Q&A option in the Zoom webinar and these can be submitted anonymously. Please do not submit questions in advance of the event or via the chat function during the event. Speakers will endeavour to answer as many questions as possible in the time allocated for Q&A.