This webinar will focus on the long-term impact of the failed constitutional processes in both Iraq and Syria at the end of the Ottoman Empire, which is still felt today.
It will compare the circumstances in which Syria’s 1920 constitution was debated and ultimately sabotaged, with the circumstances of drafting Iraq’s 1925 constitution. In both cases, the post-Ottoman states were established in ways that deliberately ignored popular will and favoured narrow interests, including foreign interests. Today, both countries are still struggling with these same issues. While circumstances are now completely different, the general population in Iraq and Syria have still not been properly consulted, nor have their interests been adequately addressed in the constitutions that are currently in force or in the discussions about possible constitutional amendments. The webinar will argue that neither country is likely to gain any stability without a genuine attempt to grant their national constitutions with at least some form of legitimacy.
Zaid Al-Ali is Senior Advisor on Constitution Building for International IDEA. He has practiced international commercial arbitration for over 20 years and previously worked at the United Nations in Iraq. Al-Ali has worked on constitutional building processes and peace building in Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan and Yemen. He has taught at Princeton University, Sciences-Po (Paris) and the Central European University. Al-Ali was a Law and Public Affairs Fellow at Princeton and a Fellow at the Berlin Institute of Advances Studies. He is the author of ‘The Struggle for Iraq’s Future’ (Yale, 2014) and ‘Arab Constitutionalism: The coming revolution’ (Cambridge, 2021).
Dr. Rim Turkmani (@Rim_Turkmani) is the Principal Investigator of the Legitimacy and Citizenship in the Arab World project and the Research Director of the Syria Conflict Research Programme at LSE IDEAS.
The hashtag for this event is #Levant100.
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