The Nature of Governance in Contemporary Iraq: applying Hannah Arendt›s concepts of power and violence
In ‘On Violence’, Hanna Arendt believes that there are major differences between concepts of ‘Power’ and ‘Violence’; she even argues that these two concepts, are not just different, but also opposite to each other. Arendt states that power is the act of people in concert and aiming at something like common good; however, violence is about acting individually and depending on a tool, but not on the number of those who are engaging in the mater, as Arendt says. Based on this argument, this paper seeks to find out the nature of governance in post-2003 Iraq. It also seeks to address the parties and actors that play significant roles in governing people via using violence or non-violent tools. It also aims at identifying parties that are shaping power structure in this era. The paper suggests that post-2003 Iraq several states and non-state actors have been interacting. Their interaction has significantly left influences on the performance of the fragile state institutions. Although there were hopes and plans to shape the new era with inclusive governance strategies and make new Iraq a new home to its people regardless their sub-identities, until now this type of governance has not been achieved. This paper supports its arguments with examples within this era to argue that the authority of the newly established state apparatus has been fragile. This has allowed various forms of violence to gain attention and be used by both state and non-state actors. Therefore, in line with the arguments proposed by Arendt, power in new Iraq has not been strong enough to perform its expected duties. Instead, violence has been utilized as a tool to protect the fragile state bodies and to maximise the narrow interests of various active actors working within Iraqi society.
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