FAILED (OR ABORTED) ARAB SPRING IN IRAQ: A Study of the Political Mobilization of Sunni Arabs in Kirkuk
Wilgenburg, W.G. van
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In this thesis I examine the impact of opportunity structures, framing efforts, and organizational structures and resources on the attempts of the APC(APC) in Kirkuk to organize ethnic demonstrations against the Kurdish authorities in Kirkuk’s Provincial Council. I argue that the primordialist bias of many academics on the issue of Kirkuk prevents sound analysis and understanding of events. For instance Ted Gurr (1993: 161) argues that representatives of ethnic groups are more likely to initiate conflict, or protest against the government, if they have recently lost power. This idea is shared by many of the academics who write about Kirkuk. Some automatically assume that ethnic identities serve as the prime motivators of the people of Kirkuk. This while disaffection about the lack of success of politicians to deliver services is something universal among all ethnicities in Kirkuk. The failure of the strategic framing efforts of the APC to convince its target population to support demonstrations against their rival ethnic-group, the Kurds, during the Tunisian-inspired unrest in Iraq was compounded by the APC”s lack of organizational capacities and material and non-material resources as well as the lack of opportunity structures within the regime for the APC (due to rivalry, and the weakness in Baghdad). This shows that the people of Kirkuk did not necessarily support nationalist claims over their own basic needs like services, water, and jobs. Furthermore, there were demonstrations in Kirkuk by Arabs against their own Arab representatives in Kirkuk. This was one of the reasons, apart from a lack of opportunity structures within the regime, and resources and organizational capabilities, that for the moment an ethnic Arab uprising has failed in Kirkuk. In this light, I argue in this thesis there is a need for a more non-ethnic understanding of Kirkuk, and more research and analysis of the different perceptions within the different communities about their own representatives, and their perceived ethnic identities.