The government and politics appear to be a challenging theme, which provides an understanding of fairness and power in society. The first one stands for the actions of executing authority or ruling. On the other hand, politics appears to be a procedure, by which a community designs and alters the general regulations and rules. Such ones control the peoples’ lives. The study and analysis of government and politics of the country help in understanding political decisions, which affect people, at the same time revealing who has the power and authority to make those solutions. This paper will analyze theoretical and practical aspects of government and politics in the UAE and Iraq. The essay will show the character of the state in the Middle East, the types of nationalism existing in both countries, and how religion (Islam) influences these countries. The last issue is very important, as it will vividly demonstrate whether Islam is compatible with democracy. The paper will also demonstrate how oil affects the politics of the region, revealing that it hinders democracy. Finally, the research will explain the persistence of authoritarianism in the region and how the US has impacted Middle Eastern politics.
Keywords: UAE, Iraq, politics, state, oil, democracy, nationalism, authoritarianism
Comparative Analysis of Iraq and the UAE: The Theoretical and Practical Aspects of Government and Politics
Democracy requires a solid and constant political position with the capability to represent citizens and equip policy selections, which reveal their capacity to govern in the name of the public good. An elevating disconnection between citizens and their elected leaders, a decrease in political activism and a progressing sophistication of anti-democratic power demonstrate that democratic politics is challenged. The current paper will provide a comparative country report between Iraq and the UAE, reflecting the theoretical and practical aspects of government and politics, including the state, nationalism, politics, Islam, oil, authoritarianism, and international dimensions.
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The current state territory of Iraq was outlined in 1920 as Mandatory Iraq. The Kingdom of Iraq was established in 1933 (Hadid, 2012, p. 34). In addition, the republic was instituted in 1958 after a coup d’état, which was controlled by Saddam Hussein. This leader was overthrown after the 2003 US-led invasion of the state (Hadid, 2012, p. 36). Then, Iraq appeared on a verge of a civil war. Therefore, the situation degenerated after the abolition of the US troops in 2011 (Gause, 2015, p. 31). The facts show that Iraq was efficiently separated in 2015. Meanwhile, the government-controlled southern and central regions, the Kurdistan Regional Government regulated the northwest, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant controlled the western region (“World governance indicators,” 2015). The withdrawal of US troops and the Syrian civil war overflow in Iraq stimulated a renovated insurgency. The insurgency aggravated into a state renovated civil war in 2013 when different factions opposed the central government of Iraq, especially radical Sunni forces (Gause, 2015, p. 31). The Levant and the Islamic State of Iraq invaded the country in 2013–2014. The state is governed by the Federal parliamentary republic (Katzman, 2014, p. 434).
On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates stands for a federation of hereditary absolute monarchies (seven states), which has developed from a tranquil backwater to one of the most significant economic centers in the Middle East (Clement & Springborg, 2013, p. 261). Even though the federation is traditionally conservative, the UAE appears to be one of the most liberal states in the Gulf tolerating other beliefs and cultures. The UAE is regulated by a Federal Supreme Council, which consists of seven emirs (Baylis, Smith, & Owens, 2014, p. 78). All accountabilities, which are not bestowed to the national government, appear to be allocated to the emirates. The UAE’s central budget keeps all revenues percentage from each emirate (“WDI 2015,” 2016). Moreover, the country has a federal court system, including criminal, civil, and Sharia law branches.
Starting with the Federation generation in 1971, the UAE has evolved within an Arab-Islamic structure, objecting towards progression, featured by exceptional characteristics, which provoke severe stereotypes (Clement & Springborg, 2013, p. 262). The facts show that the UAE has evolved its resolutions to encounter some challenges of globalization and nationalization. This modern national state sustains as a vigorous constituent of traditional conservatism. The UAE’s formal regime is outlined as a Muslim absolute monarchy (Davidson, 2011, p. 89). Nevertheless, it is also defined as standard nationalism. State-owned companies or the organizations of the family of Sheikh regulate all main segments of the economy (including the oil production and construction industry). The fact that the Sheikh performs a highly important function in the state being the father of the nation is provoked by the characteristics of the Arabs themselves (Gupta & Surbhi, 2015, p. 57). It is also important to mention that the UAE citizens believe in the following fact. The ruler must operate in the interests of the entire nation and on the fundamental ground of national particularities.
On the other hand, Iraqi nationalism stands for nationalism, which maintains the fact that the citizens of this state are a nation and advocate their cultural unification. Iraqi nationalism incorporates the acknowledgment of an Iraqi specification dating back to ancient Mesopotamia encompassing its civilization of Assyria and Babylonia (Marr, 2012, p. 108). Iraqi nationalism appeared to be authoritative in Iraq’s movement to independence from Ottoman and British occupation. The facts show that Iraqi nationalism appeared to be a crucial facet in the 1920 Revolution against the British occupation and the the1958 Revolution against the British-positioned Hashemite monarchy (Katzman, 2014, p. 454). The nationalism of Iraq has are two outstanding variations. One of them observes an Iraqi nation as including Kurdish and Arab people to have a mutual Mesopotamian heritage. This belief was advocated by Abd al-Karim Qasim (Katzman, 2014, p. 455). The variation stands for binary nationalism. It combines Iraqi nationalism with Arab nationalism, which sustains its nationalism for the issues incorporating Arabs as a whole. Saddam Hussein assumed that the acknowledgment of the ancient Mesopotamian origins and Iraqi Arabs’ heritage was supplementary for the Arab nationalism support (Katzman, 2014, p. 456).
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Islam appears to be the biggest and official state religion of the UAE. The government adheres to the policy of tolerance towards other religions and seldom intervenes in the operations of non-Muslims. In addition, non-Muslims are anticipated to elude interferences in Islamic religious issues or the Islamic Muslims’ upbringing. Nevertheless, the UAE government enforces some limitations on disseminating other religions via any kind of media. It is regarded as a type of proselytizing (Davidson, 2011, p. 89). Iraq stands for is a Muslim-mass country, meaning that Islam attributes the calculated 95 percent of the populace, at the same time when non-Muslims attribute merely 5 percent. The federal government of Iraq is outlined under the current Iraqi Constitution as a democratic, federal parliamentary Islamic republic. Moreover, even Article 1 of the Iraqi Civil Code defines Islamic regulation as an official source of law (Hadid, 2012, p. 78). Iraq also has an Islamic party, which appears to be a constituent of the Muslim Brotherhood regarded as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates’ government (Katzman, 2014, p. 465).
Even though the UAE appears to have a multifarious economy in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), the UAE’s economy sustains eminently dependant on oil. The majority of the UAE is relying on oil revenues except for Dubai (Gupta & Surbhi, 2015, p. 54). The facts show that natural gas and petroleum proceed in performing a principal function in the economy, particularly in Abu Dhabi. Similar to the UAE, Iraq’s economy is also overpowered by the oil sphere, which has traditionally equipped approximately 95 percent of foreign exchange income (Gupta & Surbhi, 2015, p. 54). Nevertheless, the oil export industry, which has predominated the Iraqi economy, creates highly small employment. The area specialists frequently utilize the assertion that oil and democracy do not blend to illustrate why the high-revenue states of the Arab Middle East have not become democratic (Gupta & Surbhi, 2015, p. 55). Numerous studies demonstrate that when revenues increase, governments reveal a tendency to become more democratic. Nevertheless, some scholars insinuate that there is an exclusion to this regulation (Baylis, Smith, & Owens, 2014, p. 99). It means that when increasing revenues can be traced to the country’s oil wealth, this democratizing impact might shrink or disappear. Firstly, Iraq and the UAE practice demonstrates that the oil-impeded-democracy assertion is both virtuous and statistically sturdy. It means that oil hurts democracy. In addition, it brings higher damage to democracy in poor countries on contrary to rich ones. A conditioned increase in oil exports will do more harm in oil-poor countries than in oil-rich ones (Gupta & Surbhi, 2015, p. 56). Therefore, oil restrains democracy even when exports are comparatively small, especially in shabby states. Secondly, the damaging and hazardous impact of oil is not limited to the Middle East. The facts reveal that oil affluence has probably made democratization more complicated in such states as Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Mexico. Thus, it might also have an analogous effect on the oil-rich states of Iraq and the UAE. There is also a serious connection between oil and authoritarianism in both states, meaning a rentier effect, through which governments utilize decreased tax ratios and elevated spending to diminish democracy pressures (Gupta & Surbhi, 2015, p. 56). There is also a repression effect, by which authorities assemble their inner security powers to turn away democratic pressures (Gupta & Surbhi, 2015, p. 58). Finally, it leads to the modernization effect, in which the collapse of the populace to move into service and industrial sphere jobs makes them less probable to pursue democracy.
Democracy and Authoritarianism
The political and military power in Iraq is currently highly concentrated in the personal office of Prime Minister Maliki (Bulhoon, 2015, p. 5). The national unification government, which was formulated as the result of the 2010 parliamentarian elections. It has provided a possibility for an effective and actual majoritarian authority, in which Maliki appears to be a monopoly on the country’s institutions (Bulhoon, 2015, p. 5). It might have crucial consequences for the futurity of Iraq, as well as the course and durableness/resilience of its democratic shift. The sustainment of an authoritarian leader through the medium of firmness will have an opposite consequence and merely exacerbate divisions and tensions within Iraq. Finally, it is highly important to understand that steadiness in the country can merely appear via an inclusive, illustrative, and accurate political system. It secures the rights of all Iraqis. All of the above-mentioned issues counteract Maliki’s present objectives, policies, and conducts (Clement & Springborg, 2013, p. 263).
Even though the UAE is one of the most liberal states in the Gulf, it remains politically authoritarian. The United Arab Emirates’ national individuality was created around the fascinating authority and liberal leadership of the country’s founding father, i.e. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan (Gause, 2015, p. 38). He was the one who unified the seven federations upon independence in 1971 and appeared to be its first (and sole) President before he died (Held & Ulrichsen, 2012, p. 203). Different people recognized themselves tightly with the leader and affixed a remaining devotion, which intensified with the appendage of sensations of nostalgia after his death. Nevertheless, this consolidating glue has been incapacitated after eight years. His sons have not been capable of finding an appropriate substitution for Zayed as a symbolic national identification emblem. Therefore, the establishment of the other, meaning the hazard from the Muslim Brotherhood and Islam, is being utilized to attempt and assemble Emiratis to support their governors and overpower their shortage of perception for the state’s future (Marr, 2012, p. 198). The cause of action in the UAE appears to be alarming and anxious. It demonstrates that the country’s rulers are merely incapable or reluctant to understand or endure any type of political plurality. In addition, they are tentative to sustain the status quo at any cost point the United Arab Emirates as one of the most authoritarian political systems in the region with the fewest limitations on the usage or misuse of administrative advantages (Held & Ulrichsen, 2012, p. 183). Therefore, the UAE appears at crossroads. It can select between the reception of pluralism or incessant suppression, and its perspectives for concerted domestic evolvement depend on the consequence.
The facts show that regardless of the preliminary inclinations and superiorities. Regardless of the primary restraint and war-attenuation of the American public, President Obama overturned the efforts to rebalance America’s foreign policy concentration in the Middle East and re-committed the US to the fight against violent extremism in the heart of the Arab world (Baylis, Smith, & Owens, 2014, p. 215). Moreover, the example of the Iraqi government has provided non-state militias with a huge function in the struggle in manners, which have exasperated Sunni anxieties, and disrupted the capability to despoil local support and consent among Iraqi Sunnis away from ISIS (Katzman, 2014, p. 471). The operation in Tikrit, in which Iranian-sustained militias’ encountered a failure, while the Iraqi government depended on American air support for victory. The authority revealed the restriction of Iranian impact in the Iraqi fight against ISIS. It also demonstrated the wisdom of a US strategy, which permits the Iraqi government the scope of individual accountability for its selection in this battle for its territory (Katzman, 2014, p. 471). Nevertheless, this strategy eventually falls on Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi’s capability to move forward with the type of security and political steps, which will generate the confidence of the country’s Sunnis in the Iraqi state.
The current paper demonstrates that the UAE is a conservative, but a liberal federation in the Gulf. Nevertheless, this federation is highly authoritarian. This country maintains a huge degree of independence. On the other hand, Iraq stands for a federal parliamentary republic. The UAE’s formal regime is outlined as a Muslim absolute monarchy, which is also defined as nationalization. Furthermore, Iraqi nationalism advocates the cultural unification of Iraqis. It incorporates the acknowledgment of the Iraqi specification dating back to ancient Mesopotamia. In addition, Iraqi nationalism appears authoritative in its movement to independence from Ottoman and British occupations. The UAE’s economy sustains eminently dependant on oil. Similar to the UAE, the country’s economy is also dominated by the oil sphere. Nevertheless, the United Arab Emirates’ and Iraqi oil-impeded-democracy assertion is both virtuous and statistically sturdy. It presupposes that oil hurts democracy. Finally, the paper demonstrates that international dimensions should be directed on combats against the violent extremism in the heart of the Arab world.