- 一般財団法人 日本国際政治学会
- 国際政治 (ISSN:04542215)
- vol.2017, no.189, pp.189_17-189_32, 2017-10-23 (Released:2018-12-19)
In order to analyse contemporary global crises, it is necessary for scholars of International Relations and Area Studies to overcome two limitations: Area Studies’ tendency to focus only on the substance of certain states or areas and the state-centric understanding of International Relations. Contemporary conflicts and faultlines that intermingle and interlock from the local level to the global level cannot be explained simply by unilineal causal relations among the existing actors but rather are complicated by their reciprocal interaction. In order to grasp the widespread networks of co-relationship among various actors, a new analytical framework should be introduced which frames current affairs as the product of a web of interconnections, and as a result of the transformation of those relationships, rather than on the actors’ essential qualities.As a case study of the above new framework, this paper analyses sectarian “faultlines” in post-war Iraq. Since 2003, violent clashes have occurred in Iraq, which Western media and policy-makers considered to be “sectarian conflicts.” As most of the Western policy-makers assume an essentialist understanding of sectarian relations in Iraq, they consider the sectarian factor as an explanatory and independent valuable. However, in order to propose an alternative approach to the perception of sectarian groups as cohesive actors, this paper avoids substantial “sectarian factors” for explanations of conflict in post-2003 Iraq, and focuses instead on the transformation of the various kinds of relationships that led to political and social strife. It sees how sectarian factors emerge as a result of mobilisation of rhetoric and legitimisation of fighting parties.This paper analyses media narratives in Iraq and surrounding states. It discloses that pro-government Iraqi media and Iranian media consider IS as inhuman terrorists while Arab and Turkish media as a reflection of anti-government ideology and sentiments in Iraqi society. In the regional power struggle between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, each media, domestic or regional, focuses on the victimhood of their side, and a sectarian narrative further legitimatises the appeal of the victims for their rights. For each side it is not “us” but “others” that discriminate us and exclude us from the Iraqi nation or from the religion of Islam; each side uses sectarian terms to demonise the others, with each insisting that it is “us” who pursue the unity of the community. This paper concludes that the conflicts in post-war Iraq are caused by the competition among the fighting actors over the right to claim the injustice of marginalisation, which often relies on sectarian legitimisation.