Civil Society in the Iraqi Community

29 years is sufficient to radically change an entire state in all its aspects, change its concepts and ways of thinking, in addition to eliminating opponents of government at home and destroying some groups that the ruling party believes that its existence threatens its aspirations.

29 years is the term of the late President Saddam Hussein, the man who changed all the features of Iraq and was one of the causes of the current situation that the country is going through.

This man destroyed all the institutions and organizations that would educate the people and open their eyes to the world and the freedom that existed at that time. Among the most important things that were destroyed were civil society organizations that disappeared at that time from the country or were operating within the wishes of the ruling authority.


Civil Society

Civil society is defined as a group of persons and groups that work side by side and act as a mediator between individuals and the state and challenge the state in order to participate in decision-making. The concept of civil society applies to any voluntarily organized activity whose purpose is to bring about change and address one of the issues or problems in society.

Civil society consists of charitable foundations, academies, and cultural organizations, as well as trade unions such as trade and professional unions, political parties, and non-governmental organizations.

All of them work for change and improving the lives of individuals in the country according to ethical and humanitarian values ​​by carrying out their non-profit humanitarian work.

These institutions are based on the implementation of many projects and actions such as those in development in remote areas that are marginalized by governments, and these activities are frequently active in disasters and crises.

Educating, training and empowering the individuals so that they are able to effectively work and participate meaningfully in the society.

Developing plans and alternatives for individuals and attracting public opinion in order to influence the state’s policies and participate in making them through coordination and cooperation with other institutions in society.

Constructive criticism of the government for seeking to change and restructure laws that harm the interest of citizens are done by scrutinizing the work and decisions of the government.

Iraq Community

One of the most diverse and multi-component societies, it is known to those who are familiar with or interested in Iraq that it consists of several ethnicities, Arab Kurds, Turkmen and other minorities, and several religions of Islam, Christianity, Yezidism and other religions.

As for the Islamic religion, which represents the vast majority in the country, it in turn is divided into two parts, Shiite and Sunni, the two competing factions for rule and control of the state, this competition appear after the collapse of the former regime.

Iraqi society comes from the Badia and the countryside, the regions that depend on the clans. In addition to the city and urban areas, where the state’s authority is the highest and includes the category of politicians and intellectuals.

Educated people are divided into those who work in accordance with the interests of the government, and some of them have moved away from this field because of the crises that the country has gone through.

Something that may distinguish Iraqi society from other societies is that Iraqis coming from the Badia to the cities are working to change cities and transfer rural characteristics to the city.

This branched society consists of several classes divided by the ruling class and those close to them and the middle class in which state employees and merchants are represented, whose social status is relatively good.

Then there is the working class, the poor and the public, which represent the largest percentage among the groups of this society and are present in all regions of the country.

Iraq Civil Society

As mentioned above, civil society in Iraq was hidden or even there is no organization or institution that deserves to be referred to with this title because civil society was not allowed to play its role in society during the rule of former leaders in the country, as it was exploiting these foundations in order to beautify the image of the ruling regime.

After the collapse of the previous regime and the great openness that Iraq reached and communicating with the outside world, some institutions were able to carry out the work of civil society and the organizations and bodies that concerned work in this field became numbered in the thousands.

Despite its abundance, according to critics, it did not live up to what civil society aims at.

Civil society in Iraq suffers from dependency, as political parties and leaders create these organizations and bodies in order to refine their image in the eyes of the citizens.

In addition to the fact that many of these organizations work for illegal gain and do not participate in decision - making or objecting to state decisions.

This is not compatible with civil society, which should work on its own and not be affiliated with a party or governmental bodies, and be completely independent, free work, discuss government decisions, and contribute to their making.

Civil society organizations are characterized by weakness and lack of experience, as after the collapse of the previous regime, civil society organizations were built, but not according to an organized structure, and did not rely on the experience that the individual possessed. Adequate training was not provided to the affiliates of these organizations.

These individuals were given the task of training citizens and making them aware of their rights and duties in modern Iraqi society, meaning that citizens were not educated adequately, due to the trainers ’lack of experience and competence.

Upcoming Recovery

The weakness of successive governments, after the US entry and then the withdrawal, contributed to revitalizing civil society a little and became bringing in citizens. The presence of these institutions increased and their activities increased after the entry of the Islamic State and the displacement of millions of civilians.

The expansion of the presence of these organizations has prompted the government to lay down special laws for them in addition to financial support and allocate part of the oil revenues to support these organizations.

This made international organizations and countries that provide aid to Iraq to resort to organizations in Iraq in order to deliver aid.


Written by - Abduljalil Hage

Edited by – Adrija Saha


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