IN THE JOURNAL | COVER STORY
Maneuvering within Islam`s narrative space
January-March 2018
By: Brian L Steed

Depositional actions included the following issues. Removing the Iraqi security forces and denying them and all Ba’athists access to government pensions created both an unemployed and disgruntled force, expressing both a lack of concern for the stability and security of Iraq, as well as disrespect to hundreds of thousands of families placed in serious financial hardship. No active weapons of mass destruction program was found. As this became clearer for Iraqis, the pretense for the American invasion seemed to be solely a power grab to weaken Iraq or seize its oil. The ever-increasing violence in Iraq, with death squads roaming neighborhoods at night, further communicated a willingness on the part of the occupying power for Iraq to be in chaos or an inability to control the environment. Finally, the most powerful and successful nation on earth could not meet the basic needs of the Iraqi people, such as electricity.

Erosional events include the following issues. (Note: Not all erosional events are negative.) American forces did move to have open elections. This was a first in Iraqi history. The events of the 2007 “surge” of American troops demonstrated both commitment and competence at a time when both of those components were challenged. America’s presumed dominance was challenged by the ongoing insurgency and inability to provide basic security.

Tectonic events associated with Iraq tend toward violence. The toppling of Saddam Hussein was tectonic in that it created a new landscape on which all other events transpired. The bombing of the United Nations headquarters and Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad in 2003 drove off the international community and institutions and left the United States as the primary guarantor of Iraqi liberties. The 2006 bombing of the Al Askari Shrine in Samarra started a sectarian civil war within Baghdad, if not the entire country. Each of these events shook the world of Iraq’s population and significantly reformed the narrative landscape.

The interaction between these forces, events, thinkers and doers shape the world each and every day, and create a dynamic and constantly reforming narrative space. Understanding narrative space terrain means understanding not just its current morphology, but also the history of that morphology. How recent are the features present? What are the fault lines and the stresses currently existing in the terrain?

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