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The Role of Legitimate Constitution Building in Promoting Stability in Iraq and Syria

October 22, 2020 Time: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm BST

The Role of Legitimate Constitution Building in Promoting Stability in Iraq and Syria

Legitimacy and Citizenship in the Arab World

22 October 2020

Date: 22nd of October 2020

Time: 4:00 PM London time

Speaker: Zaid Al-Ali

This webinar will focus on the long-term impact of the failed constitutional processes in both Iraq and Syria at the end of the Ottoman Empire, which is still felt today. It will compare the circumstances in which Syria’s 1920 constitution was debated and ultimately sabotaged with the circumstances of drafting Iraq’s 1925 constitution. In both cases, the post-Ottoman states were established in ways that deliberately ignored popular will and favoured narrow interests, including foreign interests. Today, both countries are still struggling with these same issues. While circumstances are now completely different, the general population in Iraq and Syria have still not been properly consulted, nor have their interests been adequately addressed in the constitutions that are currently in force or in the discussions about possible constitutional amendments. The webinar will argue that neither country is likely to gain any stability without a genuine attempt to grant their national constitutions with at least some form of legitimacy.  

Zaid Al-Ali

Zaid Al-Ali


Zaid Al-Ali is Senior Adviser on Constitution Building for International IDEA. He has practiced international commercial arbitration for over 20 years and previously worked at the United Nations in Iraq. Al-Ali has worked on constitutional building process and peace building in Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan and Yemen. He has taught at Princeton University, Sciences-Po (Paris) and the Central European University. Al-Ali was a Law and Public Affairs Fellow at Princeton and a Fellow at the Berlin Institute of Advances Studies. He is the author of ‘The Struggle for Iraq’s Future’ (Yale, 2014) and ‘Arab Constitutionalism: The coming revolution’ (Cambridge, 2021).

Dr Bassam Haddad

Dr Bassam Haddad


Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is also the Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute and the Founding Editor of the Knowledge Production Project and  the Arab Studies Journal.
Dr Rim Turkmani

Dr Rim Turkmani


Dr Rim Turkmani is the principal investigator of the research project Legitimacy and Citizenship in the Arab World project and the research director of the Syria Conflict Research Programme at LSE IDEAS at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This online public event is free and open to all but pre-registration is required.
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October 22, 2020
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm BST
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