How do you get a Shia-led Iraq much earlier than in real life?

Futurist

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May 2014
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In real life, it required the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to finally allow Iraq's Shiite majority to lead Iraq. Thus, I'm wondering if there was any realistic way other than overthrowing Saddam Hussein back in 1991 that would have allowed Iraq's Shiites to gain political power in Iraq earlier on.

Also, as a side question, is it possible for an Iraq where Shiites gain political power earlier to open its doors to Shiite immigration from elsewhere in order to strengthen Iraq's Shiite majority?

Any thoughts on all of this?
 

Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,874
Western Eurasia
Though the first 2 Shiite prime ministers were already in the late 1940s (Salih Jabri and then following him the short interim Muhammad al-Sadr), the first real opportunity could be maybe under Qasim if he survives longer, and the ICP continues taking over the state establishment under him or makes an internal coup (since the ICP had/has mostly Shii supporters).

Regarding outside immigration, i don't see that being necessary in the 20th century. The signficant Persian and Indian Shia immigration was a thing in the 18-19th century, by the 20th century Iraq already became Shia majority and there was no need for outside strengthening it, the trend was rather the opposite, foreign elements decreasing among them, like Karbala used to be a Persian Shia majority city but became Arab Shia majority during the monarchy. Natural growth was already on their side and I don't see it self-evident that they would want an increase in foreign ethnic co-religionists.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
Though the first 2 Shiite prime ministers were already in the late 1940s (Salih Jabri and then following him the short interim Muhammad al-Sadr), the first real opportunity could be maybe under Qasim if he survives longer, and the ICP continues taking over the state establishment under him or makes an internal coup (since the ICP had/has mostly Shii supporters).
Just how powerful was the ICP (Iraqi Communist Party) under Qasim?

Also, if the ICP were to ever gain power in Iraq, might it attempt to federalize Iraq along ethnic and/or religious lines like the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia did in real life?

Regarding outside immigration, i don't see that being necessary in the 20th century. The signficant Persian and Indian Shia immigration was a thing in the 18-19th century, by the 20th century Iraq already became Shia majority and there was no need for outside strengthening it, the trend was rather the opposite, foreign elements decreasing among them, like Karbala used to be a Persian Shia majority city but became Arab Shia majority during the monarchy. Natural growth was already on their side and I don't see it self-evident that they would want an increase in foreign ethnic co-religionists.
Please keep in mind, though, that Iraq was only around 60% Shi'a majority. That's a majority, but a relatively thin one. For instance, I certainly don't think that Jewish Israelis would have been content if they would have only made up 60% of Israel's total population (which actually could occur if Israel annexes the entire West Bank)--even if demographic trends would have been on their side.
 

Tulun

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Nov 2010
3,874
Western Eurasia
Just how powerful was the ICP (Iraqi Communist Party) under Qasim?

Also, if the ICP were to ever gain power in Iraq, might it attempt to federalize Iraq along ethnic and/or religious lines like the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia did in real life?
As far as I know they were very powerfull within the Qasim regime's establishment, within the cadre of many ministries and in the mass media (press and radio), so from that position IMO they could have an opportunity to make a total take over. I don't think they would go further than Kurdish autonomy, i.e. I don't think they would divide the country within Shia and Sunni Arabs, that would go against their Iraqi nationalism and intent to decrease sectarianism, also could cause problem in the trend of southern (Shia) workers migrating to the north for work.

The most realistic potential source for foreign Shia immigrants would be from Iran. It was not in the interest of any party as they viewed each other also as regional rivals, same religion or not. Iran was often not too happy if Iranian pilgrims spent too much money and time in Iraq (so there were times when they restircted this in the 20th century) and the country being a safe haven for regime opponents, and also many Iraqi Arab Shias viewed them as rivals, outsiders from their tribal networks, or potential "5th column".
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
22,239
SoCal
As far as I know they were very powerfull within the Qasim regime's establishment, within the cadre of many ministries and in the mass media (press and radio), so from that position IMO they could have an opportunity to make a total take over. I don't think they would go further than Kurdish autonomy, i.e. I don't think they would divide the country within Shia and Sunni Arabs, that would go against their Iraqi nationalism and intent to decrease sectarianism, also could cause problem in the trend of southern (Shia) workers migrating to the north for work.
So, there'd be a Kurdish Iraqi SSR and a unified Arab Iraqi SSR?

Also, which parts of northern Iraq did Iraqi Shiites move to in search of work, and why? Was there a lot of oil there?
 

Tulun

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Nov 2010
3,874
Western Eurasia
So, there'd be a Kurdish Iraqi SSR and a unified Arab Iraqi SSR?

Also, which parts of northern Iraq did Iraqi Shiites move to in search of work, and why? Was there a lot of oil there?
Mostly Baghdad itself was in my mind, it is central Iraq but north of the Shia cores in the south, it was originally also Sunni majority city but recieved large Shia immigration. And of course there is the further northern Samarra, which is historically Sunni majority but religiously important to Shias (I don't know maybe by now they became Shia majority post Saddam??)

And there are also northern oil fields in Iraq so in a hypothetical Shia or non-sectarian regime i can imagine unemployed Shiites also being channeled there.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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Mostly Baghdad itself was in my mind, it is central Iraq but north of the Shia cores in the south, it was originally also Sunni majority city but recieved large Shia immigration. And of course there is the further northern Samarra, which is historically Sunni majority but religiously important to Shias (I don't know maybe by now they became Shia majority post Saddam??)
OK; that makes sense.

And there are also northern oil fields in Iraq so in a hypothetical Shia or non-sectarian regime i can imagine unemployed Shiites also being channeled there.
OK.

Also, do you think that Kurdistan would have successfully seceded from Iraq after the end of the Cold War in this scenario? Would Communist Iraq have experienced a partial breakup?
 

Futurist

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May 2014
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SoCal
The most realistic potential source for foreign Shia immigrants would be from Iran. It was not in the interest of any party as they viewed each other also as regional rivals, same religion or not. Iran was often not too happy if Iranian pilgrims spent too much money and time in Iraq (so there were times when they restircted this in the 20th century) and the country being a safe haven for regime opponents, and also many Iraqi Arab Shias viewed them as rivals, outsiders from their tribal networks, or potential "5th column".
What about Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Yemen?
 

Futurist

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May 2014
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In regards to Saudi Arabia especially, one would have thought that the Saudi government would have been delighted to see large numbers of its Shiites emigrate. Of course, the same would have also probably been true for Bahrain.