Building Democracy After Conflict: Lessons from Iraq

Issue Date January 2005
Volume 16
Issue 1
Page Numbers 9-23
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In the hands of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), the U.S.-led postwar reconstruction effort has so far failed to establish democratic institutions in Iraq. But as troubled as that effort has been, it provides valuable lessons for future postconflict-reconstruction or nation-building endeavors. For example: commit enough troops, with the right rules of engagement; hold local elections first; mobilize legitimacy, cooperation, and trust both internationally and within the postconflict country; disperse economic reconstruction funds and democratic assistance as widely as possible; and proceed with some humility and respect for the opinions of the people in whose interest the intervention is supposedly staged.

About the Author

Larry Diamond is senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, and founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy.

View all work by Larry Diamond