Insurgency & Civil Society in Occupied Baghdad
: A Case Study of the Mehdi Army in Tisa Nissan Political District

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This dissertation is a study of the Mehdi Army’s campaign in the Tisa Nissan political district of Baghdad in the aftermath of the American-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. This study builds upon an examination of Baghdad’s history with a focus on the experience of Iraq’s shi’a underclass therein. It also draws from the author’s first-hand experience in the district during 2008 in order to detail the origins of the Sadrist movement, trace the rise of the Mehdi Army militia during the post-Saddam era, and explain the reasons for, and the significance of, its collapse and dissolution in 2008.

First and foremost, this dissertation is a study of the Mehdi Army’s rise and fall in Tisa Nissan, which is intended to illuminate the social forces that shaped the militia’s fortunes and, by extension, offer insights into the condition of Iraqi society. It is, therefore, both a study of war in the neighbourhoods of Baghdad, as well as a study of Baghdad’s neighbourhoods at war. It is intended to contribute to the existing scholarly literature on both modern Iraq and insurgency. This thesis also provides a balance to what has become an overwhelmingly occupier-centric body of literature on the events of the post-Saddam era.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorRory Miller (Supervisor) & Michael Kerr (Supervisor)

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