Date of Thesis

Spring 2019

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Major

History

Minor, Emphasis, or Concentration

Arabic Studies

First Advisor

Mehmet Dosemeci

Second Advisor

Beeta Baghoolizadeh

Keywords

Saddam Hussein, Iran-Iraq War, Ba'ath, Nationalism, Propaganda, Iranian Revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini, Iraq

Abstract

In this thesis, I examine the content of and mechanisms of disseminating propaganda originating from Saddam Hussein’s regime during the Iran-Iraq War. This research specifically looks at how and why the regime targeted Iraqi Shi’as during the war, and how that contributed to the ways in which the regime engaged with rhetoric. Moreover, this thesis attempts to make sense of the diverse, and sometimes seemingly opposing, amalgam of the rhetoric’s subject matter and methods of circulation. More broadly, it speaks to the difficulty of fostering an environment that can produce patriotism and lead to the construction of a strong national identity within the context of war and sectarianism. Overall, the research of this thesis contributes to a general understanding of how authoritarian regimes in particular can both exploit and be vulnerable to the existence of complex, multi-dimensional identities. In conclusion, this work hopes to accompany already existing literature aimed at replacing narrow, Western-centric, Orientalist views of the Middle East with more holistic, well-informed, and authentic considerations.

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