On this episode of the Order From Ashes podcast, Sajad Jiyad plumbs the complex evolution of Shia Islamism during two decades at the center of Iraqi power.

This episode of Order From Ashes is the first in “Shia Power,” a four-part series about the transformation of Shia politics in Iraq, and what Iraq’s experience teaches us about the role of religion in politics everywhere.

A new edited volume from Century International, Shia Power Comes of Age: The Transformation of Islamist Politics in Iraq, 2003–2023, maps the radical transformation of Shia Islamist politics in Iraq over the last two decades. Contributors include Taif AlKhudary, Ali Al-Mawlawi, Marsin Alshamary, Thanassis Cambanis, Maria Fantappie, Fanar Haddad, Sajad Jiyad, Renad Mansour, and Ben Robin-D’Cruz.

Sajad and Thanassi, directors of Century International’s Shia Politics project, reflect on the lessons of Iraq’s Shia Islamists for politicians, policymakers, and researchers.

In episode 1 of “Shia Power,” Sajad Jiyad and host Thanassis Cambanis chart the powerful role of religion and the Shia clergy in the creation of a new Iraqi order after Saddam Hussein. In episode 2, Marsin Alshammary draws on her fieldwork in the seminaries of Najaf to argue that clerical authority has not diminished, despite setbacks over the last twenty years. In episode 3, Taif Alkhudary chronicles the revolutionary efforts of the Tishreen protest movement to establish an alternative to religious politics. In episode 4, the final in this series, Ali Al-Mawlawi connects some of today’s sectarian rhetoric to Iraq’s long history of anti-Shia prejudice.



  • Sajad Jiyad, fellow, Century International
  • Thanassis Cambanis, director, Century International