Recent outbreaks of sectarian and ethnic violence have thrown Iraq's stability into doubt, suggesting the country's politics are a farce and its political parties are nothing more than the protectors of ethnosectarian interests. Because of the artificiality of the Iraqi state and its absence of deep-seated political institutions, skeptics fear the country is destined to revert to primordialism, yet Iraq's present situation is largely the result of Saddam Hussein's infamous rule over the past three decades, exacerbated by the deprivations of international sanctions. Johan Franzen underscores the role of these destabilizing factors, arguing that before Hussein's ascent to power, diverse parties representing a variety of ideological platforms characterized Iraqi government. The largest and most important of these groups was the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP), the only true cross-sectarian party in Iraqi history drawing support from all of Iraq's communities. From its inception in 1934 to its demise at the hands of Hussein in 1979, the ICP continuously resisted various regimes and spread communist ideology throughout Iraq. At times the party achieved considerable success, though it ultimately failed to seize absolute power. Red Star Over Iraq analyzes this richhistory to project a different picture of a future Iraq.