Syria and Iraq in Moscow Archives
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I used an innovative research method to follow the labor laws of postcolonial Syria and Iraq, by consulting documents in Moscow archives. In terms of their labor codes, these are among the Arab world's most progressive states. Syria joined the International Labor Organization early, in 1947; over the following decade, the government became much more active, signing on to nine conventions. Even more found their way into local labor codes during the 1960s—t wenty, during the first year of the decade alone. While Iraq joined the International Labor Organization as a member in 1932, only with the 1958 revolution and the monarchy’s replacement by military law did the state become highly active within the ILO framework. Therefore, during the Cold War, these two Arab regimes were notably worker-friendly. I spent three months during summer 2009 consulting Russian-language publications and archives (specifically the Russian State Library, the Library ! of Oriental Literature, the State Archive of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Archive of Social/Political History, and the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History). These collections were very rich, and I found rare Arabic-language materials so extensive that I added an additional component to the research project.