This article deals with the post-2003 consociationalist experiment in Iraq. It examines the reasons why this experiment has failed in producing a reasonably coherent governing formula. It argues that, because of their emphasis on identity politics and not on making mutual concessions in the interest of serious statebuilding, the main players in this experiment (Shia, Sunni and Kurdish political elites) failed to appreciate the complexity of the consociationalist arrangement, let alone use it for public interest. The article focuses on the central role that the Shia Islamist parties played in making this failure happen, highlighting, as reasons, their insistence on an essentially sectarian rhetoric and their attempt to enforce it as a national identity. The article finally proposes a different rhetoric that can accommodate Iraq's ethnic and religious diversity.