Crunch Time for the Iraqi Constitution

The Associated Press is reporting that Shiite and Kurdish negotiators have a draft constitution that they are prepared to submit to Iraq’s parliament by the deadline of midnight tonight. However, Sunni negotiators say they still haven’t agreed to the draft and don’t want it submitted.
Together, the Kurds and Shiites have enough votes in parliament to approve the draft constitution and have it voted on; however, the requirements for adoption of the constitution are such that if Sunni provinces uniformly reject it, it will not go into effect. So it seems that there is a game of “chicken” going on, which will probably not be resolved until the last possible moment.
The Sunni negotiators say that their objections relate to issues of “federalism,” which they oppose. It isn’t clear from news reports exactly what “federalist” provisions, most likely relating to some degree of autonomy for the Kurds, are currently being proposed. It seems that issues relating to religion may have been resolved. The parties have agreed on some ominous-sounding provisions; e.g., no laws may be adopted that contradict the principles of Islam. At the same time, the draft apparently says that no laws will adopted that contradict “human rights and democratic principles.” These potentially conflicting mandates will presumably sort themselves out over time as, for example, issues relating to women’s rights are resolved.
Via Power Line News.


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