Monday, August 22, 2005


Barring some major shake-up of the drafters of Iraq's future constitution, it will codify the supremacy of Islam over secular law.
The draft also stipulates that Iraq is an Islamic state and that no law can contradict the principles of Islam, Shiite and Kurdish negotiators said. Opponents have charged that last provision would subject Iraqis to religious edicts by individual clerics.
It is hard to imagine that the administration intended the Iraq war to end in the establishment of a theocratic state, but that is likely what will occur.

The Sunni minority, the base of the original anti-U.S. guerilla movement, has objected to the federal-style government the drafters have decided upon. The agreement was mostly pushed by the Kurds who have had a de-facto state in Northern Iraq since the end of the first Gulf War.

Given the dismissal of the Sunni wishes, it's likely that they will reject any constitution:
The draft, slated for action by a Monday deadline, would be a sweeping rejection of the demands of Iraq's disaffected Sunni minority, which has called the proposed federal system the start of the breakup of Iraq. Shiites and Kurds indicated they were in no mood to compromise.

"We gave a choice -- whoever doesn't want federalism can opt not to practice it," said Shiite constitutional committee member Ali Debagh.
This shunting aside of the Sunni faction is unlikely to contribute to a peaceful transition. Given the ferocious resistance the U.S. military faced in the Sunni triangle, how likely is it that Iraqi forces could suppress Sunni factionalism if it were to turn violent?

It should also be kept in mind that the Shi'ite majority found sympathy in the Iranian leadership during Saddam's Sunni-favoring dictatorship. In fact, as Time Magazine reported recently there is a growing Iranian influence in Southern Iraq, both through the militias and local politicians.

- Murphy

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