August 28, 2005

Iraqi Draft Constitution Signed

Via CNN:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The Iraqi constitutional committee signed off on a draft of a constitution Sunday after making some minor amendments, a committee spokesman said.

The draft, which was signed by the committee, will now go to the National Assembly. The amendments were made in hopes of appeasing the Sunni Arab minority, although government spokesman Leith Kubba said not all Sunnis agreed.

Hardline Sunnis still object to what they consider two key sticking points; federalism and the formal dissolution of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. Shiites and Kurds came up with a compromise delaying any action on these issues until a new assembly--essentially the future government--convenes in December.

But what does all this mean?
A couple of things:

  1. It proves that the Iraqi people understand the concept of a representative democracy, even the Sunni population from which the insurgency has evolved. Six of seven known insurgency groups have pledged to vote rather than fight in the October vote

  2. It proves that the three main groups understand compromise. While no arrangement will satisfy all parties, the majority of people seem to accept the constitution in its current form. The question remains whether that majority is "enough." Despite media oversimplification, the Sunni and Shia voting blocks have already proven not to be monoliths, and may sway the outcome of the constitutional referendum scheduled to be held October 15.

  3. If this constitutional draft is defeated in October, the process isn't over. New elections will be held and a new draft constitution will be hammered out. You must remember that it took us over a decade for the 13 colonies to hammer out the United States Constitution and we still had to develop a separate Bill of Rights that we still see a need to amend occasionally.

As important to many Americans, the ratification of the process will not directly impact the training of Iraqi military and police forces that will one day take over Iraq's security needs. It is hoped that Sunni by-in on the constitutional draft and a ratification of this draft might undercut support for the insurgency and hasten the United States withdrawal, but that was primarily a political concern, not a practical one. Iraqi forces will take over their country's security when they are ready for the job, not when insurgent attacks decrease.

Personally, I would not be completely disappointed if this draft of the constitution is not ratified. I'm not sold on the merits of federalism, and would like to see the dissolution of the Baath Party as a formal part of the document.

In any event, I don't have to live with it. Iraqis do. We'll discover their feeling in October.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 28, 2005 09:04 AM | TrackBack