Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bushwacked: Iraq's Draft Constitution a Sham

The war in Iraq is spiraling out of control, as is the U.S's efforts to form an Evelyn Wood-style speed-democracy in what had been a dictatorship for 35 years. The constitution drafting process has fallen apart, with the Sunnis apparently getting the shaft from its countrymen and from the U.S. Bush couldn't care less about the Sunnis. His only concern is to rush through an Iraqi constitution so that he can once again claim "Mission Accomplished" despite a clear lack of actual accomplishment. The Shiites and the Kurds don't care much for the Sunnis either, and have dismissed them from the negotiating table after the Sunnis held firm requiring certain changes to the draft. The draft constitution also fails to fully protect and ensure the rights of women and minorities. Overall, this is a huge blow to the Bush administration, which is now experiencing the Iraqi hat trick: failed military, political and diplomatic policy. The country's status is more chaotic with each passing day, and civil war seems more imminent than ever. In simple terms, the Sunnis have two major problems with the draft constitution. First, the Shiites are looking for an autonomous region encompassing all of the oil-rich South, which many Iraqis fear would divide the country along ethnic and religious lines. Next, the Sunnis also want an end to the unofficial de-Baathification process, where former Saddam loyalists have been rooted out of government and society. The Shiites and Kurds, in opposition to these demands, have decided to move forward with the draft constitution as is and let the Iraqi people decide its fate. Sunni leaders have urged voters to reject the draft in the 15 October referendum. The Sunnis are the minority party with 20% of the population but ruled the country under Saddam. The Kurds and Shiites, with 80 percent, are banking on the draft winning approval in the referendum. Under existing rule, if two-thirds of the voters in any three of the eighteen provinces reject the constitution, it will be defeated. Sunnis form a majority in at least three provinces. But the question is, can they rally support within these provinces to obtain the necessary two-thirds in order to send it back to the drawing board? That remains to be seen. So does whether or not the Bushies' grand neo-con plan for democratizing the Middle East ultimately proves to be the colossal flop it resembles at the moment. Most unfortunate is that after thousands of U.S. soldiers killed, after hundreds of billions spent, we'll probably end up with an Islamic state with strong ties to Iran and its religious clerics...where women and minorites lack civil rights; a country mired in civil war; a training haven for terrorists; a U.S. homeland less safe than before the war. Nice going, George.

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