Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Country Dissolving via Constitution-Making

An interesting point brought up through David Corn's web log in relation to how the Iraqi draft constitution might work out in terms of Sunni acceptance. In an excerpted interview with Ghassan Atiyyah at NPR, his opinions of what might happen are surprising.

If the Constitution were to be voted down, then everything goes back to square one: parliament is dissolved, another coutry-wide vote is taken to establish a new government and another consitution is drafted. That is a working scenario currently being bandied about, and it is based on the assumption that Sunni Iraqis vote against the constituion in great enough numbers (a 2/3's 'no' vote tally in three separate provinces). It has been thought that fearful Sunnis will get out and register in high enough proportions to cause this to happen.

Enter Atiyyah's nightmarish scenario.

ATIYYAH: [The Sunnis] are faced with a constitution on the basis, 'Take it or leave it.' It's very difficult for them to accept that because there are so many items in it which are very difficult for them to stomach, and they will lose credibility even among the moderate Sunnis. So they have the option now to vote against it in a referendum. Could the Arab Sunni muster two-thirds majority in three provinces, the Sunni provinces, veto the constitution and dissolve the parliament and bring a new election? I doubt that. Most of the Sunni boycotted the election. They didn't just throw their names in the electoral list. So it is for them only one week left to register their names. Then you have to mobilize them and to get them to the polling boxes. At the time when al-Zarqawi and the extremists and the jihadists threatened them by killing them if they go to the vote or the referendum, and so they will find themselves between the fire and the blue sea, and this will play into the hands of the extremists.[emphasis added]

So, there may well be not enough time to turn out enough Sunni voters to register and vote against a Constitution that is seen as directly foiling Sunni ambitions and leanings. If this is the case (a big if of course), then all of the items within the constitution which this populace does not like become the law of the land, and this can only lead to more destabilizing effects within the country.

The United States pushed this process onto the interim goverment, coerced them to come to a final draft on the deadline (August 15th), and now offers the take-it or leave-it position where it will be quite plausible that Sunnis have no option to 'leave it'.

There is almost no end to short-sightedness when it comes to the Administration's handling of the entire war and reconstruction effort. It would almost appear to be a primer for future governments on what not to do when it comes to foreign policy initiatives.

From the article above published by the Christian Science Monitor, the last two paragraphs might give us more insight on what it is that Sunnis are looking for:

Most average Sunnis say all they want from a leader is equal treatment and, when pressed, many say former prime minister Iyad Allawi - a secular Shiite but a former member of the Baath party - is the politician closest to their views.

"We don't look for a leader to be a Sunni to lead us. We want someone like Iyad Allawi. Their ethnicity is not important. [We want someone] who fulfills the dreams of Iraqis, it doesn't matter who he is. Someone to take care of security and electricity," says Yasser Kaha Ibrahim, a Sunni administrative worker.

Maybe the Iraqi Constitution won't deliver every Iraqi's want, but it certainly could cause the entire cauldron to boil over in one fell swoop.

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