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Thread: Iraqi consitution misses third "deadline"

  1. #1

    Iraqi consitution misses third "deadline"

    from Associated Press.
    [QUOTE]
    Iraq Misses Third Constitution Deadline

    Thursday August 25, 2005 8:31 PM


    AP Photo LON111

    By BASSEM MROUE

    Associated Press Writer

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq missed yet a third deadline Thursday for finishing the new constitution as faction leaders failed to make enough progress toward compromise even to schedule a parliamentary session.

    Faced with an impasse, some lawmakers said the document may bypass parliament completely and instead be sent straight to the voters to decide in a referendum Oct. 15.

    Shiite leaders called for an end to fighting between rival Shiite groups, and police found the bodies of 36 men, bound and shot in the head, near the Iranian border - apparent victims of Iraq's worsening communal tension.

    The violence was a clear sign of the need for a stable, constitutional government in Iraq - something all sides agree on. But a formula that pleases Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and other groups has proven elusive.

    Negotiators had hoped to finish the three days of consultations which parliament speaker Hajim al-Hassani ordered Monday night after Sunni Arab negotiators refused to accept the final draft signed off on by their Shiite and Kurdish counterparts.

    Al-Hassani gave negotiators three days to try to win over the Sunnis, who object to several issues including federalism, distribution of oil wealth, power relationships and references to Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated Baath party.

    A parliament session had been expected Thursday, the end of the Iraqi work week, but as negotiators struggled over the wording, the National Assembly's top spokesman, Bishro Ibrahim, said there would be no meeting and no new date had been scheduled.

    Government spokesman Laith Kubba had suggested a meeting might be set for Sunday if Thursday passed without a deal.

    Sunni negotiator Kamal Hamdoun said top Shiite leaders did not even show up at a meeting set for a few hours before midnight ``so we decided to leave.''

    ``Our decision is the same,'' Hamdoun said. ``This constitution is not legitimate. They are acting according to the law of the force instead of force of the law. We call on all Iraqis to vote `no' in the constitutional referendum.''

    Some Shiites, the largest bloc in the National Assembly, maintained there was no need for a parliamentary vote because the constitutional drafting committee had met its legal obligation by handing in a draft on Aug. 22.

    That was the second deadline which the legislature granted after the drafting committee failed to meet the Aug. 15 date set in the interim constitution.

    On Thursday, Shiite representatives Khaled al-Attiyah and Nadim al-Jabiri said the draft can simply go forward to the voters in the Oct. 15 referendum.

    The interim constitution, adopted when the U.S.-led coalition ran the country, states simply that parliament ``shall write the draft of the permanent constitution'' and that the document ``shall be presented to the Iraqi people for approval in a general referendum by Oct 15.''

    However, lawmakers had agreed when the committee began its work to produce a ``consensus'' document acceptable to representatives of all of Iraq's cultural, religious and ethnic groups in a bid for national unity.

    A successful parliamentary vote would reaffirm that unity and send a strong signal to the Iraqi people that the constitution deserved their support.

    The United States hopes the constitution will invigorate a political process that will - in time - lure disaffected Sunni Arabs away from the Sunni-dominated insurgency so that American and other foreign troops can begin to go home next year.

    However, the perception that the Shiites and Kurds rammed through a document unacceptable to the Sunnis could produce a backlash among Sunni Arabs and sharpen religious and ethnic tensions.

    As a sign of those tensions, police found the bodies of 36 men Thursday in a dry river bed near the Iranian border, their hands bound and with bullet wounds in the head. The bodies contained no identification and police said most were wearing baggy trousers favored by Kurds. But when photographers arrived, they saw the bodies wearing normal clothing.

    Gunmen opened fire Thursday on cars owned by President Jalal Talabani, killing eight of his bodyguards and wounding 15, a security official said. Talabani, a Kurd, was not in any of the cars when the attack occurred in a mixed Shiite-Sunni area north of Baghdad.

    Although the constitution requires only a simple majority in the referendum, if two-thirds of the voters in any three of Iraq's 18 provinces vote against it, the charter will be defeated. Sunni Arabs are about 20 percent of the national population but form the majority in at least four provinces.

    Furthermore, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr shares Sunni objections to federalism and other parts of the draft and may well join forces with the Sunnis in the referendum. Al-Sadr's followers have joined Sunni hard-liners in recent protests against the constitution.

    Al-Sadr's potential role was thrown into sharp focus Wednesday when clashes broke out between his followers and those of the biggest Shiite party after a brawl in front of his office in Najaf left four dead and the building in flames.

    Al-Sadr's followers blamed the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, which holds key posts in the government and on the constitutional committee. Fighting occurred in major Shiite cities including Basra, Amarah, Kut, Samawah and Nasiriyah.

    On Thursday, however, al-Sadr called on his followers to end the clashes in the interest of Shiite unity. In calling for calm, al-Sadr, who led two uprisings against U.S. forces last year. urged ``all believers to spare the blood of the Muslims and to return to their homes.''

    ``I will not forget this attack on the office ... but Iraq is passing through a critical and difficult period that requires unity,'' he told reporters in his home in Najaf.

    He demanded that Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, leader of SCIRI, condemn ``what his followers have done.''

    ``I urge the believers not to attack innocent civilians and not to fall for American plots that aim to divide us,'' al-Sadr said. ``We are passing through a critical period and a political process.''

    SCIRI denied any role in the attack on al-Sadr's office and issuing a statement urging an end to the bloodshed - also calling it ``a plot that targets our unity.''

    Meanwhile, an American general said the final death toll from Wednesday's insurgent attack in western Baghdad stood at 40 - including 13 policemen and one American soldier. Iraqi authorities put the casualty toll at 13 dead - three policemen, two suicide drivers and a gunman - and 43 were wounded.

    Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, deputy chief of staff for Multinational Forces in Iraq, said the battle began when gunmen broke into a house and shot five occupants. As Iraqi police responded, they were hit by three consecutive car bombs, followed by a fusillade of small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire. [/QUOTE]

  2. #2
    Not good, but I'd rather they get it done right than get it done fast.

    Wouldn't you agree Bit?

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=Warfish]Not good, but I'd rather they get it done right than get it done fast.

    Wouldn't you agree Bit?[/QUOTE]

    Agree 100%

  4. #4
    [QUOTE] The United States hopes the constitution will invigorate a political process that will - in time - lure disaffected Sunni Arabs away from the Sunni-dominated insurgency so that American and other foreign troops can begin to go home next year.[/QUOTE]

    According to this article the sunnis comprise 20% of the population there.
    Under saddam, they were a minority ruling faction. Now that saddam is done, they have become insurgents.

    So it is clear that those who are opposing the new government are a minority. They will need to come to the table or risk annihilation.

    Why isnt the MSM stressing that 80% of iraq is probably supporting the new govt constitution? And that the minority who used to be the oppressors are opposing it?

    Hundreds of thousands of kurds and shiites were murdered by saddam's regime. What took place there is not that different than the massacre in Rwanda. And Clinton recently said that he regretted not becoming involved in rwanda to try and stabilize the situation there. Yet the MSM continues to criticize the US involvment in iraq.

    I guess articles on building a government that is not a dictatorship, and rebuilding the infrastructure, is less interesting than following the cindy sheehans's around.

  5. #5
    [QUOTE=Warfish]Not good, but I'd rather they get it done right than get it done fast.

    Wouldn't you agree Bit?[/QUOTE]
    I think it's a relief. That's democracy, they're learning first hand. No one has stormed out or declared the other mortal enemies (yet). Maybe it's better that they hash it out - would a constitution seem flimsier if it passed with flying colors on its first go around? I think any news that pits Iraqis in the democratic process is good news.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=Jetcane] Yet the MSM continues to criticize the US involvment in iraq.
    [/QUOTE]

    They're still sore the Justice Department went after them in the 90s for being a monopoly.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=sackdance]No one has stormed out or declared the other mortal enemies (yet). [/QUOTE]

    uhh... yeah.

    this article was printed 8 hours before the midnight deadline - the Sunnis weren't even going to show up.

    Face the facts guys Iraq is a grade A mess. These warring ethnic parties can only lead to bad things.

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=Warfish]Not good, but I'd rather they get it done right than get it done fast.

    Wouldn't you agree Bit?[/QUOTE]

    it's a lose lose proposition

    either

    1) the constitution passes but the Sunnis aren't bought in. They bide their time and eventually force civil war.

    2) the consitution fails and we are back where we started - see #1.

    The Sunnis hate the Shia (and vice versa) and both hate the Kurds. The minority party have oppressed the majority for decades and both parties have killed their share of Kurds. Now it's pay back time, the only problem is that the Sunnis are well armed and bolstered by foreign (read: SAUDI) insurgents ready to blow themselves up to make a point. It's a sociological nightmare.

    Maybe this little ethnic nightmare should have been talked about by the geniuses in the White House BEFORE we decided Iraq was ripe for Western Style liberal democracy.

  9. #9
    Our constitution went real smooth as well :rolleyes:

    Read your history books bit.

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=pope]Our constitution went real smooth as well :rolleyes:

    Read your history books bit.[/QUOTE]

    oh I've read em and no where in the history of America do i remember warring ethnic groups and widespread internecine violence -

    it's not like the people of delaware were kidnapping and killing people from rhode island.

    the people from Massachusetts weren't walking into a police station filled with people from New York and blowing themselves up.

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=bitonti]oh I've read em and no where in the history of America do i remember warring ethnic groups and widespread internecine violence -

    it's not like the people of delaware were kidnapping and killing people from rhode island.

    the people from Massachusetts weren't walking into a police station filled with people from New York and blowing themselves up.[/QUOTE]


    Point being isn't as easy as you would like for it be, there were plenty of probmems getting one done here, seems the more it gets delayed the happier you get.

    I've even said they should have broken that country into 3 seperate states but we'll see if this works out, just because it's been delayed doesn't mean it a total lost cause.

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=pope]Point being isn't as easy as you would like for it be, there were plenty of probmems getting one done here, seems the more it gets delayed the happier you get.

    I've even said they should have broken that country into 3 seperate states but we'll see if this works out, just because it's been delayed doesn't mean it a total lost cause.[/QUOTE]

    It's hard to break it into three states though...which one gets the oil fields?

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=jets5ever]It's hard to break it into three states though...which one gets the oil fields?[/QUOTE]

    i guaruntee it won't be the Sunnis - as the former minority rulers and the elites of the Iraqi region for 1000's of years (including Saddam) the other ethnic groups see this as payback time.

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=jets5ever]It's hard to break it into three states though...which one gets the oil fields?[/QUOTE]

    Dicey situation no doubt, negotiating the distribution of funds would be easier than land and laws IMO.

  15. #15
    here's another question what happens when the Kurds finally get their psuedo nation state and the Turks inevitably start nibbling away at their territory - territory that by the way they think is the right of Turkey.

    will the Shia and Sunni really defend the Kurds against the Turks? i doubt it.

    the tragedy is that this is all s--t that was known for a long time, was one of the main reasons why Bush the elder didn't take Iraq in the first place. Forget about democracy - we will be lucky to establish law and order in that s--thole. this is a perfect example of what happens when you shoot first and ask questions later.

  16. #16
    [QUOTE=jets5ever]It's hard to break it into three states though...which one gets the oil fields?[/QUOTE]

    Aye, there's the rub.

    :cool:

  17. #17
    let's say they come to an agreement where group A gets the oil in the north, group B gets the oil in the south and group C gets some funds. What's to stop A and B from stiffing C? Oh it costs alot to get the oil, we aren't making money they could say...

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=bitonti]here's another question what happens when the Kurds finally get their psuedo nation state and the Turks inevitably start nibbling away at their territory - territory that by the way they think is the right of Turkey.

    will the Shia and Sunni really defend the Kurds against the Turks? i doubt it.

    the tragedy is that this is all s--t that was known for a long time, was one of the main reasons why Bush the elder didn't take Iraq in the first place. Forget about democracy - we will be lucky to establish law and order in that s--thole. this is a perfect example of what happens when you shoot first and ask questions later.[/QUOTE]

    The Kurds love us - they'll probably ask to join NATO; Turkey wouldn't dare touch them.

  19. #19
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    Its simple.

    Bush gets blocks 8 and 9.
    Cheney gets blocks 1, 2, and 3.
    Rice gets block 5.
    Gonzalez gets block 4.
    etc....

    [img]http://65.216.239.9/pics/politics/oil.gif[/img]

  20. #20
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    A day without "No blood for oil" is like a day without sunshine. :banghead:

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