(See Upadate below)
"The completion of Iraq's draft constitution, which will be submitted to the people for ratification in October, should have been an occasion for celebration. As most Americans are aware, it has not been. But while much of the criticism has focused on such areas as women's rights, federalism and the role of Islam, such concerns are largely misplaced. In fact, the text strives to balance democratic equality with the Islamic values that are popular with many Iraqi voters, and it sketches a workable if vague compromise on power-sharing between the center and the federal regions.
The major problem is one of who is agreeing, not what they have agreed on. The flawed negotiations of recent weeks, driven at breakneck pace by American pressure to meet an unnecessary deadline, failed to produce an agreement satisfactory to the Sunni politicians in the talks. It appears that the draft will be put before the people with their strong disapproval. The paradoxical result is a looming disaster: a well-conceived constitution that, even if ratified, may well fail to move Iraq toward constitutional government."Agreeing to Disagree in Iraq
August 30, 2005The above is by Noah Feldman who was tasked with putting the constitution's foundations by the CPA.See if you can manage to sympathize with his position, as he wrings his hands like a fly resting on a pile of dung. This any-way-you-want-it constituion is rather better described by a comment from a friend of mine:
"Imad, you are completely wrong!What a great idea
: a Constitution with all sorts of blank fields in it, where the U.S. ambassador, special interest groups, religious fanatics, the CIA and the (whatever the Iraqi version of that is) Business Council on National Issues, can just write in what they want it to say, and erase parts of it when it doesn't suit their fancy!
No more need for lengthy legal debates about "what is constitutional!"
From now on, if (say) torturing detainees isn't constitutional, we'll just write in "yes it is", in one of the blank fields!
Hey, wait, I've got a better idea: Let's make it all on a MS-Word document with "Track Changes" disabled
, so that nobody knows what got added or deleted!
Just think of it:
The world's first Hi-Tech Fantasy Constitution! Available in Virtual Reality!
Courtesy of your Friends at Microsoft, the Republican Party and the CIA!
M."And, when all else fails, including a lobbying frantic phone call from Bush to Ja'fari, employ the patented 'democratic' tool:
"A source close to the Iraqi Draft Constitution Committee revealed that the US had offered bribes of US$ 5million each to Sunni members in the Constitution Committee to accept the draft constitution."US Offered USD 75 Million to Iraqi Sunnis for Signature under Constitution
August 30, 2005
(and in Arabic
وطبقا لمصدر مقرب من الهيئة الدستورية فإن واشنطن وأثناء متابعتها لاجتماع العرب السنة، عرضت مكافأة 5 ملايين دولار لكل عضو مقابل الموافقة على المسودة. وقال المصدر إن أعضاء المجلس رفضوا العرض الأمريكي وأصروا على موقفهم الرافض لمسودة الدستور)
"Juan COLE: There are indeed rumors flying around of continued changes in the draft of the constitution. All sorts of key issues, from Iraq's Arab identity to human rights are still in flux. Major politicians have left or are leaving the country, which means any tinkering is being done in their absence!
It is the damnedest thing."
An Update: This is an excellent review of the evolution (see the Table at the end of the article) of the still-born constitution:
"While Khalilzad and his team of US and British diplomats were all over the scene, some members of Iraq ’s constitutional committee were reduced to being bystanders. One Shi'ite member grumbled, “We haven’t played much of a role in drafting the constitution. We feel that we have been neglected. We have not been consulted on important issues.” A Sunni negotiator concluded: “This constitution was cooked up in an American kitchen, not an Iraqi one.”
A neoliberal constitutional dish
By the time it was served on the table on August 28, the final draft of the Iraqi constitution must have tasted very different from previous servings. Not only were some of the key ingredients of the previous drafts removed outright, new ingredients with distinctly neoliberal flavors were added.
And this is a summary/review of it: