Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Iraqi constitutional process

"In setting up the constitutional committee, Iraq's transitional national assembly passed up the opportunity to create a broad-based institution, opting instead for one drawn exclusively from its own ranks. Given Sunni Arab under-representation in the assembly, this community will not figure prominently in drafting the document that will shape the new Iraq and, not least, their role in it. In turn, their exclusion from so critical an undertaking can only serve to bolster Sunni Arab support of the insurgency.

A better way would be to seek broader representation of drafters, drawing additionally on Sunni Arab politicians as well as representatives of Iraq's budding civil society...

...After two years of fumbling and stumbling in Iraq, the US has to get this one right, as there is unlikely to be another chance. It should encourage its Iraqi friends to set up a representative drafting committee to solicit views from the Iraqi public at the outset of the negotiations, and extend the deadline by six months. Only thus, and through a legitimate political process more generally, can there be any hope that the sectarian divisions and debilitating insurgency will be overcome".

International Crisis Group president Gareth Evans and Middle East project director Joost Hilterman in the Financial Times, 13 June (here).

Meanwhile , other evidence to take into account (if not exactly ground truthing as he is writing from Amman), Dahr Jamail on "state sponsored civil war", 10 June.

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