Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Iraqi Constitution

Before I talk about this subject, make sure you reserve your copy of Saddam's latest memoir. He's writing it from the comfort of his prison cell. As always with his fantasy books, it will be a bestseller that may even crush Harry Potter sales.

OK, back to reality. Fellow Iraqi blogger, Akbar - Iraq Rising, posted his worries regarding the writing of the Iraqi constitution and other political issues. Since I'm worried too, I thought I'd answer his request to discuss the issue on other Iraqi blogs.

My first worry is the short time set for writing the constitution. I never thought selecting a new government was going to take three months. If the Iraqi government treats the deadline as a holy date, then we're in trouble. We're already in mid-May and nothing has been done yet. I don't think the date is too holy. So, they'll most likely extend the deadline. It's better to write it carefully than rush into writing a constitution that won't appeal to most Iraqis. The new constitution won't please everyone. At least, that's my prediction.

Obviously, the Shia and Kurds are the most influential parties in writing the new constitution. Forget about the Iraqi Christian influence and other minorities. The best they can do is include our right to practice our religious rituals freely. So, including a Christian or a Yezidi in the process of writing the constitution won't make much of a difference. Again, that's my prediction. I'm not a pessimist as most of my long-time readers know. But, I'm not an optimist either. Consider me a realist this time.

I don't know what to think of the Sunnis' position. They were given the chance to show more support for the elections. Many did. More didn't. Now, they feel they've been left behind. Most of Sunnis and other minorities are worried Al-Jaafari may turn Iraq into a theocracy similar to Iran's regime.

The worst scenario, we'll have a constitution that reflects the views of the conservative members of the government. The more realistic scenario, we'll have a constitution that leans toward the conservative views of the United Iraqi Alliance and appeals to most Iraqis. This could be achieved with the Kurds insisting to have more moderate laws - laws that represent most Iraqis. We're really not a conservative society.

Writing a constitution won't solve all our problems. Iraq, like any other country with different ethnic groups, would never have a government that can please everyone. In my opinion, the best solution is federalism. But, this word scares many Iraqis. The problem is nobody has explained the concept to the Iraqis. They think federalism will divide Iraq into different countries. Personally, I think it will bring us closer because we'll have upper laws that apply to everyone and lower laws that apply to provinces and their cities. It's my personal opinion. Don't get mad if you don't like it.

There's one thing everyone seems to forget. The new constitution needs to be approved by the registered Iraqi voters. So, there's a chance for the worried Sunni, Christians, Yezidis and other minorities to have a stronger voice in deciding Iraq's future by participating in the upcoming election.

There's lots of talk about corruption within the new Iraqi government. I'm not surprised at all. Iraqi politicians are no difference than the rest of the Middle Eastern politicians. So, don't expect too many miracles from them.

In a perfect world, members of the Iraqi government would've been chosen according to their skills and experience. In a perfect world, we would've not discussed the percentage of Sunni, Shia, Kurds in the Iraqi government. In a perfect world, Iraqis would've put their differences aside for the sake of their bleeding country. But, we live on planet Earth where there's nothing perfect.

Akbar, please be patient. Iraqis have a long, bumpy way to go.

Before I leave you with more questions than answers, I'd like you to welcome an Iraqi-Kurd blogger, Vahal Abdulrahman. He lives and works in Washington, D.C. He writes eloquently about Iraq. He's a great addition to the Iraqi blogosphere.

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