August 29, 2005

it's not over until it's over

It seems the saga of proposals and counter proposals for drafting Iraq's constitution will be dragging along for sometime. The ink of their signatures may not have dried yet, but already some of the "framers" of the document are clamouring for yet more changes. This time from ranking members of the Shia Alliance who wanted more emphasis added on the Arab identity of Iraq. As well as the ongoing demands by the Sunni delegation for an end to their "marginalisation" amply coveredfrom the broadcast of of Al-Jazeera to editorials of NYT.

The document, so far, is a classic. The Kurds got the hard binding clauses of the constitution while the Shia got the preamble. ( some Kurds were going to protest the overtly religious tone of the preamble, but realising what they gained elsewhere they desisted, so far). The Sunnis haven't done badly, they managed to cut their -feared- losses to a minimum.

For their effort, the Americans secured a clause prohibiting seeking WMD and any technology leading to them, plus a commitment to fight terrorism and deny it haven or safe passage. They, along with other near and not so near neighbours of Iraq, got alegal blueprint for a federated, loosely-tied regions of Iraq.

Substance aside, it is striking how poorly the draft was worded. Especially the preamble. A constitutional text demands a refined, elegant language. The draft's Arabic is demeaning for a country that boasts of al-Mutanabbi and al-Jawahiri. Iraq is not lacking, but the parties in power clearly are. For the sake of language, and for the sake of the victims the scorch years, the draft got to be changed.


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