Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Debate over the Iraqi Constitution

Scanning my usually news sites today, I found a couple of good op/ed pieces on the Iraq Constitution and the possible consequences of it passing the referendum. The first one I found is an editorial in the N.Y. Times by Hatem Mukhlis, the head of one of Iraq's Sunni political parties. He makes some interesting points about the dangers of the current Iraqi version of Federalism.
It is a tacit understanding in every civilized state that the whole country joins together to defend itself from an outside threat. But not under this Iraqi constitution; the state Parliaments would probably have to approve. In case after case, provincial regulations would overrule federal laws when there is a dispute. The Iraqi Army would not even have the right to enter a state without the approval of that state's Parliament.
In Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria counters such arguments by pointing out that the Iraqi constitution is a success because of the clause that was negotiated at the last minute that allows amendments to the constitution.
The constitution can now be amended at will by the next Iraqi Parliament, which will be elected on Dec. 15. In other words, if the constitution fails, it will be rewritten, and if it succeeds, it can be rewritten.
Mr. Muhklis does address the issue of amendments by stating that divisive damage to the Iraqi people, caused by this constitution, will already be done by the time amendments are passed to fix some of these issues with federalism. Who is right? Who knows. I suppose we will find out over the next fews months.