Iraq Constitution Drafters Given Three More Days
For the second time in a week, the deadline for completing a proposed Iraqi constitution was met and then extended so that the negotiators could iron out difficulties.
Iraqi negotiators have been given three more days to reach agreement on the draft of a new constitution. MPs met for a brief session minutes before the 2000 GMT deadline to receive the draft expired, but did not vote.
The session came after a day of drama during which Shia negotiators said a text had been agreed with the Kurds. But Sunni Arabs protested – saying the document may lead to Iraq being split up. Kurds were also against imposing a text without Sunni approval. The original deadline was last week, but it was shifted to midnight on Monday (2000 GMT) when no agreement was reached.
In Washington, the White House welcomed “another step forward” in the work on the constitution. “The progress made over the past week has been impressive,” said a statement, adding that democracy was “difficult and often slow, but leads to durable agreements”.
This is eerily similar to the process that the U.S. used to get into the war to begin with, constantly giving Saddam “one last chance.” In both cases, though, it makes sense not to risk bad consequences from an arbitrary deadline if there is reasonable chance for more progress.
I haven’t done a comparative study of the 15 and 22 August drafts to see how much movement there have been on the sticking points and, oddly, have not noticed any emphasis on this crucial point in any of the press coverage. The public rhetoric has not been encouraging, to be sure; one hopes that is a function of public relations posturing rather than reality.