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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to email@example.com Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. Constitutional tempest in Iraq (Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar) --__--__-- Message: 1 From: "Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar" <ghazwan_almukhtar@DELETETHIShotmail.com> To: <email@example.com> Subject: Constitutional tempest in Iraq Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004 10:55:24 +0300 [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Constitutional tempest in Iraq By Bruce Fein V olcanic. That characterizes a heated symposium I attended in Ankara, Turk= ey, last week sponsored by the Foreign Policy Institute and Bilkent Univers= ity to appraise "Iraq on the way to its new Constitution." The attendees in= cluded Iraqi participants in the March 8, 2004, interim constitution promul= gated by the 25 member Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). Other attendees haile= d from Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. The symposium exposed numerous fault lines destined to fracture Iraq so= on after the Coalition Provisional Authority and United States sovereignty = dissolve on June 30, 2004: . An interim constitution and Iraqi Transitional Government devoid of l= egitimacy. . A legal system denuded of legal principles. . An irreconcilable conflict between the universal tenets of Islam and = fundamental democratic freedoms. . Implacable embitterment of Kurds toward Arabs born of their wretched= oppression and genocide under Saddam Hussein. . A demand by Turkmen to the same language and autonomy privileges enjo= yed by Kurds. . And exchanges and monologues that smacked more of belligerence than = of fraternity. Within days after conclusion of the symposium fireworks, a representati= ve of Iraq's most influential Shi'ite voice, Grand Ayatollah Ali-al-Sistani= , warned the cleric would issue a fatwa or religious edict prohibiting part= icipation in the Iraqi Transitional Government and mandating resistance thr= ough popular demonstrations and sit-ins. To avoid such pandemonium and chaos, according to Ayatollah Sistani's r= epresentative in Kuwait, Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Mohri, the interim cons= titution must delete the special authority of Kurds to thwart a final const= itution and must strengthen the power of a Shi'ite-dominated presidency. The staggering blunders of the Bush administration in governing post-Sa= ddam Iraq have left no satisfactory post-June 30 denouements. The least bad= option is a managed partition into statelets for Kurds, Turkmen, Sunnis an= d Shi'ites to escape a reprise of Yugoslavia's blood-stained disintegration= . Symposium participants challenged Iraqi representatives to defend the l= egitimacy of their constitutional handiwork, soporifically styled the "Law = of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period." No me= mber of the IGC was elected. All were appointed by the United States. None = enjoy more than a crumb of popular support. A favorite of the Defense Department, Ahmed Chalabi, is more reviled th= an Saddam Hussein. The interim constitution was neither drafted nor debated= in a public forum before its promulgation. The document turned precepts of= self-government on their heads. The defenders fatuously retorted that the interim constitution and the = IGC deserved legitimacy because both were superior to Saddam Hussein and Ba= 'athist tyranny. By that yardstick, a restoration of the King Feisel dynast= y would be defensible. It was further urged that the IGC featured members f= rom all of Iraq's major ethnic and religious groups. But Turkmen are underrepresented in proportion to their numbers, and wo= men occupy but one seat of 25. Moreover, the general unpopularity of IGC me= mbers convincingly demonstrates they do not embody the wishes of the ethnic= or religious constituents they purport to represent. Drafters and supporters of the interim constitution readily conceded it= s celebration of contradictory principles. Article 4, for example, declares= Iraqi's federal system shall not pivot on "ethnicity." Yet Article 53 make= s Kurdish ethnicity the foundation for the "Kurdistan Regional Government,"= i.e., the Kurdistan National Assembly, the Kurdistan Council of Ministers,= and the regional judicial authority in the Kurdistan region. Article 7 enshrines both the universal tenets of Islam that subjugate w= omen and strict gender equality as the supreme law of the land. A challenge= by one of two female conferees (neither from Iraq) to harmonize the loud c= lashing was met by answers that Islam granted equality among men. Nothing was said to deny Article 7's grim risk of bringing honor killin= gs in Jordan and female stonings in Afghanistan to Iraq. The tenets of Islam also war with the freedom of expression guaranteed = in Article 13, for example, in mandating fatwas against Salman Rushdie's "S= atanic Verses" or similar irreverences about the Holy Koran or the Prophet = Mohammed. The tenets also punish conversion from Islam with death, a punish= ment at war with Article 7's protection of religious freedom. Iraqi conferees insisted on the unity of the nation and the eagerness o= f Arabs to join hands with other nationalities. Yet Article 7 proclaims tha= t, "the Arab people are an inseparable part of the Arab nation," with the t= acit corollary that non-Arab nationalities are separable. When asked to justify the constitutional hierarchy between Arabs and no= n-Arabs, an Iraqi participant pleaded a defense of necessity to appease Ara= b sentiments, a plea reminiscent of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's ap= peasement of Adolf Hitler over the Sudetendland at Munich. Saddam's persecution of Kurds, including the use of chemical weapons an= d the notorious Anfahl campaign, was recited chapter and verse by several c= onferees to justify a unique Kurdistan state and muscular Kurdish safeguard= s. Those who suffered most under Saddam, it was hotly maintained, deserved = the most under a new dispensation. Spokesmen for Turkmen, on the other hand= , vehemently complained of maltreatment by Kurds. They insisted on Turkish = as an official language and Turkmen autonomy equivalent to that of Kurds. The seminar changed no minds. Differences were more aggravated than so= ftened. Contemplating Iraq's future evoked visions of civil war featuring r= ocket propelled grenades and AK-47s, not free and fair national assembly el= ections monitored by United Nations observers. The United States should declare its post-Saddam nation-building enterp= rise a failure. It should begin immediately to arrange the partition of Ira= q by regional self-determination plebiscites. To paraphrase Winston Churchi= ll, it would be the worst imaginable last chapter of Operation Enduring Fre= edom, except for all the plausible alternative scripts. Bruce Fein is a constitutional lawyer and international consultant at F= ein & Fein and the Lichfield Group. 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