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Re:[casi] preparatory constitutional committee

Dear Dan and List,

The reason why you didn’t receive any reply from the
CPA or find anything substantive about the Preparatory
Constitutional Committee is because its formation was
rejected by most Iraqis, especially the Shi’i
religious establishment.

The IGC had appointed 25 members to the committee,
whose duty was to select and appoint 125 persons to a
committee to draft a new constitution. Ayatolla Ali
Sistani, the highest Shi’i religious authority,
rejected this and issued a Fatwa (religious
edict)stating that the constitution should be drafted
by an elected committee not an appointed one, because
only then the will of the Iraqis could be expressed.
The streets of Iraq were filled with banners and
posters that carried this Fatwa, in a declaration of
the rejection by the people of the appointment of
members to the Committee.

The IGC sent many delegations and groups to meet
Ayatollah Sistani to try to convince him to change his
mind, but all failed. Mr. Fouad Massoum himself also
visited Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf and he too failed
in his attempts. Mr. Muhammad Bahrul-Ulum, member of
the IGC, said in an interview with the Iran based
Al-A’alm satellite channel that the only person who
objected to appointing the members of the drafting
committee was Ayatollah Sistani!!

Thus, and after a month of futile attempts, the
Preparatory Committee and IGC were forced to give in
and declare that the Drafting Committee will be
elected and not appointed as originally planned.
For that reason, a census will be carried out in
preparation for electing the Drafting committee; a
process that could take up to one year. The
Preparatory Committee is expected to submit a report
on the results of its work and the date of elections
by the end of this month.

Iraqis believe that the Fatwa of Ayatollah Sistani
will give the new constitution more legitimacy,
because it will not be imposed by the occupation
forces. Thus, the Fatwa is seen as having thwarted the
American scheme to have a constitution tailored to
suit US interests and confirm its hegemony on Iraq and
the area.


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