Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Friday, March 05, 2004

It comes as no surprise...
Written by: Beck

At the lat minute, leading Shiites in the Iraqi governing coalition deep-sixed the already agreed to interim constitution. The reasons? Three of them.

The first two you'll find in greater detail in the linked article above. Essentially, they objected to a clause in the interim constitution which would give Kurds a veto over any final constitution. Frankly, while I understand the need to create extraordinary protection for the long-suffering Kurdish population, I'm surprised they would handle it in this manner. Giving the Kurds an effective veto over the wording of the final constitution places an enormous amount of power in their hands--power which they lose just as soon as the final constitution goes into effect. Structuring things this way pretty much guarantees that the final constitution would have similar structure, basically turning federalism on its head--wherein regional populations have ultimate power over the central government.

The second objection of the hard-line Shiites was much more predictable, and much more contemptible. It has to do with the structure of the presidency. The form of government everyone had agreed to up until the day of the scheduled signing ceremony called for one president with two deputies. The form the Shiite would like calls for a rotating five man presidency with one Kurd, one Sunni, and THREE Shiites. Bosnia-Herzegovinia is the only other country I can think of to have attempted the rotating-presidency style system. Feel free to go ask them how it worked out if you're curious as to just how successful such a system is. All it truly accomplishes is to further divide people along ethnic lines, since by hard-coding ethnicity into the nation's governing document, you forever legitimize any arguments made in the form of "I am right and you are wrong because I say I am right." OK, so it's more complicated than that, but it's pretty cut and dried to say that if your nation's constitution makes ethnicity a factor dividing the nation, your nation will be forever ethnically divided.

The third reason is one you wont find in the article linked above. It's that the Shiites want to run the entire show, and humiliate America in the process. Shiite clerics everywhere were overjoyed when the US ousted Saddam Hussein--because it meant they finally got to run the show in Iraq, a nation where they were the largest ethnic group. Now that Saddam is gone, the next order of business for them is getting rid of the Americans and seizing power for themselves. They know they can't get rid of the Americans through violence, so instead they seek to do it through a gradual process of humiliation and making things extraordinarily difficult and complicated for us.

Case in point: the Shiite members of the Iraqi governing coalition had agreed upon the final form of the interim constitution which was to be signed today. Paul Bremmer had pushed long, marathon sessions to get a final form to the constitution which could be agreed upon by everyone. They all agreed. They were several days past the original deadline set to have a final document, but everyone agreed that having a GOOD document was more important than meeting an arbitrarily set deadline. The US then planned a huge ceremony for the document signing. Fountain pens were lined up on a table used by Feisal I, Iraq's first monarch. Children garbed in traditional clothing from all over the country had been rounded up. As things began to derail, the US administrators told people not to leave, that there was just a temporary delay.

Nope. There are grave problems in Iraq, running far deeper than simple minor delays and setbacks. If we're not careful, Iraq could easily turn out to be the next, well, Iraq.

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John Beck

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