Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Iraqi Civil War: Step 3

The Sunnis were against the Iraqi constitution drafted in September because it divided most of the national power into regional and tribal sects. The Sunnis, small in number and occupying the central, oil-poor section of the country, would be left with little power under this structure.

So a "compromise" was brokered, whereby the constitution could be revisited and possibly amended to give more power to a centralized government once the newly-elected National Assembly was seated this year. All the Sunnis had to do was drop their opposition to the constitution, which a handful of them naively did.

Well, that plan, predictably, is on its way out the window. The Sunnis will soon have little stake in the new Iraq. And when a people have little stake in their own land, they often lash out against its government...with violence.

BAGHDAD (AP) — The most influential politician in Iraq issued a veiled warning Wednesday to Sunni Arabs that Shiites would not allow substantive amendments to the country's new constitution, including to the provision that keeps the central government weak in favor of strong provincial governments.

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Sunni Arabs place great stock in their ability to change the constitution, one of the reasons Sunni politician urged the minority to turn out in large numbers during the Dec. 15 parliamentary election.

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To win their support for the new constitution, which was approved in an Oct. 15 vote, Sunni Arabs were promised they could propose amendments to it during the first four months of the new parliament's tenure. The new parliament is expected to be seated around the end of February. Amendments need two-thirds approval in parliament and a majority in a national referendum.

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