IRAQI ELECTION UPDATE….Nancy Youssef of Knight Ridder reports that the proposed Iraqi constitution is almost certain to pass:

The two strongest opponents of Iraq’s proposed new constitution said this week that they wouldn’t campaign against it aggressively, making it likely that voters will approve the constitution in an Oct. 15 referendum.

….Rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s representatives said that while he’s not thrilled about the constitution, he likely wouldn’t encourage his followers to oppose it.

….The largest Sunni political group, the Iraqi Islamic Party, said that although it has encouraged its supporters to vote down the document, its efforts are focused on the December election for a new National Assembly.

….Al-Sadr’s and the Islamic Party’s positions ? coupled with last week’s call from associates of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country’s most powerful Shiite Muslim cleric, to pass the document ? virtually assure that the constitution will pass. A word from the widely revered al-Sistani will sway much of the Shiite populace, which makes up 60 percent of Iraqis.

Neither al-Sadr nor the Sunnis are actively enthusiastic about the constitution, but this still strikes me as good news. However, whether it has any effect on the insurgency remains to be seen. So far, there’s no sign of that.

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