Constitutional Compromise in Iraq

CONSTITUTIONAL COMPROMISE IN IRAQ….Apparently Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish “power brokers” have reached a compromise that seems likely to increase Sunni support for the new Iraqi constitution in Saturday’s elections. It takes the Washington Post nine paragraphs before they get around to telling us what this compromise entails, but here it is:

The major concession from Tuesday’s talks was agreement by the Shiites and Kurds that a committee be created early next year to consider amendments to the constitution….Any changes recommended by the committee would have to be ratified by a two-thirds vote of parliament and a national referendum.

That’s it? A committee will “consider” amendments? And even if they recommend some, they still won’t go anywhere unless they get broad Shiite and Kurdish support in parliament followed by majority support in a referendum?

Somebody really needs to explain what the Sunnis think they’re getting here. It sounds like nothing more than a vague brush off to me. Just vote for the constitution now and we promise to seriously consider your objections at a later day. Honest.

I’m all in favor of anything that makes a peaceful transition in Iraq more likely, but I’ve read half a dozen stories about this agreement and every one of them makes it sound like at least some Sunnis are ecstatic over this deal. Conversely, none of them mention that it’s essentially meaningless. What am I missing?

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation