It looks like they have finally thrown in the towel:
Tortuous negotiations to decide the constitution of the new Iraq collapsed early today with the government admitting that they had reached “the end of the road”.
Saleh al-Mutlaq, a leading Sunni negotiator, said no agreement was reached on the draft text and called on Iraqis to reject it in a referendum in October.
His bloc rejected a compromise offered by the majority Shia and Kurds on the key issue of federalism, which Sunnis fear will rob them of influence and wealth derived from oil.
While a minority voice, the Sunnis can kill the constitution. Under the terms of the referendum, it will have to be torn up if, as anticipated, two thirds of voters in three of Iraq’s 18 provinces vote No.
Which, I guess, means new elections, and another attempt at building a governing body. One outcome would be increased Sunni participation in the elections, leading to more representation, etc.
You know what the other outcome is.
*** Update ***
The WaPo, however, acts like talks are still ongoing:
The leader of Iraq’s largest Sunni Arab political party Saturday proposed 15 amendments to the country’s draft constitution, one day after Shiite Muslim and Kurdish leaders said they had made their last, best offer.
The counterproposal came in an afternoon news conference held by Tariq Hashimi, secretary general of the Iraqi Islamic Party, who said he would be meeting with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad later Saturday.
Hashimi said a plan by Shiites and Kurds to have parliament approve the document Sunday — with or without Sunni concurrence — was too hasty.
“This is unfair,” he said. “They cannot put us in such a corner where either we agree or that’s it. The draft did not contain what we had asked for.”
He said the views of Iraqi Sunnis, a minority that had long enjoyed a dominant role under former president Saddam Hussein, must “be taken into consideration to have consensus.”
Hashimi did not give details on what exactly the Sunnis were proposing.
Cross your fingers.
I don’t know, the wire services seem to think negotiations are still continuing:
Outside observers are (unsurprisingly) having a lot of difficulty following the negotiations.
It still seems very unlikely that the Sunnis will succeed in defeating the referendum (esp with negotiations continuing), though that probably is the preferable option.
Imagine, Sunnis dancing in the streets over the outcome of a vote… and equally excited about the prospects of the next vote. I can’t think of anything that would do more to knock the legs out from under the insurgency.
Well, if their last, best offers to the Sunni were still “NO OIL FOR YOU!”, then it ain’t going to happen. Even if they do amend and share, that just gets the ones we can pay off onboard. The radicals could care less.
Yeah, the oil issue really doesn’t need to be in the constitution. That’s one of several issues they should probably be kicking down the road to the permanent parliament, as Omar and Mohammed at ITM have noted.
The Zarqawi-led radicals are very unpopular anyway. Even the Sunni insurgents have been fighting them — in one case, defending a Shiite town from them.
I read somewhere, can’t remember in which article, an Iraqi quoted as saying something to the effect of these laws being only for the greenzone. Sometimes I wonder if we’re getting sold this news about a wonderful constitution when the average Iraqi, who is dealing with water shortages and living with little electricity, doesn’t care. I guess we’ll just have to see. Whatever is going to happen, it’s clear we’re nearing some sort of brink.
I wouldn’t be too concerned about any of this. We will stay the course, we will not leave Iraq until it is functioning democracy with a workable constitution. It’s that simple. If this one is defeated, we’ll draw up another one, and another one after that if necessary. We’re willing to stay the course, as long as it takes.
My only fear — and it is remote — is that Dems will retake the White House in 2008 and cut and run. Barring that, though, I see no way that we can fail in Iraq. With enough resolve, we cannot possibly fail.
They have until Jan. 19, 2009, to get their stuff together. Sunnis lose nothing by delaying it
I don’t know DougJ. My feeling is we will probably pull out troops, not all though, sometime in 2006 for both political and because-we-have-to reasons. There are mixed signals coming from the Pentagon, but from most of what I’ve read, the army’s under severe duress and even Pentagon insiders are hoping for some sort of pullout the coming year. At the same time, with the president’s poll numbers dropping so badly, I don’t think the Republicans can afford not to do something to make it look like we’re getting out. I think as soon as the president sees an opportunity, he’ll declare victory of some sorts and pull a large contingent of troops out. After all, we’re facing huge obstacles for the forces we have in there now. I’d like to think we could power our way through this one, but lets face it, the president has really screwed up on this one. It seems to me the only way to make it work is to either pull more troops in and get down and dirty and secure the country, or continue to let things slide.
Well, KC, I hope that you’re wrong, though I’m sure there’s truth to what you say but when you write
I have to conclude that you’re watching too much MSM. Try watching Fox for a change, if you want to get the other side of the story about what’s going on over there. The MSM has bee against the war since Day One and now they’re just running anti-war propaganda 24/7.
I believe that with a man of honor and resolve in the White House, there is no way we can fail. George W will do whatever it takes to make us prevail in Iraq. Time is on our side.
I think we all should begin to wonder what success actually means. Does it mean accepting this? Also, maybe we won’t pull out troops since this is what we face in terms of getting Iraqi troops ready.
DougJ, I’m happy Bush has resolve. We certainly need it now more than ever, right? I just think we’ve gotten the wool pulled over our eyes from the very beginning on this war and that Bush has failed to listen to important people when it comes to what we should do in Iraq. I was iffy on the WMD stuff, but couldn’t say for sure Saddam didn’t have them. However, what I always expected was that we’d go into this war with a plan for the post-war period and troops levels to sustain it. It’s clear that we didn’t do this and are paying a price for it now. What’s worse is that I fear we are reaching a breaking point whereby more troops now aren’t going to equal less violence, a secure country. In fact, I fear the opposite, that more troops now could anger the Iraqis by signaling our continued presence in the country.
If you really believe we’ll have a significant military presence in Iraq come 2008 then I’d love some of what you’re smoking.
As November 2006 approaches politicians of all stripes are gonna be backing away from Iraq faster than Bush backed away from Robertson this week.
Perhaps this is another reason why news from Iraq can be confusing and difficult to obtain?
Don’t count on it — there are many men and women of resolve in the Republican party. There are even a few in the Democratic party (Joe Lieberman, Zell Miller). We’ll see how really care about the people of Iraq and who only care about getting reelected come fall 2006, I’ll admit that much.
But it doesn’t matter, really, does it? Bush will still be in the White House and we’ll still have soldiers in Iraq, as long as it takes. We will stay the course and we will prevail.
Just hypothetically, DougJ, what would you do if polls continued to slip for the president and by mid-2006 you saw him declare victory and announce the pullout of 60,000 troops? Would you A) assume we were victorious or B) think politics was involved at some level? And what if this happened after Iraq had further slipped into chaos?
KC, we won’t pull out until we’ve met our goals. It’s that simple.
Look, KC, unlike some previous occupants, this president does not look at poll numbers. He does what he knows is right. That may be hard for some libruls to understand, libruls have always loved polls, they’ve always loved economic indicators and measures of troop strength and the like, too. But this isn’t about numbers. This is about resolve. This is about freedom. This is about staying the course.
I love your (mis)use of “we”. Have you signed up? I imagine the troops could really use your enthusiasm over there.
These negotiations and squabbles really don’t concern my that much–this sort of thing is simply unavoidable in any policy-making context–if people are actually representing their constituencies.
The question is whether all sides will remain committed to resolving this politically, or whether some faction will decide that force of arms is their best option.
DougJ’s doing a pretty good parody of Bush-talk, it must be noted.
Uh, no. We’ll have a large number of soldiers in Iraq as long as the American people want them there. Not much longer.
Fox has the lion’s share of cable news viewership, Dougie.
What do you think “MSM” means?
Looks encouraging to me. Sunnis looks like the traditional English barons or Republicans of Iraq – the haves. Shiites are more like the peasants or Democrats of Iraq – the numerous have nots. We got along well with the Sunnis for years (supporting their efforst against Iran). Now we need to hope that we can help Shiias build bridges to link up with enough of the honorable Sunnis to construct a workable country that will face down the terrorists and Iran.
If I were an insurgent, I would be worried. I just hope the Sunnis and Shiites do not get carried away with their negotiations and stop talking. My sense is that is not going to happen. They say it is principle but it looks like just money now.
Good analysis, cfw. You’re right that the insurgents should be worried.
The bottom line is that there will be a new constitution one way or another. If not this draft, then another draft, or another after that. We’re prepared to stay as long as it takes — at least until the Dems get into power, which is unlikely to be anytime in the next ten years.
I just wish the media would report more about the positives in Iraq, the fact that much of the country is getting drinking water and electricity for the first time ever, the fact that many small businesses are flourishing, the fact that Iraqi charter schools are challengning the Islamic fundamentaltist schools that have controlled education for years. There is so much positive going on, and yet all the MSM wants to talk about is roadside bombs and shootings. If all they talked about here was meth labs and drive-by shootings, this country wouldn’t look so great to the rest of the world either.