8-28-05 - There are more complications to the already tortuous process of framing a democratic charter for Iraq. Iraq's parliament has accepted the draft of a new constitution, but the Sunnis haven't given their support and are calling for the UN and others to intervene.
The document has the nod from the majority Shiite and non-Arab
Sunni negotiators are asking the United Nations, the Arab League
and other unnamed international organizations to step in. The
Sunnis call the draft defective and illegitimate.
Among the alleged defects is a reference to Iraq as an Islamic
country. Sunnis have demanded that Iraq be referred to as "Arab."
The other big issue is that of federalism.
The stage is now set for a bitter political battle before an October referendum, when Iraqis will decide whether to accept or reject the document.
President Bush says the world should be proud of Iraq's draft constitution. He says the document contains what he calls "far-reaching
protections" for fundamental human freedoms such as religion,
assembly, conscience and expression.
Speaking to reporters in Crawford, Texas, the president acknowledged there was some disagreement among Iraq's ethnic and political groups about the draft. But he said "that's their right as free individuals in a free society."