Tuesday, October 11, 2005

# Posted 11:14 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

WHAT I WANT IS TO BE COMPLETELY WRONG: I never saw much virtue in amending Iraq's draft constitution in order to enhance Sunni support. I never thought that any of the Sunni political organizations were looking for anything more than a pretext to destory the state-building process -- either because they opposed it or because they were afraid of the insurgents.

But today's news suggests that an enduring compromise may have been brokered. The precise nature of the compromise is not yet apparent, but the most important Sunni organization are indicating that they will endorse the constitution once the Shi'ite parliament ratifies the deal.

Until now, I have thought of Iraq' s constitutional referendum as necessary, but as not able to provide any more democratic legitimacy for the government than the January elections already gave it. But if some or even most Sunni voters ratify the constitution, it could change the entire ballgame. As Robert Worth, a NYT correspondent in Baghad, asserts in his latest dispatch,
The [Sunnis'] new support is likely to undercut the widespread notion that the constitution was being forced on an almost uniformly hostile Sunni Arab population.
Thus, I think Worth is absolutely right to describe the new deal as "a major victory for American officials" (even if that kind of editorializing doesn't exactly belong in a straight-news column).

It's possible that the constitution will fail in spite of the Sunni endorsement. Sunni public opinion may simply be against it. Or those who support the constitution may be afraid to vote, while those against it may have less to fear from Ba'athist insurgents (although not the foreign fighters).

But now I have my fingers crossed. The insurgency may find it much harder to operate without even the pretense of Sunni support.

UPDATE: The optimistic Publius says he knew it all along. Glenn Reynolds says he almost knew it.
(0) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments: Post a Comment