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July 15, 2005
No Delay For Iraqi Constitution

Reuters reports this morning that despite initial widespread skepticism about the timeline for the Iraqi constitution, it will now arrive on time. The delivery of the draft by August 15th sets up the scheduled October referendum and the new general election at the end of the year:

In a month, Iraq should have a constitution, meeting a deadline set as part of a U.S.-backed timetable for its transition from occupation to independence.

Three months ago, after it had taken 12 weeks just to form a government, many doubted the Aug. 15 target for the draft constitution could be met; long, bitter wrangling had dented hopes raised by an election held, on schedule, on Jan. 30.

Now, few doubt that some form of draft constitution will appear more or less on time -- even though the parliamentary committee working on it has not, as it once suggested, unveiled a preliminary text by July 15. ...

"I don't think anyone seriously doubts there will be a constitution more or less on time," said one senior diplomat in Baghdad. "I'm impressed by how hard everyone's working on it."

When did this happen? Just last month, Senator Carl Levin insisted that the only way to get a constitution out of the Iraqis was to issue ultimatums about abandoning them to their terrorist enemies unless deadlines were met. Now it appears that the Iraqis had the entire process under control and issuing such threats were not just unnecessary, but would have been counterproductive. It certainly would have given the impression that the Americans had suddenly gone hysterical and panicky over a problem that didn't actually exist.

The arrival of a larger Sunni contingent has helped focus the negotiating committee on core issues rather than trying to resolve all competing claims in one document. That has allowed the group to reach agreements on fundamental principles of governing Iraq, and allow other issues to either find resolution in the National Assembly or in further amendments to the Constitution later. That sounds like the right approach; they will avoid creating the monstrous EU pact that failed so miserably to garner endorsements this year. In fact, if the referendum approves this new draft in October, the Iraqis will have had more success in defining their government than Europe will have experienced in years.

Reuters being Reuters, their report includes lots of caveats about how no one knows if this success will lower the violence, about how Europeans still express skepticism about the Iraqi government, and so on. Ignore it. Reuters may throw own as much black crepe as possible, but this news shows real progress and the success of the Iraqi democrats who are building a historical form of self-government from the ashes of their tyrannical past.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 15, 2005 7:43 AM

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» Another step toward freedom from CyberFyden
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