Iraqis have ratified a new constitution with 78 percent voting for it. The approval paves the way for parliamentary elections on December 15. The biggest support for the constitution came from Shiites and Kurds, who form nearly 80 percent of the population. Sunni Arabs rejected the constitution, in what can be more than a hiccup in the evolving process to put
The likely shift in Ba'athist strategy will probably not be seen in numbers but in targets, as reported in the Asian Tribune. The report states, “Sunni Arab politicians will remain threatened by the Islamic militant wing of the insurgency, but may see some respite from the Ba'athists as long as they avoid the appearance of cooperation with the
Another factor is the division in the Shiite ranks. Secular Shias prefer a strong central government, while some religious leaders seem inclined to prepare for the fragmentation of
The differences between secular and religious Shias were papered over during the drafting of the constitution by intentionally avoiding inscribing much about the functioning of the future government. The Shia negotiators, like their Kurdish counterparts, focused instead on gaining the best positioning for their sectarian group to dominate the future Iraqi government. This will likely delay the formation and functioning of the new government since many serious issues -- from the role of the Federal Supreme Court to the right of the federal government to impose taxes on the population directly -- have yet to be worked out.