August 23, 2005
BILL ROGGIO says that worries about Islam in the Iraqi Constitution are overstated. I hope he's right.
UPDATE: Pejman Yousefzadeh thinks it looks pretty good, but that the real action will be in subsequent legislation.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Dave Price is similarly untroubled.
Meanwhile, here's why the Sunnis don't like it:
But at root of the Sunni rejection of the constitutional process is fear itself. The psyche of this community, from which Saddam Hussein's most fervent supporters were drawn and who enjoyed privileged positions until his regime was toppled, has been badly damaged in the past few years.
Many fears about the new Iraq are expressed throughout Baghdad's Sunni neighborhoods. They fear that Iraq's new masters will punish them for supporting Mr. Hussein's regime; they fear they don't have leaders or social cohesion; and they fear their former status will never be regained.
It's this fear and doubt that feeds their distrust of Iraq's other communities and their desire to see the writing of the constitution delayed. . . . The current draft constitution on the table specifically outlaws Hussein's old Baath party, which many Sunnis interpret as an effort to target them as a community.
I'm unmoved. But note that even among Sunnis, the population seems substantially more progressive than the leaders. Jeff Goldstein has further thoughts. So does Michael Totten.