Friday, August 26, 2005

"Disaster looms" in Iraq

The Daily Telegraph rounds up the situation in Iraq, which the paper says is "on brink of meltdown," as the the protracted debate over the constitution continues, competing Shiite groups ramp up the turf wars, and sectarian killings continue apace.

Additionally, in an extended Salon article, Juan Cole explains what's going on with the constitution, and the likely consequences of the stalemate. He concludes:

Parliament can clearly ram the draft constitution through at will, since the Shiites and the Kurds dominate it. In fact, the Kurdistan regional Parliament approved the federal constitution on Aug. 24, even before the federal Parliament had. But the real question now is whether the constitution can survive the referendum. The Sunni Arabs dominate Anbar and Salah al-Din provinces, and almost certainly can muster a two-thirds "no" vote on Oct. 15 in both. They may also be able to pull off a rejection in Ninevah province. In that case, Parliament would dissolve, new elections for Parliament would be held in December, and the entire process would begin all over again - a nightmarish prospect. Meanwhile, the Sunni Arab guerrillas continue their macabre war against a new order that cannot seem to get its act together.
Not too much to be optimistic about, unfortunately.