IGC Approves Interim Constitution
The Washington Post reports that the Interim Governing Council finally approved the Fundamental Law it has been working on, on Monday. It will be signed Wednesday after the holy day of Ashura’ or the 10th of Muharram. The WP article is celebratory, and quotes a Chalabi aide as representing the “Shiites.”
The Fundamental Law was apparently drafted from notes of Paul Bremer by Salim Chalabi and others (nephew of corrupt financier Ahmad Chalabi)–according to a Feb. 29 LA Times op-ed by Brendan O’Leary.. Its final form was negotiated by the IGC, but there was much dissension on the role of Islam, federalism, women’s rights, etc. Why has this dissension been overcome? Not because there is a genuine political compromise. Because not reaching a deal on this temporary law would manifestly delay the return of sovereignty to the Iraqis on June 30. No one on the IGC wants the Coalition Provisional Authority to be in power a second longer than necessary. So why should they risk a delay by making an obstinate stand on a law that will anyway be revised a year from now?
What has happened is merely that the big fights have been postponed for the constitutional convention next year. At that point there will be no reason to compromise, no urgency, and there will be every reason to poison the well for ideologues who don’t get their way.
Al-Hayat: The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, showed a willingness to compromise over whether Islam was “a” source of Iraqi law in the interim constitution or “the” source. Dr. Hamam Hamudi, the chief advisor to SCIRI, indicated to al-Hayat that the reason for its flexibility was that al-Hakim felt it was unwise to do anything that would delay the transfer of sovereignty from the Coalition Provisional Authority back to Iraqis–“especially since the law at issue is temporary, and can be changed after a year.” He added that “the insistence of the Americans, and of the parties who are trying to please them, on making a confrontation with Islam the means of implementing democracy in a country that venerates Islam, has negative effects. Especially if it is desired for Iraq that it become a model for democracy in the region.” He accused the US of wanting to impose a Turkish-style secularism on Iraq.
Others were not as conciliatory, even temporarily, as SCIRI, al-Hayat says. The cleric Hadi al-Mudarrisi gave a sermon on the occasion of the eighth day of Muharram (a holy mourning period for Shiites) at the shrine of Kazimiyah (a suburb of Baghdad) in which he called for “denying any opportunity to enemies that try to impose an unelected government that is contrary to Islamic law in Iraq.” Ominously, he demanded “the defense of the truth even if it requires the shedding of blood.” He told the crowd not to accept any political plan in which the masses do not participate. “The law is the leader, the leader is not the law,” he said, in a reference to the despotism of the Baath regime.