Constitution Likely to Pass
6 US Marines Killed
Six US GI’s were killed by roadside bombs Saturday and Sunday, according to wire services, five of them in Ramadi.
The early returns from the Iraqi referendum on the new constitution suggest that it will pass, avoiding a Sunni Arab 3-province veto. Anbar and Salahuddin appear to have rejected the constitution by a 2/3s majority.
AP is reporting:
‘ According to a vote count from 260 of Ninevah’s 300 polling stations, about 300,000 people supported the constitution and 80,000 opposed it, said Samira Mohammed, spokeswoman for the election commission in the province’s capital, Mosul. Ballots from the remaining 40 stations still had to be counted, but it would be virtually impossible to get the two-thirds “no” that Sunni opponents would need. ‘
These results from Ninevah make no sense to me. Mosul is a city of over a million, and is 80 percent Sunni Arab. There are certainly more than 80,000 Sunni “no” votes there! I suppose it is possible that tens of thousands of Sunni Arab supporters of the Iraqi Islamic Party, which is based in Mosul, voted “yes,” in accordance with the instructions of their party leaders. But I wouldn’t have thought there were that many IIP loyalists in Ninevah, where there are many ex-Baathists and Sunni Arab nationalists.
Update: It just occurred to me that one explanation for the results in Ninevah would be that the Sunni Arabs just did not show up to vote in very many numbers, essentially boycotting the referendum, whereas the 20 percent who are Kurds, and the Shiite Turkmen etc., might have come out in high proportions.
Likewise, the emptying and disruption of Tal Afar by the attack on it in August could have taken a good 50,000 Sunni Turkmen “no” votes out of consideration, since Tal Afar residents are often still refugees and probably not in a position to vote. But I’d love to see a better breakdown.
I am not saying that the results are fixed, just that they strike me as counter-intuitive and a puzzle that needs to be resolved.
‘ In Diyala, 70 percent supported the referendum, 20 percent opposed it and 10 percent of ballots were rejected as irregular, said Adil Abdel-Latif, the head of the election commission in Diyala. The result came from a first count of the approximately 400,000 votes cast. ‘
I was not expecting Diyala, where Sunni Arabs are probably only a little over half of the population, to reject the constitution, because the Shiites and Kurds are a substantial part of the population and would have relatively high turnout, whereas Sunni Arabs clearly mostly stayed home, either because they rejected the legitimacy of the process or because they were afraid of reprisals by the guerrilla movement, which threatened to kill Sunni Arabs who participated in the referendum.
Sunnis in Adhamiyah District of Baghdad voted heavily against the constitution. The picture elsewhere among Sunni Arabs in the capital is still unclear, but appears to have been more mixed, according to Aljazeera.
AP estimates that there was a 60 percent turnout in Karbala province, a center for religious Shiites, and that 95 percent voted “yes.”
On the other hand, in Qadisiyah the turnout was only 30 percent, so the Shiites there seem to be pretty apathetic.
Many Shiites are disgusted with the Jaafari government, which they see as do-nothing and which has not made progress against political violence.