Iraq requires more sacrifice: Bush
Constitution Enacted, According to Electoral High Commission
It takes an Aussie newspaper to put the headline so bluntly. As the milestone of 2,000 US military deaths in Iraq since the beginning of the war passed on Tuesday, ” Iraq requires more sacrifice: Bush.” Now Bush is menacing us with Usamah Bin Laden taking over Iraq. Note that this scenario would have been utterly laughable in 2002. That is, anyone who heard that Bush thought Usamah Bin Ladin could overthrow Saddam and take over Iraq would have just fallen down laughing. Saddam would have had all the al-Qaeda people just taken out and shot. Twice. It was risible. Now, Bush has screwed up things so royally that he can even say this with a straight face. (It still is fairly ridiculous, since 80 percent of Iraqi is Shiites and Kurds who would kill Usamah on sight, and few Iraqi Sunni Arabs would want a fugitive Saudi terrorist as their leader). It is George W. Bush’s fault if this outcome is at all plausible. His policies have reduced Iraq to violent chaos, and he is the one who let Usamah escape at Tora Bora. And then he made the US military lie about it during the presidential campaign! Impeachment is too good for this kind of dishonesty and incompetence. Actually I have to just stop writing about this now before my blood pressure goes into the 200s. Usamah in Iraq, indeed.
Al-Hayat: The Iraqi High Electoral Commission announced that 78.4 percent of Iraqis who voted in the constitutional referendum approved the new constitution. But there were enormous differences among the provinces, which observers expected to result in increased violence. The two largely Sunni Arab provinces of Anbar and Salahuddin rejected the constitution by a wide margin. The third province where they might have done so was Ninevah, and if they had succeeded in mustering a two-thirds majority against it there, it would have failed. As it was, the official tally against in Ninevah was 55.08 percent.
The Kurdistan Alliance and the United Iraqi Alliance, the two coalitions that dominated parliament and produced the constitution, hailed its passage as “historic” and said it would help fight terrorism.
Nancy Youssef of Knight Ridder reports on the extreme suspicion with which the results were viewed by Sunni Arabs and by Shiites of the Sadr Movement.
A constitution should be a bargain and a compromise among the major factions in a nation. If a single bloc like the Sunni Arabs of Iraq rejects the constitution, then it isn’t really a constitution. And this one guarantees that the guerrilla war goes on for a long time.
Al-Hayat: Sunni figure Salih Mutlak complained that the tallying in Ninevah was carried out by Peshmerga militiamen, who, he alleged, tampered with the ballots. He insisted that the vote in Ninevah was in fact 2/3s against, and that the constitution had really failed, even if the elected Iraqi government would not recognize it. Mutlak intimated that the Sunni Arabs would now boycott the December 15 parliamentary elections.
Three car bombs exploded in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, resulting in the deaths of 13 Peshmerga militiamen. This city is the power base of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and the Sunni Arab guerrillas are underlining that they can reach into any corner of the country. No one is safe. In other attacks, guerrilla violence killed 2 US GIs and 11 Iraqis.
Al-Sabah: Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari dedicated $182 million to the southern port city of Basra, much of it to be used to build two new docks. Jaafari and his government will go to the polls on December 15.