October 19, 2005
The approval of the Iraqi Constitution is probably the worst outcome for the U.S. occupation, said defense and national security expert Dr. Ivan Eland, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute in Washington, D.C.
Although not confirmed, reports suggest that the Iraqi constitution will be approved, despite a wide rejection by Sunni Arab voters.
Once the Shia and Kurds obtain passage of the constitution, they will have no incentive to agree to Sunni amendments.
Any amendments favoring Sunni interests are not likely to pass, given that the Sunnis comprise only about 20 percent of the Iraqi population, and all amendments are required to have a two-thirds majority in parliament and a majority in any national referendum to be enacted.
This result is likely to make the Sunnis even more disillusioned and thus inflame the insurgency, said Dr. Eland.
In a recent policy report, THE WAY OUT OF IRAQ: DECENTRALIZING THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT, Dr. Eland emphasized that confederation or partition is still the best solution for Iraq.
Iraq will eventually break up under a federated system, said Dr. Eland. The question is whether it will be peaceably or through a bloody civil war.
An artificial state, created by the British after World War I, Iraq has no national identity or tradition of political pluralism. Similar to Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, Iraqs ethnic and religious factions have been forced together by brute force and authoritarian rule.
Those multi-ethnic religious societies broke up when the autocrat was removed. Czechoslovakia and most of the former USSR broke up peacefully, but Yugoslavia, for example, had a bloody civil war, said Eland, who is also author of the book, The Empire has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed.
The plan with the best chance of success would include rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops and allowing Iraqis more time to work for a constitutional convention that includes representatives from all tribes, geographic areas and ethnic and religious groups, said Eland.