As senior politicians in Baghad and Washington put a brave face on things, Iraqis are asking themselves what kind of a constitution their country will get. Iraq’s parliament yesterday gave negotiators an extra week to complete a draft text after weeks of intensive talks. Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders now have seven more days to agree how much autonomy regions can have and how oil resources will be shared.
“Let them postpone their approval for a week or two,” said one Baghdadi. “But we want the National Assembly to reach a solution. If they cannot, let them be frank with us. “. Omar Qassim, an Iraqi engineer, is fairly pessimistic. “There was nothing new that justifies such a postponement,” he said. “The unresolved issues are not new. If they can solve these problems in a week, then fine. But I don’t think they can.”
In the end, refusal by leaders of the Sunni Arab minority to grant wide autonomy to the southern Shi’ite majority appeared to break any accord. Kurdish autonomy, a fact on the ground since the 1991 Gulf War, was reportedlyless of an issue. According to Iraq’s secular premier Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the sticking points were federalism and sharing out revenues.