Ni nos falta razón, ni nos sobra razón

26 de agosto de 2005

Más sobre la Constitución iraquí

Según el CFR, siete son las materias que están causando mayores problemas:
Federalism. There is general agreement that Iraq should be divided into federal governorates, or regions, but delegates must decide how to do so. One question is how to allot power between the federal government and the regions; another is deciding the boundaries of each region. The knottiest problem concerns Iraqi Kurdistan, the largely Kurdish region in the north of Iraq that has been virtually autonomous since it came under the protection of a U.S.- and British-enforced no-fly zone in 1991. Kurds want a great deal of autonomy in a federal Iraq in exchange for giving up their long-held dream of independence. They want regional control over their 100,000-strong militia, known as the peshmerga, and also hope to put procedures in place that would likely lead to an expansion of the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan to include the nearby oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The city's Arab and Turkmen communities oppose such a move. Many Kurds were forcibly removed from Kirkuk by Saddam Hussein in a campaign to bring more Arabs into the region.

Revenue-sharing. Another main debate facing Iraqis is how to share billions of dollars in annual oil revenues among the country's many ethnic communities and geographic regions. The TAL recommends that oil revenues be distributed to regions based on population, with special consideration given to parts of Iraq--such as the Kurdish north and the Shiite-dominated south--neglected by the former regime. Revenue-sharing is a particularly sensitive issue for Sunnis, who received a large share of resources under Saddam Hussein even though there is little oil wealth generated in the central regions where most Sunnis live.

Division of powers. There is broad consensus that Iraq's government will have three independent branches--judiciary, legislative, and executive--with checks and balances among them. The details of this arrangement, however, have to be worked out. Drafters will have to decide if the form of government should be a presidential or a parliamentary democracy and whether leaders should be directly elected or appointed by an elected assembly. The current transitional government is a parliamentary system with a weak presidency and an indirectly elected president and prime minister.

Role of Islam. There is wide agreement among Iraqis that Islam should be the nation's official religion, as it is in most of the region's constitutions, Brown says. But the role given to sharia, or Islamic law, in the constitution is a matter of considerable contention. Many religious Shiites are demanding sharia be acknowledged as the sole source of Iraq's law, and they may want the constitution to state that sharia will govern marriage, divorce, inheritance, and other so-called personal-status issues for the nation's Muslims, who make up more than 90 percent of the population. Such a decree would likely impact women's rights. Kurds and other secularists want sharia to be acknowledged as one of a number of sources of Iraq's law. The TAL compromised between these two positions: It states Islam is the official religion and "a source of legislation," but also says the government may not enact a law "that contradicts those fixed principles of Islam that are the subject of consensus." Some Shiite leaders have also proposed changing the country's official name to the "Islamic Republic of Iraq," a move opposed by Iraq's secularists.

Women's rights. Shiite religious leaders want to reverse a 1959 law that settles domestic concerns--issues of marriage, divorce, and inheritance--in civil courts, and move such matters to religious courts. Under an earlier draft of the constitution, women would be stripped of their rights to inherit property on an equal basis as men, and their legal protections in case of divorce would be weakened. Some women also fear that a provision in the TAL requiring that women hold at least 25 percent of the National Assembly seats may be scrapped. Some women's groups want to boost the quota to 40 percent or greater.

Official language. There is disagreement among the constitution's drafters over whether Iraq should have more than one official language. Arabic will definitely be an official language--nearly everyone in Iraq, including non-Arab minorities, speaks at least some Arabic--but Kurds want the Kurdish language to share equal status, as was the case under the TAL.

Role of militia groups. The Kurds want to retain the peshmerga, which enforces law and order in northern Iraq. Some of Iraq's leading Shiite political parties also have militias: For example, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) controls the Badr Organization, an Iranian-trained armed group that operates mainly in Shiite-controlled southern Iraq. (Some of its offshoots, such as a fierce commando unit known as the Wolf Brigade, conduct counterterrorism operations in Baghdad.) While the U.S. government has said it would like to see the various private militias disbanded, Iraqi leaders appear to support the continued existence of some of the groups. "I think they probably will agree to let them continue to operate, especially in this highly insecure atmosphere," says Kenneth Katzman, senior Middle East analyst for the Congressional Research Service.
Según están las cosas no se puede descartar que tengan que devolver el texto al comité que lo ha redactado para introducir cambios serios. Incluso me ha parecido ver en un informativo nocturno que al Sadr defendía la postura suní desde su atalaya antigubernamental. Un dato importante. Al menos, por ahora, siguen las conversaciones. Es fundamental que no se rompan.

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