Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The "new" Iraqi power structure

Don't miss this useful analysis of the "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" power structure in Iraqi. The whole article is interesting, but the key point is that while the Western media (including above all the blogosphere -- ha!) has focused relentlessly on the division of power between the Sunnis, Kurds, and Shi'ites, the real issue is the division of power between the newly-elected National Assembly and the de facto rulers, namely the U.S. military.

The article points out that in order for a new constitution to be approved, it must obtain the approval of at least one-third of the voters in sixteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces--effectively guaranteeing the Kurds a veto over any new constitution. And since any permanent constitution will doubtless reduce Kurdish power compared to the current arrangement, there is really no reason for the Kurds ever to approve any new constitution. And until there's a new constitution, the U.S. retains control. In other words, the U.S.'s main clients in Iraq have an effective veto over the creation of any new constitution which might actually compromise U.S. legal authority. Hmmm....

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