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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Iraqi parliament plays Calvinball

Calvin and Hobbes used to play "Calvinball," a game where the players could change the rules constantly. There seems little doubt at this point that the Iraqi constitution and its ratification will be entirely products of Calvinball. Deadlines were extended, drafts not distributed, parliamentary votes delayed and then never held. Over the weekend, they changed the rules again, this time in a way sure to guarantee two things: 1) The constitution will be ratified, and 2) It will be ignored, despised, and be the proximate cause for total civil war.

From the NY Times:
Under the new rules, the constitution will fail only if two-thirds of all registered voters - rather than two-thirds of all those actually casting ballots - reject it in at least three of the 18 provinces.

The change, adopted during an unannounced vote in Parliament on Sunday afternoon, effectively raises the bar for those who oppose the constitution. Given that fewer than 60 percent of registered Iraqis voted in the January elections, the chances that two-thirds will both show up at the polls and vote against the document in three provinces would appear to be close to nil.

"This is a mockery of democracy, a mockery of law," said Adnan al-Janabi, a secular Sunni representative and a member of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's party. "Many Sunnis have been telling me they didn't believe in this democratic process, and now I believe they are vindicated."
Juan Cole says:
The Sunni Arabs of Iraq have for some time had a sneaking suspicion that the Shiites and the Kurds whom the Americans had installed in power in Iraq intended to marginalize and humiliate them. In case they were still in any doubt, the Shiite-dominated parliament drove the point home on Monday.