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Iraq's Ruling Coalition Set to Collapse

Iraq's ruling coalition is set to implode.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's top Sunni official has set a deadline of next week for pulling his entire bloc out of the government -- a potentially devastating blow to reconciliation efforts within Iraq. He also said he turned down an offer by President Bush to visit Washington until he can count more fully on U.S. help.

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi made his comments in an interview with CNN. He said if key amendments to the Iraq Constitution are not made by May 15, he will step down and pull his 44 Sunni politicians out of the 275-member Iraqi parliament.

"If the constitution is not subject to major changes, definitely, I will tell my constituency frankly that I have made the mistake of my life when I put my endorsement to that national accord," he said.

Many Iraq observers (not including myself) have seemingly forgotten that the Sunnis were solemnly promised by the US that the Iraqi Consitution would be amended in exchange for their agreement to participate in last years' election. Hashimi, as leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, played a large role in convincing Iraq's Sunnis to participate in the electoral process. Since those promises were made however, there has been zero progress at fixing Iraq's fatally flawed Constitution that was overwhelmingly rejected (about 95%) by Iraq's Sunni population.

The reason is that the majority Shiites have no interest at all in making any changes that will weaken their position relative to the Sunnis as Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of one of Iraq's largest Shiite political parties, made clear last year.

Al-Hakim said any amendments to Iraq's new constitution would have to leave provincial governments strong, adding that Shiites would reject efforts to weaken the federalism embodied by the charter, approved in an October referendum. Al-Hakim said: "We do not accept any change in the essence of the constitution. There are forces working to change the constitution, we will stand in the face of those who want to change the essence of the constitution. The first principle is not to change the essence of the constitution. This constitution was endorsed by the Iraqi people."

So now we are seeing the administration's mismanagement of the nation building effort in Iraq come full circle. The Iraqi Constitution was deeply flawed and virtually guaranteed to lay the seeds of conflict in the future from the very beginning. But the administration, desperate to show "progress" in advance of the 2006 elections here, forced the parties in Iraq together by promising that the Constitution could be amended later on to resolve Sunni objections.

This is a typical pattern we have seen with regards to Iraq. The administration chooses to paper over the underlying problems with our nation building effort in Iraq and push these problems into the future. The problem with this approach is that these internal Iraqi conflicts only continue to fester; they never really go away. The Sunnis feel (rightly or wrongly) that they have been screwed by Iraq's new Constitution. They don't see it as the important "turning point" that has been lauded by the administration. They view it as a tool of Shiite revenge against their people imposed upon them by the United States. It's hard to argue with them on this point.

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Comments (6)


This WOULD be significant if the Iraqi "government" actually wielded some power in Iraq.

Rodney A Stanton:

Since 11/04 when Bush did not fire Rummy it became clear to me that Bush did no want to win the "War on Terror". I have asked several times on many blogs why did he start a war he did not want to win. Most answers fell into 2 categories one of which I accepted until a year ago. That was that not winning the war was winning elections for the GOP. I started not accepting this last May when it became clear that Americans were getting fed up with fighting a war that the President did not want to win. I said then that if we did not start winning the GOP would lose in Nov. (I did not think in May the defeat would be as bad as it was.)

Bush still is trying to prolong the war not win it. The answer I rejected for 2 years is starting to make more sense but I still do not accept it like I did the 02 and 04 election answer. That answer remains Losing the war makes money for his corporate friends. I have a hard time accepting the fact that I voted for such a man.

Can anyone here present another reason why Bush started a war he is doing his level best not to win? Is he crazy?

Larkin, I gave you a front page link a Polipundit and it generated over 70 comments this afternoon.

Sadly, I do long for the day when I can argue with you instead of agreeing with you.

Rodney A Stanton:

Who in the Administration were/are the neocons? I usually think of Krauthammer and VHDavis when I hear Neocon. Do you mean Rummy, Meyers - surely not Tenet?

A very unhappy Republican.

Rodney A Stanton:

I got Prof Hanson's name transposed it should be VDHanson.

Rodney A Stanton:

Larkin - thanks for the time and the links.
I read and reread Project for New American Century
Statement of Principles twice Wed. I recognized most of the signers. With the stark exception of Forbes they are all tax and spend, nanny state Repubilcans. People conservatives called "Nixon/Rockefeller" Repubicans from 1960 to 1988. 3 of them while in Congress in 1986 voted against the Reagan Tax cuts of 1986. I noticed that they disingenuously said they were supporting Ronnie's ideas. I did not get their tie in to conservative until I read Wikipedia Thursday
The second senteence made it crystal clear -
"Neoconservatism is new in two ways: first, many of the movement's founders, liberals and people from socialist backgrounds, were new to conservatism..."

Yes these men are Republicans but they are liberal Republicans. They used to like being called Nixon/Rockefeller Republicans. But that was before 1975. Now they want to be called Neo-cons. Fine. As Billy said 400 years ago " A rose by any other name..."

Our current VP is one of the men who voted with the losers against the Reagan tax cuts of 1986 and has been a force in the many new taxes and tax increase the current President has placed on imports. The only way I would accept calling him conservative is if we now define Ronnie as liberal. They are both Republicans but one wanted to get the government of my back while the other want to keep it on my back and grow it bigger whil I'm carrying it around.

It all gets back to "what the meaning of is is".



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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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