Sunday, August 21, 2005

One News Item, Three Voices

The one news item is the nascent Iraqi Constitution, and the fact that negotiators are increasingly at loggerheads over federalism and the role of the nation's religion in the new law. That being said, here's what three news agencies had to say about it:

CNN: "Iraqi negotiators have reached agreement on one major roadblock to a new Iraqi constitution and an agreement could be reached on another as soon as tonight, a senior Iraqi official told CNN on Sunday. Negotiators clarified the role of Islam in the constitution, said Hachim al-Hassani, speaker of the National Assembly. Al-Hassani said the compromise language called Islam "a main source of legislation" -- wording that he said concerned him and women's rights advocates. The idea of federalism -- splitting the country into as many as three separate autonomous regions -- is the other stumbling block delaying a draft constitution. Those issues prompted the National Assembly to extend the August 15 deadline to Monday.

BBC: "Iraq's deadlocked communities appear no closer to agreeing a new constitution with fewer than 36 hours remaining until the deadline for its completion. Officials are being forced to discuss a further delay, or even the dramatic option of dissolving parliament. Shia, Sunni and Kurdish teams have been unable to agree on key issues including federalism, oil and the role of Islam. An original deadline last week was shifted to midnight this Monday (2000 GMT) when no agreement was reached. "

AP (via Yahoo): "One day before the deadline for Iraq's new constitution, Sunni Arab negotiators appealed Sunday to the United States and the international community to prevent Shiites and Kurds from pushing a draft charter through parliament without Sunni consent. An Iraqi government spokesman suggested that if the factions cannot agree on a draft by Monday night, parliament may have to amend the interim constitution yet again to extend the deadline and prevent its dissolution."

Of the three, I am inclined to believe the report of the Associated Press.


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