Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Interim Constitution Day?

Baghdad, Iraq—The Interim Iraqi Constitution was supposed to be signed today. But as CNN reports here, there have been delays.

The word on the ground is that the Shiites have put the brakes on the signing ceremony. A rumor I heard (and have not been able to confirm) is that Sistani, who is the cleric for the Shiites, has issued a fatwa against any Shiite who signs the document. The key issues appears to be the treatment of women, and, of perhaps greatest concern, the fact that the document states that Islam is "a" source of the law, rather than "the" source of the law. As a lawyer, I mist up over arguments which involve the meaning of the article "a." But of course, the difference is huge. If Islam is the source, then the state is essentially subject to the rule of the clerics, who would be the ultimate interpreters of the law. It is for this reason that I understand Paul Bremer to have said that he would not sign any document which made Islam the sole source of law.

The only other observation I can give you is that security was very tight in the Green Zone today. There were a considerable number of helicopters taking off and landing at any given time. Additional checkpoints were set up, and badge checks were frequent. This, of course, made it virtually impossible for me to complete my task of actually getting a badge of my own. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

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