Is the draft constitution fair to the Kurds?
The week's news at a glance.
Once again, the Kurds lose out, said the Iraqi Kurdish newspaper Jamawar in an editorial. A huge committee of Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs, and Kurds have finished drafting the new Iraqi constitution, which Iraqis will vote on next month. But apparently the Kurdish members of the committee were asleep through the whole procedure. The draft contains none of the provisions the Kurdish people demand. It sets up a vaguely federal system with some autonomy for each groupbut it doesnt define the borders of the Kurdish region. The issue of who gets control of Kirkuk, the important oil town that has long been Kurdish, is deferred until 2007. There is no hint of the right to self-determination for Kurdistan. In fact, Kurds are mentioned only twice, and only as a minority. The very word Kurdistan does not appear.
The Kurdish delegates must have gone soft, said Nebez Goran in Hawlati. All those years in politics have made them unable to compete against a mullah with a turban. Massoud Barzani, for example, leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, said that while the constitution is not all we wanted, Kurds should still vote for it as being in their interests. This is a weak position. Our leaders have failed the young men of the Peshmerga who fought for them for years.
Yet it could have been worse, said Hawar Ahmad in Khabat, a newspaper published by the Kurdistan Democratic Party. The Sunnis were agitating for wording declaring Iraq part of the Arab world. Such a clause would have implied that Kurds are aliens who have no real right to Iraqi territory. Fortunately, that effort failed. The new constitution is a departure from the old model of an Arab nationalist movement. Instead, it affirms that Iraq is a multiethnic, multireligious, multifaith, and multicultural country. In the new Iraq, Kurdish will be an official language, equal in status to Arabic.