Sunday, October 16, 2005

Latest on Iraq

Washington Post's robin Wright reports that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that early assessments indicated Iraqis had probably approved the constitution:

"There's a belief that it has probably passed," Rice told reporters traveling with her, based on people in Iraq who are seeing preliminary vote tallies. At least 63 percent of Iraqis voted Saturday, she said, an increase of about 1 million voters over the first democratic election in January for a transitional government. Much of that increase, she said, comes from the higher participation of Iraq's minority Sunni Muslims.

In the meantime, Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria hails the U.S. ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad for getting Iraq's largest Sunni group, the Iraqi Islamic Party, to agree with the Shia and Kurds on amendments to the new Iraqi constitution:

I have a novel idea for the Bush administration. Let's give a medal to someone who's actually done a good job. My candidate would be Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, who has been doing yeoman service there. Last week he snatched a small victory from the jaws of defeat by getting the largest organized Sunni group, the Iraqi Islamic Party, to agree with the Shia and Kurds on amendments to the new Iraqi constitution.

The effect of these amendments was to lessen the import of Saturday's vote for the constitution. The constitution can now be amended at will by the next Iraqi Parliament, which will be elected on Dec. 15. In other words, if the constitution fails, it will be rewritten, and if it succeeds, it can be rewritten...