10.16.2005

On the Iraqi Constitution

I think the constitution is the most important part of the "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and in the whole course of action concerning Iraq liberation and reform in the Middle East.

If adopted, it will be the first democratic functioning constitution has been written by the free will of people in the Arabic region. Furthermore, the constitution is the institutionalization of the liberation and democratization of Iraq. This institutionalization is the indispensable ultimate guarantee of the Iraqi freedom and democracy.

Apart from some controversial political stipulations in the constitution –these related to the timely political game and balance of powers and subject to evolvement and change as time goes-- the foremost and basic achievement is the rules of the political game that parties must and will abide by in seeking political interests and objectives.

Following are the recent stances concerning the Iraqi constitution question:


U.S. Envoy Welcomes Compromise on Iraq's Draft Constitution

Last-minute compromises on language win broader Sunni Arab support

[U.S. Embassy Baghdad]
October 12, 2005
Office of Embassy Spokesman

STATEMENT

U.S. AMBASSADOR ZALMAY KHALILZAD
October 12, 2005

The United States applauds the bold agreement announced today on the Iraqi constitution. Today was a good day for Iraq. As Iraqis prepare to vote their consciences in the coming referendum, leaders who have led the democratic process and leaders who have boycotted it have decisively settled their differences and joined together to announce, "Vote yes for Iraq's constitution."

They have done what only democratic leaders can do - they have discussed, argued, consulted their constituents, and reached compromises. They have done this at a time when terrorist insurgents and sectarianism seek to pull them apart, and the U.S. welcomes their decision.

At the core of their agreement is a decision to mandate the next democratically elected Council of Representatives to review the constitution after its passage and recommend any amendments necessary to cement it as a national compact. This constitution, the basis of Iraq's emerging democratic government and the road map to its future, will be a living document, as all enduring constitutions are. Iraqi leaders have also expanded the charter to guarantee Iraq's unity, broaden its vision of Iraq's national identity and to send a message guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of rank and file members of the former Ba'ath Party who did not commit crimes. They have ensured that the next parliament will create a committee to monitor and review the de-Ba'athification Commission.

These Iraqi leaders have disproved a cynical axiom about the Middle East: It goes, "If I am strong, why should I compromise? And if I am weak, how can I compromise?" The strong have compromised and those who had stayed outside the political process have taken a step back in. The United Iraqi Alliance, a Shia coalition that leads the largest bloc in Iraq's parliament and leads its cabinet, could have refused to compromise. Instead they decided to make a bold move to embrace national unity.

The Kurdistan Alliance helped shape this effort. They have broadened the constitution's conception of national identity as well as their own. These two groups, flush with power and influence in Iraq's government, have decided to open the door to their rivals and welcome every side into the political tent.

A major group of Sunni Arab leaders have made a remarkably brave decision in the face of terrorists’ threats. They have decided to back the constitution after leading a campaign against it. They have decided to enter the political process after boycotting the last national elections. The Iraqi Islamic Party, the Sunni Religious Endowment, and now leaders throughout the Sunni Arab community are calling upon their followers to vote yes to the constitution. Their vote represents more than support for the constitution. It represents an affirmation of Iraq's political process and a stand against those who would obstruct it to push for a return to tyranny.

Iraqis have a fateful decision ahead of them on Saturday, and they are being guided by a bold and wide array of leaders to vote for a national compact that unites the Iraqi people and isolates those who would push them apart. I urge Iraqis to read the document carefully and vote their consciences on the 15th. They have the future of their country in their hands. As Americans we are proud to have played a role in helping the people of Iraq decide their own future.

(end text)


United Nations' Annan Urges Iraqis To Vote on Constitution

United Nations
The Secretary-General [Kofi Annan]
MESSAGE TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE ON NATIONAL CONSTITUTION DAY
13 October 2005

Last January, you the people of Iraq demonstrated with great courage your commitment to your country’s transition to democracy. The constitutional referendum on 15 October is a keystone of this process. You will have the opportunity to exercise your democratic right to accept or reject the draft text that is submitted to you. For the second time in less than a year, the future is in your hands.

Today is dedicated to peaceful debate and reflection on the merits of this document, so that you can make an informed decision on referendum day. This is the time to keep the guns quiet on all sides and to let the voices of the Iraqi people be heard. In particular, I urge those who themselves refuse to participate in the political process not to deprive others of their right to do so, free from fear and intimidation.

At this critical moment in Iraq’s history, every vote counts. Whatever the outcome, the United Nations will continue to do all it can to help you succeed on whichever path you choose for building a stable, unified and prosperous Iraq.

Lisbon, 13 October 2005

(end text)


Bush Calls Iraqi Constitutional Vote "Momentous"

President vows U.S. will stand by Iraqis until they are self-governing

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Saturday, October 15, 2005

RADIO ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENTTO THE NATION

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This weekend is a momentous time in the history of the Middle East. After choosing their leaders in free elections in January, the Iraqi people have gone to the polls to vote on a democratic constitution. This constitution is the result of months of debate and compromise by representatives of Iraq's diverse ethnic and religious communities. These leaders came together to produce a document that protects fundamental freedoms and lays the foundation for a lasting democracy. Earlier this week, the Iraqi people embraced changes to the text that have led to its endorsement by some Sunni leaders, as well as Kurdish and Shia leaders. Now the people of Iraq will have the final say.

By casting their ballots, the Iraqi people deal a severe blow to the terrorists and send a clear message to the world: Iraqis will decide the future of their country through peaceful elections, not violent insurgency.

This weekend's election is a critical step forward in Iraq's march toward democracy, and with each step the Iraqi people take, al Qaeda's vision for the region becomes more remote. As Iraqis prepared for this election, the world learned of a letter written by a leading terrorist explaining why Iraq is the central front in their war on civilization. Al Qaeda's number two leader, a man named Zawahiri, wrote to his chief deputy in Iraq, the terrorist Zarqawi. We intercepted this letter, and we have released it to the public. In it, Zawahiri lays out why al Qaeda views Iraq as "the place for the greatest battle" of our day.

He says that establishing al Qaeda's dominion over Iraq is the first step towards their larger goal of imposing Islamic radicalism across the broader Middle East. Zawahiri writes: "The jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals. The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq. The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq. The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq."

This letter shows that al Qaeda intends to make Iraq a terrorist haven and a staging ground for attacks against other nations, including the United States. The letter makes equally clear that the terrorists have a problem: Their campaign of murder and mayhem is turning the people against them. The letter warns Zarqawi that, "many of your Muslim admirers amongst the common folk are wondering about your attacks on the Shia." Even al Qaeda recognizes that with every random bombing and every funeral of a child, the Muslim world sees the terrorists for what they really are: murderers at war with the Iraqi people.

These terrorists are driven by an ideology that exploits Islam to serve a violent political vision: the establishment of a totalitarian empire that denies political and religious freedom. This is why the terrorists have fought to prevent and disrupt this weekend's elections. They understand that the act of voting is a rejection of them and their distorted vision of Islam. Simply by coming out to vote, the Iraqi people have shown that they want to live in freedom, and they will not accept a return to tyranny and terror.

The terrorists know their only chance for success is to break our will and force us to retreat. The al Qaeda letter points to Vietnam as a model. Zawahiri says: "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam, and how they ran and left their agents, is noteworthy." Al Qaeda believes that America can be made to run again. They are gravely mistaken. America will not run, and we will not forget our responsibilities.

In Iraq, we have brought down a murderous regime. We have stood by the Iraqi people through two elections, and we will stand by them until they have established a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. When we do, Iraq will be an ally in the war on terror and a partner for peace and moderation in the Muslim world. And because America stood firm in this important fight, our children and grandchildren will be safer and more secure.

Thank you for listening.

END

(end transcript)

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