The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, October 17, 2005

Sunny Jim (R-Anywhere, USA) talks Iraq.

I'm wondering if the right-wing bleating over the weekend's vote on ratification of the Iraqi constitution will be more muted than the laughable purple finger waving in the wake of January's elections. There's no doubt that many reactionary bloggers will be talking about what a smashing success it was. A veritable triumph of democracy.

Except that the outcome seems likely to fuel Sunni outrage and therefore the insurgency. And speaking of democracy, the charter was fiddled with so that only two-thirds of eligible voters could reject the constitution. Meaning that a 60% turnout would ratify the constitution even if they all voted against it. On the march.

Six American soldiers died on Saturday, military officials said. Five were working with a Marine unit in Ramadi, a hotbed of the insurgency 70 miles west of Baghdad, and were killed during the voting there when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, the United States military said. The sixth, also assigned to a Marine unit, was killed in Saqlawiyah, northwest of Falluja, died when his vehicle was attacked with an explosive device, the military said. In the vote count, which began by lamplight in many districts without mains electrical powers on Saturday night, attention was focusing on four provinces with large Sunni populations, where Sunni voting appeared to have gone overwhelmingly against the constitution.

Those provinces are Anbar, west of Baghdad, an insurgent hotbed where voting, though relatively low, appeared to have gone strongly against the charter; Diyala, to the east of the capital, where Sunnis and Shia are evenly balanced; and two Sunni-majority provinces in the north, Salahuddin and Nineveh, with its capital in Mosul.

With Anbar considered likely to vote the constitution down by a wide margin, Sunni rejectionists required two other provinces to meet the requirement in Iraq's transitional constitution that requires two-thirds of the voters in three of the country's provinces to vote "no" for the new constitution to be defeated. Another province likely to reject the charter was Salahuddin, with its capital in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, where officials said today that voting in the city was running about 96 per cent against the document.

Although the Sunni votes in Nineveh and Diyala were also expected to run heavily against the constitution, Kurdish and Shiite voters, who heavily favor the charter, appeared likely to deny the Sunnis the two-thirds majority there.