Tuesday, October 11, 2005

At long last

It looks as if there has finally been a breakthrough in the struggle over the Iraqi constitution:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 11 - Iraqi political leaders said they had agreed to an important last-minute change in the draft constitution this evening in exchange for a promise by some prominent Sunni Arab leaders to publicly support the document in the nationwide referendum on Saturday.

The change would create a panel in the next parliament with the power to propose broad new revisions to the constitution. In effect, the change could give the Sunnis - who were largely shut out of the constitution-writing process - a new chance to help redraft the document after the December elections.

The agreement was a major victory for American officials, who have spent weeks urging Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish leaders to make changes that could soften Sunni opposition to the charter and forge a broader consensus. The Americans had voiced fears that if the constitution passed over strong Sunni opposition, more would lose faith in the political process and turn toward violence.

Iraqi Leaders Reach Last-Minute Deal on Charter Revision