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Iraqi's Show Their Pride After Voting on Iraq's Draft Constitution on Saturday. Little Violence Was Reported.

Despite U.S. Mistakes, Iraq Vote 'a Small Step' Toward Victory

October 14, 2005

Original Article (English)    

Kudos for U.S. Ambassador Khalilzad

There is no denying that from day one, Iraq's political process has been fraught with difficulties. Since efforts began to write a Constitution that Iraqi voters will either approve or reject, we have seen a number of shadowy activities and a conspicuous bending of the rules. The initial drafting of the constitution illegally continued past the August 15 deadline, the Parliament then tried to rig the rules of the referendum so that it would be virtually impossible to reject at the polls, and most recently, a committee agreed to amend the draft constitution without the approval of the National Assembly. The end result is that many Iraqis will not likely know what it is they are voting for when they go to the polls.

In Line on Election Day

But despite these worrying facts, there has been measurable progress toward establishing a political process. According to the Sunni Endowment Movement, which recently decided to endorse the Constitution, Living under a flawed law is better than chaos and anarchy."

While the vote will not be the magnificent victory for democracy that U.S. President George W. Bush will likely claim, it will be a small step in the right direction. Much of the credit for the modest recent success should go to U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who has worked diligently behind the scenes to encourage an inclusive Iraqi political process. His appointment marked an immediate departure from the days of his predecessor, Coalition Provisional Authority Administrator Paul Bremer, whose repeated mistakes contributed to the frightening divisions we now see in Iraqi society. Unlike Bremer, Khalilzad has approached the Iraqis with a cultural sensitivity gained through his extensive experience in the region.

Nobody should expect that tomorrow's referendum to solve all of Iraq's problems. The terrorists will continue their violent activities and it will take much more time for a stable democracy to take root. But it is essential that the United States continue to muster all of its diplomatic strength to nurture the political process, so that more momentum is gained. We acknowledge that the litany of past mistakes will make it exceedingly difficult to make dreams of a democratic Iraqi State come true. But considering the alternative, it is still well worth trying.


— Al Furat TV (IRAQ): Ayatollah Sistani's Representative Abd Al-Mahdi Karbalaai Calls on Iraqis to Vote "Yes" on Constitution, October 18, 00:02:42, MEMRI

"Many of the things included in the Constitution are very important for our people and our country."

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's Representative

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