Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2006

Abstract

On October 15, 2005 an Iraq ravaged by a civil war spawned by the 2003 American invasion and subsequent occupation voted to decide the fate of a permanent constitution for the country. Although many Sunni Arabs took part in the vote, the referendum lost in the three governorates where they form a majority. But the constitution was approved because opponents only succeeded in recording "no" votes larger than two-thirds in only two of Iraq's eighteen provinces, in effect one province short of a veto. A two-thirds rejection in three provinces would have doomed the charter and the transition to a regime more autonomous of the American occupation forces. However, Iraq teeters on collapse months after the referendum, national elections, and the formation of a so-called national government. Only a popularly legitimate accommodation of minority and group rights in a democratic constitutional framework, a virtually impossible challenge, can avert the disintegration of Iraq. The legislature, which is dominated by the Shia, ought to step back from the temptation of a theocracy, and instead look to equal protection and anti-discrimination norms for minorities as it constructs a lasting constitutional framework. Otherwise, the failure to address the question of minority and group rights will result in the disintegration of Iraq.

Publication Title

Buffalo Law Review

First Page

927

Last Page

955

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