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Iraq's Constitutional Process Plunges Ahead

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Both Iraq's and America's leaders have stressed their determination that Iraq meet the August 15th deadline for a draft constitution. Yet, the original political logic underlying the deadline has lost much of its relevance, argues Carnegie Arab constitutional expert Nathan Brown, and Iraq should consider using the six-month allowance for an extension to ensure the constitution is a viable, unifying document. Brown cautions that rushing to meet the deadline could result in a draft constitution that embodies the varying interests of Iraq's contending groups but fails to resolve their differences.

Drawing on his extensive scholarship of Arab constitutions and his close following of the current process in Iraq, Brown also offers glimpses into where the draft stands now on several critical issues, including the basic structures of government, religion's role in the state, federalism, rights, gender, and security.