The Corner

Read It and Weep

From this morning’s Washington Post:

The draft constitution submitted Monday stipulates that Iraq is an Islamic state and that no law can contradict the principles of Islam, negotiators confirmed.

Opponents have charged that the latter provision would subject Iraqis to rule by religious edicts of individual clerics or sects.

The opponents also said women would lose gains they made during Hussein’s rule, when they were guaranteed equal rights under civil law in matters including marriage, divorce and inheritance. The draft constitution says individuals can choose to have family matters decided by either religious or civil law.

Supporters say a separate bill of rights would protect women, and provisions of the constitution say no law can contradict democracy or that bill of rights.

Khalilzad, speaking to CNN early Tuesday, called the proposed constitution a “very good” draft that guarantees equal rights for all. An American serving as adviser to the Kurds, Peter Galbraith, disagreed that the charter protected women’s rights and condemned what he called the Bush administration’s “hypocrisy” on that issue in the constitution.

The Islamic law provisions would not apply in the Kurdish north, negotiators said.

Kurdish negotiators this week criticized Khalilzad, a Muslim who helped draft a constitution last year as U.S. envoy to his native Afghanistan, for allegedly supporting the Shiite push for a heavy emphasis on religion in Iraq’s new charter.

Both Sunnis and Kurds accused Khalilzad of pushing negotiators too hard to make Monday’s deadline, already extended once, and keep the country on a strict timeline that calls for the October constitution referendum and new national elections in December. The United States has viewed the timeline as critical to its hopes of scaling back its 138,000 troops here by spring.

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