Shiite negotiators have proposed a compromise to the Sunnis and Kurds to break the impasse over the new constitution and called it a final offer, a member of the Shiite committee said Friday.
``We have given the latest draft and we hope they respond today,'' Abbas al-Bayati told The Associated Press. ``We cannot offer more than that'' concerning federalism and efforts to remove top members of Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated Baath Party from government and political posts.
He said the Shiites had proposed that the parliament that will be elected in December should be given the right to issue a law on the mechanism of implementing federalism. He gave no further details.
The constitution provides for a federal state, one in which provinces would have significant powers in contrast to Saddam's regime in which Sunnis dominated a strong central government.
The charter will allow any number of provinces to combine and form a federal state with broader powers. The Sunnis have demanded a limit of three provinces, the number the Kurds have in their self-ruled region in the north. The Sunnis have publicly accepted the continued existence of the Kurdish regional administration within its current boundaries.
The Federalism debate in Iraq is reminiscent of the issues the framers of our Constitution had in dealing with apportioning political power to large and small states. That issue nearly prevented our nation from forming and was only settled with great difficulty.
I have no idea if this propossal by the Shiites will be acceptable to the Sunnis and Kurds or not. I hope it is, or that they will find another solution quickly.
In some ways though, the very difficulty of resolving this issue may end up being a good thing. A constitution that is achieved with difficulty, may very well be more valuable to Iraqis than one that came easily. Every people must eventually earn their own freedom if they wish to be free. Resolving difficult politcal conflicts without resorting to violence is part of that earning, and the Iraqis who are doing this hard work are heros in my opinion.