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Link below; my emphasis.

"But other, more serious “technical reasons” are threatening to take the steam out of the country’s political development, which both Iraqi and U.S. officials believe is the only way to defeat the increasingly bloody insurgent attacks against soldiers and civilians. A special drafting committee composed of the country’s three main political factions spent more than four months preparing what is intended to be the foundation of a new, democratic Iraq. The final document, subject to ratification in a nationwide referendum scheduled for mid October, attempts to resolve diverging political, social, economic and religious interests among the Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions. But as Monday’s deadline for submission of the draft approached, it became increasingly clear the sides had failed to break the logjam on a handful of critical issues ranging from federalism to oil revenues to the role of Islam in government. “I can only hope we’ll finish it by next week,” said lawmaker Mathmoud Othman shortly after the session ended.

Othman may be too optimistic. Iraq’s transitional law required that the draft constitution be submitted by today. But the stumbling blocks which make them miss the deadline are unlikely to be resolved easily. After the Sunni faction stuck to its refusal to endorse a federal system and the Kurds continued to demand an eventual referendum on independence, lawmakers were forced to amend their U.S.-sponsored interim constitution to extend the deadline to August 22. The delay came even after U.S. leaders ranging from President George W. Bush to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld publicly insisted that the Aug. 15 deadline be kept. The reasons for Washington’s insistence included concern that any delay could push back scheduled national elections in December, affecting troop rotations and promises about the eventual downsizing of U.S. forces next year. The White House also felt that any sign of wavering by Iraqi leaders could embolden insurgents to intensify their attacks in an attempt to shatter the political process.

In the face of what can only be described as a setback, Iraqi leaders and their American backers attempted to put a brave face on matters. Minutes before the assembly voted to extend the constitution deadline, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told NEWSWEEK that “on the big issues there is agreement,” but the Iraqis need an extra week “to finalize” things. :roll: After the extension was approved, President Jalal Talabani told reporters the one-week delay was merely to ensure the document was “carefully drafted to avoid any kind of mistakes.” Whether or not he was talking about typos, members of the Sunni faction told a different story. The minority Sunnis, who boycotted elections in January and only joined the drafting process last month, denied claims they had agreed to a federal system, which they fear would lead to the break-up of the country. They also still have disagreements over the division of revenues from Iraq’s vast oil fields--all of which lie in Shiite and Kurdish regions. “Nothing’s changed much,” Salih Al-Mutlaq, a senior Sunni lawmaker, told NEWSWEEK. “I hope now everybody knows there is a final time limit.”


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8964313/site/newsweek/
 

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