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Meeting deadline for Iraq constitution more important to U.S. than women's rights

If the U.S., after spending billions invading Iraq, costing thousands of American lives, and countless Iraqis, allows Islam to be the guiding legal force in the “New Iraq,” women are going to suffer the indignity of a rollback in civil rights. All because the U.S. wants to secure an agreement of some sort so it can pull out. Women’s rights mean less than doing what is right for the long-term health of this country’s prospective foundation. This is sickness beyond belief.

Taking the time to have factions come to common agreement for this constitution is essential, or else we will pull out and immediate chaos will ensue. As if the insurgency will stop in its tracks if a constitution deadline is met. But Chimpy couldn’t care less. This needs to be a huge issue, but I fear the media (and the American people, who are tired of the sacrifice for this war), will let this slide.

The United States has dropped its opposition to enshrining Islam as Iraq’s main source of legislation in a bid to secure agreement on the text of a new constitution by a Monday deadline.

Washington has been determined to see the target date met after a first deadline was missed last Monday, for fear that any loss of momentum in the political process will play into the hands of Sunni Arab insurgents.

But sources close to the negotiations warned that the surprise shift of policy was as likely to complicate as to help the talks as the Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni negotiators remained deeply divided on the issue. “Last night’s talks had a surprise element — the Americans appeared to give in to the demand from various Islamic groups that Islam be the main source of legislation,” one source told AFP, adding that US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was present at the negotiations.

“This could change a lot of things and I think we may miss the deadline again as not all groups will agree for Islam to be the main source.” The role of Islam in lawmaking has proved a heavily divisive issue among negotiators with leaders of Iraq’s Shiite majority insisting that religion be considered the main legal foundation, and that clerics should be given political roles.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding