They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Friday, September 23, 2005

Iraq: Constitution 'a minefield and could never be implemented'

guardian: Iraq Sunnis Want Constitution Rejected

About 150 clerics and tribal leaders from Iraq's Sunni Arab minority called for the rejection of the country's draft constitution in an upcoming referendum, saying on Thursday that it would lead to the fragmentation of Iraq.

The local leaders from Iraq's insurgency-torn Anbar province, the country's Sunni heartland, gathered for a three-day conference aimed at putting forward their stance ahead of the planned Oct. 15 referendum. It was held in the Jordanian capital for security reasons.

"We urge all the Iraqi people to go to the polls and say no to the constitution," Sheik Abdul-Latif Himayem, a prominent cleric from the Anbar capital, Ramadi, who organized the conference, told The Associated Press.

"The constitution as it now stands strips Iraq from its Arab identity and instigates racial, religious and political segregation," he said. "It is a minefield and could never be implemented."

Sunnis have sharply opposed the draft constitution, largely because it would give Shiites in the south the power to form a mini-state that Sunnis fear will deprive them of oil resources and ultimately lead to Iraq's fragmentation. Sunni leaders are hoping to defeat the draft in the referendum by gathering a two-thirds "no" vote in at least three provinces.

"No federalism, no for the division of Iraq and no for the constitution," Sheik Qassem Jassam al-Jumaily, a prominent figure from Fallujah, said in a speech to the gathering.

Himayem said the conference will call for national peace and reconciliation "to avoid civil war."

He accused the Shiite-led government of worsening the sectarian divide in Iraq by carrying out "unjustified" arrests in Anbar, where the insurgency has been centered. Read more