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

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Iraq: Goal posts moved to ensure a 'YES' to constitution

BBC: Sunni anger at Iraq vote change

Sunni Arabs have reacted angrily to a decision by Iraq's Shia-dominated parliament making it harder to reject the new constitution in 12 days' time.

The two-thirds majority needed in three provinces to defeat the constitution will now be counted from all registered - as opposed to actual - voters.

Many registered voters may not show up because of violence, it is argued.

Saleh al-Mutlaq, of the Sunni group Iraqi National Dialogue, called the change a "clear forgery".

"They want this constitution to pass despite the will of the people," he added.

BBC Baghdad correspondent Caroline Hawley says violence, intimidation and US military offensives could keep many Sunnis away from polling centres.

'Implausible' change

The interim constitution drawn up under US administrator Paul Bremer in 2003 says the following about the issue:

"The general referendum will be successful and the draft constitution ratified if a majority of the voters in Iraq approve and if two-thirds of the voters in three or more governorates do not reject it."

But on Sunday, MPs said a No vote from two-thirds of "registered" voters was needed for a veto.

The new interpretation keeps the clause stipulating that only half of actual voters are needed for the text to be adopted.

Many Sunni Arabs oppose the draft constitution on the grounds that its federal provisions could lead to the break-up of Iraq.

In elections for the transitional parliament in January, less than 60% of registered Iraqis voted after Sunni leaders called for a boycott. Read more

db: Saddam himself couldn't have come up with a more cunning stunt.