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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 August 2005, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Iraq constitution: Your reaction
Kamran Qaradaghi, spokesman of Iraq's President Jalal Talabani
What do you think of the final draft of Iraq's constitution?

Negotiators from Iraq's Sunni minority have rejected the final draft of the country's constitution.

As they called for the UN and the Arab League to intervene, President Bush urged the people of Iraq to read the constitution and debate its merits amongst themselves.

Iraqis will decide whether to accept the document in a referendum, scheduled to take place by mid-October.

Can the differences over Iraq's draft constitution be resolved? Should the UN and the Arab League get involved?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Abbas Al-Lawati from Montreal, Canada:
Should Iraq become a federal state, with autonomous regions for the country's religious and ethnic groups?

The Iraqi people have the right to choose their form of self-government, tribal, democratic or anything else that suits them. It is not up to the west to impose our type of government, just because we think it is what Iraq needs. From what I have heard and read of the proposed constitution, it seems to be a recipe for civil war and the break-up of Iraq. Tragic
Cecilia Reilly, Coubevoie, France

It seems unfair that both the oil rich north and south want to leave the Sunni's poor and unrepresented ;no wonder then that Sunii's have declared War of sorts on this very one sided constitution. I think no time limit should be put or any pressure put on all sides until all sides are properly and fairly represented and the oil revenues are evenly distributed.
Saad Ghumman, London, UK

A mere "piece of paper". Constitutions are nothing but pretty words on paper if the government has no intention of following them. One only has to look at the present American government to see that.
Charlie, Niagara Falls U.S.A.

Gosh it must be. I mean it only took the US 13 years and two tries to get ours started and here they've had months! Oh my! How about you give them some time and breathing room?
Kristy, Charleston, USA

Iraq's new society must respect secular ideas, women's rights, personal freedoms, and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. These are all opposite to what neighboring Iran has institutionalized. The real irony in all this is that the Sunnis in Iraq, who are the key insurgents now, were more closely aligned with secular Western thinking in the first place.
John, NJ, USA

Anyone commenting on this as a Jewish or American constitution is blind. It was written by the Iraqis. If enough of the Iraqi people don't agree with it, they can disband the government, hold elections and TRY AGAIN! Iraqis, and to a wider sense, the Arab world are only beginning to understand democracy. After years of tyrants and blaming others (ie America and Israel) for your woes, instead learn to build government for yourself.
Al, London, UK

I think it should be accepted by a clear majority. Why do most of you equate Sunnis with Saddam's regime, as if they were all supporters of Saddam? I am sure many Sunnis were also the victims of Saddam and his crimes. Sunnis are right in fearing that they will be left with the most useless pieces of Iraq, without natural resources and opportunities.
Mehrdad, Iran

I wonder, how prepared are they to make this important decision? What kind of education is to be provided to ordinary Iraqis on the key issues raised by the constitution? For instance, the concept of Federalism: Essential to America, but do even Americans understand it or its benefits and consequences? How do we expect Iraqis to?
Consultant in Baghdad, Iraq

If Iraq wants the UN involved then they should be involved. This will not look legit if the US are the only ones guiding the process and will lead to much more violence.
Rob Malone, South Carolina, US

We all have reservations
Majid Al Shemri, Baghdad
From BBCArabic.com:We had copies of the draft constitution distributed at work in preparation for the forthcoming referendum. We all have reservations about some items in the document, but taken as whole the draft represents the minimum of what we all want. It had to be so in order to meet all the requirements of the Iraqi people. I am a Sunni and question this cacophony coming from those who do not represent us about this draft. Those who object are after other objectives unrelated to what the people are striving to achieve.
Majid Al Shemri, Baghdad, Iraq

From BBCArabic.com: As Iraqis, we are entitled to be proud of our constitution which has been written by us and not by tyrants, as is the case in some of the countries that are casting stones in our direction. I say to non Iraqi-Arabs who object to our constitution: Would you have screamed as loud had the objections come from Kurds and Shia? Would you have shed crocodile tears had the author of the constitution been another dictator?
Yasser Baghdadi, Baghdad, Iraq

From BBCArabic.com: It is not about Sunnis, Shia and Kurds. The question is: Does the American, sorry the Iraqi, constitution safeguard the unity, wealth and the Arab identity of Iraq? I think, indeed I am sure, that the constitution will guarantee Iraq becomes even weaker than the Gulf states, even weaker than Kuwait and that it will stay under the Iranian sphere of influence and that its Arab identity is taken away.
Abu Ali Al Arabi, Jerusalem, Israel

From BBCArabic.com: Thank God for this victory and congratulations to Iraqis on this achievement. This is the fruit of their patience. The draft meets our need at this stage. As the president has said; this is not a holy text, it can be developed further in the future as the need arises. But first we need to test the good will of the people and deepen our democratic practices. Those who worked on the draft will have their names recorded by history. As to Arabs from outside Iraq, we say that we are bored by their interference and ask them to please check their constitutions then compare those with ours.
Anon, Basra, Iraq

Every party must compromise
Zurik Fakher, Kurdistan
From BBCArabic.com: What do the Sunnis want? They did not participate in the previous elections and now they come along to dictate to us what should be in the constitution. They have the right to participate in the drafting of the constitution but it is in the realm of the impossible to have every item in the document to their liking. Every party must compromise on some of their demands.
Zurik Fakher, Kurdistan, Iraq

From BBCArabic.com: The Sunni objection to the article prohibiting former Baath party members from holding public office is reasonable. The text should instead refer to those who have been convicted of a criminal office as being barred from public office. As to other issues such as the role of Islam, Arabism and federalism, these are less important. Indeed, federalism should be adopted in Iraq; not on a sectarian basis but on a geographical ones.
Kamal Al Sudani, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

I think it is time, "others" should let Iraqis decide what they really want even if they decided to divide Iraq (and sure they will not) in to small countries. "You" may be smarter than 10-15% of the Iraqis, but "you" will never be smarter than all of them when they freely vote!
Ali, Baghdad, Iraq

Who are we to decide what's best for a country that we do not live in? Forcing democracy on another country through the use of force is wrong, not everyone wants to live by someone else's values. How can that be democracy? Can we clearly say that Iraq is better off on a day to day basis than before?
Paul, Indiana

As a stateless Kurd I would like to ask those people who say Iraq must not be a federal state or have no autonomous regions, how about 98% of the 7 million Kurds whom voted in an unofficial referendum for full independence? Do you believe in freedom and democracy or do you justify the acts of Saddam? Why shouldn't the Kurds be able to have their own state and the Shias to have an Islamic state and the Sunnis to have their own strong centralised state! In my view Iraq has been stuck together by force naturally, without the force or in democracy it will not remain together. I think dividing Iraq into three separate states will end and prevent further blood shed and finally the American liberators can go home. Let's hope the best.
Hawraman, UK

Constitutions cannot make peace and stability, they can only be the result of peace and stability. Drafting a constitution for a country in disarray, with the objective of decentralizing most power can only be a recipe for balkanization of Iraq.
Koops, The Hague, Netherlands

The new constitution will try to protect the liberty of the individual
Khaled Musleh, Denmark
The new constitution will create an Islamic state and at the same time try to protect the liberty of the individual. There are contradictions between these two elements that will create a non-stop conflict in the future. In a democracy you have to respect what people choose even if it is not the right one. But in a real democracy people can regret and change their choice even the constitution. I hope that the new Iraqi constitution can guarantee that too!
Khaled Musleh, Denmark

Federalism is the only way out. The majority of the 20% of Arab Sunni Iraqis who are rejecting the constitution have to accept the loss of their hegemony over Iraq. They have supported the wrong regime and a disastrous ideology. The price to pay will be much higher if they continue with their arrogance.
Chadi, Lebanon

Perhaps it is unfair to hold Iraq to the same standards of democracy as the already long-standing free states. To allow the UN and even the US to stand over-head and pressure Iraq into changes it cannot be ready for cripples progress. The standard of freedom and liberty held in Europe and the USA was created by generations of development and progressive thinking. This history of liberty does not exist in Iraq and the ethnic and religious issues there are unlike any successful democracy in the world. Maybe if we spent less time nitpicking at the restrictive culture in Iraq and focused on laying a foundation for freedom similar to the true beginnings of western republics, more progress could be made.
Thomas, Washington DC, USA

The way I see things going in Iraq, is that there's going to be three countries in one, and that is going to be a disaster for the whole of Iraq in my eyes. And when you think Bush is keeping very quiet up pops a comment from him to say things are wonderful and they (the Iraqi people) are ready to sign for peace. When clearly they are not, to put a time scale of a few months to decide the future of Iraq, it just does not feel right.
John, Swansea

The country should have been partitioned from the start
Ben Turner, London, UK
Yet more demonstrations that the concept of an Iraqi 'nation' are deeply flawed. The obsession of the international community with 'sovereignty' is the reason why there has been so much trouble resolving the situation. The country should have been partitioned from the start.
Ben Turner, London, UK

If the West is meddling in Arab affairs it is just because the Arab leaders have constantly failed to bring their societies to an acceptable state of freedom and democracy. For the security and the stability of this region and the world in general, failure is not acceptable anymore.
Belaid, Montreal, Canada

Everybody recognises that an agreement including Sunnis must be made. How? God knows. The UN would be the ideal solution. At this particular time, the UN table is extremely weak and nothing is being done to strengthen it. On the other hand, nobody is really thinking that the Nobel Prize Kofi Annan possesses a portion of the required stature. Arab League is a very tense organisation; internal conflicts easily spark paralysing it. If I can make a wishful thinking: a discrete European delegation could mediate between the three parties with an eye to post war co-operation.
Giacinto Festa, Milan, Italy

Iraq should be one country and it should be a strong one. The constitution does not do this. However, it is their country and their constitution. I'd like to see it change to allow for a strong Iraq, but I'd rather see a free Iraq that best serves its citizens.

Iraq's true constitutional arrangements will only be settled when the US army has left. Anything which was 'agreed' under military occupation will then be immediately rejected.
Steve Walker, UK

Maybe this is a good thing that there isn't consensus from the Sunnis - now we read about the Sunnis vowing to sign up to vote to defeat this draft - this draft has apparently helped to get Sunnis to the polls, their absence from which initially caused people to doubt Iraq's ability to govern itself. So it seems that the process, over time, is bringing that country together. Progress after all.
John Kearns, Philadelphia, USA

I was horrified to read the constitution, it's not only the federalism, it's been written by narrow-minded people it's not even clear regarding vital things, it hasn't been treated as a constitution to last long.
Muthana Amir, Iraqi in London

Sunnis are paying the price of their boycott of the elections
Andrew, Ottawa, Canada
Sunnis are paying the price of their boycott of the elections. They should be angry at the people who advised them to do so. Anyway, keeping borders that cannot be kept is a sure method for disaster. A good example of this are places like ex-Yugoslavian states where it never really calms down. And it makes sense: you cannot just shake hands with the neighbours who massacred your family and forgive and forget.
Andrew, Ottawa, Canada

Iraq is another Yugoslavia, a cauldron of ethnic and religious tensions destined for civil war.
Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, Iraqi living in Egypt

We are back to the times when the British Empire was granting independence to the colonies, carving them up on the basis of British priorities. This time it is the American colonizers who are imposing their agendas and fragmenting regions based on their long term strategies.
Kenneth, Malaysia

Do not you agree that it is time for the BBC to take a balanced stance on this like it used to? When the vast majority of Iraqis are happy (more than 90%, being Shias, Kurds and some Sunnis) then this should dominate the news not horrifying headlines. The Sunnis who rejected the constitution only represent themselves as they have not been elected and statements like 'Sunnis reject the constitution' are fundamentally untrue.
Mohammed, Iraq

We, as the Kurds and Iraqis, had enough of good laws and sweet promises. What we want is the implementation of what is written.
Twana S Hamid, Sulaimany, Iraq

If it was not made under the authority of the illegitimate occupation of US and other foreign forces, the Iraq constitution has attempted to address the historical problems of one of the ancient nation states. The most fundamental is a federal arrangement giving autonomy to the majority Shiites and minority Kurds. So long as Islam is the state religion, Sharia is the law of the land and Arabic the official and national language, such a constitution is acceptable to any Arab and Muslim state.
Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi, Kampala, Uganda

Dividing Iraq into de facto three different population states was always a real possibility
Istvan Hunanui, Chisinau, Moldova
Dividing Iraq into de facto three different population states was always a real possibility. It has something to do with three very different cultures. Prosperity has nothing to do in the quotation when the "opted freedom" of a specific group is in question. Prosperity then follows on those terms one day if it is to follow. Some systems distribute the prosperity only to the strongest or what might be called "supreme" ruling party. If that is the free will of the people so be it but stay in that very place. No exports of retarded ideas and ideologies please.
Istvan Hunanui, Chisinau, Moldova

Well I must say, the Mullahs in Iran must be eternally grateful to the US for getting rid of Saddam, and delivering a Shiite Muslim state safely and completely to them.
Noel A Boyce, Port Charlotte, Florida, USA

Why doesn't the US just give Iraq our constitution? It was written by brilliant men, it has served us well for 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.
Catherine Musinsky, Boston, MA, USA

Any effort to force an outcome that is fair when measured from an American standpoint but is out of sync with what the force of democratic majority in Iraq would dictate will ultimately result in more deaths and mayhem than the alternative of letting the natural forces take their own level.
Nigel Darwent, Trinidad and Tobago

I doubt any constitution nowadays can have the simple and definitive stances on personal freedoms and rights that made documents like the American Constitution lasting and timeless. There are far too many financiers, lawyers and professional politicians in our age to make a simple, effective document that ordinary people can understand. Constitutions now have too many mathematical equations, quotas, and complex systems for figuring out representation that open the doors for loopholes and exploitation. Nobody today has the guts to give people the same freedom our forefathers, in a simpler age, were willing to give their citizens.
Gordon Silliker, Oceanside, CA USA

It's up to the Iraqis to determine that and the Iraqis alone without interference from any outsider - especially the US
Talal Radi, Casablanca, Morocco

Why are we letting vested interests of outsiders prevent Iraq from going the way of Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia? Surely that is what's needed to ensure their personal freedom and prosperity.
Dina Raveh, Negev, Israel

Iraq's constitution should ensure unity, freedom and fairness to all
Fadi, Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Most of the new Iraqi leaders are insisting on a new constitution with a mindset based on their past experiences with the old Iraqi regime. They want a federation state that would allow self-rule and eventually enable them to secede. Rather than thinking as one people, one country, one government, they are developing a constitution with only oil and power in mind. Iraq's constitution should ensure unity, freedom and fairness to all.
Fadi, Khobar, Saudi Arabia

I think this constitution will proceed, however I think the resistance in Iraq will continue. I do agree with a new constitution because countries like Iraq need it, But I don't trust this new government since America is very interested in Iraq's oil and I get the feeling that these new Iraqi leaders are Americas puppets. But I don't agree with people getting killed by those who disagree with the government. I just hope my fellow Sunnis quit hating Shias because that is a sin and I hope Sunnis and Shias find a good non-violent Muslim to whom both side's can turn to in hard day's like these.
Hamza Abdul, Sarajevo, Bosnia

Considering that before the war and occupation everyone had free education through university level, electricity, water, basic food stuffs, no taxes, and above all security, this was of course so long as you did not rebel against the government. What then is any form of democracy going to offer the people?
Tom Moran, Austin, Texas

Freedom should be fundamental. Remove religion from the equation (what idiot thought to try and include it?). If they can't agree on the riches of the country take it out and centrally administer it until they learn to behave like grown ups. If they can't reach an agreement that is in their best interest and more importantly that of the wider international community then why are they in power?
Tom, London

Religion should be separate from politics.
Longo, UK

The constitution should incorporate Hudud and Syariah laws as the pillars of Islamic legal system in Iraq. Iraq must be a democratic Islamic state not a secular one.
Kamarudin, Malaysia

The new constitution in Iraq, if imposed by force to all Iraqis, could bring longer strifes. Remember that Sunnis represent the national unity.
David Nader Seguie, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

It is the fight over oil control. Sunnis want one country controlled by the government of Baghdad while Shias and Kurds wished to get some benefits of the oil in their lands. Why can Belgium be a federal state, as small as it is, while Iraq, as big and diverse as it is, can't be?
Vincent, France

A balance among all three groups, of course. The balance should go on addressing the distribution of power, wealth and most importantly the allocation of income from sale of oil. The role of religion should also be addressed. Instead of putting pressure by a deadline, adequate time should be allowed to come up with the ideal constitution each group can agree to without reservations.
Rezwan Rashid, Dallas, Texas, USA

I think that Iraq should have a federal system
Metin Bedehi, Canada, Ontario
I think that Iraq should have a federal system. The Kurdish leaders in Baghdad will not accept a constitution without federalism. It is less then the Kurds rights that they are asking.
Metin Bedehi, Canada, Ontario

The Iraqi constitution has always been the main obstacle to a united and cohesive nation. To satisfy the Kurds, the Sunnis and Shias at once is harder than mixing oil and water. Split the country into three separate parts if civil war is to be avoided.
Kwok, Sydney, Australia

At the very least, freedom of religion. If the constitution does not grant the right for people to choose their beliefs, then the US has failed, and Iraq is not a free country.
Mark, Brisbane, Australia

I think the base for a constitution is equal rights. If that is lacking for women, religion, any ethnic group at all, then its worthless. I suppose if they use Pres. Bush's tactic, they will put a wonderful spin on it and you would think the new bible had been written.
Jeannie , Seattle WA

Surely it is for the Iraqis to decide what their constitution will say? They are the ones who will have to live with it. Theirs is a formidable task and I wish them the very best of luck.
Scott Westwood, Port Orchard, WA, USA

I would love to see equality for women, as well as religious freedom
Vit, Seattle
I would love to see equality for women, as well as religious freedom. It will not happen. I would also hope that the US does not dictate the clause, present in the early version, that we can dictate economic policies. Either they are a sovereign nation or they are not. We have no right to dictate any economic policy for "our" own benefit (read the rich ones.)
Vit, Seattle

Equal rights and civil liberties for everyone and not just only for the rich.
Christina Brown, Newark, NJ, USA

Having made so many mistakes in foreign policies towards the Middle East, we should refrain from expressing opinions on the form of the Iraqi constitution. The time has come for us to be quiet and let the Iraqis decide for themselves....then we can learn how to conduct our relationships with them in the future.
Ken, Wirral, England

Big cities like Baghdad, Kirkuk and Mosul are multi-ethnic, how will they be governed? Iraq unfortunately functioned better as a totalitarian state, so maybe the current Iranian system is better, with a federalism a close second, and a canton system third.
Drew, Kingston, Canada

The Iraqi constitution will be of, by and for the people of Bush regime. Does anyone really think he and his minions would really allow the Iraqi people the freedom to decide on their own?
Randal, Los Angeles, CA, USA

It can be done if there is the will
Michael, Calif, USA
I think that it will take time for the various power-groups to jockey for position and power and finally settle on the contents of their new constitution. When you consider the local history, the fact that the delegates even sit in the same room is a bit of a miracle. We should remember that it took the US. from 1777 to 1781 to ratify the Articles of Confederation and from Fall 1786 to June 1788 to ratify the US. Constitution. Conditions were different then, but in many ways similar; war, different sub-cultures, languages, and religions. It can be done if there is the will.
Michael, Calif, USA

The constitution should rise above any disputes between Shia, Kurdish or Sunni factions. A lot to demand from a constitution, but rather than aiming to fulfil promises, this constitution is important for the message it will transmit presently. It's time for power to rest in the hands of the Iraqis. Under no circumstances should it be the Islamic Republic of Iraq- thankfully that's been quelled. Above all there needs to be a clear separation of religion and individual rights for all interdominational citizens of the state. It feels too rushed at the moment - wrong messages are bound to be sent out. The final draft should contain room for further consideration!
Ayca, Istanbul, Turkey

There is no question about whether the Iraqi constitution should reflect Islamic values. It is an Islamic country. They should keep Islamic culture and values in their country.
Ghazal Farooq, Calgary, Canada

Iraqi constitution should be federal, democratic and modern like the Canadian system. All peoples of Iraq should be treated equally without regards to anything. Islam should be respected by not involving it in politics.
Abbas, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Iraq is now at a historic crossroads
Dr. Muthana Kubba, Cham, Switzerland
Iraq is now at a historic crossroads. It will take more than hard bargaining to draft a constitution acceptable to all parties. Realistically speaking, the only way out is to draft a temporary one now, and aim for the final one in at least two years time. In these two years, good will must be demonstrated from all sides, and a very intensive campaign must be launched to educate people on the crucial ramifications of each alternative on the table.
Dr. Muthana Kubba, Cham, Switzerland

Every man woman and child to get any money generated by the selling of oil during the conflict as payback for the suffering they incurred. This money to be used as for the children's development and paid annually and released until the child is 16.
Fred Smith, Alberta, Canada

The only viable solution to the creation of the Iraq nation is to create a confederacy, with each region seeking such to enjoy limited autonomous rule, the wealth of the nation distributed to each region based on population. It should still have one passport, one coinage, one national military as well as state militias. However, Sharia law must not be imposed in any region unless voted in by the regional population with women voting as well as men.
Dennis Doddridge, Allyn WA USA

The least we could do is make sure that in just a few years Iraqi citizenship is as nice to have as UK or USA citizenship. I hope that Iraq is soon the kind of place people can visit for vacations and pilgrimages.
Douglas M Herr, USA

I think it is fine to have a 'shell' constitution. I hope that the parliament will approve it and let it go to a referendum as it is. Then the candidates for the December election can run on the basis of the unresolved issues, and the people of Iraq can decide on these points. These are major issues that the people will need time to think about and should not be decided on under pressure.
Barbara, Tucson, Arizona, USA

If Europeans could not agree on a constitution, what makes you think these three groups can after decades of fighting and rivalries? And what interests do the Kurds have in this succeeding? They have been running their own show for a decade now and have their own army. Just so they can share their oil revenue with insurgent supporters or Shia clerics who want Sharia law?
James, Montreal, Canada

To James of Montreal: You claim that Iraq will have a harder time agreeing a constitution than did Europe because of historical rivalries and conflicts. Well what do you think Europe has been trying to overcome? Ever hear of WW1? How about WW2? How about the Napoleonic Wars? Seven Years War? I guess Europe must be fated for unceasing conflict... except that they have managed to get along rather well since 1945. Why do people assume that Iraqis cannot do this? By comparison, Iraq is much more homogeneous and much less fractured.
Pete Comas, New York City

I am very pleased to hear that the Iraq government is trying to find a way to peacefully find an agreed upon constitution. I hope in the future that we all can look back and see that something good has come out of all this turmoil.
Robert, Cheboygan, United States

Should not the country be independent first to decide its own future?
Fakhru, Bangladesh/UK
The fact that the rest of the world is debating Iraq's constitution means that democracy and independence has obtained a new meaning in Iraq. Should not the country be independent first to decide its own future?
Fakhru, Bangladesh/UK

Despite Iraq's diverse racial and religious sects, it has always maintained secularism and tolerance. It is important not to let these ignorant and backward religious fanatics turn back the clock and cause divides. Iraq was a modern and progressive country, the constitution should remember that and allow for tolerance and freedom of religious and cultural expression.
Sarmad, Manchester, UK

I don't think Iraq is ready for a federalist system at the present; it would only worsen the insurgency. It shouldn't be necessary anyway, as long as the constitution unequivocally grants equal rights to all ethnic and religious minorities. The single most important point, in my view, needs to be a clear separation of mosque and state. Despite having rid the country of Saddam, if this new constitution moves away from a secular state, reduces women's rights etc, this would really be a step backward for Iraq.
Alyssa Sims, Atlanta, USA

The final draft of the Iraqi constitution should be drawn up in a way that all Iraqi people are involved and respected, and leaves no rooms for abusing religion or democracy in order to remain in power as it is common in almost all countries in the Middle East.
A Nasseri, London, UK

Having a secular establishment in Iraq is impossible
Aniruddha Malviya, Bangalore, India
The most important point which should be noted is that religion will continue to drive Iraq. This is a fact whether or not people want to believe it. Having a secular establishment in Iraq is impossible.
Aniruddha Malviya, Bangalore, India

One of my colleagues left Iraq during the Gulf War and came to Denmark. She's of Kurdish origin and like her, I believe that Iraq should be a federal state and the constitution must clearly state that it is a secular country. If not, it will turn into a repressive theocracy like Iran.
Niels Buus, Aalborg, Denmark

Don't forget a term limit, especially on the top leaders. "Democratic" governments that allow the top leaders to be "re-elected" forever, soon are not democracies.
Tom, Minn, USA

It's too late and it's not going to make any difference to the insurgency, so why all the fuss about this draft constitution? It's all an illusion of progress that the US wants to achieve. If you think the draft constitution will reduce support for the insurgency then you are looking at Iraq through rose-tinted glasses.
John Farmer, Henley-on-Thames, UK

People should stop assuming that they know what is best for Iraq. A Western style democracy is not necessarily always the best solution. How can you tell Iraqis to make sure religion isn't a factor when it is the most important factor in their lives?
Mohamed, Washington, DC

Reading the comments posted on this website, it shows how little non-Iraqis know about Iraq and our society, especially about women's equality and equality in education etc, suggesting that they were not respected in Iraq's history. Iraqi women have always had rights, a top education and been treated equally to men, unlike other Middle Eastern countries. This is just a small example of how little people know so don't tell us what should and should not be in our constitution.
Zeiad, Fallujah, Iraq

Such a document will determine the future stability of the country
Aaron Hakim, Mississauga, Canada
The Iraqi constitution should not be rushed, as such a document will determine the future stability of the country. Important decisions should be left to the future elected parliaments. Only then, when a broad consensus is made on today's unresolved issues, should appropriate language be added to the constitution through duly ratified amendments.
Aaron Hakim, Mississauga, Canada

The constitution should simply say that there is religious freedom but religion cannot control the state, and that no group can control another. And leave it at that. Basically a non-government which will let things settle down and the country will slowly rebuild itself according to its many local needs. More provisions can slowly be added to the constitution over the years.
Jeremy, Atlanta

It is for Iraqis to decide, but if Iraq's political leaders and delegates can agree on religion restricting the constitutional aims of equality for women and minorities, then it is a sad day for freedom really.
Michael, Italy, ex-UK

I personally feel that everyone should have their say in the constitution. If the Sunnis boycott it, then it is clearly not a constitution made by the nation, but a constitution made by the ruling clan.
Kiran Chowdhary Thottempudi, Broxburn

The constitution should be federal however the constitution should provide stipulations about equal distribution of oil revenue. One area that needs addressing in the constitution is that of the Iraqi armed forces, specifically the militias that have loyalties to political groups or parties. These militias must be loyal only to Iraq.
Brett, Arizona, USA

If democracy is to survive, Iraq must be typically a secular state
Levie Mjuweni, Blantyre, Malawi
Whatever conclusion is drawn it must be such that it is in the interest of the majority of Iraqis. Religion must not be given the chance to have an influence in the running of the government. If democracy is to survive, Iraq must be typically a secular state. Religion has proved to nurture terrorism, as is the case today in Baghdad.
Levie Mjuweni, Blantyre, Malawi

Should be gender sensitive to accommodate women's needs; e.g. education for all without discrimination
Rukia, Kampala Uganda

The Swiss Canton model is a suitable structure. It allows regions, ethnic and religious groups self-expression and liberties.
Akram, Oregon, USA

It is frustrating to hear people other than Iraqis giving there opinion on drafting an Iraqi constitution. I'll put it this way, what works in the U.S, Sweden, Zimbabwe or Argentina does not necessarily work in Iraq. What matters the most at this stage is the stability of that country and putting an end to the killing of innocent people. Even though I am for the separation between religion and state, I don't think the Middle East is at that junction yet. Time, dialogue, and the world support is the only equation that will get third world countries to that stage.
Khaled, Houston

The final draft of the Iraqi constitution should read 'We'(the Iraqi people) only. It should be such that will continually seek to promote the interest of the Iraqi people only, and at all times.
Uche, Nigeria

As an Iraqi of Kurdish origin, I would like to see a democratic Iraq for all Iraqis, the dream of having an own state for Kurdish people is not achievable now! Let's build Iraq instead!

I don't understand is how a constitution that will be drafted on the 15th will solve the problems in the present day Iraq . Insurgents and solders will not read them, the common man will not understand what it means, politicians will fight over it . I don't think anybody will benefit from it anytime in the near future.
Supradeep, New York

The big problem of Saddam has been solved, but now we have three smaller problems which could grow into their own regional conflicts
Ibrahim, London, UK
The constitution will be based on the interests of the three major powerbrokers in Iraq: Shias, Kurds and Americans. A fragmented Iraq was always the US intention, made clear by their use of "parallel lines" along ethnic borders after the first Gulf War. It remains to be seen how Turkey will be convinced of a Kurdish state on its doorstep, especially after the recent Kurdish terror attacks in Turkey, and how much the US will benefit from an Iran-allied dominant force so close to Saudi and Kuwaiti oilfields, and a restless Sunni minority. The big problem of Saddam has been solved, but now we have three smaller problems which could grow into their own regional conflicts.
Ibrahim, London, UK

As an Assyrian Christin woman from Iraq, descended from the persecuted indigenous people of Iraq, I believe that the constitution should include and protect ALL Iraqis. I reject an Islamic constitution even if the majority is Islamic because history has shown us the lot of non-Muslim minorities. The constitution should grant all minorities full linguistic, cultural and religious freedom within a united Iraq. No Sunni Iraq, or Shia Iraq a la Iran style or Kurdistan. It is all Iraq and we should all strive to keep it united.
Viviane Esho Youkhanna, USA

The problem is whether Iraq will be a modern and democratic nation in the near future. The constitution must accept the state being ''secular'' on the first hand. In other words the governing of Iraq is in no ways to be based on religion.
Agah Demiray, Istanbul, Turkey

I cannot say what should be in the constitution but I will say government should be separated from religion.
Naheed, Ardmore, USA

One would only have to read about how our constitution was created to understand how difficult it is for any country to draw one up. Take note, our constitution was amended many times.
Ronald J Marsden, Beatty, NY, USA

The Constitution should protect non-Muslims, or I fear they will be subjected to sub-class status.
Joseph, Chattanooga, USA

Freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom to organise workers' unions, freedom of association, religious equality, gender equality, children's rights enshrined, human rights enshrined, unusual punishments banned, one man one vote, secret ballots. If it has those things and they are enforced then Iraq will be a democracy in my view.
Ken, Dublin, Ireland

If a constitution is supposed to be truly representative then perhaps several drafts can be submitted by the various parties and a vote among the people can take place.
Nick Bradley, UK

As a Kurd I wish to see Iraq split into three separate countries
Aras Ziad, Wales
As a Kurd I wish to see Iraq split into three separate countries. Each can have what they simply want. Shia, Sunni and secularism. We will all live happily ever after. Why bother to glue volatile communities together by force. History has proved such an environment unworkable, and has always been a source of trouble in the whole area. Iraqis should wake up and admit the dream of Iraqi unity is over.
Aras Ziad, Wales

I think there will be no problem if the constitution has Islamic flavour but the final draft should be out of Iranian influence.
Amir Ibrahim, Baghdad, Iraq

In order for Iraq to stabilize, Iraq should become a federal state. Having said that, the Iraqi constitution must be drafted in such a way to protect the rights of all religious and ethnic groups.
Marwan, Toronto, Canada

Iraq must be a single nation without autonomous regions, while respecting all religious and ethnic minorities.
Vasili, San Antonio, Texas, USA

In my opinion, Iraq should be called Federal Iraq and get divided into three federations with decentralised power. Iraq cannot stay as it was before, because there is not such a force to oppress other ethnics and minorities. The constitution should give the option to other ethnics to decide their own fate. This way if Shias want an Islamic government then let them have it in their region and if Kurds want something else let them have it in their region. Yugoslavia is a good example for Iraq.
S Parnian, Adelaide, Australia

While we aspire for a system that guarantees the right of every Iraqi (regardless of religion or race) we realise the enormous difficulties facing the Iraqi leaders. Nevertheless, we still hope that the outcome will be an exemplary constitution to all inspired Arabs and the people of the Middle East.
Tony, Manchester

I would love to see protection for ethnic and religious minorities, as well as gays and lesbians enshrined in the Iraqi constitution. Iraq could then serve as a role model to other Arab nations in preaching tolerance. It could serve as a shining beacon of freedom in the region.
Peter Thompson, Ambridge, Massachusetts

Iraq should have an entirely Islamic constitution
Asif, Nottingham, UK
Iraq should have an entirely Islamic constitution as prescribed by Allah, for any executive entity. This would then make it an Islamic state, and all laws and decisions should be based on Islam.
Asif, Nottingham, UK

Iraqi constitution has to have Islamic flavour to it because that's what the people want. But in becoming so it must not suppress the minorities and there should be provisions that free minorities from any religious obligations. The Constitution should reflect the Iraqi culture, people's aspirations, fairness and compromises wherever it is necessary.
Rajiv Thind, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Iraq's constitution shall be based on the aspiration of the people. President Bush can expect anything he wants since American soldiers are station in Iraq. Perhaps, the US shall refer to British history of handling then Malaya drafting of Federal Constitution, which accommodate various ethnics, different religions and with distinct multi-cultural society. This was accomplished by British "without a single bullet".
Ooi CG, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I think that it is very premature to be discussing a constitution for Iraq. I think Baghdad today is like Saigon, South Vietnam in 1970. For good or for bad, as soon as US and British support crumbles for the current Iraq government, the country will see a civil war. And it doesn't look likely that the current Iraq government will survive.
Chris Ralph, Auckland, New Zealand

Don't worry about the constitution so much. We have a constitution in the USA too. Nobody really pays any attention to it. It is just a decoration. Once it is passed, no two experts will agree on what it means. Everybody will say it means whatever they find politically expedient at the moment - especially judges. Presidents will interpret it to mean they are kings. In the end, just like ours, it will mean nothing.
JB, Santa Fe, USA

Contrary to the opinions stated here that it isn't anyone's business but the Iraqis, accepted international law should be part of their constitution. If every country can act in any manner it pleases, then the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights is meaningless, and therefore, the UN and the concept of international law as well.
Greg Burton, Atlanta, GA USA

The most important part of this process is to let it unfold naturally, and not have it forced down the people's throat
Mike Daly, Miami, FL - USA
It's up to the Iraqi's to decide what is in there constitution. Perhaps Europe ought to sit back and see how a constitution is developed; they certainly could use the insight. The beauty (and the hardest part) of a democracy is the natural development of ideas and values that define it's people. The most important part of this process is to let it unfold naturally, and not have it forced down the people's throat.
Mike Daly, Miami, FL - USA

The final draft should be a constitution that the Iraqis can relate to fully and be proud of. The draft constitution should guarantee basic human rights with protection of all minority groups. Religion and women's rights are key issues. Islam is the predominant religion here but other faiths should be respected as well and this should be clearly underlined. The status of women should be drastically upgraded and there should be complete equality and this fact should be enshrined in the constitution. Women should never be treated as second class citizens. They should not be discriminated against at home or in public. At the workplace they should be given equal opportunities and there should not be glass ceilings. Women should be allowed to climb the career ladder solely on their ability.
Pancha Chandra, Brussel, Belgium

The constitution should be of the people, for the people and by the people
Meetu, Sibu

People seem to be asking for equal rights for women and freedom of religion. At the same time they believe that Iraqi culture and tradition should prevail. These two demands are clearly at odds.
Bill Carter, Los Angeles, California

The Iraqi constitution should be made as desired by the Iraqi people and not in accordance with the desires of the US. Iraqis have mentioned that they want Islam to be the guiding force, the US should respect that and stay let the people decide their future. It would be better if the Iraqi constitution is made without any external influence. It would have been even better had some real representatives instead of those elected by an occupational force made the constitution.
Hashim, Islamabad, Pakistan

Of course, Iraq's constitution is none of my business, but the status of Iraqi women ought to be the business of everyone. Unless Iraqi women have as much access as men to political power, economic power, education and personal security (freedom from so-called "honour killings", etc) the constitution will not measure up to the democracy that Bush claims he looks for.
Ann, Chatham, USA

The final draft should contain clear and concise language spelling out the protection of free speech. If the average citizen's voice can be heard without fear of reprisal from the government, the other safeguards of liberties and human rights will fall into place.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio

Equality for all regardless of race, religion, language and gender.
Firdaus, Singapore

Unless this question is directed towards the Iraqi citizens, there is no way outsiders can dictate what should or should not be in their constitution.
Tendai, Dallas, TX

Iraq's constitution should not enshrine religion as a basis for Iraqi nationality
John P, Birmingham, UK
The women's right guaranteed in the previous Iraqi constitution must be guaranteed and extended, not restricted by Shia and Sunni Islamist parties. The deadlines to achieve agreement are meaningless, and the process should not be rushed. Iraq's constitution should not enshrine religion as a basis for Iraqi nationality.
John P, Birmingham, UK

The Iraqi constitution should reflect Iraqi culture and values. Given the vast difference between Middle Eastern cultures and that of the US, the Iraqi constitution should have nothing to do with the US constitution.
Tony, Virginia, USA

The Iraqi constitution should respect all religions, yet it should have an absolute ironclad guarantee of separation of religion and the affairs of the state. This is the only way Iraq's steps towards freedom will bear fruit, making Iraq a golden example for the rest of the Muslim world. Centuries ago, Iraq was a seat of knowledge that flowed towards other regions with a Muslim majority. Hopefully, history will repeat itself.
Siddique Malik, Louisville, KY, USA

Whatever the Iraqis want in it. Opinions from people outside Iraq are irrelevant as it is neither their country nor their constitution.
Brian, Kansas City, USA

Freedom of religion, and separation of mosque/state.
Andy, NY, USA

I hope to see that all groups are represented fairly
Barbara, New York, USA
I hope to see that all groups are represented fairly, that all their concerns are listened to and addressed. This is a time to create their destiny. I wish them all the best.
Barbara, New York, USA

Iraq should do what Germany and Japan did after WWII, create their own type of democracy. To think any one nation has a perfect democratic system is foolish, but Iraq can create an improved state by setting up a fair system of government if they are allowed to.
Dan Braverman, Minnesota, USA

It would be wise for government officials to separate religion and state. The segmentation of Islam could (and has already to some degree) create a political party system doomed from the start. That being said it is vital that fundamental teachings and values of the Islamic faith be embraced while creating their policies. Islam, like Christianity is an altruistic religion and should be used as a moral baseline to create public policy in Iraq.
Eric , upstate NY, USA

Iraq's constitution should include whatever it takes for all sides to ratify it.
Chris, US


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