September 3, 2005

ONE FOR THE GOOD GUYS:

Kurds get their way in Baghdad (Dexter Filkins, 9/03/05, The New York Times)

The old Kurdish guerrilla leader is savoring his most recent victory, won not on the field of battle but in the arid drawing rooms of Baghdad's constitutional convention.

In three weeks of talks here, Massoud Barzani, the former guerrilla leader, quietly secured in the new Iraqi constitution virtually everything the Kurds were asking for, enshrining powers of autonomy that approach those of a sovereign state. [...]

The Kurds even secured a deadline of Dec. 31, 2007, for bringing back tens of thousands of Kurds expelled by the armed forces of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.

The constitution limits the exclusive powers of the central government in Baghdad to a few important areas like control over currency, foreign policy and defense.

Policy making in areas like health care and the environment would be "shared" between the Kurds and Baghdad, but the Kurds would have the right to change most federal laws if they conflicted with local legislation. That includes federal taxes.

The new constitution would ratify all laws passed by the Kurdish regional government since 1992.

In effect, the new Iraqi constitution formally ratifies the quasi-independent status the Kurdish region has held since 1991, when the murderous postwar rampages of Saddam prompted the United States to set up an aerial security umbrella that allowed the Kurds to flourish outside the control of the central government in Baghdad.

We should have recognized Kurdistan as an independent state before the 2003 war ever started.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 3, 2005 8:30 AM
Comments

Yes we should have and still can do making sure that all Kurdish lands be included, and that means those Turkey claims for its own.

Posted by: erp [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 3, 2005 8:53 AM

Federalism, in case no one has noticed, works very well.

The decisive issue in any federal constitution is which government pays the salaries of the judges of last resort to decide issues of division of powers. The tendency is for that court to favor the expansion of power at its own level.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 3, 2005 10:24 AM
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