When the newly elected members of Iraq’s parliament sit down to draft a constitution, how will they start? Will they say “we the people of the Islamic Republic?” Will they say “we the Sunnis, the Shites and the Kurds?” Or will they find enough common ground and national purpose to say, “we the People of Iraq”?
This is a country with great pride in its history but without a long tradition as a nation state. Thrown together by the colonial powers after WWI and then bound tight under the harsh rule of Saddam Hussein, the country is today a tangle of different ethnicities, religions, and languages. While the election seems to have gone well, many say coming up with a constitution that everyone can live with will be the real test. Finding a center that will hold, drafting Iraqi democracy.
Noah Feldman, visiting professor at Harvard Law School who served as consultant to Iraq Governing Council in drafting the interim constitution
Peter Galbraith, former United States Ambassador to Croatia, senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation in Washington
Anne Barnard, Baghdad correspondent with The Boston Globe