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Commentary :: International
BTL:Iraq's Draft Constitution, If Approved, Could Provoke Civil War
16 Oct 2005
Interview with Mel Goodman, former CIA analyst and senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Iraq's Draft Constitution, If Approved, Could Provoke Civil War

Interview with Mel Goodman, former CIA analyst and senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, conducted by Scott Harris

As Iraq's constitutional referendum approaches, attacks by insurgents have escalated, resulting in carnage that is only expected to get more intense. Car bombings, ambushes and mortar attacks carried out by combatants resisting the U.S. occupation and opposed to the proposed constitution, have many observers concerned that the Oct. 15th vote may fan the flames of conflict, possibly catapulting the nation into a full-blown civil war. News reports alleging that death squads targeting Sunni Muslims have been operated by the Iraqi government's Interior Ministry have only heightened tensions.

One of the most contentious provisions of the draft constitution would sanction the autonomous zone in the oil-rich Kurdish north and allow for a similar zone in the Shiite south. Many Iraqis of Sunni descent oppose the autonomous zones, fearing that this will inevitably lead to a break-up of Iraq into three separate nations. Other objections have been raised about the status of women under the proposed new constitution, where family disputes, such as divorce, child custody and inheritance, will be referred to religious courts where women have little or no rights.

The draft charter can be defeated if a two-thirds majority vote "no" in three of Iraq's 18 provinces -- a goal that some Sunni leaders say they will campaign for. The October referendum will be followed by a December vote for a new Parliament. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with former CIA analyst Mel Goodman, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. Goodman assesses the dangers connected with Iraq's constitutional referendum.

Contact the Center for International Policy by calling (202) 232-3317 or visit their website at:

Related links:

Mel Goodman's articles:

"Government Accused of Death Squads in Iraq," by Sinan Salaheddin, The Associated Press; Oct. 7, 2005

Middle East Report website

"Bush League Diplomacy: How the Neo-Conservatives are Putting the World at Risk," book by Mel Goodman, published by Prometheus

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
©2005 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
See also:

Copyright by the author. All rights reserved.
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