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Dwyer: Most Iraqis want a constitution - and want U.S. troops to leave


By Gwynne Dyer / International View
Sunday, October 30, 2005

There's not much industry in Iraq any more, but one industry is thriving: historical milestones. It came up with two new ones just last week: a brand new constitution, and the 2,000th American soldier to die in Iraq. But just as with the country's other main product, turning points, Iraqi milestones are not quite as solid as they seem.

     Take the constitution. It took an astonishingly long time to count and recount the votes until the results finally came out right, but ten days after the referendum on 15 October, the Iraqi authorities announced the glad news. Only two of the country's eighteen provinces, Anbar and Salaheddin, had voted against the constitution by more than a two-thirds majority, so it had passed. If a third province had done the same, it would have failed -- but miraculously, the third province that seemed certain to do so, didn't.

     Like the other two, the third province, Nineveh, has a Sunni Arab majority. Sunni Arabs are almost all hostile to the new, American-backed federal constitution, which they see as the gateway to civil war and partition. In Anbar, where practically everybody is Sunni Arab, 97 percent of the voters said no to the constitution. But in Nineveh, where 68 percent are Sunni Arabs, the vote-counters finally declared that only 55 percent of the voters had said no, which fell short of the two-thirds threshold to reject the constitution. How odd.

     It is particularly odd because most of the other people in Nineveh province are Assyrian Christians, Shabaks, Yezidis and Turkmens who also strongly opposed the constitution, mainly because of its strong Islamic flavour. Only the Kurds in Nineveh, a mere eight percent minority, supported it.

     But in the end it hardly matters that the constitution probably had some unofficial help in getting ratified, because there is no longer an Iraqi state to be ruled by it. There are government ministers in Iraq, and even an army of sorts (though up to half its personnel are fictional, invented solely to justify their pay-cheques), but there is not a state.

In Iraq in 2005, each ministry is the private fief of the party that controls it, not an obedient branch of a central government. Most officials and soldiers are stealing all they can, for they know that their present jobs will not exist in a few years' time. The kidnapping-for-ransom phenomenon has got so bad that the Iraqi middle class is emigrating en masse to Jordan. And through it all slip the fighters and bombers of the resistance, killing almost at will.

     Which brings us to last week's other milestone, the 2,000th American soldier to die in Iraq. For months this moment has been built up in the Western media as the time when the American public might at last mobilise against this lost war fought for the wrong reasons. But I listened carefully all day and I didn't hear a single tectonic plate move.

     There are three reasons for the silence. One is that most of the Americans who are dying in Iraq are poor people's kids, and most poor people don't know how to organise and network politically. If there is no draft (conscription) to threaten the lives of middle-class kids, there won't be a big anti-war movement.

     Two is that two thousand dead soldiers (and 15,000 injured soldiers, half of whom have lost a limb or their sight or their mind) is not really all that many in a country whose population is nearing 300 million. More than two thousand Americans will die on the roads this month. More than two thousand Americans will die of gunshot wounds this month without ever leaving the United States.

     Three is that the so-called troubles of the Bush administration -- indictments, investigations, and nasty rumours about various senior Republicans in the Congress or the White House -- actually distract attention from the real disaster, which is not happening in Washington at all. The administration's spin-doctors don't mind. By all means, let us talk about the alleged but arcane iniquities of Karl Rove, and not about the brutal realities of Iraq.

Let's talk about the reality anyway. The British Ministry of Defence paid some local academics to survey Iraqi public opinion some months ago without telling them who their client actually was. So the pollsters delivered a truthful report -- which said that 45 percent of Iraqis support attacks against "coalition troops" (mostly Americans and British), and that fewer than one percent believed that foreign military involvement was helping to improve security in Iraq.

     About 20 percent of Iraq's population are Kurds who want independence and see the US occupation as their best chance of getting it. They will back almost anything America wants in Iraq. So to understand Arab opinion in Iraq, you have to subtract Kurdish opinion -- and then you see that practically all Arabs in Iraq, both Shia and Sunni, and not just 82 percent of "Iraqis," are "strongly opposed" to the presence of foreign troops. Almost two-thirds of Arab Iraqis, not just 45 percent of "Iraqis," believe that attacks on occupation troops are justifie

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MP3 Gala 'd Garna - Anna Athuraya by Shemon

Who are the Christians of Iraq? 

October = Tishrin I

An Assyrian Engineer Killed by the Kurds in Kirkuk 10, 30, 05

Kurds Reclaiming Prized Territory In Northern Iraq 10, 30, 05

Dwyer: Most Iraqis want a constitution - and want U.S. troops to leave 10, 30, 05

The oldest lense 10, 28, 05

Westminster Hall debate on Iraqi Kurdistan  i.e. northern Iraq 10, 25, 05

Iraq constitution approved  10, 25, 05 

Assyrian and Babylonian medicine was surprisingly advanced 10, 24, 05 

What's in a Name? 10, 12, 05 

Draft constitution denies equal rights, say Iraq's Christians  10, 22, 05

Rejection of Iraqi Referendum Possible as Nineveh Vote Fraud Reviewed 10, 21, 05 

Rosie Malek-Yonan's Schedule of The Crimson Field Book Tour 10, 20, 05

TURKEY DECRIES the Assyro-Chaldean MONUMENT IN FRANCE 10, 20, 05

Vote Figures for Crucial Ninveh Province Don't Add Up 10, 19, 05

Iraq Constitution: Bad news for Christians  10, 19. 05

Assyrian students unite 10, 19, 05

Iraq bishops ready to seek help from Pope  10, 19, 05

Charter vote resonates with Valley Iraqis Likely passage gives many hope 10. 18. 05  

Dividing the Chaldeans from the Assyrians by the Iraqi Constitution  10, 18, 05

A monument in France dedicated to the Remembrance of Assyro-Chaldean massacres by the Ottoman Turks. 10, 17, 05

Swing state' of Nineveh may be moving in favour of constitution 10, 15, 05 

Iraq votes for the Constitution and for its future 10, 14, 05

Forgotten victims - Iraqi Christians who speak the language of Jesus  10, 14, 05

Mgr Sako: people in Kirkuk have not read the constitution but will vote  10,13, 05

Terrorism strikes all Iraqis, says Patriarch 10, 13, 05

Assyriska a national football team without a country  10, 12, 05

Referendum: 'Yes' in Kurdistan and Southern cities and 'No' in Kirkuk, al Anbar and Diala 10, 12, 05

Chaos depriving Towns from Voting - The Minorities Fear the Domination of Islamic Parties10, 12, 05 

Bas-reliefs of winged goddesses discovered in western Iran 10, 12, 05

Immigration of Iraqi Chaldeans Abroad Passes through Jordan 10, 12, 05

Baghdadis tell their stories  10, 12, 05

Assyrialogist Henry Saggs Dies at 84 10, 10, 05

Letter by Ms. Jacqueline Zomaya The Assyrian representative to the Iraqi National Assembly 10, 10, 05

The Kurds are "cleansing" their domain ­ and provoking a civil war in Iraq  10, 09, 05

Nestorian label "imposed unjustly upon the Assyrians"  10, 08, 05

Iran's Assyrian MP-Felicitation to the Supreme Leader  10, 8, 05

Syriac Manuscripts from the Vatican Library: Volume 1 10, 08, 05

Sunnis Threaten Referendum Boycott if Rules Not Changed  10, 05, 05

Helping the Iraqi refugees in Jordan  10, 04, 05

Final Draft of Iraqi Constitution  10, 03, 05

Two More Assyrian Children Orphaned  10, 02, 05

Discoveries of the Assyrian antiquities in Syria 10, 01, 05 

Sectarian Strife tears apart Baghdad's Neighborhoods 10, 01, 05

September = Eilool

POLITICS-IRAQ: Kurd's Voting Shenanigans Cloud Key Province 9, 28, 05 

Church in Iraq Helps Rebuild New Orleans Parish; U.S. Relief Agency Bridges Partnership 9, 28, 05

The Armenian Genocide And The Assyrian Factor 9, 28, 05

Interview with the Writer and the Historian Rosie Malek-Younan 9, 28, 05

Assyrian Cultural Festival in Ceres CA. 9, 27, 05

Swedish Radio's Decision to End Turkish Language Broadcasts 9, 27, 05

Assyrian Refugees Face Harsh Discrimination in Greece 9, 26, 05

A cry of help by the Assyrians 9, 26, 05

samples of songs by various Eastern and Western Assyiran singers. 9, 24, 05

USAID: Iraq Reconstruction and Humanitarian Relief  9, 24, 05

4 Assyrians Killed in Assassination Attempt on Former Iraq Assyrian Minister  9, 23, 05 

Seminar in Stokholm About Seyfo ( world war one massacres)  9, 22, 05

Iraq chaos threatens ancient faith 9, 22, 05 

The Crimson Field Previews 9, 17, 05  

Treatment of Horses" by the Assyrian scientist of the 13th century Faraj  9, 21, 05 

A New Satellite T.V. Program From San Jose 9, 20, 05

English translation of the ancient Mesopotamian tablets  9, 20, 05

First Nestorian [Church of the East] search engine goes online 9, 19, 05

Download Assyrian songs.by ReeMon 9, 18, 05 

Letter from the 'Save the Assyrian Campaign'. 9, 16, 05 

Growing Opposition to Dividing the Assyrians 9, 16, 05

Books by Assyrian writers 9, 15, 05

English cardinal warns of Iraqi constitution  9, 14, 05

Brutality Against Christians in Iraq Continues 9, 13, 05

John Kanno for Congress  9, 12, 05

Reply to Culomnist Ken Rudin   9, 12, 05

Assyrians: Wine-producing season starts in Midyat 9, 11, 05

Iraqi Christians cautious about new constitution 9, 11, 05

Assyrian Human Rights Documentation Project Launched in Canada 9, 6, 05

Fire Consumes Over 500 Assyrian Shops in Baghdad Suburb 9, 6, 05 

Education in Armenia for Assyrians and other Minorities 9, 6, 05

Capital of Musasir gov't in northwest Iran Discovered  9, 5, 05

The Assyrian Democratic Organization Rejects Iraq's Constitution 9, 4, 05

The Ordeal of the Christians in Arab countries 9, 3, 05

August = Tubbakh

"Arab Christians"? Not in My View  8, 31, 05

Emotional Funeral for Assyrian Murdered By Kurds in Iraq 8, 31, 05 

Risking it all for a song 8, 31, 05

Iraq's draft constitution and the ChaldoAssyrians 8, 30, 05

Kurdish Reprisal Attacks Against Assyrian Christians in Iraq  8, 27, 05

For Basra's Christians, Hussein era the good old days 8, 28, 05

Assyrian Restuarant in Chicago Reminds Iraqis of Home 8, 28. 05

Assyrians in Northern Iraq terrorized by the Kurdish Mlitia 8, 27, 05

Iraq's Proposed constitution could lead to fragmented state. 8, 27, 05

Conflicts between Kurds and the Shabak 8, 26, 05

New Iraq constitution may throw women's rights into Stone Age  8, 26, 05

Assyrians of Telesqof demonstrate against being divided in the Constitution 8, 25. 05

Assyrian Demonstrators Voice their Concern about the New Iraqi Constitution 8, 24, 05

A letter from the Rep.of Shabak in the National Assermbly  8, 24, 05

New Iraq constitution must protect Christians 8, 22, 05 

The text of the latest Proposed Iraq Constitution  8, 22, 05

Outside View: Who lost Iraq?  8, 22, 05

Iraq's Religious Minorities Concerned About Islamic Constitution 8, 22, 05  

Iraq TV's 'Cops' breaks new ground  8, 21, 05  

Young Catholics Gather in Baghdad  8, 20 05

Iraqis Squeezed Out By Kurdish Expansion, Muslim-Centric Constitution 8, 20, 05

A Memoradum from the Christians of Iraq to the Drafters of the Constitution. 8, 20, 05

Shafting Nineveh: The Fate of Iraqi Christians 8, 20, 05

Plea for Assyrian Christians and Iraqi minorities 8, 18, 05

Undemocratic aspects of the new Iraqi constitution draft 8, 17, 05

Iraqis vent rage on call-in TV after bombs kill 43 8, 17, 05

Iraq's Non-Muslims' Constitution Fears  8, 17, 05

Kurdish Gunmen Open Fire on Demonstrators in North Iraq 8, 16, 05

Their suffering continues 8, 14, 05

IRAQ: Focus on constitutional concerns 8, 14, 05

Photos form homeland  8, 14, 05

Despite Turmoil, Christians Place Faith in New Iraq 8, 13, 05 

Iraqi-American Translators: The Untold Story 8, 12, 05

Life in Ankawa 8, 12, 05

Why Torah's Hebrew script was Changed to the square Assyrian script 8, 11, 05

Assyrian Restaurant in Chicago  8, 10, 05

Speech at the Commonwealth Club of California By Fred Aprim 8, 10, 05

KURDS TAKE A HARD-LINE STANCE ON IRAQI CONSTITUTION  8, 10, 05

72nd Assyrian American National Convention   8, 09, 05

Unresolved Iraqi Constitutional Points  8, 09, 05

Information wanted for Upcoming Documentary about Iraqi women 8, 09, 05

Assyrian Objection to the Nationality Law 8, 06, 05

Iraqi Christians Remember Church Bombings One Year Later 8, 05 05

Looted history  8, 05, 05 

Book Release: Rosie Malek-Yonan's "The Crimson Field" 8, 05, 05 

Iraq Must Avoid a Rollback of Rights 8, 04, 05 

Nina Shea: Rule of law, rule of Islam  8, 4, 05

Iraqis in U.S. Won't Vote on Constitution 8, 03, 05

Bush's Global War on Christians 8, 01, 05

An Open Letter to Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka I  8, 01, 05 

Democracy could struggle in Islamic Iraq  7, 30, 05

Assyrian Granny Shimmes's Contribution to Rendezvous of Civilizations 7, 29, 05

House amends funding bill to help Iraqi Christians 7, 29, 05

Iraq draft constitution fails to protect religious, human rights, USCIRF says  7, 29, 05

 

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