The agreement on the Iraqi draft constitution should have been a reason to celebrate but it was not the case. On the contrary, criticism has emerged about issues like women’s rights, federalism and the role of Islam. In fact, the text makes a good balance between federalism and centralization and between Islam and democracy.
However, the problem is not the text but those who support it. The Sunnis feel they have been left aside and they could make the process fail. However, the Iraqis can be proud of this constitution that guarantees equal rights for all citizens and places, Islamic and democratic values in the same level. Nonetheless, the more troublesome issues are left for the Constitutional Court that should settle the differences between federal directions and the central power and between Islam and democracy.
Some critics fear that certain regulations could allow the Shiite South to separate. Shiite leaders use that threat but they would only do it to obtain additional concessions. Nevertheless, this fear increases the fear of the Sunnis. In addition, the US’s insistence in having the constitution ready for a set date reduced the possibilities of reaching an agreement with the Sunnis. Placing the Sunnis in a Writing Committee ad then pressuring them to reach a quick agreement was a bad strategy. The worst thing that could happen now would be that the Constitution were ratified in spite of the large Sunni rejection.

New York Times (United States)

Agreeing to Disagree in Iraq”, by Noah Feldman, New York Times, August 30, 2005.