23:30
Jarafi and the rest of the political leaders have just come into the Assembly and they are all smiling. The commentator on TV is saying that he sees many of the MPs reading a paper which he thinks is the draft. Talabani also just walked in and Chalabi has arrived at the convention centre too. They are all here.

Iraqi TV, by the way, has been showing happy-happy-joy-joy songs for the last half hour. Talabani just walked in things should start happening in a moment.

Just noticed how BIG our president Talabani is! It looks like he can’t really fit in the chair BUT he is happy which promises good news.

23:35
even Barazani, the president of Kurdistan just walked in. This is big boys! I wonder where al-Yawer is and al-Hasani the president of the National Assembly is also not here.

My god! Zibari is also here he just came in.
The kurds are such prima donnas they have to come in one by one doing little waves left and right, but they are smiling.

My mom can’t get over the fact how big Talabani is and she just won’t stop commenting on that. So he needs a diet, and so does your son and 50% of Iraqi men, but he’s smiling today and that’s real good.

23:40
Allawi just walked in and he is smiling as well.
C’mon get started already….

oooh here comes al-Hasani, we should get started

23:45
He left again, come back big man and get this party started.
…..
what are they waiting for?
15 minutes to go boys, YALLA!

Shehrestani, who also presides over the assembly has given a paper to jafari and he is writing something on it…..What? last minute changes? C’mon C’mon.

Man this is so exciting the future of your country is being decided live on TV, the ultimate Reality Show.
Which housemate are we going to vote off here????

23:50
The Assembly’s president is gone again!!? We’re dying here. Actually I am, just need to go pee real bad but don’t want tlo miss this.

23:53
here we go

Al-Hassani (pres. of the National Assembly):
as we have told the Iraqi people that we will work hard to achieve a constitution whish everybody agrees upon and today we reciuved the draft(….Allahu akbar…Allahu akbar) BUT there are still a couple of issues which need to be disscussed in the next three days. All involved will try to achive at least partial agreement on someof these issues. The draft has been recieved and the issues will be discussed. The Assembly will in the mean time work on the rferendun laws.

god bless all and we shall meet in the next three days to resolve alll the issues still to be discussed. Thank you.


00:00
So nothing really. They just wanted to make sure the current Assembly is not desolved. al-Hassani is having a press conference and he is talking about four outstanding issues. One of them is the issue if regions.
al-hassani is saying this is not to be called an extension because we do have a draft what’s going to be done are amendments only.

And it looks like the preamble has not been agreed upon yet!

“we had two choices either take an unfinished draft or apply for a new extension. We chose the unfinished draft”.

!!!!

00:05
Actually the person I feel sorry for most is the anchor on al-Iraqiya. The poor guy was ready to start dancing 15 minutes ago and he is almost ready to cry now….

00:15
My dad just came back, have to see how much he will tell me.

00:25
“everybody’s got a bloody nose”. That’s what he is telling me.
There are still two issues which are still open. The formation of regions is still very much debated. The Shia want this to be an issue decided within the region itself i.e. if Basra wants to become an autonomous region this is decided in Basra only the central federal government has no say. The other parties want this to be a national decision.

The other big issue is de-Baathification. The Shia parties want this tobe mentioned in the constitution. Allawi and the Sunnis don’t want this to be mentioned there.

I did see the draft, I wasn’t allowed to touch it tho 🙂 It looks like a hastily written document, not even good hand writing. It is hand written and with lots of things crossed out. Each page is signed by a memeber of the Shia coalition and a member of the Kurdish coalition.

00:40
At 6pm today after the papers were signed by the Shia and Kurdish coalition the Shia went around giving copies of the hand written document announcing that we have a constitution. They did not bother asking any other Iraqi factions since the Kurds are OK with it.
What they wnated to do is to get al-Hassani to announce that a draft has been submitted. period. And not mention that there are still outstanding issues. They will ask for the three day delibiration period and get the draft they have signed with the Kurds to be passed. Totally ignoring everyone else.
If you watched the live transmition there was a point where there was a bit of a commotion at the Assembly and al-Hassani left, that is because al-Hassani wanted to include that tere are still some disputed issues.

When Talabani was shown al-Hassani’s paper he said yes this is correct there are still issues not agreed upon while al-Hakim argued that this should not be said.
Now why do the Shia want to deny the fact there are still outstanding issues????

Anyway the one good thing that was achieved during the talks today was to solve the resources issues. The draft says ” National resources are owned by all Iraqis” (excuse the rough translation) while the earlier drafts wanted that line to be “owned by the regions” (that was one of the Kurdish demands) rumour has it that it took a call from Condi Rice to the Kurdish lradership to force the change.

Another important change was that the water resources are to be managed by the central government and not by the regions, this would have given the Kurdish region a lot of arm-bending leaverage.

01:00
I sort of feel empty.
That has been really anticlimactic. When all the big politicians walked in smiling and joking I thought we had but, but apparently not. An announcement made by the “Dialogue Council” – the council set up to include the Sunnis – said that they did not agree with the draft. And the Shia Coalition really surpised me by their total lack of consideration for other Iraqi factions. As long as they have the Kurds’ signature on a paper they announce the draft is ready!
Fact is the constitution, unless it is a shoe-on-my-head insulting document, will pass and the Shia know that. I’m just tired and want things to move along.
I don’t know what it is but something feels wrong and I want to go to bed now.

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