Federalism and the New Iraqi Constitution

Policy Forum
May 5, 2004
12:00PM to 2:00PM EDT
1st floor/Wintergarden
Featuring Amatzia Baram, Senior Fellow, United States Institute of Peace; Ilya Somin, Assistant Professor of Law, George Mason University; and Patrick Basham, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

If Iraq is to be recast as a beacon of Islamic democracy, how should the new government be configured? The recently signed interim Iraqi constitution has done little to relax political tensions within Iraq or to inspire confidence in the likelihood of a peaceful transition to a democratically elected, sovereign Iraqi government.

A permanent constitution must resolve a critical issue: what is the nature of Iraqi federalism? To ensure that Iraq does not become another Bosnia or Lebanon, the introduction of a system of representative government must accommodate the complex, heterogeneous nature of Iraqi society. Drawing upon the federalist experience both within and beyond the Middle East, our panelists will recommend ways to deal with the political obstacles strewn across the path to a peaceful, federal Iraq.