The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has a translation of the draft version of the new Iraqi Constitution. The translation is done by Nathan Brown, who offers the following caution when viewing the current version:
The draft is obviously a work in progress. While the authors occasionally wax poetic- referring at one point to the “talons of ignorance, fear, and want”- other clauses are incomplete or referred to only in provisional wording (For instance the language in Article 20 about women’s representation in parliament seems to reflect the committee’s decision but not the precise language it ultimately forwarded.) Some clauses seem repetitive and few are clear.
In the translation provided below, I have attempted to be as literal as possible. The combination of rough phrasing and literal translation makes for a fairly stilted document. I am making it available, however, because I believe it accurately reflects the committee’s inclination in some important constitutional provisions. I should add a word of modesty about my translation abilities: my Arabic (though I am generally comfortable with legal and especially constitutional language).
A quick review turns up some things that I will only describe as less than perfect. Let’s see if you can’t pick them out for yourself:
1. Anyone who has Iraqi nationality is considered an Iraqi citizen, with all rights and duties according to law.
2. An Iraqi may not be deprived of his nationality nor exiled or deported unless it is proven in a trial that he provided false essential information that resulted in his being granted nationality.
3. Any individual with another nationality (except for Israel) may obtain Iraqi nationality after a period of residency inside the borders of Iraq of not less than ten years for an Arab or twenty years for any other nationality, as long as he has good character and behavior, has no criminal judgment against him from the Iraqi authorities during the time of his residency on the territory of the Iraqi republic.
4. An Iraqi may have more than one nationality as long as the nationality is not Israeli.
The constitution doesn’t even exist and Israelis are already an enemy of the state. Fabulous. I guess the ‘talons of fear and ignorance’ proved to be irresistable, after all.
The document is also completely loaded with social welfare assurances, including a right to health care, a right to work and the state’s obligation to provide jobs, the statement that all natural resources are owned by the state, etc. The document needs some work, to put it mildly. This also stands out as unrealistic:
3. Citizens may not own, bear, buy, or sell weapons, except by a permit issued in accordance with law.
Good luck with that one, guys. My gun carrying days are over since I left the military, but if there was ANYWHERE in the world I would refuse to live without a gun, it is Iraq for the foreseeable future.