Iraqi president expects constitution ahead of schedule Krista-Ann Staley at 8:43 AM ET
[JURIST] Iraqi President Jalal Talabani [BBC profile] announced Tuesday that the country's constitution [JURIST news archive] is in its final stages and could be finalized by the end of July, ahead of the August 15 deadline [JURIST report]. The early completion is contingent on the committee striking a deal with Sunni Arabs involved in the process who are critical of the document and want a statement affirming Iraq's Arab identity. The majority of the committee is made up of Kurds, who demand a federal system granting them the oil-rich city of Kirkurk, and Shiites, who want Islam to have a prominent role in Iraq's future. The announcement comes as Iraq's deadly insurgency, believed to be fueled by Sunni Arabs powerful in Saddam Hussein's regime, claimed the lives of 13 Iraqi workers in a bus ambush Tuesday. US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers [official website] warned, "Clearly, there is going to be more violence [as Iraq approaches elections later this year] because there are people who don't want progress to happen." AP and AFP have more.
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