Three scenarios

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The Independent Online

The Sunnis accept the draft constitution with its commitment to a federal structure and banning former Baath party members from public life. The document is passed unanimously by the National Assembly, and the Sunnis recommend co-religionists vote for it in the October referendum. Elections are held in December and the US and Britain begin withdrawal of forces from this time next year. Will this happen? No.


The Sunnis accept the "final compromise offer", made by Shias after the intervention of George Bush; issues of federalism and the Baath party remain in the draft, but will not be technically resolved until after the December polls. The draft is passed by the National Assembly vote; negotiators are accused of betrayal by hardline Sunnis. They get two-thirds of the electorate to vote "no" in three of the 18 provinces. Elections are dominated by federalism. There is bitter ethnic polarisation and violence.


The Shia and Kurdish parties vote the draft into effect in the National Assembly. Or the document is placed before it without a vote. This may delay the October referendum and Sunni hardliners may declare the electoral process discredited. The country slides further into civil war. The US-British exit strategy evaporates; large-scale reinforcements are needed.