On NPR this morning, they noted that the Iraqi parliament has decided that the formula for the referrendum on the new Iraqi Consitution this month, a majority nationally, plus less than three provinces that are two-thirds opposed, will be interpreted to mean two-thirds of registered voters (circumventing a boycott the polls or intimidate people from voting strategy) rather than two-thirds of those who vote. The Sunnis will, fairly, see this as cheating. But, it also means that the passage of the referrendum on the Constitution is almost a foregone conclusion.
The likely result will be a near partition of Iraq, with a nearly autonomous Sumer in the South, a nearly autonomous Kurdistan in the North, and a middle which will receive a declining share of oil revenues. It could even portend a slow motion dissolution of the Iraqi state.
From a U.S. perspective, the clear result is that the referrendum will not quell the Sunni part, at least, of the Iraqi insurgency. If anything, its passage will make things worse. Apparently, the insurgency is already dissolving into sectarian violence and forcible segregation. We could very well see Iraq become the world's next Bosnia. Given the likelihood that the United States will be under strong pressure to draw down its troop levels, despite generals finally deciding that the need to ask for more troops, the results could get very ugly. There is certainly no light at the end of the tunnel for the Bush Administration in its handling of this war.