Reportedly backed by Kurdish negotiators, Iraq’s ruling Shiite Islamists prepared on Monday to force a draft constitution through the interim parliament they dominate, brushing off fierce objections from Sunnis as they raced to beat a midnight deadline.

A draft prepared without the participation of minority Sunni Arab delegates appeared nonetheless to give ground to some Sunni concerns about Shiites and Kurds carving out powerful federal regions in the oil-rich north and south.

A text seen by Reuters defined Iraq as a “federal” republic but gave no details and one member of parliament’s drafting committee, from the small Christian minority, said details of the extent and mechanisms of autonomy would be worked out later. ~MSNBC

This was the more or less inevitable outcome. Why it could not have been agreed upon a week ago is a mystery, since nothing significant has changed. If Sunni disaffection with the constitution is indeed very great, the constitutional settlement will be political ‘progress’ that facilitates the expansion and intensification of the insurgency and sectarian violence generally. Perhaps the onset of genuine civil war would convince our latter-day mugwumps that remaining in Iraq is perhaps even greater folly than invading in the first place, and maybe only then will the imperative of withdrawal become obvious to all.