"The 1990s and early 21st century have witnessed increased interest in federalism as a viable system for conflict-prone societies, especially those in the developing world. Federalism has been promoted as an optimal arrangement for responding to ethnic diversity. Its main strengths lie in the fact that it grants internal self-determination to territorially concentrated groups; makes for institutional expression of pluralism; and enhances political participation, equality, accountability, and efficient and equitable provision of services. Iraq is the latest country to consider adopting a federal system of government. Yet despite the potential advantages of a federal system the debates in Iraq have become increasingly polarized. Sunni Arab delegates on the constitutional commission have accused the dominant Shia and Kurdish factions of seeking to force the constitution through despite the lack of a consensus over some of its most sensitive elements. With the ratifying of the Constitution on October 15, 2005, many observers contend that that unless the more contentious issues are resolved quickly, the integrity of Iraq as a unified state will be in question. Several of these issues center on the economic aspects of federalism. The sections below will examine the two most critical in this regard: 1) the orientation of the economic system to be adopted (efficiency vs. security/welfare), and 2) the treatment of the countrys petroleum resources. What are the possible consequences for each implied by the new Constitution? The implications for federalism?"
Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Contemporary Conflict: http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil
Strategic Insights (November 2005), v.4 no.11