Images of federal state application

D.Mohanad Yousuf

Iraq New Center Adviser

Translated by Shaimaa Shedeed

The lawmen see the federal state is that state formed whether of union of independent entities or of entities separated from a grand state. After that, such entities reunite by selection under legal formulas.

The federal state arises from unity of two states or number of opposite or converging states whose societies are of common social, geographic, historical, cultural, religious and national traits. Every state waives some of its internal powers and its external sovereignty in order to be united and to establish the federal state on federal constitutional base such as the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America or the Swiss Confederation.

There is another type of federal state which is that kind of state arises from the dissolution of a grand central state due to social, ideological, political or economic problems or due to differences in languages, customs and cultures. Thus, these disconnected societies demand full independence from the central government and demand the right of self-determination that guaranteed by the United Nations’ principles. These separated states work on formation of a sole state as a federal state according to a federal system such as Russia, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

The federal state system is a developed and improved ruling the hum being knew after many ruling experiments. It is composed of different parts but at the same time these parts are deemed distinguished. This composition really distinguishes the federal state from the central state as the federal state composes of two states or more or of two regions or more each of which has a specific ruling system and self-independence. In addition, every state or region has a constitution, parliament, government, laws, army, special resources and even a special language such as Canada and others.

However, in general it is a one at the end similar to the central state as it has federal constitution, federal government, federal parliament, federal court and federal army.

The difference between the public and private perspectives for the federal state has several forms in terms of the administrative connection, the political connection, the national connection and the sectarian one. For example, the ruling form in federation takes a political, administrative and regional formula of unity and this rule formula is codified as constitutional rights in the central constitution. It is practiced in the same frame of the central state, as the constitution identifies the central federal government competencies while other competencies are granted to the federal region of the government.

One of the most catastrophic flaws of invading Iraq that the US wanted to get Iraq wearing the federal clothes forcibly regardless the Iraqi society forces, the Iraqi culture or even the Iraqi social level or opinion. Integration of federal systems forcibly with some specific procedures such a preparing the constitution’s articles and laws in order to create a constitutional reality of concepts like human rights, law sovereignty, justice and freedom while the society doesn’t understand or isn’t qualified to such terms as it has just left a central, directed and culturally limited system surely can’t be resulted in a contract of optional agreement among the Iraqi social categories who are different in terms of sects, doctrines and languages. In fact, the US then didn’t pay any attention to the respect should be prevailed for the religious, sectarian or social minorities.

Applying federation in any state depends firstly on the necessity of finding a frank definition of the federal approach in order to enable the majority of reaching self-convictions around the validity of establishing such federal system in their states. It also depends on the necessity of outlining constitutional and procedural guarantees to keep the unity of the state on peoples level and lands one and to grant the full freedom to the regions’ sons in order to outline the administrative relations between the region and the capital in a way achieves the minimum amount of harmony in managing the regions’ affairs.

The state concept standard in Switzerland needed more than eight hundred of years until being able to reach to the current model of federal rule and to draft a new constitution outlining the powers of federal authorities in terms of foreign policy, defense, individual freedoms, justice, economy, religious tolerance and citizenship.

In the Iraqi case, establishing a ruling system where the democracy and fairness principles are really being followed relies on what the social forces actually want. For example, the Kurd from the beginning want to support decisively the federal idea with its geographic and ethnic structure. This was on contrary to the Arab Sunnis who didn’t seem enthusiastic by any mean to the federation choice and rather prioritized the Iraqi independence, sovereignty and regional unity in the frame of a strong central state, while the religious Shiite forces seek for adopting a system similar to the powers distribution system in Lebanon according to the sectarian affiliation.

Meanwhile, other sectarian and ethnic groups such as Turkmen saw that federation should be built upon administrative base rather than ethic one and demanded getting Kirkuk out of the Kurdish federation, while the Arminian Assyrian of Christians demanded an Assyrian federation in Nineveh and other locations where they live. The Faili Kurdish and Shabak called for keeping their rights in a federation comprises their lands and doesn’t impose joining the Arab or Kurdish federations.

The federation idea in the Iraqi society is new and it actually appeared in the 1990s after the Kuwait war when the north of Iraq of Kurdish majority separated from the central authority in Baghdad by a support from the NATO. The Kurdish Parliament made a decision of adopting a federal system in Iraq in October 4th 1992, which stirred a wide argument among the political and intellectual sides around its future effects on the Iraqi society.

Since that time, the federation principle has been suggested by the Kurdish forces. After 2003, the Iraqi temporary administration law for the state as stated in article number 4, the ruling system in Iraq is republican, federal, democratic and multilateral while the powers are divided among the federal government, the regional government, governorates, municipalities and local administrations. The federal system is based on some geographic and historical realities and not on considerations of origins, sects, nationalities or doctrines.

Without a social dialogue persuaded with the efficiency of federation in Iraq, installation of the federation principle in the Iraqi constitution can’t be the most adaptable system and can’t help the Iraqi society’s components living together. Such kind of social dialogue should be accompanied with a comparison between the international trend towards the federation as a tool for human development and the Iraqi political heritage where the centralization of the state represented a tool for the forcible domination in specific areas. Consequently,  that who wants to overcome corruption and live freely and happily, federation shall be the best way, while that who wants to live with the past’s memories and fears and with the past sectarian ideologies, he has no way but centralization.


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