Iraq’s new draft constitution, originally due on August 15, is finally scheduled to go to the printing presses so that it can be distributed throughout the country. The final text addresses some of the difficult issues—such as federalism, women's rights, religion, and the country's identity—while sidestepping or even complicating many others. The country's voters will head to the polls on October 15 to decide whether to accept or reject the controversial document.

Nathan J. Brown, an authority on Arab constitutions, has been closely following the drafting process and offers a detailed, article-by-article commentary on the proposed constitution. Brown explores how the document would change Iraqi politics and what loopholes and gaps still remain. He identifies the many questions the constitution simply postpones, how it is likely to lead to a fairly loose confederation rather than a tighter federal structure, and how its rights provisions are far less revolutionary than has been claimed.