Electoral tempest in Iraq: The Bush administration's vision of remaking Iraq as the Arab world's first pro-United States, Israel-friendly, free-market democracy has suffered many nasty reality storms over the past year. But the elections planned for January 30 are starting to look a lot like a tsunami forming on the horizon that will wash away all illusions. (Haaretz International)
Friday, December 31, 2004
Three militant groups on Thursday threatened to attack Iraqis who will take part in the general elections due on Jan. 30, 2005, said a statement posted on an Islamic website signed by the Army of Ansar al-Sunnah, Islamic Army in Iraq andArmy of the Mujahideen. (Xinhua online)
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Baghdad: US Democrat senators who met representatives of Iraqi Shiite political leader Abdel Aziz al-Hakim said they were encouraged the cleric would work to bring the Sunni minority into a future government and dismissed the notion his movement was under Iranian influence. (AFP, via The Sierra Times)
Eleven governments including Australia's have agreed on arrangements to allow expatriate Iraqis to vote in landmark January elections, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says. (ABC News Online)
Alhurra tunes in to Iraq election: Iraq's first democratic elections in 80 years are being heavily promoted by an Arab language television network operating out of Northern Virginia that will offer an American-style election night coverage from voting places across Iraq. (Washington Times)
Tehran: Majlis Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel here Tuesday said a free, independent and prosperous Iraq would not only be in the interest of the Iraqi nation but of all regional states. During a meeting with Iraqi Ambassador to Iran Mohammed Majid Abbas al-Sheikh, Haddad Adel expressed his view that the holding of elections in Iraq as scheduled would give the people the power to decide their own affairs and work for an independent, peaceful and stable country. (Islamic Republic News Agency)
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Iraqis Prepare for First Open Elections in 50 Years: An estimated 13.9 million Iraqis are eligible to cast ballots January 30, 2005, in the country’s first open, direct, multiparty legislative elections in more than 50 years. The ballots will list more than 100 parties, coalitions and individuals vying for seats in the Transitional National Assembly. With all of the independent candidates and all of the participants on the party lists, there are more than 7,000 candidates for the 275 seats. Each voter will have the right to select one entry on the ballot, whether a party slate or independent candidate. [...] (US Dept. of State news)
The leaders of Iraq and Jordan warned yesterday [Dec 7th] that Iran is trying to influence the Iraqi elections scheduled for Jan. 30 to create an Islamic government that would dramatically shift the geopolitical balance between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in the Middle East (The Washington Post). Dated Dec 8.
"The stakes are clear in this upcoming election: the difference between the ability for individuals to express themselves and the willingness of an individual to try to impose his dark vision of the world on the people of Iraq and elsewhere," [US President] Bush told reporters at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. "It's very important that these elections proceed." (CNN)
Osama bin Laden is just one of many voices in the debate on democracy in Iraq. For weeks, politicians, commentators and clerics both inside and outside the country have been furiously holding forth on whether Arabs should embrace the elections scheduled Jan. 30, and whether the polls would set Iraq on the path to democracy or dismemberment (AP).
Personal story: Clear Creek County Commissioner Peter Kenney left his comfortable life in Colorado, where he trained newly elected public officials, to help build democracy in Baghdad in autumn 2003. Kenney left Iraq in October after he was targeted by terrorists (RockyMountainNews.com).
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Iraq's electoral commission criticised Al Jazeera for airing the [bin Laden] tape and vowed to push ahead with the poll (TodayOnline.com).
Summary of recent events (The Patriot-News): The drive to hold nationwide elections in Iraq on Jan. 30 may have suffered a triple setback yesterday with the suicide car bombing of a major Shiite leader's residence, the withdrawal from the race by the main Sunni party and a call to boycott the elections apparently by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Over 6,000 candidates have registered to run for an Iraqi national assembly seat (Big News Network).