Saturday, January 01, 2005

Opinion: Elections in Ukraine, Iraq don't compare. Congressman John Shadegg is right to applaud the peaceful resolution of Ukraine's disputed presidential election ("The power of freedom shines through in Ukraine," Opinions, Tuesday). But his attempts to compare the situation there to that in Iraq smack more of partisanship than sound political analysis. (

All 700 employees of the electoral commission in Mosul reportedly resigned after being threatened. (Houston Chronicle)

Plans have been unveiled to deploy 100,000 Iraqi police and soldiers to stave off a possible bloodbath on election day, as US President George W. Bush said polls would go on as scheduled on January 30. (CHINA daily)

Friday, December 31, 2004

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)

[ADMIN] UPDATE: A guest blogger has graciously stepped in. Expect a few posts over the weekend.

[ADMIN] Iraq Elections newswire is on haitus for the weekend, and will return on Monday.

Please feel free to email if you would like to contribute a story to the newswire, or to volunteer as a guest blogger.

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)

Blogger from Iraqi Letter to America writes that the problems in Iraq cannot be solved by just by having elections. They can be solved by democracy. Elections will not work. Democracy will.

Editorial: Any delay now will derail democracy. The Sunni-dominated Iraq Islamic Party's (IIP) decision to stay out of the electoral process in January is regrettable. But the show must go on. (The Times of India)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Thomas Sowell feels the election coming up in Iraq may turn out, in the long view of history, to be even more important than the recent U.S. election. (Christian Science Monitor)

The Board of Commissioners of Iraq's independent electoral commission today hailed the work of the approximately 30 United Nations experts currently in the country to prepare for next month's planned balloting. (UN News)

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)

And another report on Lieberman's trip (Newsday)

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)

A female Iraqi in Baghdad blogs about the elections. Dated Dec 14.

Logistical issues may undermine Iraq vote ( Dated Dec 8.

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.

As U.S. officials struggle with mounting violence in Iraq ahead of next month's elections, they have no ready answer to the nagging question of what happens if they fail to ensure a credible ballot (AFP, via

"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)

Elections in Iraq will not end violence, says U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. "In most of the country, the election will go off well; it's relatively secure" he continued (

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).

An extra 5,000 US troops have been deployed in Baghdad ahead of January's elections, a top US commander said, sketching a plan to tackle an expected surge in violence in the run up to polling day (CHINA daily).

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 (

Six Gulf Arab leaders on Tuesday called for efforts by the international community to ensure the participation of all walks of life in Iraq in the upcoming Iraqi elections due on Jan. 30, 2005 (Xinhua online). Dated Dec 21.

A coalition fielding 228 candidates and supported by Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has been formed to compete in the January 30 national elections (CNN). Dated Dec 9.

Opinion: Don't postpone Iraq's elections (Rocky Mountain News). Dated Dec 6.

The withdrawal of Iraq's largest Sunni political party this week from elections greatly dims the chances of holding a meaningful vote there next month, according to Others (in the same story) disagree.

BBC report: Who's Who in Post-Saddam Iraq. Dateline unknown. This report nicely accompanies the very informative (and more recent) post from the Healing Iraq blog describing the various political coalitions in detail.

Gallup polls of Iraq.

The Communists, Iraq's oldest political party, have submitted a list of 257 candidates drawn from across ethnic and faith groups for the January elections (ABC News Online). Dated Dec 12.

Opinion piece from Marwan Bishara Iraq: Elections are no savior (International Herald Tribune). Dated Dec 11.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Opinion: Iraqi elections a test of American faith, writes Kathleen Parker ( Dated Dec 11.

Iraq's electoral commission criticised Al Jazeera for airing the [bin Laden] tape and vowed to push ahead with the poll (

More election-related violence: a suicide car bomb killed nine at the Baghdad headquarters of a major Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, but missed its leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim (arab news).

Validation through elections (Al jazeera) claims the envisaged Iraq cakewalk has turned into a quagmire with some parties involved now more anxious to acquire or maintain a sizeable political ranking than anything else. Dated March 16.

Opinion: 10 reasons elections in Iraq will succeed ( Dated Nov 27.

United States urges Iraqi Sunnis to vote (Al jazeera).

The Healing Iraq blog describes election mania in Iraq.

Opinion from Phyllis Bennis (ZNet) on the upcoming elections.

Iraq Elections Misunderstood in US (The NewStandard). Dated Dec 5.

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.

UK PM Blair and UN special rep. Qazi discuss the elections in Iraq (UN News).

President Bush expresses confidence that the elections will go forward (Voice of America). Allawi and others echo the sentiments, amidst uncertainty (World Peace Herald).

Iranian Foreign minister warns against sectarian boycotts (

Over 6,000 candidates have registered to run for an Iraqi national assembly seat (Big News Network).

The Iraqi Islamic party, a large Sunni party, boycotts the election (The Journal of Turkish Weekly).

Bin Laden tape urges boycott of the upcoming January elections (The Independent).