CIA's World Factbook Iraq page.
Casting ballots for Iraq's future. With Iraqi elections planned for Sunday, German papers look at the muddle of issues facing voters from Basra to Kirkuk and offer more angst than lucidity. Will Shiite-Sunni rivalries lead to civil war? Will Turkey invade northern Iraq if the Kurds win in Kirkuk or is Ankara just rattling its sabers? (Spiegel Online)
Annan warns against voter intimidation in Iraq. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged all Iraqis on Friday to help decide their country’s future by voting and warned that intimidating voters, election workers or candidates was never justified. Sunday’s elections, the first since a March 2003 US-led invasion toppled former leader Saddam Hussein, “are the crucial first step toward a new constitution and a free and stable Iraq,” Annan said in a message to the Iraqi people. (Khaleej Times)
People in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, are stocking up on food, water and fuel in the run up to election day on Sunday amid fears of widespread violence. (Reuters)
Critics see hyprocrisy in China's support for Baghdad elections. China has contributed $1 million to help organize Sunday's election in Iraq, raising questions at home and abroad about how a country that supports balloting in another land can deny its citizens a chance to vote for their leaders. As China gains a growing role on the global political and economic stage, it increasingly faces such twists of logic. So far, Chinese officials seem undeterred by the apparent contradiction. (L.A. Times)
Omar Al-Faris of Jihad Unspun: More attacks, as legitimate elections become doubtful.
Nechirvan Barzani: Kurdistan and Iraq. (Washington Times)
Jonathan Steele: Can elections really change things? Sunday's vote won't restore Iraq's sovereignty because the key issue of how long the occupation should continue is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. (The Guardian via Salon.com)
Michael Rubin: A Fresh Start. Iraqis don’t want us out, but they do want some changes. (National Review Online)