Due to the grim security situation in Iraq, more political parties and individuals have withdrawn from the landmark elections due on Jan. 30. According to the Al Furat newspaper, 53 political parties and organizations as well as 30 individuals have asked their names to be dropped from the election lists in a bid to show their rejection of elections under US occupation. The coalition said the announcement was also in protest against the US detention of the alliance's leader Hassan Zeidan Khalaf al-Lihebi. (XINHUA online)
A credible democratic election in Iraq, resulting in a government that is reflective of the Iraqis' will, should help improve the security situation, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell, because the Iraqi people know it's their government that's being assaulted not an appointed government. Powell spoke about the upcoming elections in interviews with National Public Radio's Juan Williams and Fox Television's Sean Hannity January 12.
(US Embassy in Tokyo)
[transcript of Powell's remarks on NPR and Fox News are included in the article]
The Bush administration will consider the results of Iraq's elections credible even if most of the country's Sunni Muslim minority don't show up to vote Jan. 30, an administration official said Wednesday. "If people decide to boycott an election, that's their choice," said Michael Kozak, acting assistant secretary of State for democracy, human, rights and labor. "You can decide not to go to the polls. But then you have no one to blame but yourself." (USA Today)
Under Fire, Election Workers in Iraq Are Scared but Resolute. There are mysterious knocks on his door at night. His friends ask him not to visit. He declines to allow even his first name to be published. This shadowy figure, a young Sunni Muslim from Baghdad, is neither spy nor criminal. He is an election worker helping Iraq prepare for its historic national poll, scheduled for the end of the month. [...] (New York Times)
Jim Hoagland: If one political lesson above all can be drawn from the 20th century, it must be that no nation is ever "owned" by another. Decolonization, the breakup of the Soviet empire, America's defeat in Vietnam, the Palestinian intifada and other events speak authoritatively and clearly on this. So it is both glib and pernicious to propagate the notion that the United States has "broken" Iraq and therefore "owns" it. You do not need Pottery Barn to tell you this is a policy that neither large corporations nor superpowers can enforce. (Washington Post)