The elections will pose a grave test for the Iraqi interim government, Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds as loyalists of the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and armed Islamic extremists have threaten to spare no effort to derail the voting, said analysts. (XINHUA online)
Stephen Schwartz: Bogus Objections to the Iraqi Elections As the days wind down to the Iraq election, scheduled for January 30, opponents of the Bush administration's project for democratization of the Islamic world, including Americans, Europeans, and Iraqis, continue to object to the timing of the vote. It has become common to hear calls for the balloting to be put off for weeks or months. [...] (Front Page Magazine)
Editorial: Iraqi elections must take place Sunday. One sign of a stable government is elections held regularly and on schedule. That's why elections in Iraq simply must be held as planned Sunday. (Daily Mining Gazette)
Fourteen years ago, Saddam Hussein created an army of weeping mothers and widows by mowing down thousands of Shi'ites suspected of taking part in a rebellion against his rule. Now, the Shi'ites stand on the brink of real political power and are deciding how to treat the Sunni Arab minority that tormented them for so long. (Washington Times)
Ehsan Ahrari: Zarqawi vs. Sistani. Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has already emerged as a major terrorist and an adversary of the United States in Iraq, especially since he formed a loose association with al-Qaeda. Now he is making a name for himself as a direct challenger to Shi'ite leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. [...] (Asia Times)
BBC News: Iraq's Shias: Bulwark against civil war?
Iraqi blogger Hammorabi exclaims that only 72 hours until the new Iraq.
The Friends of Democracy blog will be posting stories throughout the elections, from grassroots Iraqi correspondents in the field, in Iraq. Two recent ones: A story from the Missan province about the area being plastered with campaign posters, and discusses some of the platforms. [and on an issue this blog mentioned a week ago...] This story mentions that infrastructure concerns (water, electricity, etc.) are high on the list of campaign platforms.