Sunday, January 16, 2005

Gunmen in police uniform on Sunday ambushed a car carrying a prominent female Shiite candidate in this month's general election, but she escaped injury when her bodyguards returned fire, one of her aides said. Salama al-Khafaji was traveling in central Baghdad when gunmen opened fire about 1 p.m. from a car and a motorcycle, according to the aide, Sheik Fateh Kashf al-Ghataa, who riding with her. Their security guards returned fire and the gunmen fled. (AP)

Unable to deliver on its goal of bringing democracy to Iraq through the 30 January elections, the US has gone into damage-control mode to lower expectations for the vote. With fears for a low voter turnout among Sunni Arab Iraqis due to a boycott and intimidation, the administration no longer touts the elections as a catalyst to spread democracy across the Arab world. (Al Jazeera)

Lists containing the names of millions of registered Iraqi voters have been printed and are en route to elections officials here, bringing the country logistically at least to the brink of national balloting on Jan. 30., the chief United Nations elections official, Carlos Valenzuela, said today. The lists are still not final: they will be posted at hundreds of district offices around the country, where people whose names are missing can petition to be included, and the validity of names on the list can be challenged, for example, because a registered voter has died or has moved away. (New York Times)

Time Magazine: Can Iraq's Election Be Saved? As Iraqis prepare for a democratic vote, the U.S. is still struggling to prevent insurgents from destroying it.

Iraqi expatriates have been gathering and learning the process of how to vote when registration begins tomorrow for the Out-of-Country Voting program. About 70 Kurds gathered yesterday at the Salahadeen Center of Nashville to attend a seminar where they were told the rules and given maps to the registration site. (WVLT Volunteer TV [Knoxville, TN])

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