Saturday, January 29, 2005

Iraq's borders and its main airport have been closed in a bid to halt the violence ahead of Sunday's election. (BBC News)

Pre-election attacks target Iraqi schools. (AP)

Violence update: Insurgents hit the U.S. embassy with an audacious rocket strike on Saturday that killed two Americans and wounded four, and also killed 17 Iraqis and an American soldier on the eve of Iraq's landmark election. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia democracy update: A top Saudi diplomat and member of the royal family predicted that women will be allowed to vote in future elections, giving women in the strictly segregated Islamic nation a political voice for the first time. (AP)

Nightfall approached, the military curfew drew near and Baghdad residents scurried from shop to shop on one of the city's main streets to stock up on food, water and gasoline before Sunday's national election. "I hope the coming government will be wise and will look at what people need," said Umm Ahmed, one of the shoppers who braved the city's dangerous streets. (AP)

Quick opinion round-up, first from an imam:

Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi: Iraqi elections reflect updated version of Islam. (Detroit News)

Steve Hadley: A day of Iraqi hope (Washington Post)

Bakhtiar Dargali: The long road to a vote. (New York Times)

Two University of Arkansas professors are concerned that Sunday’s Iraqi election could result in civil war because of factions harboring differing opinions on when it should be held and confusion about the process. (Northwest Arkabsas News)