Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Iraq's Jan. 30 elections are likely to be "less than perfect" due to violence but the United States is working with Iraq to encourage the broadest possible participation, the White House said on Wednesday. The United States has cautioned that guerrilla action in four of 18 Iraqi provinces could disrupt voting in Iraq, but has rejected appeals from Sunni politicians that the elections be postponed because of attacks from Sunni Arab insurgents who are escalating bombings and assassinations to sabotage the national ballot. (Reuters)

The Iraqi elections should be held as scheduled on Jan. 30 and with the participation of all sectors of Iraqi community, visiting Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini said here Wednesday. Fini, on a two-day visit to Jordan, told a press conference that he hoped the Iraqi elections would be a starting point for a new phase of freedom and democracy in the war-torn country. "Our existence in Iraq is limited to humanitarian purposes," the minister said, reiterating Italy did not take part in the war against Iraq. (XINHUA online)

Opinion: Karim Khutar Almusawi, the representative in Washington of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a leading Shiite political party: Delaying Iraq's Elections Would Turn Back the Clock to Violence and Fear. With only a little more than two weeks to go before Jan. 30, there are still some people who want to postpone the Iraqi elections. But that would be a terrible mistake. (LA Times)

Iraqi Elections Worry Some Conservatives. At age 79, Brent Scowcroft doesn't have much to lose if he speaks his mind. So despite his close ties to the first President Bush, he's not averse to keeping his distance from the second. [ed: this story doesn't appear to add much to the previously-linked-to Scowcroft story] (AP)

Suleyman Kurt: 'Exclude PKK Political Groups From Iraqi Polls'. Although no decision was made regarding a military operation against the terrorist organization Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) taking shelter in northern Iraq, at a "three-way security meeting" attended by Turkey, Iraq, and the US in Ankara, a consensus was reached to cooperate on three issues. (Zaman Daily [Turkey])

US analysts and officials predicted Tuesday, January 11, the coming controversial Iraqi polls to lead to more chaos and instability, with some calling for a necessary delay of the January 30 polls. Heavyweights like former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former national security advisor Brent Scowscroft, and Larry Diamond, a former adviser to the now-defunct US-led Coalition Provisional Authority, have drawn a bleak picture for Iraq after the polls, in sharp contrast to what the US administration is selling to the public. (Islam Online [UK])

Editorial: Facing facts about Iraq's elections. When the United States was debating whether to invade Iraq, there was one outcome that everyone agreed had to be avoided at all costs: a civil war between Sunni and Shiite Muslims that would create instability throughout the Middle East and give terrorists a new, ungoverned region that they could use as a base of operations. The coming elections - long touted as the beginning of a new, democratic Iraq - are looking more and more like the beginning of that worst-case scenario. It's time to talk about postponing the vote. (New York Times via International Herald Tribune)

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