Thursday, February 24, 2005

The number of coalition military forces killed by hostile actions has declined significantly since Iraq's Jan. 30 election, according to military officials. (KRT Wire)

Iraqi elections draw varying opinions. President's role seen differently. (The East Carolinian)

Bashdar Ismaeel: Democracy, act 1. The much hailed and maligned milestone for the staging of democratic elections in Iraq on January 30 has now passed. On the surface, a remarkable milestone has been set. This represents the first democratic election in Iraq for more than 50 years and signifies a glimmer of hope that a true democracy, seemingly a traditional taboo in the Middle East, can prevail, even in the face of the conspicuous ethnic mosaic in Iraq. Just as important for the US in particular, the elections convey a strong message against the fight on terrorism, that the will of the people can overcome insurgency, oppression and trepidation. For many Iraqis, with a newfound feeling of freedom and optimism, going to the polls was too good an opportunity to turn down, even in the face of possible death. [...] (Asia Times)

Juan Cole on Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Iraqi Elections and the Future of Islamic Law in Iraq (Democracy Now!)

Letter: Iraq elections over, future in doubt (Gloucester Daily Times)

Faleh A. Jabar: The Paradoxes of Iraq's Election Last] Sunday's announcement, 13 days after the poll took place, of the results of Iraq's first contested elections in half a century, will determine the make up of local provincial government, the Kurdish regional government and, most importantly, the constituent assembly charged with drafting the permanent constitution. (

Editorial excerpt: On the success of Iraq's elections. The Iraqi election results . . . revealed that 58 percent of registered voters cast their ballots. This was remarkably brave, considering the intense violence and intimidation against the poll by insurgents. The results prove many things; above all that the insurgency is not a popular uprising against the U.S.-led occupation. Most Iraqis probably want the Americans and their allies to leave, but would prefer to effect that peacefully -- through the ballot. . . . So it's still a long road to freedom. But at least Iraqi democracy now has a chance, which it did not have when Saddam Hussein was holding sway. Whatever happens now, the elections proved what should perhaps have been obvious, that democracy and the love of freedom are universal values. From Soweto, to Harare to Basra, if you give people even half a run at a ballot box, they will take it. (The Star, Johannesburg, South Africa via Miami Herald)