Monday, October 06, 2008

Violence and elections

Eleven Iraqis, including six women and children, were killed Sunday when a suicide bomber set off explosives during a raid by American forces on a house in Mosul, the U.S. military said.
In a statement it said the bomb went off as U.S. forces exchanged gunfire with suspected insurgents and stormed a building in search of a wanted man. The military said it was unclear whether those who died, all believed to have been from one family, were killed by the blast, gunfire or a combination.
[. . .]
Iraqi police and the local morgue reported that 11 people -- the bomber, three women, three children and four men -- were killed in the Mosul neighborhood known as the 17th of July. The police official said two of the victims were dismembered. He added that the bodies were delivered to the morgue by the Iraqi army and placed in nylon bags used by U.S. forces.
A nurse at the morgue, who asked not to be named, said, "Among the bodies we received, some were apparently killed by an explosion and others showed gunshot wounds."

The above is from Jeffrey Fleishman's "11 Iraqis die in Mosul suicide bombing" (Los Angeles Times) on one of yesterday's acts of violence and we'll note this from Corinne Reilly and Yasseem Taha's "11 Iraqis killed in U.S. raid in Mosul" (McClatchy Newspapers):

Neighbors told police that the dead weren't involved in terrorism and that they were Arab natives of Mosul, the police official said.
He said authorities found evidence of a suicide bomber near the house, including body parts.
Other police officials said the neighborhood where the family died is often the site of U.S. raids.

Alissa J. Rubin and Sam Dagher also cover the violence in their "11 Die as U.S. Force Raids House in Iraqi City and Man Detonates a Suicide Vest" (New York Times); however, the strongest part of their piece may be this:

In other developments, signs that campaigning for provincial elections had begun were evident in a visit Saturday by two prominent Shiite leaders to the Sunni province of Salahuddin. The Shiite leaders -- Amar al-Hakim, the heir apparent to the leadership of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, one of the country's two most influential Shiite parties, and Hadi al-Ameri, a member of Parliament who is also from the party -- met with local leaders in Tikrit, including the deputy governor, Abdullah Jabarah. Tikrit is the provincial capital and the hometown of Saddam Hussein.
At the meeting, which was televised on Sunday, Mr. Jabarah told the Shiite leaders that if they wanted to achieve lasting reconciliation with Sunnis, they should ease rules excluding members of the former ruling Baath Party from government jobs and grant amnesty to army officers associated with Mr. Hussein.
His request highlighted the case of Sultan Hashim, the defense minister under Mr. Hussein, who has been awaiting execution since June 2007. Mr. Jabarah is a former military officer who worked alongside Mr. Hashim.
"There must be a total amnesty for him and the army chief of staff," Mr. Jabarah said in a telephone interview. "It would be a huge step toward reconciliation and national unity."

And staying on the topic of provincial election, we'll pair it with this from Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times):

Even if provincial elections, considered key to balancing power among Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and others, take place by early next year, the parties now in power probably will come out on top again. That's because of name recognition and their appeal to religious voters.

Estimates of provincial elections place them taking place in late January at the earliest. That's a big if. The census that was supposed to have taken place never did. The Parliament used the lack of the census to do away with Article 50 which provided seats and representation for minority groups. Nouri al-Maliki waited until after Parliament passed their bill to object to that omission (indicating he was grandstanding and not concerned). The bill went to the three-member presidency council which passed it with the head of the council, Iraq President Jalal Talabani, signing it into law last week. That's where the process stands currently and, though there are estimates, there has been no date set for provincial elections. At Relief Web, Elizabeth Ferris examines the issues in "Iraqi elections and displacement"

Despite the plethora of media covering triumphant Iraqi voters raising ink-stained fingers in the 2005 elections, not all Iraqis bought into the process. Key political groups boycotted the vote and IDPs were not able to make their voices heard. Interestingly though, arrangements were made so that Iraqis living outside the country could register and vote - and apparently they did so in large numbers. This year the situation has been reversed: those living outside the country are not allowed to vote while provisions have been made for internally displaced Iraqis (those displaced by the violence after April 2003) to participate. Iraqis overseas – particularly those displaced since the start of the war – should be able to vote in the upcoming elections. And IDPs should be encouraged to register and to turn out to vote. While mechanisms are in place this time around to ensure IDP voting rights, the Wall Street Journal reports that only 100,000 IDPs have registered to vote in the provincial elections while other sources put the figure even lower.

In US presidential race news, Karla notes this from Team Nader:

Ralph Nader on C-Span Later Today


Ralph Nader on C-Span Later Today .

Last week, at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Ralph Nader sat down for a conversation with Tabitha Soren (pictured here).

Soren is a former political reporter for MTV and NBC.

Soren interviewed Ralph and then took questions from the audience.

It was a dynamic back and forth -- and great TV.

It lasted for about an hour.

C-Span will be running that event in its entirety today at 5:30 p.m. EST and again at 9:30 p.m. EST.

Hope you get a chance to watch it.

If you don't get C-Span or cable, you can watch it online here when it plays on C-Span.

If you miss it on C-Span, we have it archived on our web site here.

Ralph is currently on the road in New England.

Ralph's been making the case against the McCain/Obama/Bush bailout of Wall Street crooks.

And the need to overturn the corporate two party cabal that supported it.

How's he doing?

Check out this 12 minute clip from yesterday, with Ralph speaking to an audience in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend.

Onward to November

The Nader Team


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