Saturday, April 26, 2014

The vote in Iraq: Posters torn down, polling stations bombed, speeches given

National Iraqi News Agency reports a Baiji polling station was blown up killing three police members with two more injured. Baiji is in Salah ad Din Province.  This happened after NINA reported:

Baghdad Operations Command declared that military units and security forces received the polling stations in Baghdad and other Iraqi provinces since today Saturday 26, April, to ensure the security and safety of these stations in preparation for a special vote on next Monday, then the public vote on next Wednesday.
The spokesman of BOC, Brigadier General Saad Maan told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / "The leadership has not taken, so far, a decision to impose a curfew on the public and private voting ," adding that "the number of stations of special voting in Iraq are 532 , and the public are 8075 stations ." 

Iraqis vote in the parliamentary elections on Wednesday.  Osama al-Khafaji and Ghassan Hamid (Alsumaria) have noted that there are 9032 candidates competing for 328 seats.  And Baghdad Operations Command says Nouri's forces are in charge of the polling stations as of Saturday.

Saturday when the Baiji polling station was bombed.  Saturday when a school that will be a polling station on Monday and Wednesday was bombed in al-Qaim.  al-Qaim is in Anbar.  As NINA notes, this was one of three polling stations blown up in Anbar today. So four bombings of polling stations after the security forces took over. Oh, wait.  All Iraq News reports 2 polling stations in Tikirt were bombed today.  That's a total of six.  Maybe if Nouri hadn't attacked Anbar, he'd have sufficient forces to protect the polling stations.

Then again, maybe not.  NINA reports, "Baghdad’s streets witnessed heavy deployment of army forces especially around the Green Zone today."  The heavily fortified Green Zone needs additional protection?  How telling.

Even in the face of such high profile failures, Nouri continues to bluff.  Mu Xuequan (Xinhau) reports:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki said on Saturday that his coalition aims to form a " majority" government after the upcoming parliamentary elections so as to make a "change" to the crisis-ridden country.
"Together we can reform the political process because in such process we can't move. We have to make a change on the bases of the constitution to meet the expectation of our people," al-Maliki said at an election rally of his State of Law Coalition in Baghdad.

Sunday's Zaman notes, "Although the Shiite-dominated State of Law Coalition (SLC) led by Maliki -- who is seeking a third consecutive term in office -- is widely seen as the front-runner, experts believe the outcome of the elections may yield a surprising result as there are criticisms of Maliki's leadership. Iraq's election not only offers real competition, but there is also uncertainty about the outcome."

Alsumaria reports cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr gave a televised speech today where he stated this election was the last chance to make a change. He called on the United Nations and other bodies to be neutral, to monitor the process closely and not choose sides in the election.  He called on the country's Electoral Commission to be independent as well.

Mustafa Habib (Niqash) focuses on the vote in Baghdad.  We'll note this section of Habib's report:

Another interesting religious group in Baghdad is that of Christian politicians – there are ten Christian political groups in Baghdad competing for the one quota seat allocated to them. These parties are competing for the votes of those Iraqi Christians left in Baghdad. Much of the country’s Christian minority has been displaced over the past few years – some say as many as 1 million have left – and some of the Iraqi Christian candidates actually travelled overseas to woo potential voters who emigrated.

In addition to the political blocs founded around sectarian and religious allegiances, there are also a number of secular parties competing for Baghdadi votes. A notable new group is the Civil Democratic Alliance, formed as an umbrella organisation for a number of smaller, secular parties and civil society groups. Prominent members include the Iraqi Communist Party and socialist groups and they seem to be relying on the waning popularity of Islamic parties to win votes.

Another of these groups is headed by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who is distinguishing his party, Wataniya, from others by attempting to exclude almost all religious overtones; his candidates consist of civil society activists, women’s rights campaigners and personalities from Iraq’s secular society. It seems that Allawi wants to send a loud and clear message that he remains a liberal personality who believes in the separation of church and state.

Ayad Allawi Tweeted this week:

While Habib looked at Baghdad,  Rudaw examines the vote in Kirkuk:

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the PUK are the two major parties in Kirkuk. But despite running on a joint list in most previous Iraqi elections, they decided to run separately in the April 30 polls due to political disagreements.
Both parties are now vying for Kirkuk’s more than 841,000 eligible voters.
“Unfortunately we could not create one united Kurdish list of candidates,” says Mamand. “However, we are not going to base our expectations on the results of the 2010 elections and we do expect to win more seats this time around.”
Meanwhile representatives of smaller parties in Kirkuk think that the KDP-PUK split aside, the two parties are likely to lose many voters due to their poor political record in the multiethnic province.

Duraid Salman and Tareq Ammar (Alsumaria) report voters turned out in Kirkuk today to protest outside the Electoral Commission Office because voters names are not showing up on the voter rolls and these voters are not receiving the new electronic voting card which is required to vote in the election.  KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani is with the KDP.   Below is a photo of him and his wife Nabila Barzani voting in Erbil last September in the KRG provincial elections.


Alsumaria reports that the KRG prime minister gave a speech today in which he called on people in the KRG to vote and noted that Nouri's Baghdad based government is attempting to impose cuts on the KRG and the only way to stop that is to vote.

AP offers an overview/analysis of the election here and they break down the some of the major parties here.

Meanwhile, Nouri's War Crimes continued today as residential neighborhoods in Falluja continued to be bombed by the Iraqi military.  Alsumaria reports 1 civilian was killed and three more injured by the bombings.  Through Friday, Iraq Body Count counts 826 violent deaths so far this month.


National Iraqi News Agency reports an al-Dour roadside bombing left four people injured, Fayek Dhiab Telfah (an engineer and a member of Salah ad-Din Provincial Council) was shot dead in Al-Rakah along with 2 of his bodyguards (and his son was left injured), an al-Hajaj roadside bombing left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead, an Arab Jabur Village bombing left two police members injured, a Katton al-Razi bombing left two people injured, a battle at a checkpoint northeast of Falluja left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead (two more injured) and 6 rebels dead, Sheikh Ahmed Naem al-Merare, who sided with the security forces against the rebels, died today in al-Muror village from a "bomb placed under a boat," security forces announced they killed 6 suspects outside Albuasaf, security forces killed 10 suspects in Tal al-Zalat Village, a Baquba bombing left 1 person dead and two injured, an eastern Baghdad restaurant bombing left 1 person dead and ten more injured and a southwest Baghdad bombing left 1 police member dead and two more injured as well as three civilians injured.  All Iraq News adds a corpse was discovered (shot to death) dumped in the streets in northern Baghdad.

In other violence, All Iraq News reports, "A two-headed boy who was born on Friday passed away in less than 24 hours in Nasiriya city in Dhi-Qar province."  How is that violence?  The US government's decision to allow White Phosphorus and Depleted Uranium in Iraq has long lasting consequences.  Some Iraqis have seen it repeatedly already -- as have some US couples where one or both are veterans of the Iraq War.

The following community sites -- plus the Guardian,, Jody Watley, Ms. magazine's blog, Jake Tapper, Pacifica Evening News, Z on TV, Tavis Smiley and the ACLU -- updated:

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