Day After Elections
VI Day? [This image from Corriere della Sera suggests something uncomfortably sinister, doesn't it?--Nur]
Baghdad. Inevitable jockeying for position within the new government has begun, even though the results of the election will not be known for ten days. An Iraqi politican admits that bargaining has already commenced behind closed doors. The real horsetrading begins in mid-February once the results are announced and the 275 seats of the National Assembly are distributed. The task will be monumental because of the majority Shi'a win at the polls, the demands of the oppressed Kurds and the claims of the Sunnis in the rebellious provinces. Western political observers and diplomats believe that the Shi'a coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance, will be awarded up to 160 seats.
Iraqi Vice-President and Dawa party leader Ibrahim Jaafari, a Shi'ite, warned of a civil war should US troops be pulled out.
Erbil. Kurdish voters surveyed for thoughts on secession. The Movement for a Referendum on Kurdistan polled voters exiting the polls in Kurdistan to test the waters for Kurdish independence. Spokesman Jamal Houaïzi says voters were also asked for their views on the annexation of the city of Kirkuk. According to Mr. Houaïzi, Kurdistan was forcibly annexed by Iraq 1924 and like the peoples of the ex-Soviet Union, Kurds have the right to consider cutting ties to Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein. He will publish the results of the survey soon. Meanwhile Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, has restated his vision for a federal state--"pluralist and democratic".
Ankara. Ergodan concerned about the status of Kirkuk. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not at all at ease with the situation in Kirkuk and has reproached Washington through visiting Deputy Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith for not curbing Kurdish efforts to annex Kirkuk, which he believes should remain under Arab and Turkman control. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül says Turkey will not remain on the sidelines should Kirkuk be annexed.
- Arab researcher for the Paris-based Iraq Crisis Group Mrs.Loulouwa al-Rashid says that the shortcomings of the electoral process will push Iraqis towards a return to "premordial identities." She points out that piggy-backing three elections in one left a lot of voters confused. Mrs. al Rashid continues, saying The Iraqis know that they elected a 275-member National Assembly but they remain ignorant of the details concerning its powers and do not know what the milestones should be towards transition.. She laments the absence of any specific political program. We are engaged in a race to stuff individual wallets in a system of predation where deals are hammered out behind the scenes. After the elections, the same clique of exiles will still be in power.
- Saudi Arabia: Jaber Habib Jaber writes in the Saudi daily al Sharq al Awsay that the elections were ambiguous. The daily al Riyad regrets an "election as bombs fall." Arab News, an English-language Saudi newspaper, says elections represented a defeat of terrorism and a victory for moderation.
- Jordan. Jordanian government spokeswoman Mrs. Asma Khodr says Jordan hopes the elections will lead to sovereignty.
- UAE. The daily al-Khaleej points out that the elections were held in a climate of war and that the results may lead to disintegration of the country.
- Egypt. Sanaa Essaïd writes in the Egyptian daily al-Wafd that the elections consolidate the American occupation. Analyst Maha Tahaoui writes in as-Sharq al-Awsat that Iraqis should end both "occupations"--by the Americans and by the insurgents.
23:00 Um Qasr. Prison revolt. US troops shoot four inmates in "maximum security" detention center Camp Bucca. [Attica has been legitimized by "freedom." Next, Rockefeller drug laws. --Nur]
22:00 $8.8 billion on Paul Bremer's watch missing. The Coalition Provisional Authority cannot account for $8.8 billion, says US Inspector General Stuart Bowen in a report to which Bremer has already replied in a 8-page written statement. Bremer writes that the Inspector General failed to take into account the circumstances under which the CPA had to work. UN Resolution 1483 created the Iraq Development Fund, authorizing Paul Bremer to manage revenue from Iraqi oil exports on the express condition that accountng be transparent and truthful to the Iraqi people. The Inspector General's report states that the CPA disbursed more than $8.8 billion from the fund without guarantees that the money would be spent properly, therefore the funds were used to pay the salaries of thousand of phantom employees.
17:27 Washington. Bush congratulates Iraq leaders.
17:18 Rome. Bertinotti: Motion to withdraw Italian troops to be presented. Italian center-leftist politican Fausto Bertinotti will present a motion to Italian parliament for withdraw of its contingent.
17:13 Doha. Al Jazeera broadcasts video showing downing of aircraft. A video showing a group of guerrillas shooting down the British Hercules C-130 transport was broadcast by Al Jazeera. The aircraft is shown breaking up as it falls to earth.
16:52 Strasboug. EU. Javier Solana content with vote. EU Foreign Minister Javier Solana expressed satisfaction concernig the "positive step" represented by yesterday's turnout at the polls.
16:28 94% of registered Iraqi expatriates vote. The International Organization for Migrations says 265,148 or 94% of registered expat Iraqis voted in yesterday's election.
16:17 Moscow. Gorbachev dismisses vote as dubious and unreliable. Mikhail Gorbaciov says that democracy cannot be imposed with tanks and warplanes, especially in a country which is Islamic by tradition. The American occupation of the country continues. The problems besetting Iraq cannot be resolved without an effort by Sunnis and Shi'ites to overcome their differences.
16:14 Baghdad. Explosion near Green Zone. A powerful blast was heard near the Green Zone just before this evening's curfew.
16:13 Erbil. 80% voter turnout in Kurdistan. Both the PUK and the PDK says turnout was approximately 80 percent.
15:58 Rome. Frattini: Round one over. Franco Frattini, Vice President of the European Union, says Iraqis must keep opportunity alive to combat terrorism, like the rest of the Internaonal community and the European Union. [Another patronizing Italian winger--Nur].
15:11 Arab League: The Iraqi people wish to overcome their struggles. Secretary General Ahmed Ben Helli says Iraqis must strive for unity and territorial integrity.
14:44 Stockholm: Italy contributed to "great democratic event." Italian Speaker of the House Pier Ferdinando Casini on an official visit to Sweden says vote is a point of reference for the entire Arab world.
14:41 Paris. Chirac tells Bush of satisfaction with Iraqi vote. French President says vote was an important step toward political reconstruction in Iraq.
13:52 Washington. Pentagon does not exclude that hostile fire brought down British C-130.
13:41 Baghdad. 202 suspected guerrillas arrested yesterday. Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib says 129 suspected guerrillas were captured near Tikrit, including two Saudis, an Egyptian and a Yemeni.
13:34 Moscow. Putin says vote was historic event but calls for true sovereignty for Iraq.
13:25 Baghdad. Ansar al-Islam claims credit for shooting down C-130. Organization says a group of young mujaheddin brought down a Hercules C-130 leaving Baghad and heading to Balad which was flying at low altitude.
13:21 London. Government confirms eleven deaths in crash of C-130.
12:37 London.Defence Ministry denies presence of UK special forces on downed military transport. Government sources say RAF personnel only was abord the flight.
12:33 Berlin. Joschka Fischer praises Iraqi voter turnout but says the UN should have a guiding role in Iraq.
12:11 Baghdad. Committe of Iraqi Ulema contest legitimacy of vote. Sheik Omar Ragheb Ulema rejects vote under military occupation but says that many Sunni Arabs voted in Baghdad, Samarra and Mossul.
12:09 Nassiriya. 80% voter turnout. Turnout in the province of Dhi Qar in southern Iraq says turnout was just short of 80%.
12:02 Teheran: Cooperation with new Iraqi government. Iranian government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh says Teheran is ready to work with new government.
11:51 Rome Prodi: The march is not over. Italian leftist politician Romano Prodi says yesterday's vote was a good demonstration but that the slog towards democracy is not over.
11:31 Rome. Fini: Elections prove invasion was right thing to do. Italian Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini says yesterday's election validates invasion of Iraq.
11:05 Baghdad. Allawi: "Seven foreigners arrested"
10:52 Baghdad. Allawi: "Victory against terrorism." Premier Iyad Allawi says terrorism has been defeated.
10:32 Strasbourg. Barroso: "Great day for Iraqis". European Commission President Josè Manuel Durao Barroso says election is a positive signal to the rest of the world.
10:09 Rome. Premier Berlusconi says vote is an important step towards democracy and accuses other Arab government of living in the Middle Ages. [Racist git--Nur].
09:43 Baghdad. Iraqi Interior Minister calls for US troop pullout within 18 months. Falah al Naqib says presence of US troops will be unnecessary in 18 months. According to a Zogby poll, between 60 and 80 percent of Iraqis want the US to leave.
09:42 Baghdad. Voter turnout estimated between 60 and 75%.
09:40 Paris. An important step towards democracy. French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier salutes a victory by the Iraqi people.
09:40 Moscow. Russian press criticizes elections. The government newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta published doubts about the election. Meanwhile the weekly Vremia Novostiei writes that Iraqis have won a parliament and freedom without democracy. Nezavisimaia Gazeta says yesterday's elections serve US interests only by deeping ethnic divisions within Iraq.
09:38 Beijing. China hopes for stability. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan hopes Iraqis will soon govern their own destiny and bring peace to the country.
08:44 Kuwait City. Police and militants clash. Police clashed with radical Islamists in south Kuwait City. One militant and one police officer were killed.
07:15 Al Anbar. Marine killed.
07:11 Manchester. Brawl at polling station. 200 Iraqis repersenting voters and protesters scuffled at polling station in Manchester resulting in two injuries, includiing an Oldham soccer coach.
07:11 Najaf. Ayatollah Sistani thanks Iraqi voters.
07:09 New York. Kofi Annan calls for national reconciliation.