Street Battles, Bombings in Baghdad;
Less Wealthy Candidates Cannot Campaign
Baghdad was wracked with violence on Monday, witnessing a major carbombing at a police station, another carbombing in a southwest suburb, the discovery of four bodies of kidnapping victims, and two running street battles in Amiriyah and Ghazaliyah districts–with at least 43 persons wounded or killed in the fighting. Guerrillas killed another US GI, in Baghdad, as well, and another in Ramadi.
According to a recent poll, 58% of Americans want President Bush to set a timetable for bringing home US troops.
Paul Starobin of the National Journal explores at length and with analytical rigor the question of civil war in Iraq.
The CSM points out that since the security situation is so bad in Iraq, most campaigning is being done via television. In turn, that guarantees that only the rich parties have the opportunity to campaign. As with the Jan. 30 elections, the Dec. 15 elections are not being held in accordance with international standards of fairness, and cannot be. Proper elections would require that security be provided to voters and candidates. But there is no security. Several candidates have already been assassinated or attacked, and most of the 7000 or so cannot come out in public or they would be killed, too. In many parts of the center-north, voters will have no guarantee of coming home alive. The only way the vote will happen at all is that the US military has forbidden all vehicular traffic, so everyone has to walk for the next few days. This tactic prevents carbombings from disrupting the elections, but it is a desperate measure and not a sign of an election that could be certified as free and fair.
Radical Muslim groups have denounced the elections as “satanic”. They pledge to continue to fight their jihad against the Western forces in the country. (It is too bad that mostly these groups are not in fact fighting like men, but instead are blowing up little children at ice cream shops.)
Bush’s strategy of Iraqizing the military tasks in that country is being undercut by religious and ethnic militias, according to the Bloomberg news service’s interviews with knowledgeable observers like Pat Lang.
I am going to be traveling again for the next week or so. Postings will get made, but perhaps at different times than usual, and there will be delays in posting comments.