Guerrillas Kill 11 as Mosul & Ninevah Demonstrate
Security problems are reemerging as traffic gets back to normal. Al-Zaman says that Tuesday and Wednesday 11 persons were killed in Baghdad, including 8 policemen and army troops.
Iraqi officials admitted Wednesday that the election held on Sunday was flawed. Wire services also report an assassination attempt in the holy city of Najaf on Shaikh Khaled Numani, an official of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. SCIRI is part of the United Iraqi Alliance, the largely Shiite list that is likely to dominate parliament. A SCIRI official revealed that its favored candidates for Prime Minister are Adil Abdul Mahdi (currently the pro-free market ex-Maoist Finance Minister), Hussein Shahristani (a nuclear scientist close to Sistani) and Ibrahim Jaafari (leader of the al-Dawa Party that seeks a lay Islamic Republic).
Nancy Youssef reports from Iraq that one motive for the good turnout in places like Najaf was the hope that a new provincial assembly could finally get the electricity turned on.
Az-Zaman reports that there were demonstrations again on Wednesday in Mosul and in the towns and villages of Ninevah province by voters who had been denied the ability to vote becaus the ballot boxes did not arrive in time or polling stations did no open out of security concerns. Where people in Mosul did vote, they seem to have favored the “Iraqis” list of interim president Ghazi al-Yawir, the Democratic Independents, and the Democratic Bloc.
Meanwhile, the police chief in Mosul went on television to deliver a tough warning that people in the city had 15 days to turn in their arms. Mosul’s security collapse in the wake of the Fallujah campaign last November, when 4,000 police resigned in the face of a series of guerrilla attacks in the city. US troops had to essentially occupy the city, often with fierce firefights and air strikes. On Tuesday, Iraq troops began replacing American ones in accordance with a plan earlier worked out. These are part of a force of 2500 Iraqi soldiers who have been spread through the city.
An election official has said that only about a third of Iraq’s ballot boxes have been sent, after being counted in the provinces, to the electoral commission in Baghdad for a final official count and double-checking. He said that only about 11,000 ballots have been finally certified, mostly from the Shiite Muthanna province in the south.
The Sunni “Association of Muslim Scholars, mostly hardline Sunni clerics, continued their denunciation of the newly elected parliament as illegitimate. They said it did not have the authority to craft a constitution or to make trade and other agreements.
Opinion polls suggest that AMS leaders like Hareth al-Dhari are among the more popular politicians among Sunni Arabs.