Questions about Referendum Fraud
Guerrilla violence killed 29 in Iraq on Wednesday. Attacks included guerrillas raining mortar fire on civilian homes in Samarra, and guerrillas in Iskandariyah going into a factory, separating out 6 Shiite workers, and executing them. 4 US GIs and a British soldier were among those killed. Three of the US servicemen killed died in a roadside bomb attack near Balad north of Baghdad.
One in four returning US veterans complains of physical or mental injuries.
Iraqis engaged in dueling demonstrations on Wednesday over Saddam’s trial. In Dujayl, Shiites demonstrated against Saddam, who is accused of conducting a massacre there in 1982. Al-Zaman reports that counter-demonstrations in favor of Saddam were held in Tikrit, Baiji, and al-Dur. I really fear that a televised trial will produce further polarization and violence, with Sunni Arabs on the receiving end of reprisals by Shiites and Kurds.
Rory Carroll, a reporter in Baghdad for The Guardian, has been kidnapped. He has done excellent work there during the last 9 months and I have depended heavily on his reporting. He was taken in Sadr City after having interviewed a victim of Saddam. If he was taken by Mahdi Army militiamen, there is some hope he will be released, and I appeal to anyone who can contact Muqtada al-Sadr on his behalf to do so. If he was taken by Baathists or foreign jihadis, then I am petrified as to what might happen to him.
Gareth Porter has written what I consider to be an extremely perceptive analysis of the numbers coming out of Ninevah province in the recent referendum on the constitution. He recalls for us that Kurdish and Shiite parties in the province garnered only 130,000 votes in the Jan. 30 elections, despite high turnout in both groups. For there now to be over 300,000 “yes” votes just strikes me as highly unlikely. And, the release of an early statistic on Sunday that there were over 300,000 yes votes, with only 90,000 no votes and 90 percent of polling stations counted, was clear disinformation.
It should be remembered that the Sunni Turkmen of Ninevah would have voted against the constitution, and I suspect most Chaldean and Assyrian Christians did, as well. They are the other major minorities besides the Sunni Arabs (the majority), the Shiite Turkmen and the Kurds.
One of the world’s foremost fighters against terrorism, French judge Jean Louis Bruguiere, says that Iraq has become virtual manufacturing plant for Muslim terrorists in Europe. Young Muslims go off to fight there, and return with the skills to do damage in Europe itself. Seems like the flypaper has lost its stickum.
Newly available historical primary sources on Saddam’s reign, sprung from the USG with Freedom of Information Act requests by the National Security Archive, have just been posted.