The bloody road to elections in Iraq


Mark Follman
November 10, 2004 3:51AM (UTC)

Fallujah is now mired in fierce fighting as U.S. and interim Iraqi government forces punch their way into the heart of the insurgent stronghold. The New York Times reports approximately a dozen "coalition casualties" thus far; Iraqi insurgent and civilian casualties will without a doubt be much higher.

To say that Iraq's overall security and political future remain uncertain is an understatement; yesterday Juan Cole threw cold water on the Bush administration's mantra that democracy will begin to flower amid the war-torn terrain by January. "Maybe it is just me," Cole wrote, "but is it really possible to have democratic elections coming off 2 months of martial law?"

Advertisement:

And if a report from the Associated Press today is any indication, the battle now raging in Fallujah has further darkened Iraq's political landscape and made the prospect of near-term elections look like a mission all but impossible to accomplish:

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) A powerful group of Sunni Muslim clerics called Tuesday for a boycott of national elections set for late January to protest the U.S.-led attack against the Sunni insurgent stronghold Fallujah. The group's director, Harith al-Dhari, said the election was being held 'over the corpses of those killed in Fallujah and the blood of the wounded.'

"In the past weeks, al-Dhari's Association of Muslim Scholars has been warning it would call such a boycott if a Fallujah offensive took place. The association is influential among Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority, and U.S. and Iraqi officials have expressed concern that a lack of Sunni participation would raise question about the legitimacy of the vote."


Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

MORE FROM Mark Follman


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

War Room

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •