Saturday, January 29, 2005

Iraqi Election Violence

Fox News is reporting a suicide bomber exploded at a checkpoint near a polling station in western Baghdad about 90 minutes after the polls opened. At least 1 person is dead. (I believe that is the bomber himself although it's not clear yet.)

CNN says that another polling place has been hit by mortars. Casualties or damage is unclear. "Several" explosions and sporadic gunfire have been heard around Baghdad but at 12:50am EST there are not details yet.

At the same time there are lines to vote in Sadr City. I'll update this post with links as they become available.

1:10 am EST. CNN says that the mortar attack missed the polling place and hit a nearby house. Other explosions have been heard in Mosul. The Shia seem to be turning out. CNN has a live image of at least one hundred women in black niqab in line to vote.

Fox News says polling place 3001 was damaged by an IED but no one was hurt. There have been two rocket attacks against other polling places but again, no casualties reported. We are over two hours into this and so far, thank God, very little violence considering the context.

1:30 am EST. CNN has live images of crowds clapping and singing while they wait in line to vote in Baquba. It's a substantial crowd too, more than one hundred from what I can see. It's been 2 1/2 hours now, the sun is up, people seem to be everywhere.

The anti-democracy forces have yet to deal a significant blow to the election. The more people who can successfully go to the polls and vote without being blown up the more other people will feel that it's safe to vote. At some point so many people could feel so safe that nothing short of a catostrophic attack will deter them from voting. Every hour that passes with minimal violence is a nail in the coffin of the fascists, whatever nationalist, theocratic, or Ba'athist.

2:10 am EST. Fox News - blast hits polling place in central Basra. Otherwise, it's the same reports of "explosions heard" but no reports of death or injuries. Maybe the tight security is preventing the fascists from hitting their targets? The can't drive and they can't get too close to the polls without facing enormous police and military presence.

PM Allawi voted without incident. Big surprise that there's a low turnout in Tikrit. Still, we are into the third hour without mass casualties. Only seven more to go. I'm going to sleep. Good luck guys.
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