Thursday, March 25, 2010

Iraqis fear violence with final election results

AFP's reporter Mehdi Lebouachera wrote today that "the tension was palpable in Baghdad on Thursday" as Iraqis waited for the final election results, amid fears of a return to violence in the event of a political standoff.

"We think that the forces involved are in the process of assembling their rank and file for a confrontation, that there will be more violence," said Baghdad resident Abdul Jalili.

"People are scared that the losers will refuse to accept defeat and provoke violence," said Kamel Mutlak, a 25-year-old traffic policeman.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's party and former PM Ayad Allawi's bloc are in a neck-and-neck race after 95 percent of the votes had been tallied. Final results are expected Friday.

Betsy Hiel writing for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote today that "Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's warning that election results could trigger nationwide violence has unsettled many Iraqis and foreign observers."

"I think Maliki won't easily give up power," predicts provincial Vice Gov. Abdullah Jabarah, a former Republican Guard general. The PM refused to allow the Salahaddin provincial council to seat a replacement for Governor, sending soldiers to surround the council building with orders to arrest its chairman.

Col. Hank Arnold, commander of the 1st Infantry Division's 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, said al-Maliki is "circumventing the rule of law and imposing his personal will because he didn't like the outcome (of the council vote). That is very dangerous. It is not democracy. It is dictatorship."

Ironically, on election day, March 7th, according to a Reuters report, Maliki had urged all parties to accept the election results, then added cryptically, "He who wins today may lose tomorrow, and he who loses today may win tomorrow," after casting his ballot in the fortified Green Zone.

The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah wrote that the cities of the land of Chaldea would burn, and because of the fires the occupiers would abandon the nation to her judgment. Could the election results be the cause of the conflagration?

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