Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Iraq Holds Special Voting Despite Terrorist Attacks

Iraq held its special voting on April 28, 2014. The early balloting is mostly for the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). The Iraqi Election Commission said there was over 90% participation. That was despite a wave of attacks by the insurgency. That showed that the militants were not able to disrupt the voting despite their best efforts.

The ISF, prisoners, and those in hospitals came out in high numbers on April 28 to cast their ballots. The Iraqi Election Commission claimed there was a 91% turnout in the special voting. In Anbar only 40% participated. The on going fighting there and difficult security situation were the likely causes of the low percentage. There are 9,039 candidates representing 277 parties competing for 328 seats this year. The general public will vote on April 30. There are questions about the political loyalties of the ISF. Political parties have accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of attempting to sway their votes towards his State of Law party. In Kurdistan there is no such uncertainty as the peshmerga, Asayesh and others work for the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan despite talk of them being integrated into a regional force.
Peshmerga voting in Irbil (AFP)
Female Peshmerga showing their died fingers after voting in Irbil (AFP)
Voting in Ramadi where there is on-going fighting (AFP)
SWAT voting in Najaf (AP)
More died fingers in Karbala (AFP)
Police lining up in Baghdad to vote (AFP)

Voting took place despite a wave of terrorist attacks by the insurgency. From April 22-28 the Iraqi press and international news agencies reported 226 security incidents, 347 deaths, and 744 wounded. That was much like the week before when there were 252 attacks, 406 killed, and 786 injured. On the special voting day alone there were 25 attacks, 86 fatalities, and 157 wounded. That was below the 33.9 attacks per day average for the month so far. Militants have been going after voting centers and candidates in the last several weeks. April 22 there were four attacks including one on a candidate’s house in Khalidiya, Anbar, a school, which was being used as a voting center in Niamiya, Anbar, on another voting center to the south of Kirkuk, and an IED on a rally for Ahmed Chalabi in Mahmudiya, Babil. April 23 saw an IED on an election center in Hit, Anbar, an IED on a candidate’s house in Sulaiman Bek, Salahaddin, and shooting at a campaign car in Tikrit, Salahaddin. April 24 had a mortar on a school in Ramadi, Anbar, IEDs on voting centers in Hit, Tel Zatar, and Mohammadi, Anbar, and one in Baquba, Diyala. April 25 a member of the Election Commission was shot at in Rutba, Anbar and another was bombed in Sadiya, Diyala. Voting centers were attacked in Wasti, Kirkuk and Hit. The deadliest event however was the multiple bombings of a rally by the League of the Righteous in eastern Baghdad that left at least 160 casualties. April 26 polling centers in Qaim, Anbar, southeast of Mosul, Kirkuk, and three in Baiji and four in Siniya, Salahaddin were all attacked. April 27 a candidate was hit by an IED in Qaim, and voting centers in Siniya, and two in Kirkuk were targeted again. Finally, on April 28 suicide bombers hit polling stations in Ramadi, Tuz Khormato, Salahaddin, Adhamiya, Baghdad, Wasti and Hawija, Kirkuk, and four in Mosul, Ninewa, while there were shots fired at ones in Wasti and Kirkuk, an IED on one in Mosul, and a mortar barrage on another in Ramadi. Vehicle traffic is usually banned during the balloting, which makes car bombings extremely difficult, and accounts for the high number of suicide bombers on April 28. That didn’t seem to deter many, especially since all the violence was concentrated in just seven of Iraq’s eighteen provinces. The real test will be April 30 when the general public comes out, because that will provide far more targets.

There has always been violence on election days. April 28 was no different. The insurgents were held below their average for the year however, which is positive. More importantly the vast majority of the security forces and others eligible for early voting participated. The general election will not be as high as it usually averages around 50%. This year it might be lower as many Sunnis have lost confidence in politics, and might be intimidated by the militant groups that have launched their own campaign against voting. Whatever the final percentage is this is an important election as it is a competitive one, and thus another important event in the development of Iraq’s democracy.


Agence France Presse, “Five key questions on Iraq’s election,” 4/27/14

AIN, “40% of security elements participate in special voting in Anbar,” 4/28/14
- "Candidate of Motahidoun Alliance survives assassination attempt western Anbar," 4/27/14
- "Electoral center shelled eastern Ramadi," 4/28/14
- "Gunmen attack cars carrying leaflets for Mutleg's electoral propaganda," 4/23/14
- “IHEC: Participation rate of security elements all over Iraq, 91%,” 4/28/14
- "Mortar shells target primary school western Ramadi," 4/24/14

Aswat al-Iraq, "10 persons killed, 6+ wounded south of Kirkuk," 4/22/14

Buratha News, "The bombing of an elementary school south of Fallujah," 4/22/14
- "Bombing of the home of a candidate for election east of Ramadi," 4/22/14
- "The death of 3 elements of the security forces in bombing of polling station west of Ramadi," 4/24/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding 12, in an explosion targeting a rally for the candidates of the Citizen's Alliance Dr Ahmed Chalabi in Mahmudiya," 4/22/14
- "Soldier was wounded after a suicide bomber targeted polling station in Mosul," 4/28/14
- "Unidentified blow up a house of a candidate for Allawi's coalition in Sulaiman Bek," 4/23/14

Al Forat, "Salah-il-Din: Armed attack against polling station injures soldier & policeman," 4/27/14
- "Tuz's suicide bombing death toll hits 17 deaths, injuries," 4/28/14

Al Mada, "104 killed and wounded in the final outcome of suicide bombings that targeted a rally in eastern Baghdad," 4/25/14
- "Killing a child and wounding a captain in two separate attacks on polling stations in Kirkuk," 4/27/14
- "Killing and wounding 88 people in a suicide bombing at a gathering to celebrate healing of Talabani in northern Diyala," 4/28/14
- "Unidentified blow up polling station in western Baquba," 4/24/14

Al Masalah, "3 civilians killed bombing campaign in rally in Hit," 4/23/14
- "40 dead and 120 injured .. Toll rises bombings of gather League of the Righteous," 4/25/14

NINA, "A civilian killed, two injured, a gunman killed and two others arrested in two incidents in Kirkuk," 4/28/14
-"Director of the Office of the Electoral Commission in Ratba, in Anbar escapes an assassination attempt," 4/25/14
- "Five soldiers wounded by a roadside bomb exploded near a polling station in eastern Mosul," 4/28/14
- "gunmen attack a polling station, injuring a soldier in Kirkuk," 4/27/14
- "The number of victims of the suicide attacks in Mansour and Adhamiya up to 53 killed and wounded," 4/28/14 - "One civilian killed, another one wounded, northeast of Baquba," 4/25/14
- "Polling station blown up in Anbar province," 4/24/14
- "A polling station for private voting blown up in western Anbar," 4/26/14
- "Six policemen killed, nine injured in a suicide bombing in Kirkuk," 4/28/14
- "A soldier killed,an officer and a soldier wounded in central Mosul," 4/28/14
- "A soldier killed while preventing a suicide bomber from entering a polling station in Kirkuk," 4/28/14
- "Three policemen killed, two others wounded by blowing up polling stations in Baiji," 4/26/14
- "Three suicide bombers killed in Ramadi," 4/28/14
- "Two soldiers, a civilian injured in attack on a polling station north of Kirkuk," 4/26/14
- "Urgent…Security forces kill a suicide bomber dressed as security uniform," 4/28/14
- "Urgent…Suicide bomber blows himself up near polling station in Mosul," 4/28/14

Radio Nawa, "Gunmen open fire on a polling station south of Kirkuk," 4/25/14

Al Rayy, "Electoral center bombed west of Ramadi," 4/24/14
- "Targeting polling station west of Anbar," 4/25/14

Salah, Hemin, “Iraqi commanders bribe soldiers to vote for State of Law and Coalition,” Bas News, 4/22/14

Salman, Duraid, Ammar, Tarek, "Soldier wounded by a sniper targeting polling stations south of Kirkuk," Alsumaria, 4/28/14

Tariq, Amar, "Wounding two policemen and eight civilians by a roadside bomb targeting polling station in Nineveh," Alsumaria, 4/26/14

Xinhua, "33 killed, 90 wounded at election rally in Iraq," 4/26/14

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