"Climate of fear" for Iraq elections
Bahrain's Gulf Daily News reports that Iraq's elections are taking place under a "climate of fear," with at least 30 killed Jan 27 alone in roadside ambushes, twin suicide attacks in Samarra and fighting on Baghdad's Haifa Street, which seems to be an insurgent stronghold. Two US troops were among the dead--just one day after a helicopter crash killed 31 Marines, making the 26th the bloodiest day of the war so far for Iraqi forces. Pakistan Tribune reports that most Iraqi cities are under curfew, borders are closed and internal travel restricted. Several major Sunni parties are boycotting the polls, saying the insurgency raging in Iraq's Sunni heartland makes the vote a farce. On the 28th, a group calling itself "al-Qaeda in Iraq" posted a statement on the Internet saying that everything is going "according to plan."
See our last post on Iraq.