Iraq: January 31, 2005

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On election day, there were about half a dozen terrorist attacks, killing 44 people and wounding over a hundred. Despite that, over eight million Iraqis went to vote. The atmosphere across the country was one of triumph, with people proudly displaying their ink stained fingers (so marked to prevent people from voting twice). In Tikrit, Saddams home town, former Baath Party officials, and relatives of Saddam, were seen voting. Only in Sunni areas of western Iraq, were the terrorists successful in preventing people from voting. It will take 7-10 days for all the votes (for local officials and the national legislature) to be counted. Anecdotal evidence (there was no national exit polling) indicate that the secular parties did better than expected. Iraqi and coalition troops did a good job of shutting down terrorist attempts to interfere with the voting. There were many incidents of troops intercepting hostile gunmen, and defeating them in gun battles before polling places could be attacked. 

About 500 Iraqis were killed by anti-government forces in January. Most of the dead were civilians. Over a thousand were wounded in the attacks, and thousands more received threats from Baath Party and al Qaeda terrorists. The terrorist threat seemed larger than it actually was because the media amplified the terrorist threats.

 

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