Votes Prove Stronger Than Bullets in Iraqi Elections
By Jim Garamone
Iraq — "Iraqis have proved today that the strength of their
votes are more powerful than the strength or the effects of bullets
or terrorism," said interim Iraqi Vice President Ibrahim
Jafari, January 30.
officials said that while there were incidents of violence in
the country, Iraqi security forces were able to handle them. Officials
said the voter turnout was strong and was "getting stronger"
Iraqis showed their determination in the face of terrorism. In
Baghdad, a suicide bomber launched an attack near the al Iskand
Children’s Hospital, and succeeded only in killing himself, officials
said. Local Iraqis on their way to vote spit on the body.
snapshot of voting around the country showed strong turnout in
the northeast and south. In Ninewa province, there were no major
incidents and Iraqis lined up to vote. What seems to have occurred
is that members of a family went out to check the polling place.
Then, when there were no incidents, the rest of the voters in
the family came out, officials said.
Sunni areas, the voting was consistent. There were lines forming
in Baqubah, Suleymaniyah, Mosul and even Fallujah.
voters wait in line to cast their vote at one of the polling
sites in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 30, 2005.
by Master Sgt. Dave Ahlschwede / U.S. Air Force Photo
Baghdad, some Iraqis walked 20 kilometers to vote, and the insurgents
fired across the Tigris River to try to intimidate voters, were
themselves attacked by Iraqis who refused to be intimidated, officials
was violence, officials said, but it was isolated. There were
other instances of suicide bombings and one vehicle-borne improvised
explosive device detonated. Insurgents fired some mortars in Baghdad
and other areas. Western reporters said that by 1:30 p.m., January
30 there were 13 deaths nationwide tied to the elections.
Husseini, a member of the Independent Election Commission of Iraq,
congratulated the Iraqi people as they went to the polling centers.
"This is a momentous phase the Iraqi people are going through,"
Husseini said through a translator. "We are all united in
our one aim to help our beloved country."
spokesman Tha’ir al-Naqeeb used an old voting ballot from Saddam
Hussein’s regime as a vivid example of the type of change sweeping
the country. The old slip had one box, with one party. Today’s
voting slip gives Iraqis hundreds of choices. "Today is a
great day for Iraq and Iraqis," al-Naqeeb said January 30.
"Today we determine our future for ourselves for the first
Iraqis will be voting in our millions across Iraq," he continued.
"This is a great and a proud day for Iraqis."
Related to the Iraqi Elections:
Rumsfeld: Overcoming Insurgency Key to Iraq Assuming
** President Praises
Iraqis for Successful Election
** Statement by the
President on the Iraqi Election
** Blair: Democracy
in Iraq a Blow to International Terrorism
** Iraqi Election Offices
Ready for Vote – Last of UN-Made Ballots Delivered
** Soldiers Detain
Two Individuals Suspected of Polling Center Attacks
Rumsfeld: Overcoming Insurgency Key
to Iraq Assuming Security Mission
By Donna Miles
Feb. 6. 2005
— It’s impossible to know exactly when Iraq’s security forces will
be fully ready to take over their country’s internal security and
the coalition can leave Iraq, but several factors will play a role,
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said during interviews on the
Sunday morning talk shows.
said during interviews with four networks that the Iraqi security
forces’ readiness will depend largely on the insurgency. And affecting
its effectiveness will be the extent to which the political process
will "tip people" toward supporting the new government,
actions by Iran and Syria, and the money sources that bankroll terrorist
progress [and the] political progress going forward…will determine
the level of the insurgency, and the level of the insurgency will
determine the speed with which Iraqi security forces will be capable
of managing [their internal security]," Rumsfeld said on ABC’s
that this condition, rather than an artificial timetable, will be
key in determining when coalition forces will withdraw from Iraq.
30 elections proved to be a solid step forward for the country that
Rumsfeld said he hopes will garner increased support for new government.
But still uncertain, he told ABC, is the extent to which "the
political process is going to tip people away from supporting [the]
insurgency or being on the fence to supporting the government."
the secretary said he believes the election "had to have given
heart and encouragement and inspiration to the Iraqi people,"
he told CBS’ "Face the Nation."
ABC it’s unknown if Iraq’s neighbors Iran and Syria are "going
to be helpful or unhelpful" as Iraq strives to overcome the
insurgency. Both are being decidedly "unhelpful" right
now, he acknowledged on CBS, which he said could further inflame
the situation and "makes our task more difficult in Iraq."
said he supports diplomatic efforts under way to encourage Iran
to abandon its nuclear weapons efforts, which, if successful, would
pose a destabilizing force throughout the region. Current knowledge
is that Iran is on a path of seeking a nuclear weapon but don’t
have yet have it, the secretary told CNN’s "Late Edition."
the United States is hopeful that the Iraqi people will continue
striving toward President Bush’s stated vision for that country:
"an Iraq that is liberated, at peace with its neighbors, respectful
of all the elements within the county and not engaged in terrorist
activities with lethal weapons."
He said the
United States will support whatever outcome the Iraqis decide in
forming their new government, and said it’s doubtful that the country
will opt for a strict Islamic theocracy like Iran’s.
Iraq has "a
wonderful opportunity," ahead, Rumsfeld told NBC’s "Meet
the Press." "It has water, it has oil, it has intelligent
people, and I think they have a good future."
And the recent
elections "have to give everyone great encouragement,"
he said. "I just hope and pray that they stay on a path that
is constructive. It will be a wonderful thing for the Iraqi people
and a wonderful thing for the region."
CBS he’s a firm believer that "the sweep of human history is
want to be free," he said. "And that’s a powerful force."
Praises Iraqis for Successful Election
By Kathleen T. Rhem
Jan. 30, 2005
— President Bush praised Iraqis for their courage and commitment
in the face of threats and violence, which made elections possible
throughout their country.
numbers, and under great risk, Iraqis have shown their commitment
to democracy. By participating in free elections, the Iraqi people
have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists.
They have refused to be intimidated by thugs and assassins,"
Bush said in a statement from the White House. "The Iraqi people
themselves made this election a resounding success," he added.
"Brave patriots stepped forward as candidates." Other
citizens volunteered as poll workers and more than 100,000 Iraqi
security troops guarded polling places and conducted operations
against terrorist groups, he said. The president seemed touched
by stories of the courage of ordinary Iraqis who defied threats
and went to polls. Bush quoted one man who lost a leg in a terrorist
attack, yet still went out to vote.
have crawled here if I had to," he quoted the Iraqi man as
saying. "I don’t want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like
they tried to kill me. Today, I am voting for peace."
from London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair also seemed touched
by events in Iraq. Despite divided opinions over the war in Iraq,
Blair said he knows people throughout the world "will want
to embrace the birth of Iraq’s new democracy."
have been the force of arms that removed Saddam that created the
circumstances in which Iraqis could vote," he said, "but
it was the force of freedom that was felt throughout Iraq today."
The prime minister
said he found it "moving and humbling, for those of us lucky
enough to live in a democracy and take it for granted." Blair
spoke of "the enthusiasm, the simple determination, the clear
sight of courage of millions of Iraqis that came out to vote for
the first time in their lives despite the terrorism, despite the
threats, despite the dangers."
State Condoleezza Rice said the Iraqi people "turned away the
threats and intimidation" leveled at them by Jordanian terrorist
leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "They decided to go to the polls
and vote because they believe that’s the way to a better future,"
Rice said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
Rice said that
scattered violence and intimidation that might have kept Iraq’s
minority Sunni Muslim population from voting in as high percentages
as other populations doesn’t mean Sunnis won’t be fairly represented
in the new government. And "very real" problems between
ethnic groups don’t mean Iraq can’t have a peaceful, representative
given our own history of ups and downs as we moved forward to build
our own democracy, that we will show greater faith and confidence
in these people who are showing us that they want to get there,"
international assistance that made elections in Iraq possible. "The
European Union and the United Nations gave important assistance
in the election process," the president said. "The American
military and our diplomats, working with our coalition partners,
have been skilled and relentless, and their sacrifices have helped
to bring Iraqis to this day."
those sentiments. "I would like to pay tribute to the United
Nations staff and the electoral commission of Iraq for their steadfastness
in organizing the elections, and I would like to express, of course,
my admiration for the work of the Iraqi and the multinational forces,"
he said. "Without them, there would be no election."
by the President on the Iraqi Election
January 30, 2005
1:00 P.M. EST
Today the people of Iraq have spoken to the world, and the world
is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East.
In great numbers,
and under great risk, Iraqis have shown their commitment to democracy.
By participating in free elections, the Iraqi people have firmly
rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists. They have
refused to be intimidated by thugs and assassins. And they have
demonstrated the kind of courage that is always the foundation of
were killed while exercising their rights as citizens. We also mourn
the American and British military personnel who lost their lives
today. Their sacrifices were made in a vital cause of freedom, peace
in a troubled region, and a more secure future for us all.
The Iraqi people,
themselves, made this election a resounding success. Brave patriots
stepped forward as candidates. Many citizens volunteered as poll
workers. More than 100,000 Iraqi security force personnel guarded
polling places and conducted operations against terrorist groups.
One news account told of a voter who had lost a leg in a terror
attack last year, and went to the polls today, despite threats of
violence. He said, "I would have crawled here if I had to.
I don’t want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to
kill me. Today I am voting for peace."
today, men and women have taken rightful control of their country’s
destiny, and they have chosen a future of freedom and peace. In
this process, Iraqis have had many friends at their side. The European
Union and the United Nations gave important assistance in the election
process. The American military and our diplomats, working with our
coalition partners, have been skilled and relentless, and their
sacrifices have helped to bring Iraqis to this day. The people of
the United States have been patient and resolute, even in difficult
to a free Iraq now goes forward. This historic election begins the
process of drafting and ratifying a new constitution, which will
be the basis of a fully democratic Iraqi government. Terrorists
and insurgents will continue to wage their war against democracy,
and we will support the Iraqi people in their fight against them.
We will continue training Iraqi security forces so this rising democracy
can eventually take responsibility for its own security.
distance to travel on the road to democracy. Yet Iraqis are proving
they’re equal to the challenge. On behalf of the American people,
I congratulate the people of Iraq on this great and historic achievement.
Thank you very
END 1:05 P.M.
Democracy in Iraq a Blow to
By Kathleen T. Rhem
Jan. 30, 2005
— The rise of democracy in Iraq is a "blow right to the heart
of the global terrorism," a major American ally said.
In remarks in
London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the successful elections
in Iraq will prove to harm the global terrorism movement that "threatens
destruction not just in Iraq but in Britain and virtually every
major country around the world."
of State Condoleezza Rice said that the costs in money and lives
are worth it to bring democracy to Iraq.
"a very important lesson" on the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001, she said. "The status quo in the Middle East
was not sustainable," Rice said in an afternoon interview with
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. "It was producing an ideology of hatred
that had people drive airplanes into our buildings."
She said Americans
learned they must "deal with that and build a different kind
of Middle East, or we’re going to be fighting terrorists long beyond
died in a mortar attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on the eve
of the elections, and an unknown number of British servicemembers
died in the crash of a C-130 airplane outside Baghdad. U.S. military
statistics put the total American military deaths in Iraq at 1,411
as of Jan. 28.
we mourn every death," Rice said. "Unfortunately, nothing
of value is ever won without sacrifice. Our hope is that as the
political process moves forward, as it has begun to move forward
today, as Iraqis take more responsibility for their own future —
both politically and in security terms – – that the insurgency will
begin to lose some of its steam."
Blair said the
next step in Iraq will be to help the new Iraqi government that
will grow from the elections.
now have to do is sit down with the new Iraqi government once it’s
formed and work out a way forward to help Iraqis’ democracy grow,"
he said, "to build the capability of Iraqis’ security forces,
to tackle the issues of security themselves, to ensure that the
large sums of money that the global community is providing set aside
for reconstruction are used to make the lives of ordinary Iraqis
Election Offices Ready for Vote –
Last of UN-Made Ballots Delivered
Iraq (CENTCOM) 01.29.05 — The last of the United Nations-made ballots
for the Rusafa district of Baghdad were packaged and delivered yesterday
from an undisclosed warehouse, to polling stations around the Baghdad
warehouse manager, Mohammed Jasm, has supervised the distribution
of over a million ballots in the last four days with nearly 100
laborers working feverishly to get the ballots out before elections
worries will be over when this is done so that we can get rid of
Saddam and all the Wahabi’s,” Jasm said.
have been drawing their election kits for the polling sites and
preparing for the first free elections in Iraq since 1944. Though
the U.N. will not sanction the highly profiled elections, the world
organization did provide kits and ballots for the historical event.
the top issue for election day, but Iraqi and American forces are
promising a strong presence on streets and around polling sites
to help protect those who want to vote. Polling stations and roads
have been blockaded to prevent attacks by suicide bombers.
While some citizens
are fearful, others are eager to establish a legitimate government
and move the country forward.
not be selfish,” Jasm said. “We will sacrifice ourselves
for this country.”
Detain Two Individuals Suspected of
Polling Center Attacks
LIBERTY, Baghdad (CENTCOM) 01.29.05 — Soldiers attached to the
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, detained two suspects
at 3:50 p.m., Jan. 29, in the western Baghdad district of Mansour.
The pair is suspected of plotting attacks against polling centers
in the Baghdad area.
were detained at a check point where their names were matched to
a list of suspects.
The two men
are being held for further questioning.