News

    US Lawmakers Cautiously Optimistic About Iraqi Elections

    Michael Bowman

    Four weeks before historic national elections in Iraq, U.S. lawmakers of both parties are voicing cautious optimism about prospects for a successful, if imperfect, democratic exercise in the violence-wracked nation.

    Joseph Lieberman is one of a handful of Democratic Party senators who remains a stalwart defender of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein. Speaking on ABC's This Week program, Senator Lieberman said the month of January will bring, in his words, "historic transformation in the Middle East," with Palestinians choosing a president January 9 and Iraqis holding nation elections on January 30.

    Mr. Lieberman recently visited Iraq, and says he came away encouraged about the prospects for a successful election.

    "I think there is going to be a great turn-out [of voters] in the two-thirds of the country that is made up mostly of Shia and Kurds, and I think there is going to be a surprisingly good turn-out among the Sunnis who want to come out and vote," he predicted.

    Senator Lieberman said it would be a mistake to postpone the balloting, as some Iraqi Sunni politicians have urged.

    Mr. Lieberman acknowledged violence continues to plague election preparations, but said the vast number of Iraqis are eager to go to the polls.

    "The violence [in Iraq] is being carried out by a group of Saddam Hussein leftovers and by al-Qaida-related terrorists," he said. "They represent several thousand people out of a population of 25 million. They do not have popular support. The Iraqi people want to vote."

    Similar optimism was voiced by Republican Dick Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, who spoke on Fox News Sunday.

    "It would be very helpful if Sunnis participated in large numbers," said Senator Lugar. "The good news is that [voter] registration last week in Iraq was very substantial. I understand 2.1 million people came onto the rolls. This was all over the country."

    A cautionary note was sounded by Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin, who said that Iraq's neighbors can boost the chances for successful elections by what they say today.

    "That even though this election is going to have a lot of problems in terms of security, that Jordan plans on recognizing the outcome of this election - it takes away any excuses for Sunni leadership to boycott this election. We need that from the king of Jordan. We need that from Saudi leadership. We need that from Muslim countries," he said.

    Mr. Levin added that, so far, such statements have not been forthcoming.

    Iraq observers say the elections are likely to produce a Shiite leadership sympathetic to, or possibly allied with Iran, a nation President Bush once described as part of an "axis of evil." But Secretary of State Colin Powell predicted Iraq's Shiite population will, as he put it, "stand on their own two feet," and argued for faith in the democratic process.

    "What we have to do is look forward, and have a successful election, allow the Iraqi people to decide," said Mr. Powell. "The Saddam Hussein regime is gone, just as the Taleban regime in Afghanistan is gone. We have gotten rid of two terrible dictatorships, and what we have to do in 2005 is build democracy."

    Mr. Powell spoke on NBC's Meet the Press program.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora