News / Middle East

Iraqi Elections Coming Amid Surge of Violence

Iraqi Elections Coming Amid Surge of Violencei
X
Meredith Buel
April 26, 2014 12:03 AM
On April 30, Iraq will hold its first national election since U.S. military forces withdrew from the country in 2011. The voting will take place amid a surge of bloody violence and sectarian strife that has claimed thousands of lives. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Iraqi Elections Coming Amid Surge of Violence
Meredith Buel
On April 30, Iraq will hold its first national election since U.S. military forces withdrew from the country in 2011. The voting will take place amid a surge of bloody violence and sectarian strife that has claimed thousands of lives.

In central Baghdad, posters of the candidates are everywhere. Many Iraqis are filing their registration papers to receive their voter ID cards.

The parliamentary elections are viewed as a key test for the country’s fledgling democracy.

Voters like Maath Mussab are hoping for change. “We hope that new faces will replace the current ones. We're tired of seeing the same faces for eight years. They have done nothing for us. We hope for a change, God willing.”

Increasing attacks

But the voting comes as Iraq is suffering from a surge in violence. Militants have used car bombings and suicide attacks in an attempt to derail the elections.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey said the turmoil is not a surprise.

“Democratic processes are always messy. They always look hopeless until, to quote Winston Churchill, 'you consider the alternative.' This is particularly so in countries that are developing democracies,” said Jeffrey.

Analysts say Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s coalition is expected to do well on election day.

The prime minister’s position likely was strengthened when influential Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr announced he was pulling out of Iraqi politics earlier this year.

Middle East expert Jonathan Schanzer said, “He [Nouri al-Maliki] has found a way to get a tighter and tighter grip on power. The expectation is that he will really emerge as the only game in town.”

Security concerns

Because of security concerns, voting is not expected to take place in Fallujah, in restive Anbar province. Hardline jihadists inspired by al-Qaida have taken over much of the city since January.

The Bagdad government has been striking back, but mostly on the outskirts of the city.

“And so the question is how much of a foothold are they going to gain? How much will the state of Iraq push back against these groups, or will they allow these areas of weak central authority to become overrun and remain in the hands of these jihadi groups?” asked Schanzer:

The United States has sent Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and other weapons to help Iraq fight the insurgents, but officials have made it clear American troops will not be involved.

And the upcoming election in Iraq appears to have generated little interest among the American public.

“There is a sense of disappointment and disenchantment with Iraq after we put so much into it," said former Ambassador Jeffrey. "And it didn’t turn out to look like Denmark. My feeling is it never was going to, but, nonetheless, the American people are a bit disillusioned. That is true.”

Analysts say that once a new parliament is elected, it could take months to negotiate a coalition government, since it's unlikely any party will win an outright majority.

You May Like

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent — Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail More

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.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More