RealNews

Security Seen as Greatest Obstacle to Holding Direct Elections in Iraq by June 3

For months, the Bush administration has resisted Iraqi calls for direct elections by June 30, citing the need for a census to compile voter rolls and other measures to ensure fair voting but too cumbersome to complete in time. But some experts say that many of these conditions could be met. Another obstacle, perhaps greater and largely unacknowledged, according to the military, the United Nations and outside election experts, is the continuing violence in Iraq. To argue that security is a serious impediment, however, would be to admit that American forces are unable to quell the running war with the insurgents. Some American generals now say privately that the continuing attacks, especially those against Iraqi civilians, present a daunting obstacle to holding the direct elections demanded by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the country’s most powerful cleric among the majority Shiites. Full Story

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