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Campaign activity, insurgent violence rise in Iraq

Dec. 5, 05

BAGHDAD - Iraq's political leaders are well into their campaigns. Election posters plaster city streets. With 10 days left before the historic vote for a permanent parliament, militant moves to derail the process and U.S. and Iraqi government counterinsurgency efforts also are in full swing.

By Qassim Zein, AFP

Joint U.S.-Iraqi operations in insurgent hotspots including Anbar province are encountering increasing violence. On Thursday, a massive roadside bomb killed 10 Marines on foot patrol near Fallujah, a restive area that previously had been cleared of insurgent activity. In Baghdad, 19 Iraqi troops were killed in an ambush Saturday. Last week, a campaign worker putting up election posters in the northern city of Mosul was killed.

On Sunday, about a dozen people, some carrying clubs, tried to prevent former interim prime minister Ayad Allawi from entering a shrine in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, Allawi said. "They were planning to kill the whole delegation, or at least me," he said after returning to Baghdad. The crowd dispersed after bodyguards fired in the air. Allawi, a secular Shiite parliament member running for re-election, was campaigning in the southern city. As interim prime minister, he ordered U.S. and Iraqi forces to capture Najaf from a radical Shiite cleric's militia in August 2004.

The latest violence, some of it claimed by top insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is similar to the upsurge in attacks that preceded the elections for a transitional government in January.

U.S. officials say the unrest is likely to get worse but it won't deter voters. "There are going to be horrific acts of violence, candidly, at the point in time where (Zarqawi) can get the most international media attention," Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, spokesman for coalition forces in Iraq, told reporters last week. "But on the 15th of December, there will be peaceful elections in Iraq."

He said U.S. and Iraqi forces plan to deploy more troops to conduct anti-insurgent operations.

An Internet statement attributed to the Islamic Army in Iraq, one of several dozen insurgent groups operating here, claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack on the Marines. But a Marine statement said Sunday that a video posted on the website, which is used by insurgents to claim attacks, was not last week's Fallujah incident. The bombing was the deadliest incident since 14 Marines and a civilian interpreter were killed Aug. 3 by a roadside bomb near Hadithah in western Iraq.

Despite the violence, Iraqi candidates are gearing up for the elections. The Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, led by the ruling Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and the Dawa Party of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, is emerging as the front-runner.

But the alliance's image has been blemished recently by indications of detainee abuse by police squads. The government has launched an investigation to determine who is responsible for maltreatment of 173 prisoners discovered Nov. 12 in a basement bunker attached to the Interior Ministry, which is controlled by SCIRI.

Some voters are looking for leaders who focus less on religious allegiances than on uniting Iraqis. Others will follow the recommendations of their mosques.

"No more sectarianism," says Laith Fiaq, 55, a civil servant, as he sips mint tea at the Karrada Nights teahouse in central Baghdad. "I'd like to see parties in power that are less religious. They don't work in dividing Iraq, they work toward bringing us together."

Courting the secular vote: Allawi, who heads a coalition of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, and Ahmad Chalabi, a onetime Pentagon favorite who left the United Iraqi Alliance to form a rival coalition.

In January, thousands of Shiites voted for the SCIRI-led alliance after revered Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa, or religious edict. Over the weekend, Sistani's office announced that the reclusive spiritual leader is urging followers to support religious candidates in this month's election. The instructions fall short of a fatwa but could still sway Shiites, who are the majority here.

Powerful coalitions such as the United Iraqi Alliance will have to contend with a new electoral system. Elections will be held within 18 provincial districts, each with an allotted portion of the 275-seat legislature. The system is designed to allow smaller parties larger representation, says Hassan Bazzad, a Baghdad political analyst and former Baghdad University professor.

The coalitions also will face a reinvigorated Sunni electorate. Sunnis, who largely boycotted January's vote, are likely to show up Dec. 15 in large numbers in Sunni-dominated provinces, as they did during the constitutional referendum in October.

Yonadam Kanna, secretary general of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, says the real test will come when the rival parties get down to forming a government, including naming a prime minister, president and ministers.

In January, the Shiite alliance won 140 of the National Assembly's 275 seats. It took nearly three more months of political wrangling with rival alliances to form the government, Kanna says. The alliance is expected to win about 20 fewer seats, giving them even less political muscle, he says.

"That will be where we either succeed as a government," Kanna says, "or face a crisis."

Contributing: Wire reports

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Ashur TV -----December 2005 Schedule

 

Who are the Christians of Iraq? 

December = Canoon Gadmaya

Campaign activity, insurgent violence rise in Iraq  Dec. 5, 05

Myths About the Situation in Iraq Dec. 5, 05

Competition for the best design of the Ancient Assyrian Costumes Dec. 3, 05

List of "Reported" Assyrians murdered in Iraq in 2005. Dec. 3, 05

Dylan's quest: Six-year-old needs blood matches Dec. 3, 05

Shades of voter apathy Dec, 2, 05

Holywood Tapestries Featuring Semiramis is on Auction  Dec. 2, 05

Iraq's Oily Referendum Dec. 1, 05

Iraqi Parliamentary Elections In California Dec. 1, 05

November = Tishrin II 

Burial pictures of the Two Assyrians Killed Nov. 30, 05

Two Assyrian Party Members Killed in Iraq, Two Wounded Nov. 29, 05

Iraq Election Coverage at Ashur T.V. Nov. 29, 05

Iraq's Elections Could Be 'Magnet' for Success, Adviser Says Nov. 29, 05

Assyrian Political posters for the upcoming elections Nov. 29, 05

Islamic reformers struggle to revise school textbooks Nov. 28, 05

Iraq's political-campaign season in full swing as violence continues Nov. 27, 05

The Crusades Remembered, a Different Perspective Nov. 26, 05

Iraqi Factions Seek Timetable for U.S. Pullout Nov. 25, 05

Dora:Baghdad's Neighborhood Becomes Trouble Spot Nov. 25, 05

Iraq: Election Official On Expat Voting Set Up Nov. 24, 05 

Prediction of a Better Future for Iraq Nov. 24, 05

Iraqi Kurdish leadership is more consumed with self-enrichment Nov. 23, 05

Early voting in Iraq's parliamentary election to begin December 12th  Nov. 22, 05

The Assyrian Church of the East Maintains Its Continuity Nov. 22, 05

Not all Middle Easterners are Muslim, Arab Nov. 21, 05

The Middle East Needs Lebanese Christians Nov. 21, 05

Academic Conference on Seyfo [genocide] Held in Sweden Nov. 20, 05

Anovel by Abdulsalam Nov. 20, 05 

Harbole": A documentary film Nov. 20, 05

Letter To the Hellenic Parliament  Nov. 20, 05

My Grandmother Heranus  Nov. 19, 05

Books About the Assyrians Nov. 17, 05  

A Moslem discovers the praise of Christian and Jewish scriptures in the Koran  Nov. 17, 05

Iran is behind the Badr Brigade who are accused of jailing and torturing the Sunnies Nov. 17, 05 

Democracy, the Kurdish Style.  Nov. 17, 05

Talabani Promises Pope Equality and Respect for All Religions Nov.16, 05

Assyrian Wedding Comes to Australian TV Nov. 15, 05

In Jordan, Chaldean Catholics help Iraqis Nov. 15. 05

Are you a Christian in the Middle East?  Nov. 14, 05

The Assyrian General Conference Election Platform for Iraq Nov. 12, 05

Old hotel may become home for Hurricane Katrina victims Nov. 12, 05

Iraqi leader affirms Christians' rights Nov. 11, 11, 05

Egypt's Christian-Muslim divide 11, 11, 05

Assyrian Family Attacked in Tikrit Nov. 11, 05

Ancinet Assyrian Style Citadel in Los Angeles Nov. 11, 05

Priests say Iraqi Christians now victims of extortion Nov. 08, 05

Iraq; International Religious Freedom Report 2005 Nov. 08, 05

Chaldean Synod to focus on Iraq and Liturgy Nov. 08, 05

Assyrian Killed in Kirkuk's Car Bombing Nov. 05, 05

Funeral of Grace Mgr. J. Y. Cicek Nov. 05, 05 

Witnesses Describe Ballot Fraud in Nineveh Nov. 04, 05

Chaldean synod should tackle Christian migration and evangelicals' proselytism,  11. 04, 05 

Unexpected Death of His Eminence Mor Julius Yeshu Çiçek Shocks Assyrians & the Syrian Orthodox Church Nov. 03, 05  

Three Christian schoolgirls beheaded in Indonesia Nov. 03, 05

On the trail of stolen Iraqi art Nov. 03, 05

Lost in the Sunni Triangle Leaders of Baghdad church presumed dead.  Nov. 03, 05

Who is Killing the Iraqi's and the Americans?   Nov. 02, 05

What Next in Iraq?  Nov. 02, 05

An American's View of Iraq's Assyrians  Nov. 01, 05

October = Tishrin I

New Coalitions Emerge for Parliamentary Elections in Iraq10, 31, 05

Should the U.S. Withdraw? Let the Iraqi People Decide 10, 31, 05

Those Who Voted Against Constitution Are Terrorists: Iraqi President 10, 30, 05

An Assyrian Engineer Killed by the Kurds in Kirkuk 10, 30, 05

Kurds Reclaiming Prized Territory In Northern Iraq 10, 30, 05

Dwyer: Most Iraqis want a constitution - and want U.S. troops to leave 10, 30, 05

The oldest lense 10, 28, 05

Westminster Hall debate on Iraqi Kurdistan  i.e. northern Iraq 10, 25, 05

Iraq constitution approved  10, 25, 05 

Assyrian and Babylonian medicine was surprisingly advanced 10, 24, 05 

What's in a Name? 10, 12, 05 

Draft constitution denies equal rights, say Iraq's Christians  10, 22, 05

Rejection of Iraqi Referendum Possible as Nineveh Vote Fraud Reviewed 10, 21, 05 

Rosie Malek-Yonan's Schedule of The Crimson Field Book Tour 10, 20, 05

TURKEY DECRIES the Assyro-Chaldean MONUMENT IN FRANCE 10, 20, 05

Vote Figures for Crucial Ninveh Province Don't Add Up 10, 19, 05

Iraq Constitution: Bad news for Christians  10, 19. 05

Assyrian students unite 10, 19, 05

Iraq bishops ready to seek help from Pope  10, 19, 05

Charter vote resonates with Valley Iraqis Likely passage gives many hope 10. 18. 05  

Dividing the Chaldeans from the Assyrians by the Iraqi Constitution  10, 18, 05

A monument in France dedicated to the Remembrance of Assyro-Chaldean massacres by the Ottoman Turks. 10, 17, 05

Swing state' of Nineveh may be moving in favour of constitution 10, 15, 05 

Iraq votes for the Constitution and for its future 10, 14, 05

Forgotten victims - Iraqi Christians who speak the language of Jesus  10, 14, 05

Mgr Sako: people in Kirkuk have not read the constitution but will vote  10,13, 05

Terrorism strikes all Iraqis, says Patriarch 10, 13, 05

Assyriska a national football team without a country  10, 12, 05

Referendum: 'Yes' in Kurdistan and Southern cities and 'No' in Kirkuk, al Anbar and Diala 10, 12, 05

Chaos depriving Towns from Voting - The Minorities Fear the Domination of Islamic Parties10, 12, 05 

Bas-reliefs of winged goddesses discovered in western Iran 10, 12, 05

Immigration of Iraqi Chaldeans Abroad Passes through Jordan 10, 12, 05

Baghdadis tell their stories  10, 12, 05

Assyrialogist Henry Saggs Dies at 84 10, 10, 05

Letter by Ms. Jacqueline Zomaya The Assyrian representative to the Iraqi National Assembly 10, 10, 05

The Kurds are "cleansing" their domain ­ and provoking a civil war in Iraq  10, 09, 05

Nestorian label "imposed unjustly upon the Assyrians"  10, 08, 05

Iran's Assyrian MP-Felicitation to the Supreme Leader  10, 8, 05

Syriac Manuscripts from the Vatican Library: Volume 1 10, 08, 05

Sunnis Threaten Referendum Boycott if Rules Not Changed  10, 05, 05

Helping the Iraqi refugees in Jordan  10, 04, 05

Final Draft of Iraqi Constitution  10, 03, 05

Two More Assyrian Children Orphaned  10, 02, 05

Discoveries of the Assyrian antiquities in Syria 10, 01, 05 

Sectarian Strife tears apart Baghdad's Neighborhoods 10, 01, 05

 

 

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