[Paleopsych] Iraq: 30 January election review

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Iraq: 30 January election review
Index on Censorship

    On 30 January Iraqis voted for parties contesting seats in the Iraqi
    National Assembly, a 275-seat parliament called to serve as a
    transitional body until elections for a fully fledged assembly under a
    new constitution are held in December 2005.
    There were no voting districts - just a single country-wide election.
    This option was supported by the UN - advisors to the process -
    because it was thought easier to organise than drawing up electoral
    districts based on Iraq's cultures and ethnicities, though they did
    endorse a separate ballot for provincial councils in Iraq's 18
    regional governorates.
    In Iraq's Kurdish region, there was a third ballot for the Kurdish
    National Parliament, with special arrangements for the disputed
    northern city of Kirkuk. Expatriates in 14 countries were allowed to
    vote in the parliamentary polls only. On election day a reported 5,232
    polling centres opened throughout Iraq's 18 governorates. The first
    provisional results are due to be announced by 10 February by the
    Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI), established by the
    U.S.-run Coalition Provisional Authority in May 2004.
    All Iraqis born on or before 31 December 1986 were eligible to vote,
    provided they could prove their citizenship. Iraq has no current
    official census, so voters were registered through ration cards used
    during the sanctions year for the UN oil-for-food programme, which
    began in 1996. There were roughly 7,700 candidates running for the 275
    National Assembly seats and 11,300 for seats on the 18 regional
    legislatures, but Iraqis did not vote for individuals or specific
    parties in the traditional sense. Instead they picked from one of 111
    "lists" of combined party groups and factions certified by the IECI.
    The parties picked the order in which their candidates' names appeared
    on their own lists. This was important as seats were allocated to
    lists in proportion to the percentage of votes the list collected on
    election day - first names first - so the higher up the list, the
    higher the chance the candidate would get a seat. Every third
    candidate in the order on the list had to be a woman.
    Most of the campaigners called on supporters to vote for the number of
    the list, rather than the name. On the day voters ticked off their
    choice of list from a ballot paper with the name, number, and
    identifying logos of the 111 lists. A lottery determined the order in
    which list names appeared on the ballot.
    Once convened the newly elected National Assembly must then elect an
    Iraqi president and two deputies - a trio making up a Presidency
    Council that will represent Iraq abroad and oversee the running of the
    country. The Presidency Council will be responsible for naming the
    prime minister and for approving ministerial appointments.
    The National Assembly will immediately be tasked to draft a permanent
    Iraqi constitution by 15 August. The constitution should be ratified
    by the Iraqi people in a general referendum by 15 October. If it fails
    to do this, it can extend the process for another six months. If a
    constitution is not ratified by then, its mandate will expire, and
    fresh elections will be held for a new assembly that will start the
    process again.
    But If the constitution is ratified according to schedule in October,
    Iraqis will elect a permanent government no later than 15 December.
    That government should assume office by 31 December.
    The role of the Electoral Commission
    The elections are organised by the Independent Electoral Commission of
    Iraq (IECI), established by the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority
    in May 2004. The Commission is run by a nine-member Board of
    Commissioners, which includes seven voting members who are Iraqi
    citizens, and two non-voting members.
    The two non-voting members are the chief electoral officer, an Iraqi,
    and the Colombian UN expert Carlos Valenzuela, a veteran of 13
    previous UN election missions. The UN selected the IECI membership
    from 1,878 applications short-listed to 25. The Iraqi Commission
    members were sent on a three week training course in Mexico by the UN.
    Thirty other U.N. election specialists provided technical expertise to
    a staff of about 6,000 Iraqi election clerks and monitors. These teams
    faced severe violence, including a 19 December ambush in central
    Baghdad, in which three were killed. The US army reported that
    virtually every election worker in Nineveh province, which includes
    predominantly Arab Sunni Mosul, quit before the election because of
    security fears.
    There were other resignations reported in several other cities, though
    the Commission frequently disputed or dismissed reports, or claimed
    that the staff who had resigned had been promptly replaced. Overseas
    voting was supervised by the International Organisation for Migration,
    though only 21 percent of the 1.2 million eligible expatriates
    registered to vote despite the IOM's intensive efforts.
    Voting papers were printed in Switzerland to avoid counterfeiting and
    centres established in each of the 18 provinces to collate results
    before sending them on to Baghdad.
    The better than expected turnout and the relatively limited scale of
    the threatened insurgent assault on the process reflected well on the
    IECI. Its performance was not without its critics among both Iraqi &
    international media. IECI spokesman Farid Ayar was reported to be in
    dispute with the commission membership in the days before the vote,
    while on the day his delivery of interim turnout results to the media
    was confusing - some said unintentionally misleading.
    The process itself did not appear flawless. Some polling stations in
    the so-called `hot areas' did not open when insufficient numbers of
    election workers turned up to run them. On the day Ayar said that
    voters in these areas could vote at other stations, without saying
    where or how they could be reached with regional travel so heavily
    Like the turnout the commission's tally of polling stations that
    opened as planned on 30 January seemed over-estimated, given the flow
    of media reports from the field, including Samarra, the oil refinery
    town of Beiji and Baghdad's mainly Iraqi Sunni district of Azamiyah,
    and ravaged al-Fallujah where no voting at all was said to have taken
    There was no independent monitoring body to confirm or support the
    validation of interim results from the commission. The UN, having
    helped organise the election, had made it clear in advance that it
    would not be involved in observing it, and Carlos Valenzuela, its lead
    official at the Commission distanced himself and the world body from
    the IECI's early statements on turnout and totals.
    A hastily organised independent monitoring group of foreign election
    experts remained in Amman, Jordan, its members unable to get security
    clearance to move its operations into Iraq. Instead the
    specially-founded International Mission for Iraqi Elections (IMIE)
    plans to `audit' and `assess' the data from Iraqi observers and
    evaluate the process after the event. The IECI itself, with UN
    support, had trained several thousand Iraqi election observers, and
    briefed thousands more from the parties, but their true effectiveness
    has yet to be independently assessed.
    In its preliminary statements, the IMIE team in Jordan said it had
    identified "several strong points regarding today's election,
    including the extent and quality of (the IECI's) election planning and
    organisation, and its independence." But it added that "areas
    recommended for further development include transparency regarding
    financial contributions and expenditures, improvements to the voter
    registration process, and reviewing the criteria for candidate
    Registration of candidates, parties and voters
    Any Iraqi who is at least 30 years old, has a high-school diploma and
    was not a high-ranking member of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party or
    responsible for atrocities under Hussein's regime was allowed to run
    for office. Lower ranking members of the Ba'ath Party who have
    renounced their affiliation may run. Current serving members of the
    Iraqi armed services were barred from standing.
    Under the 30 January system, which like all else in the current voting
    process, is open to review and may be changed by the National Assembly
    during 2005 ahead of the next vote, candidates may run as independents
    or on a list. A list is defined as a political party, an association
    or a group of people with a common political agenda - such as women's
    or human rights groups - that submits candidates.
    Individuals can also apply and, if certified, they can run alone or
    form a coalition with other certified political entities.
    Names must appear in rank order on the party lists and every third
    candidate in order must be a woman. Seats were allocated through a
    system of proportional representation, with seats allocated
    proportionate to the percentage of the vote given to each of the 111
    lists. The actual names of the 7,471 candidates on the 111 lists were
    kept secret up until two days before the poll to protect them against
    insurgent attack.
    Iraqis born on or before 31 December 1986 were eligible to vote,
    provided they can prove their citizenship. Iraq has no official
    census, so voters were registered through ration cards used for the UN
    oil-for-food programme, which began in 1996. Those voters who did not
    have ration cards were allowed to vote if they produced two official
    papers, such as citizenship certificates, identity cards, passports,
    or military service documents. Where the security situation permitted
    the process went smoothly, despite some problems with the registration
    of would be voters born in 1986.
    Registration was allowed right up to election day on 30 January in the
    violence-plagued governorates of al-Anbar and Nineveh, where Mosul is
    located. But in many areas insurgents made verification of the voter
    lists virtually impossible. Iraq's interim president Ghazi al-Yawar
    conceded before the vote that there were areas where not one voter
    registration sheet had been handed out.
    Some 200,000 refugees who fled the November 2004 US assault on
    al-Fallujah also faced severe practical difficulties registering and
    voting, beyond the physical threat posed by insurgents. Even in the
    relatively peaceful northern governorates, Human Rights Watch reported
    up to 90 percent of the voter registration forms in Arbil province had
    mistakes that needed correction and that up to 70,000 people in the
    area might lose their right to vote as a result.
    The development of a more rigidly operated registration list, possibly
    as part of a nationwide census, will be a priority for the Iraqi
    government in 2005. This will be a politically contentious task,
    especially in disputed areas such as Kirkuk, and among minorities -
    Assyrian Christians, and Turkomans in particular - who do not believe
    their political presence should be measured only by their numbers.
    Iraq has a population of more than 25 million people, but it is a
    young country - 40 percent of the population are under the age of 14,
    twice the percentage recorded in the United Kingdom & United States.
    That left just 15.5 million Iraqis eligible to vote, with 1.2 million
    of them living outside the country.
    Overseas voting was supervised by the International Organisation for
    Migration, though only 281,000 of the 1.2 million eligible expatriates
    registered to vote and of them just over two-thirds actually cast a
    ballot, despite intensive efforts by the IOM. Future overseas
    registration and voting will probably be managed by Iraqi embassies
    abroad, as is the case with other nations.
    Main Party Lists - 30 January 2005
    United Iraqi List
    o Iraqi National Congress (secular) - leader Ahmad Chalabi
    o Islamic Action Organisation (Shi'ite Islamist) - leader Ibrahim
    o Islamic Dawa Party in Iraq (Shi'ite Islamist) - leader Iraqi Vice
    President Ibrahim Jaafari
    o Islamic Dawa Party Iraq Organisation (Shi'ite Islamist) - leader
    Abdul Karim Anizi
    o Islamic Virtue Party (Shi'ite Islamist) - leader Nadim Issa Jabiri
    o Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Shi'ite Islamist) -
    leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim
    o Turkmen Islamic Union (Turkmen) - leader Abbas Hassan al-Bayati
    o Also includes nine other Shi'ite and Turkmen parties and prominent
    Saddam-era dissenter Hussain al-Shahristani
    Iraqi List
    o Iraqi National Accord (secular) - leader Prime Minister Iyad Allawi
    o With five other secular parties and one individual
    Kurdistan Alliance List
    o Kurdistan Democratic Party (Kurdish) - leader Massoud Barzani
    o Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (Kurdish) - leader Jalal Talabani
    o With nine other Kurdish parties
    Patriotic Rafidain Party
    o Assyrian Democratic Movement (Christian) - leader Yonadim Kanna
    o Chaldean National Council (Christian)
    People's Union
    o Iraqi Communist Party (secular) - leader Hamid Majid Moussa
    o With one additional individual candidate
    Main Single Party Lists
    o Constitutional Monarchy (secular) - leader al-Sharif Ali Bin Hussein
    o Independent Democratic Movement (secular) - leader Adnan Pachachi
    o Iraqi Islamic Party (Sunni Islamist) - leader Mohsen Abdul Hamid
    o Iraqi National Gathering (secular) - leader Hussein al-Jibouri
    o Iraqis (secular) - leader Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar
    o Reconciliation and Liberation Bloc (secular) - leader Mishaan
    Electoral boundaries
    There were no voting districts for the National Assembly vote - just a
    single country-wide election. This controversial plan was endorsed by
    the UN because it was thought easier to organise than drawing up
    electoral districts based on Iraq's cultures and ethnicities. But the
    system, not uncommon in Europe and Asia, has its problems. A key part
    of building representative parliaments and governments is building a
    sense of confidence that both are accountable to their constituents.
    Iraq's 30 January system weakens that confidence.
    Under the 30 January system politicians are more accountable to their
    party leaders than to Iraqi voters. The party leader can `punish' MPs
    who put local interests ahead of party interests by pushing them down
    the order of names in the party list. That way they will be less
    likely to retain their seat in the next election. Party leaders can
    also use the list system to promote individuals - including some with
    Ba'athist era records or hardcore agendas - who would never win
    popular votes in a straight vote for individually named candidates.
    Generally, the use of nationwide party lists elsewhere in the Middle
    East has tended to bolster religious, ethnic and sectarian parties
    there. The agenda is fixed on the national not local level. And under
    the 30 January system, because the National Assembly elections are not
    tied to districts, there will be towns that have no local citizens in
    the Iraqi Assembly and other towns with scores of them.
    The new National Assembly will be looking closely at the effectiveness
    of the separate ballot for provincial councils in Iraq's 18
    governorates held on 30 January and the regional ballot for the
    Kurdish National Parliament as options when it comes to decide on how
    local the next elections will be.
    But again, provincial level elections tend to favour tribal identities
    or the wishes of locally powerful clergy. In Jordan they found that by
    dividing election areas into smaller voting districts changed the
    political agenda and the Muslim Brotherhood vote by half. In other
    countries the local focus has strengthened the hand of parties such as
    Hezbollah where they have turned to active community-level activism.
    Voters in single-member districts tend to focus on local issues, such
    as schools, health provision, electricity, and policing - and in Iraq
    the polls are clear that it is these issues that are the priority.
    Finally one of many factors driving the pre- 30 January calls for an
    Iraqi Sunni election boycott was the understanding that under the
    agreed system, that 20 percent of the Assembly seats would be the best
    they could expect in any circumstance. In a vote based purely on
    national identities, this would inevitably be seen a defeat. But in a
    vote based on local factors, sectarian matters would be less essential
    to the voters' choice.
    NB: Up to mid-January, Kurdish political parties threatened to boycott
    elections in Kirkuk, alleging that Kurdish residents of Kirkuk who had
    been expelled from the area during Saddam Hussein's `Arabisation'
    programme in the 1980s and 1990s were forbidden to vote in the
    provincial election. On 14 January the IECI ruled that displaced Kurds
    from the area - up to 100,000 people - could vote in Kirkuk for the
    al-Tamin provincial government locally. Arab and Turkmen leaders in
    Kirkuk condemned the decision, complaining that the decision gave the
    Kurds leadership of the al-Tamin local government throughout 2005,
    when Kirkuk's territorial status in Iraq is scheduled to be
    How the media managed

      "We feel defeated and we are frustrated... We fear that we will be
      branded as the spies and collaborators of the occupation. There are
      many whom we fear: The Board of Muslim Clerics, the foreign
      Jihadis, Muqtada al-Sadr, Zarqawi's people, and finally Saddam's
      henchmen." Ali Hasan, Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

    The Iraqi media entered the start of the election campaign period on
    15 December working on what media rights groups had already dubbed the
    world's most dangerous assignment. Nearly 40 journalists and media
    workers, most of them Iraqis, were killed in the line of duty in 2004.
    Journalists are no longer seen as impartial observers - by either
    side. Reporters were beaten, threatened, detained without cause,
    kidnapped for criminal and political reasons and killed, sometimes
    deliberately, all to often carelessly by trigger-happy troops. And
    afterwards it was often impossible for reporters to discover the true
    circumstances of their colleagues' deaths - whether deliberate or
    accidental - let alone see the perpetrators brought to justice.
    This encouraged a climate of impunity, where perpetrators could expect
    to escape serious consequences for their acts. Conflicting messages
    were sent out by the US authorities - on the one hand advocating a
    free media, while on the other, closing down newspapers and detaining
    accredited journalists. The handover to an interim Iraqi government
    had not improved matters, as the new authorities had learnt bad
    lessons from their predecessors.
    "We face different dangers now and there is no law to protect
    journalists in Iraq," Hussein Muhammad al-Ajil of al-Mada newspaper
    told Iranian-American journalist Borzou Daragahi. "There are threats
    from three sides: the Americans might shoot you if they're ambushed;
    the Iraqi security forces might stop you or beat you if they suspect
    you're with the resistance; and the resistance might kill you if they
    think you're a spy."
    The danger increased in the run up to the election. On 12 September
    2004 al-Arabiya journalist Mazen Tumeisi died in an US helicopter
    attack. He was the eighth al-Arabiya staffer to die since March 2003,
    and one of three killed by the US army in circumstances that have yet
    to be fully explained..
    Al-Arabiya reporter Abdel Kader al-Saadi was detained by US troops
    despite being clearly identified as a journalist and in circumstances
    that gave rise to allegations of deliberate intimidation. His station
    has also received numerous threats from claimed supporters of the
    Jordanian insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, demanding that it
    support the "jihad" against the US occupation and Iraqi government.
    The insurgents and the country's criminals have also struck.
    Al-Sharqiyya television reporter Likaa Abdelrazzak was killed in the
    street in Baghdad on Oct. 27, Sada Wasit newspaper reporter Raad
    Beriaej al-Azzawi was kidnapped in November, one among many. Another
    Iraqi journalist reporting on police patrols in the town of Allawi was
    caught by the insurgents. They took his notes and tapes and told him
    to get out of town.
    Daragahi also reported that one journalist at al-Mada was threatened
    with death after he wrote about alleged corruption in an Iraqi
    government ministry and had to flee the country. Al-Mada newspaper was
    also targeted by rockets.
    Western journalists, largely trapped in their hotels, relied on Iraqi
    reporters (stringers) to get information they couldn't, and as the
    target profile of western journalists increased, so did the threat to
    Iraqis working with them. A leaflet circulated in al-Fallujah offered
    money to anyone giving information about Iraqi journalists,
    translators and drivers working with foreign media.
    All the Iraqi media faced similar threats, plus the attentions of an
    interim authority that has sought in the past to impose its views on
    the media and ordering it not to attach `patriotic descriptions' to
    the insurgents and criminals," and asked the media to "set aside space
    in news coverage to make the position of the Iraqi government, which
    expresses the aspirations of most Iraqis, clear," or face the
    Yet with most election hopefuls unable to get out and campaign on the
    streets, names of candidates kept secret until shortly before the
    election, and the vote itself judged on national issues, not local
    agendas, the Iraqi media became the main player in the campaign.
    The view is that they performed better than expected. "Sunni groups
    opposed to participating in the election regularly espouse their views
    in supporting newspapers and are often quoted in what would be
    considered the popular press, owned by independent or pro-election
    party newspapers," noted Kathleen Ridolfo of Radio Free Europe before
    the election. "Sunni groups that will participate in the elections
    despite some hesitancy over the issue have also made their platforms
    Reports and commentaries in the print media did not shy from
    discussions about the role that Islam will play in a future Iraqi
    state with a Shi'ite majority, the possible withdrawal of
    multinational forces, the Kurdish issue and the coming constitution.
    Newspapers have covered the activities of the Election Commission.
    As for television, said Ridolfo, Allawi - "whether by virtue of being
    prime minister or by intention -- has dominated the airwaves". A new
    feature for Iraqis was the use of sleekly-produced TV adverts to
    persuade people to vote and close to election day, to try and persuade
    Iraqi Sunnis to defy boycott calls. Chat shows on Iraqi radio made a
    dramatic impact. Party supporters filled streets with campaign
    posters, replaced as soon as they were ripped down by rivals with new
    A variety of alternative promotional techniques emerged: the Iraqi
    Hezbollah published a calendar with its campaign message, another
    party distributed video CDs with party messages interspersed with
    comedy clips.
    The role of election observers
    The United Nations said from the outset that it would encourage the
    electoral commission to ask for international observers for the
    election, though the world body, having helped organise the poll,
    would not be involved in observing it. About 7,000 representatives of
    Iraqi political parties and nongovernmental organisations have
    registered to observe voting, and each list has the right to have
    members present while votes are counted.
    International monitoring of the 30 January elections in Iraq was
    heavily restricted. The United Nations said from the outset that it
    would encourage the electoral commission to ask for international
    observers for the election, though the U.N., having helped organise
    the poll, would not be involved in observing it. A group of two dozen
    experts brought together by the specially-founded International
    Mission for Iraqi Elections (IMIE) did its work from over the border
    in Amman, Jordan.
    The high profile of some of the figures concerned their national
    governments, all senior election officials from countries ranging from
    Albania to Yemen under team leader, Elections Canada chief Jean-Pierre
    Kingsley. In the end their home governments barred them from crossing
    the border into Iraq. Observer team members argued that not crossing
    the border made their job impossible, but others said that trying to
    cover the election under strict security restrictions would give an
    inaccurate impression that the vote had been properly observed and
    In the end Kingsley's team opted for a limited mission, `auditing' and
    `assessing' the data from Iraqi observers and evaluate the process
    after the event. Their lection day studies focussed on the following
    o legal framework
    o voter registration
    o electoral preparations
    o voter information and education
    o equitable access to media
    o out-of-country registration and voting
    o pre-polling complaint procedures
    o certification of political parties, coalitions and candidates
    o polling
    o vote counting and compilation of results
    o post-election complaints
    Some 6,000 volunteer Iraqi monitors from some 150 Iraqi organisations
    were trained by a UN sponsored programme to act as independent
    observers, registered with the Election Commission while there were a
    reported 23,000 registered observers from different political parties
    who stood by to watch the process in action. But this is an unusual
    methodology. Normally foreign observers are heavily in attendance at
    this kind of vote. The European Union declined an invitation from Iraq
    to send observers while the Carter Center, which has monitored more
    than 50 elections overseas, also decided not to send observers. The 9
    January Palestinian elections drew 800 official observers, led by
    former US president Jimmy Carter and two former European prime
    ministers. Even the October 2004 Afghanistan polls, where the threats
    to foreign observers was well stated in advance, drew more than 100
    foreign observers.
    "An election is "free" when it reflects the full expression of the
    political will of the people concerned. Freedom in this sense involves
    the ability to participate in the political process without
    intimidation, coercion, discrimination, or the abridgment of the
    rights to associate with others, to assemble, and to receive or impart
    information. The "fairness" of an election refers to the right to vote
    on the basis of equality, non-discrimination, and universality. No
    portion of the electorate should be arbitrarily disqualified, or have
    their votes given extra weight."
    Human Rights Watch
    Measures of support: Guestimates & opinion polls
    Numbers - and predictions of numbers - were the all important issue
    during the 30 January election. For the US-led forces in Iraq, the
    actual turnout of voters in the face of the threat of violence was
    used as a measure of the insurgents' weakness, for example. But the
    major numbers debate spun around the calls for an Iraqi Sunni boycott
    before the vote.
    The decision to base the 30 January elections on a national slate of
    party lists was logical, but it left Iraqi Sunnis in a quandary. The
    national slate system could leave them with only no more than 20
    percent of the representation in the National Assembly if they voted
    as Sunnis, but what would it give them if they voted as Iraqis?
    As it became clear that the closer the number of Iraqi Sunni voters
    got to 20 percent of the total votes cast, the more the new government
    would be able claim legitimacy, the issue of the Iraqi Sunni turnout
    on election day took on major significance.
    Pre-vote polls by foreign organisations focused heavily on this issue.
    A poll by the US International Republican Institute from early January
    projected that 65 percent of Iraqis were `likely' to vote, and 20
    percent `very likely'. The difference between the first and the second
    number was in the people's perceptions of threat, and the appeal of
    the very diverse arguments for a boycott.
    It was here that the Iraqi media played a key role. The threat of
    violence deterred extensive studies by opinion pollsters, and exit
    polling on the day. Security rules requiring pollsters to stand about
    700 yards away from polling stations - outside the security cordons -
    inhibited them from carrying out exit polls. Though neither are wholly
    reliable guides to the real level of voter opinion, without them the
    Iraqi media was given extra responsibility to accurately represent the
    situation before and during the vote.
    The media is always tasked to provide the information that the people
    need to make informed decisions, but here it was also backing up
    decisions on physical safety. The tone of the coverage as well as the
    facts reported played as much of a role in this. In addition there
    were non-sectarian party lists with Iraqi Sunni involvement trying to
    appeal to voters in the four predominantly Iraqi Sunni provinces where
    the threat of violence was high and campaigning was largely
    The local media - and to an extent, the Arab satellite TV networks -
    was one of their few means of reaching voters in these areas, and its
    effectiveness in doing so may have been the Iraqi media's greatest
    test in the run up to 30 January.
    Security was set predictably high for the election, with major
    restrictions on movements around election day. Iraq's land borders
    were closed from January 29-31; only pilgrims returning from the Hajj
    in Saudi Arabia were allowed to enter the country. Travel between
    Iraq's provinces was allowed only by special permits, and most
    civilian travel of all kinds barred on election day to obstruct car
    bombers. The ban on car travel made it difficult for some voters to
    reach the polls, especially if they have moved from the neighbourhood
    where they are registered.
    The media were required to get special accreditation and coverage from
    the polling stations was strictly regulated. A reported 100,000 Iraqi
    police and 60,000 Iraqi National Guardsmen were deployed to protect
    the stations, backed up by 150,000 US and 10,000 British soldiers.
    Radio Free Europe reported that an unsigned directive posted to a
    jihadist website in early January advised militants in Iraq to
    "prevent the continuation of participation by any members of the
    election committees through persuasion, threats, kidnapping, and other
    It continued: "Make sure that once they agree to withdraw from the
    election committee, their withdrawal is not announced except during
    the critical and narrow time frame (so that) the government cannot
    replace them with other (workers).... This will make it extremely
    difficult to find trained people to manage the elections in such a
    short period of time."
    In the week before the election, the government announced the arrest
    of several senior aides to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, suggesting it was
    making inroads against the group that had sworn to turn polling day
    into a bloodbath. However, Reuters reported some government officials
    had cast doubt on the importance of the arrests, suggesting the
    announcements were designed to build confidence in security
    Rohan Jayasekera is an associate editor at Index on Censorship and is
    currently directing Index's programmes of monitoring, publishing,
    training and advocacy in Iraq.
    Journalists & media workers killed in Iraq during 2004
    1. Duraid Isa Mohammed, producer and translator, CNN - 27 January 2004
    2. Yasser Khatab, driver, CNN - 27 January 2004
    3. Haymin Mohamed Salih, Qulan TV - 01 February 2004
    4. Ayoub Mohamed, Kurdistan TV - 01 February 2004
    5. Gharib Mohamed Salih, Kurdistan TV - 01 February 2004
    6. Semko Karim Mohyideen, freelance - 01 February 2004
    7. Abdel Sattar Abdel Karim, al-Ta'akhi - 01 February 2004
    8. Safir Nader, Qulan TV - 01 February 2004
    9. Ali Al-Khatib, Al-Arabiya - 18 March 2004
    10. Ali Abdel Aziz, Al-Arabiya - 18 March 2004
    11. Nadia Nasrat, Diyala Television - 18 March 2004
    12. Majid Rachid, technician, Diyala Television - 18 March 2004
    13. Mohamad Ahmad, security agent, Diyala Television - 18 March 2004
    14. Bourhan Mohammad al-Louhaybi, ABC News - 26 March 2004
    15. Omar Hashim Kamal, translator, Time - 26 March 2004
    16. Assad Kadhim, Al-Iraqiya TV - 19 April 2004
    17. Hussein Saleh, driver, Al-Iraquiya TV - 29 April 2004
    18. Mounir Bouamrane, TVP - 07 May 2004
    19. Waldemar Milewicz, TVP - 07 May 2004
    20. Rachid Hamid Wali, cameraman assistant, Al-Jazira - 21 May 2004
    21. Unknown, translator - 25 May 2004
    22. Kotaro Ogawa, Nikkan Gendai - 27 May 2004
    23. Shinsuke Hashida, Nikkan Gendai - 27 May 2004
    24. Unknown, translator - 27 May 2004
    25. Mahmoud Ismael Daood, bodyguard, Al-Sabah al-Jadid - 29 May 2004
    26. Samia Abdeljabar, driver, Al-Sabah al-Jadid - 29 May 2004
    27. Sahar Saad Eddine Nouami, Al-Hayat Al-Gadida - 03 June 2004
    28. Mahmoud Hamid Abbas, ZDF - 15 August 2004
    29. Hossam Ali, freelance. - 15 August 2004
    30. Jamal Tawfiq Salmane, Gazeta Wyborcza - 25 August 2004
    31. Enzo Baldoni, Diario della settimana - 26 August 2004
    32. Mazen al-Tomaizi, Al-Arabiya - 12 September 2004
    33. Ahmad Jassem, Nivive television - 07 October 2004
    34. Dina Mohamad Hassan, Al Hurriya Television - 14 October 2004
    35. Karam Hussein, European Pressphoto Agency - 14 October 2004
    36. Liqaa Abdul-Razzaq, Al-Sharqiya - 27 October 2004
    37. Dhia Najim, Reuters - 01 November 2004
    Reporters sans Frontières

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