Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Slate-Papers: Iraqi election legit, despite protests

The New York Times leads with an analysis of initial Iraqi voting results, seeming to confirm what's long been obvious: There are darn few Sunnis in the army or police. The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with, and alone goes high with, the deadliest day in Iraq since the elections: About two dozen civilians were killed in bombings and other attacks. Also, eight members of an Iraqi SWAT team were reportedly wiped out in an hour-long battle with insurgents. And a GI was killed in Baghdad. As usual, the most comprehensive round-up of the attacks comes not from the newspapers but from blogger Juan Cole. 

The vote tally from Iraqi security forces showed just seven percent support for Sunni parties. Meanwhile, the main Kurdish party got 45 percent. Kurds are thought to make up only about 20 percent of the country, but they also have the largest militia, plenty of whom have been rebadged as army forces. Anyway the stats ring true, but don't read too much into them: The count was "preliminary" and "far from exact."

With mass protests in Iraq alleging fraud, the NYT buries what seems like a key bit of news: There doesn't seem to have been much hanky-panky. "We do think there might have been fraud in a few isolated places, but we don't see this widespread fraud people are talking about," said the U.N. top election monitor in Iraq.  The Times sticks that right up where readers are sure to spot it: the 20-th paragraph.

ChalabiA piece inside the Post emphasizes that former U.S.-favorite Ahmed Chalabi, left, doesn't appear to have gotten enough votes to earn a spot in parliament.

Eric Umansky (www.ericumansky.com) writes "Today's Papers" for Slate. He can be reached at todayspapers@slate.comFull Slate Magazine story.
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
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political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

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