By Abdul Rahman Al Issawi, Li Jizhi
FALLUJAH, Iraq, Jan.
29 (Xinhuanet) -- Election organizers set up two polling centers on Saturday
afternoon in Iraq's previously rebel-controlled Fallujah, but only found them
bombed shortly after.
|An Iraqi Army soldier stands guard at a
polling station in Mosul, January 29, 2005. Election organizers set
up two polling centers on Saturday afternoon in Iraq's previously
rebel-controlled Fallujah, but only found them bombed shortly after.
The two centers, in Fallujah's al-Risala and al-Shurta districts, were
installed only hours before election day in an effort to showcase the idea that
no place is absent from the elections.
The two are among the only four voting centers in Anbar province west of
Baghdad, a restive area where elections were thought to be impossible.
A third is located in Anbar's capital city of Ramadi and is heavily guarded
by US and Iraqi troops. The fourth one is said to be opened early Sunday in
Fallujah, a virtual ghost town after US Marines and Iraqi forces stormed it last
Unlike the south and the north of Iraq, there has been virtually no trace
of elections in Anbar despite repeated calls for participation from the
It has not witnessed any electoral campaigns by any political parties or
independent candidates. It is doubted that the voting center could function
because they would be easy targets for the many armed groups in the territory.
Even if they are open, it is feared that few voters would show up.
"I do not even want to think of these elections because they only express
the desire of the American administration. It will create an allegiant
government which will in turn justify the criminal actions it had committed in
Anbar, "said Haj Mahmood Saloom.
"Come what may, I think the results of the elections are predetermined,"
said the 48-year-old citizen.
Extremist groups distributed handouts and statements, warning people
against participating in the elections. "Any one who goes to the station would
be considered disobedient to Islam," reads one leaflet.
In Fallujah and the surrounding areas, US forces cordoned off roads and
banned the free movement of people. Loudspeakers on American tanks called on the
citizens to go to the polls. But the relatively quiet situation is believed to
be a lull before the storm.
"I am sure that the elections would not succeed in Iraq, because the
American forces are trying to create an unstable situation in Iraq through the
intensified deployment of their forces in our cities," said 36-year-old Khalid
"The situation could explode at any minute," he cautioned.
The situation in Ramadi, 110 km west of Baghdad, is equally harsh. Instead
of campaign posters, on walls are leaflets that askpeople to stay home
especially at night to avoid violence.
"The evening will be turned into a hell that bites the Americans. The
elections will be a disaster for the agents and collaborators with the
occupation," reads a poster which carries the name of the Islamic Resistance