There Will Be No Credible Election In Iraq This Month

From Holden:

How can they hold an election when everyone, from police to ordinary citizens, is getting the hell out of dodge?

Iraqi police continue to leave their jobs, and some are even leaving the country, in response to violence and threats against them.

[snip]

According to the Interior Ministry, there were some 76,000 police officers in Iraq during Saddam’s time. After the former Iraqi president was ousted in April 2003, there were no police officers for a month.

The then Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) dissolved the army and the police and started to recruit them again. There are now said to be some 200 police recruits joining the force every month, on an average monthly wage of US $200.

“Our lives are in the hands of people who want to bring disorder to Iraq. I’m getting my passport made so I can leave the country before the elections,” Husseiny said.

Accurate figures are hard to confirm but local officials said hundreds of Iraqi policemen were killed last year in attacks by insurgents.

According to officials from the Ministry of Defence, at least two policemen are killed in an explosion or attack in the country daily.

[snip]

According to Maj Salah al-Zeidan, police chief in the Karada district of the capital, many officers resigned after receiving threats from unknown sources and some decided to leave the country. “I know that it may surprise people, as policemen want to feel totally secure and are leaving the country. This is the reality in Iraq,” he explained.

“The elections will be the worse days in this country, even with all the security preparations. We will be the first targets and I will leave the country next week for Syria. Unfortunately I had to quit my job for my family’s safety,” Kamal al-Rabia’a, a policeman working in the Hay Jamia’a district of Baghdad, told IRIN. “I don’t want my children to live without a father and that is what could happen if I stay and do my job,” he maintained.

[snip]

Locals say the election is making the nation nervous and there are reports of families preparing to leave the country after school and university exams end on 15 January.

Parents said they were afraid and wanted to keep their children safe until the elections were over. “I will take my family outside Iraq and bring them back after the elections. They are the future of the country and I don’t want to lose them due a stray bullet in the street,” Hanoon Salem, a father of five, told IRIN.

But this situation poses another difficulty for the Iraqi authorities. “If people leave the country before the elections and policemen do the same, who is going to vote in the coming polls?” Kadham asked.