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Reports: Iraqi leader suggests staggered election

Twenty U.S. troop deaths this month in Iraq

(CNN) -- Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is reportedly suggesting that national elections set for January 30 could be spread out over 15 to 20 days to improve the chances that more Iraqis will vote.

But a top Iraqi election official said he doubted that such a proposal was possible.

Belgium's Le Soir newspaper reported Tuesday that Allawi, who is touring Europe, said: "I think one could envisage elections spread over 15 days, 20 days, with polling on different dates for different provinces. ... That would allow for adequate security arrangements to be put in place."

Allawi made a similar suggestion Tuesday in the Swiss paper Le Temps.

Insurgent attacks plaguing Iraq have prompted calls from many Iraqis for a delay in the elections, but the interim government and the United States appear determined to leave the date unchanged.

There has been particular concern about the ability to hold elections in parts of the Sunni Muslim heartland, where insurgent attacks have been significant.

In Baghdad, Abdul Hussein al-Hindawi, head of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, said the idea of staggered voting days has never been discussed or suggested to his panel.

Al-Hindawi said he doubts the elections could be spread out over several days. He noted there are questions about the technical viability of such a plan, and the problem that, under Iraq's transitional administrative law, the elections cannot be held after January 31.

Two U.S. deaths Tuesday
Suspected insurgents wielding small arms Tuesday killed an American soldier on patrol in Baghdad, the military said. A U.S. Marine also was killed Tuesday in a motor vehicle accident west of Baghdad in Anbar province, the military said.

There have been 20 U.S. military deaths in Iraq this month, bringing the number of American troop fatalities in the war to 1,280, including 1,006 killed in hostile action.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces continue to search for insurgents and weapons in an attempt to improve security before the elections.

During a Monday raid by U.S. forces near the north-central city of Tikrit, troops arrested seven people and found three roadside bombs, the military said Tuesday.

In another U.S.-led coalition operation -- near Baquba, northeast of Baghdad -- troops arrested four people and seized rifles, a shotgun, small-arms ammunition and 9.2 million Iraqi dinars.

Also Monday in the Baquba area, the military said that U.S. soldiers found weapons caches, including artillery and mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, blocks of plastic explosives, mine fuses and other ammunition.

During the operation, suspected insurgents attacked the soldiers, who fired back, the military said. It said no soldiers were wounded.
"Reports: Iraqi leader suggests staggered election." CNN News. 01 December 2004. 07 December 2004 <www.cnn.com>.

also - http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/12/07/iraq.main/index.html
A classified CIA cable and briefings indicate that the overall situation in Iraq is not expected to improve anytime soon, according to an article in Tuesday's New York Times. The cable, reportedly written by the CIA's Baghdad station chief, outlines a pessimistic immediate future for Iraq's politics, economics and security. (Full story)


President Bush on Tuesday thanked U.S. troops fighting in Iraq by visiting Camp Pendleton, near San Diego, California. (Full story)


Initial results of a military probe of recently published photos showing Navy SEALs capturing Iraqi detainees were taken for legitimate intelligence-gathering reasons, a Navy spokesman said Monday, according to the AP. The photos have drawn a strong reaction in Arab media. (Full story)


Iraqi interim President Ghazi al-Yawar met with Bush at the White House on Monday. Al-Yawar said Iraq would not give in to "the armies of darkness, who have no objective but to undermine the political process and incite civil war in Iraq." He added, "Victory is not only possible, it's a fact. We can see it. It's there."


The AP reported a firefight in a busy Baghdad street Monday between American troops and insurgents. Also, five U.S. troops were reported killed in separate clashes
"Reports: Iraqi leader suggests staggered election." CNN News. 01 December 2004. 07 December 2004 <www.cnn.com>.

also - http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/12/07/iraq.main/index.html
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A suicide car bombing early Monday outside the Green Zone government compound in Baghdad killed eight people and wounded 15, police said, a day after seven U.S. Marines died in clashes in restive Al Anbar province.
"Suicide car bomber kills 8 in Baghdad." CNN News. 13 December 2004. 13 December 2004 < www.cnn.com >.
Iraq's interim government is based in the Green Zone, which is also home to the U.S. Embassy.

On Sunday seven Marines assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force were killed in two separate incidents while conducting security and stabilization operations in Al Anbar province west of Baghdad, the military said.

The Combined Press Information Center said in a written statement that because of protective measures, it was not releasing details of how the deaths occurred.

"The release of more details about the incident could place our personnel at greater risk," the military said. The victims' names also were withheld.

The Al Anbar province has a strong presence of Iraqi insurgents.

The death of the first U.S. Marine was announced earlier Sunday.
"Suicide car bomber kills 8 in Baghdad." CNN News. 13 December 2004. 13 December 2004 < www.cnn.com >.
Sunday's deaths bring the number of U.S. troops to die in the war to 1,296. A total of 1,442 Coalition troops have died since the war began.
"Suicide car bomber kills 8 in Baghdad." CNN News. 13 December 2004. 13 December 2004 < www.cnn.com >.
Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle Sunday pointed to poor planning to explain what they viewed as the lack of appropriate armor to protect U.S. soldiers in Iraq, with some showing less and less confidence in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Sen. Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat, repeated his call for Rumsfeld's resignation, while New Jersey Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine joined the calls, saying that "no one has been held accountable" for any of the many things that have gone wrong in the war.
"Suicide car bomber kills 8 in Baghdad." CNN News. 13 December 2004. 13 December 2004 < www.cnn.com >.
Corzine told "Fox News Sunday" that the country had already been faced with "the miscalculation and interpretation of the intelligence before the war," a "failure to secure all the weapons dumps," and "a problem with our administration of the prisons."

"Now we find that there has been underinvestment in protecting our men and women on the ground," he said. "And as we have said, there's been an underinvestment in the number of troops on the ground to actually protect themselves."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, acknowledged that the government "misunderstood ... the nature of what we thought would happen after Baghdad," but he did not lay the blame on Rumsfeld.
"Suicide car bomber kills 8 in Baghdad." CNN News. 13 December 2004. 13 December 2004 < www.cnn.com >.
"The leadership that he's provided, I think, has been firm when we needed to be firm," Graham told Fox. "War is a messy thing. The insurgents are ruthless people. We're trying to adapt. We have made mistakes. It was the right thing to take this dictator out. A year ago tomorrow, we found him in a spider hole."

The armor issue came up last week when a soldier in Kuwait, awaiting deployment for Iraq, asked the secretary during a large question-and-answer session why soldiers had to dig in trash heaps for armor to protect their vehicles.

Rumsfeld replied that he was unaware of the problem and that "you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have." He said shortages of armor did not stem from a lack of money but were "a matter of physics." The manufacturers of add-on armor are producing it as fast as humanly possible, he said.

That apparently is not the case, however: two armor-producing companies quickly came forward to say they were not working at capacity and were awaiting orders from the Pentagon.

The Army struck a deal with one of those companies on Friday.

There was another twist in the story when it became known that an embedded reporter had planted the question with the soldier who confronted Rumsfeld. The publisher of the reporter's newspaper later said readers should have been told promptly about the reporter's involvement.
"Suicide car bomber kills 8 in Baghdad." CNN News. 13 December 2004. 13 December 2004 < www.cnn.com >.
A number of the 11 jailed former top lieutenants to Saddam Hussein have refused meals but are snacking, and the ousted leader himself is eating normally, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a coalition spokesman on detention operations in Iraq, told CNN. The comments came after published reports quoted a lawyer for former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz saying he had heard that Saddam and some of the other former Iraqi leaders were on a hunger strike.
"Suicide car bomber kills 8 in Baghdad." CNN News. 13 December 2004. 13 December 2004 < www.cnn.com >.
One year after Saddam's capture, Iraq's National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie told The Associated Press that officials expect his trial to get under way no earlier than the beginning of 2006. During his detention, Saddam has taken up gardening, undergone a hernia operation and written poetry that one visitor describes as "rubbishy.
"Suicide car bomber kills 8 in Baghdad." CNN News. 13 December 2004. 13 December 2004 < www.cnn.com >.
Iraq's interim president has criticized U.S. and British forces for dismantling Iraqi security forces and warned that long-term instability could give rise to an "Iraqi Hitler." Ghazi al-Yawer said Monday the decision to dismantle Saddam's defense and interior ministries contributed to the violence and disorder seen since the Iraqi dictator was captured a year ago
"Suicide car bomber kills 8 in Baghdad." CNN News. 13 December 2004. 13 December 2004 < www.cnn.com >.
But a top Iraqi election official said he doubted that such a proposal was possible.

Belgium's Le Soir newspaper reported Tuesday that Allawi, who is touring Europe, said: "I think one could envisage elections spread over 15 days, 20 days, with polling on different dates for different provinces. ... That would allow for adequate security arrangements to be put in place."
"Reports: Iraqi leader suggests staggered election." CNN News. 01 December 2004. 07 December 2004 <www.cnn.com>.
Allawi made a similar suggestion Tuesday in the Swiss paper Le Temps.

Insurgent attacks plaguing Iraq have prompted calls from many Iraqis for a delay in the elections, but the interim government and the United States appear determined to leave the date unchanged.

There has been particular concern about the ability to hold elections in parts of the Sunni Muslim heartland, where insurgent attacks have been significant.
"Reports: Iraqi leader suggests staggered election." CNN News. 01 December 2004. 07 December 2004 <www.cnn.com>.
There has been particular concern about the ability to hold elections in parts of the Sunni Muslim heartland, where insurgent attacks have been significant.

In Baghdad, Abdul Hussein al-Hindawi, head of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, said the idea of staggered voting days has never been discussed or suggested to his panel.

Al-Hindawi said he doubts the elections could be spread out over several days. He noted there are questions about the technical viability of such a plan, and the problem that, under Iraq's transitional administrative law, the elections cannot be held after January 31.
"Reports: Iraqi leader suggests staggered election." CNN News. 01 December 2004. 07 December 2004 <www.cnn.com>.
Two U.S. deaths Tuesday
Suspected insurgents wielding small arms Tuesday killed an American soldier on patrol in Baghdad, the military said. A U.S. Marine also was killed Tuesday in a motor vehicle accident west of Baghdad in Anbar province, the military said.

There have been 20 U.S. military deaths in Iraq this month, bringing the number of American troop fatalities in the war to 1,280, including 1,006 killed in hostile action.
"Reports: Iraqi leader suggests staggered election." CNN News. 01 December 2004. 07 December 2004 <www.cnn.com>.
Two U.S. deaths Tuesday
Suspected insurgents wielding small arms Tuesday killed an American soldier on patrol in Baghdad, the military said. A U.S. Marine also was killed Tuesday in a motor vehicle accident west of Baghdad in Anbar province, the military said.

There have been 20 U.S. military deaths in Iraq this month, bringing the number of American troop fatalities in the war to 1,280, including 1,006 killed in hostile action.
"Reports: Iraqi leader suggests staggered election." CNN News. 01 December 2004. 07 December 2004 <www.cnn.com>.
Meanwhile, U.S. forces continue to search for insurgents and weapons in an attempt to improve security before the elections.

During a Monday raid by U.S. forces near the north-central city of Tikrit, troops arrested seven people and found three roadside bombs, the military said Tuesday.

In another U.S.-led coalition operation -- near Baquba, northeast of Baghdad -- troops arrested four people and seized rifles, a shotgun, small-arms ammunition and 9.2 million Iraqi dinars.
"Reports: Iraqi leader suggests staggered election." CNN News. 01 December 2004. 07 December 2004 <www.cnn.com>.