Iraq warns of more violence before elections

Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:15am EST

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Insurgents may step up attacks in Iraq before a parliamentary election in January, the government said on Thursday, acknowledging the fears of many Iraqis who are only just starting to enjoy better security.

Violence has dipped sharply over the past 18 months, but a stubborn insurgency has shown its resilience by staging attacks such as the powerful bombings in August and October aimed at government buildings, which killed more than 250 people.

Further attacks before the poll would be a setback for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is campaigning on a platform that seeks credit for increased security in Iraq.

“From now until the election time, we anticipate, we believe that our enemies, our adversaries, will resort to more violence,” Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told reporters at the ministry’s offices, which were hit in attacks on August 19.

“But we hope we will succeed. We will have clean elections in January,” he said.

Iraq’s electoral body has recommended the poll — which will be closely watched by foreign investors eager to gauge stability in Iraq — be held on January 21, but there are talks to have it on January 18.

[original]

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