Thursday, December 15, 2005

Let's Pray
To Get
Out Of

The Iraqis are voting today, and the turnout is big:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraqis voted Thursday in one of the largest and freest elections in the Arab world, with strong turnout reported in Sunni areas and even a shortage of ballots in some precincts. Several explosions rocked Baghdad throughout the day, but the level of violence was low.

The heavy participation in the parliamentary voting by the Sunnis, who had shunned balloting last January, bolstered U.S. hopes of calming the insurgency enough to begin withdrawing its troops next year.

But much depends on whether the sides, after the votes are counted, can form a government to reconcile Iraq's various communities, or merely fan the current tensions.

The large turnout forced the Iraqi election commission to extend voting for one hour, until 6 p.m. (10 a.m. EST) as long lines were reported in some precincts, said commission official Munthur Abdelamir. Results will be announced within two weeks.

Democracy is taking it's tentative baby steps in the Arab world. We can be proud parents now, but who knows what the teen years will bring.