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Friday, October 14, 2005

Iraq Shuts Down For Constitutional Vote

Early voting has started in Iraq and the authorities are trying to ensure a safe vote. Reuters:
Announcing nationwide curfews as the first Iraqis cast early ballots in hospitals and prisons, Interior Minister Bayan Jabor said frontiers would close from midnight (2100 GMT) until Sunday. Businesses shut for a four-day holiday and private vehicles were banned from overnight travel and all day Saturday.

Two attacks damaged a Sunni group's offices in Falluja after the Iraqi Islamic Party broke ranks and backed the constitution once parliament had made some minor amendments on Wednesday.

On Thursday, a second prominent Sunni group rallied behind the deal, which sets up a new round of negotiations to craft a consensus on constitutional amendments next year in return for backing the present draft and sticking to a timetable laid down last year by U.S. officials keen to ensure an exit for U.S. troops.

"As a way out of this ... dark tunnel and to avoid starting all over again from scratch ... the Sunni Endowment has decided to support the Iraqi Islamic Party in voting 'Yes'," the movement, which has clerical leanings, said in a statement. "Living under a flawed law is better than chaos and anarchy."
That last statement pretty much says it all. All law is flawed, but it's better than a dictatorship and better than the rule of the violent.

If only the same ideas could prevail in Gaza. Jerusalem Post:
Al-Azhar University in Gaza City has been shut down after gunmen belonging to the ruling Fatah party beat the institution's president and some of his aides.

The attack took place on Wednesday when some 20 gunmen stormed the offices of university president Dr. Adnan al-Khaldi and forced him to flee after assaulting him.
The attack was not the first of its kind on the university. Earlier this year another Fatah group stormed the campus and threatened to lynch the university president, who managed to escape unharmed.

The attack coincided with a report published by the PA Interior Ministry showing that Fatah's armed wing, Aksa Martyrs Brigades, was largely responsible for the continued state of lawlessness and anarchy.

Figures released by the ministry showed that Fatah gunmen were involved last August in 20 incidents of lawlessness, while Hamas came in second with only 18 violations. The number of Palestinians killed in domestic violence since the beginning of the year was higher than those killed by the IDF, the figures showed.
Sources in Gaza City said the latest attack was apparently in response to the university's decision to expel six Fatah-affiliated students for their involvement in previous cases of violence on campus.

On Wednesday, a Fatah gang kidnapped two Western journalists while they were traveling in a car near Khan Yunis.
Gang rule is not compatible with a modern state, or even a university.

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