The Washington Post reports that 3 Iraqi election workers were brutually gunned down in Baghdad and two huge bombs exploded outside Shi’ite holy areas in Najaf and Karbala, killing at least 64 civilians. Understandably, media coverage will focus on the horrible body count. But note one section in the middle of the article on how Sunni clerics and even al-Sadr’s people (who are now invested in the elections) have reacted (it’s worth excerpting at length):
"I swear to God, even if they burn all the elections centers, we will still go and vote," said Ali Waili, 29, a taxi driver reached by telephone in Karbala. "We have been mistreated for a long time, we have been tortured for a long time."
In the wake of the attacks, leading Shiite figures appealed for calm. The movement of Moqtada Sadr, a young cleric whose Mahdi Army militia has twice led uprisings against U.S. forces, condemned the attack and dismissed the prospect of sectarian strife.
"It is clear that there are some trying to impose conflict and civil war in Iraq," said Ali Yassiri, a top aide to Sadr. "Deceiving Iraqis is difficult. . . . These attacks will result in nothing but insistence on proceeding toward the Iraq of the future."
Ayatollah Mohammed Saeed Hakim, who with Sistani is one of the country’s four most important clerics, called the bombing an attempt to "incite sectarian sedition."
A similar call for restraint was heard at the Ibn Taimiya Sunni mosque in Baghdad, which was struck by at least two mortar rounds at 7 a.m. Four guards were wounded, one of them seriously; windows were shattered and wood paneling was damaged.
Those responsible "must be trying to incite sectarian strife, but this will not happen," said a mosque caretaker, Ali Mashhadani.
Of course, the violence is awful and many things can go wrong before and after the elections. But however the media reports it, the apparent chaos cannot hide the fact that the forces of tyranny and terror are desperate. After January 30, they will not be able to pretend -- even to themselves -- that they have an argument. Once that happens in politics, total defeat is just a matter of time (and arms).