གཟའ་མིག་དམར། ༢༠༢༤/༠༥/༢༡

More than 30 Iraqis Killed in Past Two Days  - 2004-12-06

The mounting insurgency in Iraq has claimed the lives of more than 30 Iraqi civilians and security forces during the past two days. The increasing level of violence in the country has prompted a renewed call from some political parties in the country to postpone elections scheduled for the end of January.

Whether they be civilians or Iraqi security forces, no one is safe from the insurgency in Iraq.

Sunday, civilian workers traveling on a bus for their jobs near Tikrit, north of Baghdad, were attacked by insurgents occupying two separate vehicles, in a drive-by shooting. The attack occurred after the bus had stopped to let the workers off.

In another attack, west of the northern Iraqi town of Beiji, a bomb exploded at an Iraqi National Guard checkpoint.

In Samarra, north of Baghdad, an Iraqi army convoy was attacked by insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. At least one soldier was killed.

Violence has spiked in recent days. Interim government officials say the mounting attacks are intended to disrupt national elections, scheduled for January 30.

Most Iraqi officials expect the level of violence to continue to rise leading up to the elections to select a 275-seat Iraqi national assembly.

In that regard, several small political parties in Iraq gathered in Baghdad for a conference to discuss making a direct appeal to the United Nations and the Iraqi elections commission to postpone the elections for six months.

The head of the Gathering of the Democratic Party of Iraq, Mashaan al-Jabouri, said an effort is being made to convince the majority of the more than 200 political parties in Iraq to agree to postpone the elections.

Mr. al-Jabouri says they are trying to push the other parties to put pressure on the United Nations to postpone the elections, because, he says, there are several areas in Iraq where insurgents will be able to prevent voters from going to the polls. He says the elections will not be viewed as legitimate, unless all Iraqis are free to cast ballots.

Last week, many of the same political parties called for the interim government to postpone the elections.

But the interim government rejected the call, and said the elections would be held as scheduled.

The political parties discussed the idea of bypassing the interim government, and appealing directly to the United Nations and the Iraqi elections commission. Even so, many of the participants involved with the conference said they would not boycott the elections, if they are held in January. Other political parties said they would wait until January to decide whether to participate.

Interim government officials have said postponing the elections would only serve to embolden the insurgency.