The results of Iraq’s provincial elections could be released as soon as tomorrow, and many in the government have praised it as a rousing success. But while it has been presented as a testament to the progress made by the United States in propping up the Iraqi government, serious irregularities have left the results in serious doubt, and violence may result.
The US warns that those who lose in the elections may take out their frustrations with violence, and Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin says “my hope is that those who are not elected will support those who are.”
But there is more at issue than just sour grapes. Tens of thousands of voters were turned away on election day, and a top Sunni leader claims to have hundreds of documents proving electoral fraud in Anbar. The number of complaints has risen to the point that the Iraqi electoral commission is promising to investigate.
While hardly the only place where fraud is being alleged, Anbar seems to be the biggest flashpoint. Officials imposed a curfew over protests, and the government has announced it will recount the ballots.
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