I doubt the leadership would allow the people to chose their own candidates, directly. Otherwise, why is there a Guardian Council?
Insurgents attack Iraqi soldiers; alleged Muslim radical caught entering Iran
CBC News Canada
Feb 07 2004
BAGHDAD (AP) - Insurgents fired a rocket propelled grenade Saturday at a bus carrying Iraqi soldiers west of Baghdad, wounding five of them and a civilian bystander, officials said.
Meanwhile, a UN election official was expected in Baghdad on Saturday to begin studying the feasibility of early legislative elections, as demanded by the country's leading Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani.
Elsewhere, U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Iraq captured suspected member of Ansar al-Islam, a radical Muslim group, as he tried to enter the country from Iran, an Iraqi official said.
U.S. and Kurdish officials believe Ansar al-Islam is linked to al-Qaida and may have been behind last weekend's twin suicide bombings in the northern city of Irbil.
The attack against the Iraqi army bus took place near the mayor's office in Fallujah, a hotbed of the insurgency in the Sunni Triangle west of the capital, said 1st Lt. Raad Mussab of Iraq's army. The attackers escaped.
The alleged Ansar al-Islam member, Warzir Ali Wali Mamoyi, was arrested Thursday at a checkpoint in Kurdish-controlled Sulaimaniyah province, according to Omar Ghareeb, a local civil administration official.
He described Mamoyi as a member of a committee that issues policy statements for Ansar al-Islam, a mostly Kurdish militant group that follows a strict interpretation of Islam.
Kurdish officials believe Ansar al-Islam carried out the Sunday suicide bombings at the offices of the Kurdistan Democratic party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Irbil. Another group, the Ansar al-Sunna army, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed 109 people, in a statement posted on a Web site. U.S. officers believe Ansar al-Sunna is a splinter group of Ansar al-Islam.
A Kurdish newspaper, Kurdistani Nuwe, said Friday that Mamoyi was planning to travel to the Sunni Triangle area, possibly to link up with anti-U.S. insurgents from the former regime of Saddam Hussein.
UN officials have made no announcement about the scheduled arrival of a UN electoral team that Secretary General Kofi Annan was sending to break the impasse between al-Sistani and the occupation authority over the timetable for elections and the transfer of power.
Al-Sistani demands that the new legislature be elected, while the Americans want the members appointed in 18 regional caucuses. The legislature will choose a new sovereign government that will take office by July 1.
A senior UN elections expert, Carina Perelli, was in Amman, Jordan, on Friday. UN officials would not confirm she was en route to Baghdad, but an aide to Governing Council member Adnan Pachachi said he would meet with the UN team later Saturday in Baghdad. The aide, Mahdi Hafidh, Pachachi's priority was to ensure that the June 30 deadline for handing over sovereignty be met.
Also Saturday, about 200 former employees of the Ministry of Information gathered near the coalition headquarters in Baghdad to demand salaries. The employees were fired in May 2003 after occupation authorities dissolved the ministry, a mouthpiece of Saddam's regime.
"We are in the new Iraq and this is an injustice, unfair and we want our salaries because we are not criminals," shouted Yasmin Adnan, a former translator at the ministry.
The Information Ministry, which monitored journalists during Saddam's regime, gained notoriety when its chief, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, denied that American troops were in Baghdad even as American tanks could be seen on the grounds of Saddam's Republican Palace.
Elsewhere, the U.S. military said a roadside bomb Friday exploded in Baghdad, wounding two U.S. soldiers. No further details were released. http://www.cbc.ca/cp/world/040207/w020726.html