Friday, December 23, 2005

Iran Accused of Rigging Iraqi General Election

Thousands of Sunni secular Shiite and Kurdish protesters took to the streets of Iraq Friday, Dec. 23, over what they called “the biggest election fraud in Middle East history.” Their umbrella group Maram alleges the UIA’s commanding lead in preliminary results of the Dec. 15 poll and was rigged and is calling for a new election.

DEBKAfile’s sources reveal that the announcement by former prime minister Iyad Allawi, head of the Iraqi List and a key American ally, that he and the Sunni bloc of 30 lists were boycotting the elections, brought US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld dashing over to Baghdad Thursday night.

Allawi alleges that convoys of trucks carrying sealed ballot boxes stuffed with forged voting slips and other documents went round polling stations on election-day and packed the ballot boxes with pro-Shiite votes. Between 10 and 15 of those trucks were intercepted by Iraqi security forces at the southern Iraqi towns of Qut, Al Amara and Basra. An investigation disclosed that they trucks were organized by Iranian intelligence agents to falsely boost the Iranian majority.

Rumsfeld will do his best to talk Allawi round in order to rescue one of the Bush administration’s greatest feats from collapse. Meanwhile Iraqi and UN officials are examining Allawi’s allegations.