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The mother of all elections

Iraq's 30th January election will put Shias in power and be marred by Sunni violence. But it will express Iraqi, not US, ambitions. Bush will cease to call the shots— sooner than the world realises

By Bartle Bull   February 2005

The latest recording to emerge from Osama bin Laden’s cave calls for a boycott of this month’s election in Iraq. The Sunni Arab, Saudi-born zillionaire tells 25m impoverished Iraqis—mainly Shias or Kurds—that all who vote will mark themselves as “infidels.” In the same tape, Bin Laden also nominates Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as his “emir” in Iraq. Zarqawi is a Jordanian, a suspected rapist, and presenter of his own home video series, in which he occasionally beheads his guest stars. His al Qaeda of Iraq group is the most visible threat to Sunni Arab participation in the poll. Thankfully, most Iraqis…

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