Morning Brief: Iraq’s peaceful elections

Top Story Turnout was low in Iraq’s parliamentary elections on Saturday, but thankfully so was violence with not a single major attack being reported in the country. Security was extraordinarily tight. There was widespread confusion over process and complaints of voters being left off roles, but overall, the election was hailed as a success by ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
588925_090202_elections5.jpg
588925_090202_elections5.jpg

Top Story

Top Story

Turnout was low in Iraq’s parliamentary elections on Saturday, but thankfully so was violence with not a single major attack being reported in the country. Security was extraordinarily tight. There was widespread confusion over process and complaints of voters being left off roles, but overall, the election was hailed as a success by Iraqi and international observers, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

Early returns indicate strong support for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and gains for Iraq’s secular parties. The International Crisis Group’s Joost Hiltermann warned on FP last week that observers should avoid reading too much significance into the election results.

Even with sporadic pre-election violence, January was Iraq’s most peaceful month since the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Middle East

Israel responded to Hamas mortar attacks with airstrikes after promising a “disproportionate” response to violations of the ceasefire.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is in Egypt for talks.

Iran seems to be clamping down on dissidents ahead of this summer’s elections.

Africa

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has been chosen as head of the African Union, a spokesman says. 

Somalia’s de facto parliament selected a new president. 

A series of deadly fires has Kenyans questioning their government’s ability to respond to a crisis.

Asia

China has scheduled a trial for a critic of the government’s earthquake response.

Nine were killed in the shelling of a hospital in Sri Lanka.

South Asian officials are concerned about envoy Richard Holbrooke’s “bulldozer” style, the L.A. Times reports.

Europe

Iceland formed a new center-left government with hopes of recovering from economic collapse.

Greek farmers rioted to protest economic conditions in the country.

Massive factory closings in Russia have the Kremlin fearing unrest.

Americas

Four hostages were freed by Colombian FARC rebels.

Anti-Semitic vandals ransacked a synagogue in Caracas as Israeli-Venezuelan relations worsened.

Cuba and Russia signed a new cooperation pact.

Photo: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating is a former associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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