"A wave of car bombings shook the Iraqi capital Wednesday, killing at least nine people as rebels stepped up their offensive to block the Jan. 30 national election. Other attacks were reported north and south of the capital, but the U.N. election chief said only a sustained onslaught could stop the ballot." - AP News
Why, thank you, U.N. election chief, for telling the bombers what was required. One sustained onslaught, here we come.
It's become a commonplace of the news media that the increase in bombing is an attempt to stop the election. But I don't think they expect to stop the election. They are bombing because they can. They are increasing the bombing because they are increasing their control. If there were no impending elections, but everything else was the same, you'd still be seeing an increase in the bombings. Because they will bomb as much as they can, of course, elections or no elections.
Will the elections take place? Well, something that they CALL an election will almost certainly take place. If all the candidates drop out, they will still have an election. They will have one with no candidates OR voters, if they have to. For P.R. purposes, Bush has to have something that he can call an "election" on January 30, even if it's ludicrous. And no matter how big of a sham it turns out to be, he will swear that it is the very essence of "democracy."
But after the election takes place, does anybody think the bombing will stop? Why would it? All it is likely to do is to give the bombers a clearer target.