December 14, 2005

Iran Bungles Bid to Sabotage Iraqi Election

Update: Lieutenant General Ahmed al-Khafaji, the head of the Iraqi border police, denies that trucks carrying ballots were seized, noting that Iraq's borders have been closed in advance of the elections. The single-source NY Times article appears to be false.More here.

A truck carrying forged ballots have been caught trying to sneak across the Iranian border into Iraq on the eve of Iraqi elections.

Via the NY Times:

Less than two days before nationwide elections, the Iraqi border police seized a tanker on Tuesday that had just crossed from Iran filled with thousands of forged ballots, an official at the Interior Ministry said.

The tanker was seized in the evening by agents with the American-trained border protection force at the Iraqi town of Badra, after crossing at Munthirya on the Iraqi border, the official said. According to the Iraqi official, the border police found several thousand partly completed ballots inside.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said the Iranian truck driver told the police under interrogation that at least three other trucks filled with ballots had crossed from Iran at different spots along the border.

As the Times notes later in the article, the Iranians support two main Shiite political parties in Iraq - the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa Party.

An Iraqi soldier gives the 'V' sign before voting in the national election, at Kirkush Military Training Base, northeast of Baghdad, December 12, 2005 Reuters

But it seems highly suspect that these forged ballots were actually intended to influence the outcome of the election. Kurd Sunni, and Shiite alike are very much influenced by clan and community loyalties, and large swings in voting in voting patterns would almost certainly be noted.

It seems for more likely that these ballots were intended to undermine the credibility of the Iraqi election in the eyes of international observers than influence its eventual outcome.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 14, 2005 06:09 AM | TrackBack