In today’s Iraqi elections, Coalition forces will not be providing protection at polling sites. They have provided Jersey barriers, wire, other tools and are making “quick-reaction forces” available. But otherwise, Iraqi forces will be on their own — a sign of confidence in the country’s new-and-improved police and military forces.
For a number of reasons including successful pre-election raids, mobility restrictions and improved security tactics at the polls, the trends in election violence are actually encouraging. In the October elections, there were 89 attacks and 49 casualties, according to American Enterprise Institute military historian Frederick W. Kagan. That was a major improvement upon January’s elections in which 299 attacks resulted in 213 casualties.
President Bush warned in Philadelphia Thursday that the elections “won’t be perfect” and could suffer setbacks, presumably from insurgent violence. But if an upswing in attacks and casualties occurs, it comes as a reversal of the current trend of declining election-day violence.