- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 30, 2010

DEFEAT TO TERRORISTS

The Iraqi ambassador to Washington is praising the elections in his homeland as proof that Iraqis once again defied terrorists who threatened to disrupt the March 7 vote.

Although three weeks after the balloting, extremists on Sunday were still trying to torment Iraqis with a bomb attack that killed five people and wounded 26 in a town 200 miles west of Baghdad.

Ambassador Samir Sumaida’ie condemned the terrorists’ “cowardly tactics of fear, intimation and violence.”

“These elections represent a great achievement for the Iraqi people,” he said Monday. “They show that Iraqis could not be intimidated to refrain from exercising their right to elect their leaders. The elections were a defeat to the terrorists who sought to sabotage the process, using the cowardly tactics of fear, intimidation and violence.”

Mr. Sumaida’ie applauded the fairness of the parliamentary elections won by a secular bloc led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. The elections were the third since the U.S.-led coalition overthrew former President Saddam Hussein in 2003.

“The elections were monitored by hundreds of international observers and were deemed to be transparent and efficient,” he added.

Mr. Sumaida’ie noted the objections from the current prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, whose bloc lost to Mr. Allawi by only two seats, 91-89. Mr. Allawi will still have to form a coalition government because he failed to win a majority in the 325-member Council of Representatives.

“As is sometimes the case in elections, there are challenges and objections to the results,” the ambassador said. “All of these challenges to the outcome must be dealt with through the legal process.”

He also thanked elections observers, who included monitors from the United Nations and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and saluted Iraqis, Americans and other foreign fighters who have died to bring democracy to Iraq.

“Their sacrifice will not be in vain,” Mr. Sumaida’ie said. “Iraq has progressed significantly to be able to hold such largely peaceful elections. I believe this considerable achievement will move us toward a free, democratic and prosperous Iraq.”

REVOLUTIONARY ENVOY

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, a leader of the Marxist Sandinista revolution in the 1970s, has selected a fellow revolutionary to serve as his ambassador to the United States and replace a diplomat who ironically tried to overthrow the Sandinista government in the 1980s.

Francisco Campbell, a former ambassador to several African nations, will be the first black to serve as Nicaragua’s ambassador in Washington. His nomination is expected to be approved by the Nicaraguan National Assembly later this spring.

Mr. Campbell will help Nicaragua in its relations with the Congressional Black Caucus and with Caribbean diplomats in Washington, Nicaragua’s former ambassador, Arturo Cruz Jr., told a newspaper in Costa Rica.

“It will open doors,” Mr. Cruz said of Mr. Campbell in an interview with the Tica Times.

However, sounding like Ricky Ricardo in the old “I Love Lucy” television show, he added that Mr. Campbell is “going to have a lot of explaining to do” to justify the current anti-American attitude of the Ortega government.

Mr. Cruz, who served Mr. Ortega here from 2007 to 2008, was involved with the anti-Sandinista Contra rebels in the 1980s, after becoming disillusioned with the hard-line Marxism of the Sandinista regime.

Mr. Ortega was a member of the revolutionary junta from 1979 to 1985 and president until 1990, when he was defeated for re-election. He won a second term in 2006, and Mr. Cruz agreed to represent the government in Washington.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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