Friday, December 17, 2004
Dr. Allawi's campaign started on an unpropitious note, when American and Iraqi forces closed off sections of central Baghdad so he could leave the Green Zone and cross the Tigris River to declare his candidacy at a sports club. But Western reporters judged the three-mile journey to be too hazardous in the bus provided by Allawi aides, and remained behind.
Five hours later, he stood before fewer than 60 people, about half of whom were his own aides. With American bodyguards in flak jackets and cradling automatic weapons patrolling the club's auditorium, Dr. Allawi read a brief statement and returned hastily to the Green Zone.
I've been trying to figure out where they're going to set up a safe polling station for the election. By triangulating from the mortar fire coming into the Green Zone, I believe there's a Burger King in the shadow of the Ministry of Defense building that might do nicely. Unfortunately, for security reasons voting will be restricted to "Dr." Allawi, his family and a few of his closest associates.