***scroll for updates…12/15 9am EST: What is Joe Biden doing in Iraq? Gathering video footage for his 2008 presidential campaign?…Voting extended by an hour after high turnout, heavy participation by Sunnis…W. Thomas Smith describes the atmosphere in Iraq: It’s Electric…***
Pajamas Media, with lead coverage from Omar at Iraq the Model, will have on-the-ground liveblogging at the polls on Thursday in eight Iraqi provinces: Erbil, Kirkuk, Mosul, Babil, Najaf, Kerbala, Samawa, Basra, plus Baghdad.
Additional exhaustive blog coverage at…
December 15 belongs to the Iraqi people, but don’t let it pass without thanking the men and women of the U.S. military and coalition forces who helped make it possible:
A US soldier patrols at sunset a neighborhood in the outskirts of the Iraqi northern city of Kirkuk. Source: Yahoo/AFP
1132pm EST update: “Large blast” reported as polls open in downtown Baghdad. No immediate reports of any injuries or damage. But you can be sure that the American press will cover every such incident, large and small, apocalyptically throughout the day.
Several explosions rocked Baghdad as the polls opened, including a large one near the heavily fortified Green Zone that slightly injured two civilians and a U.S. Marine, the U.S. military said. A civilian was killed when a mortar shell exploded near a polling station in the northern city of Tal Afar, and a bomb killed a hospital guard near a voting site in Mosul.
But violence overall was light and did not appear to discourage Iraqis, some of whom turned out wrapped in their country’s flag on a bright, sunny day and afterward displayed a purple ink-stained index finger — a mark to guard against multiple voting.
N.R. at Pajamas Media: Turnout in Mosul is estimated at 80 percent.
915am EST: Jim Hoft looks at the statements of Iraq election visitor Sen. Joe Biden. Talk about a skunk at the party.
11:20am EST: Milblogger Partamian shares first-hand observations from a friend serving in the Blacksheep Platoon, which guards polling sites.
2:20pm EST: Little violence, massive turnout, widespread participation: Success! But don’t worry. The MSM will find a way to turn lemonade back into lemons. Just wait and watch.
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