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Monday, December 20, 2004

Good News from Iraq Continues

Arthur Chrenkoff has posted another roundup of good news from Iraq.

I had wondered aloud whether or not those nations that did not support the war in Iraq would participate in preparing Iraq for the January election and in securing the success of the election. One of the most positive signs for the upcoming election is the participation of nations who opposed U.S. military intervention in Iraq:

Other foreign assistance for the election continues to flow in. Canada has offered to train election officials in Iraq and to help monitor the vote. Japan will be training 10 Iraqi electoral officials from Baghdad and Muthana province. Germany, meanwhile, is assisting with electoral education: "A new radio program is about to hit the airwaves in Iraq focusing on the upcoming elections scheduled for the end of January. It's radio for Iraqis, by Iraqis, with a little help from [the German broadcaster] Deutsche Welle." The report continues:

"Even getting to this hotel conference room in Amman, Jordan was at times a life-threatening trek for some of the young Iraqi journalists. Those who came from southern or central Iraq had to make long detours around hotspots like Fallujah or Ramadi. Those from the north had to travel through Turkey and Syria to Jordan.

"But they were willing to embark on the sometimes dangerous journey because they are all committed to one thing: making radio for their fellow Iraqis.

"In this case, they'll be making Election Radio, a project funded by Germany's foreign ministry and coordinated by Deutsche Welle. Starting in mid December, the Iraqi journalists gathered in this hotel will be sending in reports from the ground daily to create a 30-minute program of current information over the upcoming vote in Iraq.

"The 19 journalists taking part in the project come from all 18 of Iraq's provinces. When they return, they will start producing radio packages and interviews that have been discussed with coordinators at Deutsche Welle.

"The reporters will then send their finished pieces in MP3 digital format to Berlin, where they are turned into the half-hour moderated program in Deutsche Welle's studio. The completed program is then sent back to Iraq, again by MP3, to local partner stations where it is broadcast."

While Canada and Japan are training electoral officials, Denmark is providing training for some of the candidates:

"About 100 candidates for Iraq's first popular election in decades traveled to Kuwait on Saturday for a seminar about the democratic process.

"The men and women were bused from the southern Iraqi city of Basra for the two-day event organized by Denmark's government. Two of the candidates are running for the national assembly, while the rest are candidates for local offices.

"The candidates will attend lectures by experts from the United Nations and Denmark about Iraq's election law, the role of political parties, campaigning and how the vote will be conducted."

It is heartening to see Canada, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland providing support to the democratic hopes of the people of Iraq. The story has many more examples of international aid helping the Iraqis to rebuild their country. One effort worthy of particular note is a seminar held in the Czech Republic to aid Iraqi judges to rebuild Iraq's justice system. But that's just a taste -- you really should read it all.