Highlights from Iraq

Baghdad hospital workers who were allowed to vote early Supporters of the United Iraqi Alliance

Election posters are everywhere in Basra. This, the third national ballot in a year has not dampened Iraqis' enthusiasm for the democratic process.

The posters and bunting are up in Sunni areas of Basra as well as Shia areas. And elsewhere in the country, Sunni Arab participation is expected to be high, with even some insurgent groups urging people to vote.

In a statement posted on an Islamist website on Monday, the group led by Abu Musab Zarqawi and four other militant groups said the "so-called political process" was forbidden by God's laws and against the Koran. But this time they did not threaten to disrupt the elections.

Meanwhile, some other insurgent leaders in the trouble spots of Falluja and Ramadi have urged their followers to vote, and even pledged to protect polling stations. Abu Abdullah, an insurgent from Ramadi, warned al-Qaeda not to target polling stations.

"We will defeat them if they dare to attack the polling centres," he said. "Frankly speaking, if they resort to attacking us or polling centres, we will react."

From here and here

We pray and hope it goes well and no lives are lost.

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