BAGHDAD, Dec 1 (AFP) - A coalition of three Sunni Arab parties called
Thursday for US troops to withdraw from restive Iraqi towns before the
December 15 legislative elections to encourage voters to go to the polls.
"We call on the American forces to leave Iraqi cities, especially the
unstable ones, to allow for their residents to exercise their electoral
rights in a normal fashion," the Iraqi Concord Front (ICF) said.
The ICF said continuing military operations in these areas, mostly north and
west of Baghdad, were a "deliberate marginalisation of those who did not
participate in past elections.
"As the election approaches, an escalation can be seen in military
operations in those provinces that reject the occupation."
That was a particular reference to Al-Anbar, west of the capital, which is a
major area of rebel activity.
The Iraqi insurgency is largely made up of Sunni Arabs, so the most unstable
towns and cities are those where Sunnis have a strong presence among the
Most Sunnis boycotted the January elections for an interim parliament, a
move that many now acknowledge was a mistake since it largely sidelined them
from politics over the past year.
Sunnis protested at the time that the polls were taking place under foreign
occupation and that their community faced marginalisation by the majority
The Iraqi Concord Front is made up of the three main Sunni parties: the
Conference for the People of Iraq, the Iraqi Islamic Party and the Iraqi