Can Iraq Rule Itself?

Amid continuing violence, Iraqis prepare for a crucial election. Here's what it will take for the next government to gain legitimacy--and why the new leaders may demand that the U.S. withdraw

Democracy in Iraq is in the eye of the beholder. ??Some see in next week's national election a gleam of salvation after years of tyranny and occupation; others perceive the sharp threat of civil war. For the al-Saadi family in Baghdad, the Jan. 30 election can't come soon enough. "I'd like to go out and vote right now," says Karim, 43, an electrical-goods salesman who supports a family of 12. His neighborhood, the hardscrabble district of Washash, home to a mainly Shi'ite population of laborers and small traders, is one of the few in Iraq's capital where a high voter turnout...

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