Did anyone even notice?
Iraqis held their most peaceful election since the fall of Saddam Hussein on Saturday, and voting for provincial councils ended without a single major attack reported anywhere in the country.
“No security breaches took place during the election. Things went as we planned and as we hoped,” Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askary said.
“I consider it a great success, like a wedding.”
There was something of a holiday atmosphere in many parts of the country. In normally traffic-choked Baghdad, children took advantage of a ban on cars to play soccer in the streets.
“How can we not vote? All of us here have always complained about being oppressed and not having a leader who represented us. Now is our chance,” said Basra voter Abdul Hussein Nuri.
Iraq has a long way to go, but the country has come remarkably far.