After the bloodbath

Iraq: War is hell, but rebuilding Iraq’s political infrastructure is no picnic. Organizers for provincial and national elections must combat mass migration, continuing violence, and cross-party intrigue | Mindy Belz

Marwan Ibrahim/AFP/Getty Images
IN MOSUL, KIRKUK, ERBIL, and HAMDANIYAH, Iraq—When Eveline Aoraha goes to work, she wraps a handgun in a soft print scarf and pushes it into the bottom of a black leather purse. She always zips the bag. Within 10 miles of Mosul, she slips the gun from her bag, hands it to her driver, and wraps the scarf over her head.

Aoraha is one of three Assyrian Christians on a governing council of 41 in Nineveh province. Mosul is its capital. In the last four years, terrorist insurgents have killed 12 council members. Aoraha’s colleagues, whom she calls “martyrs” to democracy, were Arab Muslims, Assyrian Christians, and Kurds; the oldest was 80, the youngest was a 34-year-old veterinarian and a mother.

All Mosul’s leaders feel the terrorists’ wrath. Duraid Kashmoula, a Muslim, has had his 17-year-old son and two brothers killed in the four years he has been governor of the province. He himself has narrowly escaped bombs at least three times, and just last month attended the funeral for his administrative assistant. The purpose of the terrorists, Aoraha said, “is to stop life here, and to stop development.”