The crackdown on political protest in Iraq, from Baghdad to autonomous Kurdistan, shows that the country is far from a flourishing democracy.
A 16-year-old protester was among the first to be killed in democracy protests earlier this year against the corruption and authoritarianism that pervade Kurdish politics.
The US has long championed semi-autonomous Kurdistan as a democratic model for the rest of Iraq and the Middle East. But Kurdish leaders have violently shut down dissenters.
Iraqi officials warned that the protest, which organizers hope will draw 1 million people, could turn violent in what was widely seen as an attempt to limit turnout.
Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya coalition was relegated to head a powerful new strategic council, a bitter disappointment to his secular and Sunni followers who believed he would usher in a new era.
As an international conference noted this week, the world's biodiversity is threatened. Iraq is no exception – but before anything can be done, it needs Iraqis who understand the problems.
Three million young people voting for the first time in Sunday's Iraq election will take their frustration to the polls.