Saturday, February 28, 2004

More optimism.

:: On many occasions, some readers describe us as (over optimistic bloggers) and others question the degree to which we represent our fellow citizens.
I won’t say that we represent all Iraqis, but we do so as much as we care for their interests and participate in building a better future for them.
And we are optimistic, that’s right, but we do not exaggerate things. Our optimism comes from our daily life observations and from logical prediction of events and their consequences. I’m not trying to pretend that we’re sharp minded bright thinkers; we’re normal Iraqis with some patience and some reason.
You remember all the hysteria that accompanied the 137 announcement with all the inflammatory comments and reactions. And you may remember what our reaction was.
Yesterday, the GC cancelled that announcement forever, 15 members voted with canceling 137, 5 with keeping 137 and 5 remained silent. This voting was in response to the suggestion made by Dr.Rajaa Khuzaee (a female member in the GC).
From this, one can conclude that 137 -from the beginning- was illegitimate, and more important it’s reassuring that Iraqis will never accept to return to the dark ages.

:: Ayatollah Al-Sistani made a declaration few days ago, in which he said that he’s not demanding a theocracy in Iraq, but he pointed to the necessity that the new government should respect the religious rights of Muslims as they represent the vast majority of the population; he also showed his satisfaction with the report of the UN envoy to Iraq about the elections issue.

:: Dr. Abbas (the minister of health) said that the GC formed a special committee to track back all suspicious contracts that were done under Saddam’s regime to locate all the violations in those contracts that drove the money to Saddam’s pocket or to some of his allies as bribes (and to return the stolen money to the Iraqi people). Dr. Abbas mentioned some contracts concerning sonar devices, dental chairs! and renal dialysis equipment.

:: Iraq received back his smuggled money from Lebanon. About 19.5 billion Iraqi dinars were smuggled to Lebanon last month, now that money is back to Iraq and investigations are performed to discover the smugglers.

:: The 4th. Battalion of the new Iraqi army (1024 soldiers) graduated today after finishing the basic training course.

:: Internet centers are providing their services in the colleges and universities one after the other. Today I visited my college and was surprised to see an internet center in the main yard in the college (I was there 3 weeks ago and nothing was indicating that this will happen). The prices are really encouraging (1/3 of the usual cost elsewhere), actually I envied the students and wished that I'm a student once again!.

*some of the news from Al-Sabah newspaper.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Dumb... and dumber!

There’s a joke here in Iraq, it's about the government in an Arabic country that didn’t like the fact that their country is much behind from other countries, so the leadership asked the government members to give suggestions for a solution to this defect. So, one member introduced an idea that got acceptance from all the other members. This idea says that (when America invades another country, she will later leave this country in prosperity and great development, an example is Germany and Japan. So the idea is illustrated in declaring war against America to persuade her to come to invade the country and push it to advance and flourish. Just right here, one member shouted: “OBJECTION!, AND WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE WON THE WAR!?”

There exists in our region (M.E) people who are so so dumb, and what happened in Iraq upsets them, that’s why they decided to interfere forcefully in a direct or an indirect way to interrupt the evolution or at least to delay it as much as possible.
And dumber than that are those who think that they can achieve victory in this war against the USA and the Iraqi people who really want the change.
In the beginning they targeted the American troops hoping that causing large casualties will force these troops to leave Iraq as if the task is as simple as that.
Later, when those idiots got frustrated, they decided to target the Iraqis themselves, the Iraqis who are holding tight to the train of freedom and democracy. This time hoping that Iraqis will pull back and retreat to the dark hateful past, again…as simple as that!
In my opinion, they were a total failure in both fields. The coalition and the Iraqis have made up their mind to move forwards to a bright future with its shining lights blinding all dictatorships that surround us, and I’m sure of victory in the end.
I wish you were here with me in Iraq to see the real change in people’s thinking and more exciting is how fast this change is taking place. They’re talking now about the future, about building, about hope. The old, sick regime has become history, and we should quickly get rid of its residues to catch up with the advanced, free world.
It’s become clear to everyone what bad role these dictatorships are playing to delay and interrupt the change here. Having their countries infected with democracy is their worst nightmare, and they’ll never save an effort to delay that infection, just to delay it, and nothing more.
They know well that the (story) is not over yet, and there’s still a missing chapter until all people are freed from tyranny, oppression and blind fanaticism.
They do not want their oppressed people to see a bright model in Iraq. That’s what they fear.
This model must be disfigured, and let the media work hard to report every single tiny mistake in this experiment and forget about all the good results that were achieved.
The neighboring nations’ people should prefer to stay under the whip of their jailors and must not look forward to something like what Iraq is becoming.
That’s what those dictators are saying to their people “look, do you see what happened to Iraqis after their leadership was toppled? Do you wish the same for yourselves?… be satisfied with your existing leadership. We’re the best you can have”.
It’s just a matter of time until it becomes clear to everyone that what happened in Iraq was for the good of the whole world, not only for Iraqis. The case here is not a pink dream. It is a conviction that the right, the fair and the logical will win in the end.
I salute all the brave men and women who took upon themselves to bear all the risks and stand at the frontline to defend freedom.

By Mohammed.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

A friend send me this:
Iraqi Sculptor who used to create hundreds of Saddam's
statues melts down parts of three of them and creates
a new statue in tribute to America's fallen soldiers.
You can find more about this in:

Thanks, Steve.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

What elections?

The talk about the elections, their timing, necessity and possible alternatives are still hot topics in every discussion about the future of Iraq in the streets, despite the fact that the UN and by the words of its general secretary declared that elections cannot be held at the present time due to the enormous complications on the ground. And what is more strange about it is that it was (us) who asked for the opinion of the UN and I’m still unconvinced with it because we chose the worst part on earth to offer us a solution. It seems that we forgot that it was the same UN that gave Saddam’s regime its legitimacy for the last 4 decades and it was the same UN that stood strongly against the liberation of Iraq and here we are seeking its help again.

It's a sick joke that we ask the help of our worst enemy's ally, to act as a judge between our friends, who gave us our freedom and us. And when the UN gave us their wise opinion, those who call themselves the representatives of the Iraqi people, shook their heads showing dissatisfaction and demanded other alternatives. And I’ve never seen a political immaturity as like this.

It’s supposed that the leaders should struggle to achieve the demands of their people, while in Iraq it’s upside down, as it’s the leaders who demand from the people and urge them to support the demands of those leaders!

In the beginning, we were not interested as people with the process of elections in the meantime, but those leaders showed the process as the major issue and you can see them on TV screens yelling as loud as they can that they want to achieve the demands and hopes of the Iraqi people and by God, they’re their goals and their greed that they seek.

And if elections were to be held, who am I supposed to give my vote to? We don't have political parties with proper vision for the future. We have only representatives of Ethnic and religious groups, with the same old faces and without practicing democracy in their own parties, so what elections they are talking about?

These people are testing the patience of the those who believe in freedom and the battle between us and those people will be a long and even harder than that against Saddam's regieme, but it will be a peacful one and time will be the ally of the realistic political vision.

-By Mohammed.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Just the tip of an ice berg.

Last month, I finished a training course about the structure, operation and maintenance of dental chairs and their auxiliaries…etc. This is not the big deal of course, but what attracted my attention was what our teacher (a dental equipment engineer) told us about the last contracts that were made in 1998 and 2000 (under the MOU) to import dental chairs to Iraq.
During my 2 years of practice in different medical centers, I heard a lot of gossip (from other dentists) about undercover bribes and theft related to those contracts.
What the engineer said confirmed my doubts about the theft and bribes in which Sadddam’s regime together with the producing and commissioner companies were involved.

Let me tell you the story:
In 1998 Iraq imported about 1500 dental units from china and about the same number of dental units from Germany in 2000. Both entered Iraq through an intermediate commissioner, which was some Russian firm.
The Chinese unit arrived Iraq at a price of 11,000 US $, while the German one arrived at the price of 25,000 US $. The shock was in knowing that the original prices of those two units were 3,000 US $ and 17,000 US $ respectively.
This means that for every unit, 8,000 US $ were added to the cost…why? And where did that money go?
Another fact is that those prices (the original) are for the full-option versions and not for the versions that reached Iraq, which lacked many parts and systems.
Also the engineer (who was in the team that was responsible for examining and receiving the units) said that the team was instructed to accept all units even if there was a manufacturer defect in any of them.
More worse, the Chinese unit was a total failure (I mean what do the Chinese know about dental equipment if compared with Austria or the US !?), and almost all of those units now are functioning with less than 50% efficiency, and many have even become a piece of room furniture! As the spare parts that were included in the contract were only enough to cover less than 50 units.
The German unit was really good looking and efficient, but very delicate and we suffered from the same problem of spare parts, but this time no spare parts at all.

I don’t want to go deep into boring technical details. What I want to put clear here is that through a very small contract concerning one item, for one branch, in one ministry, over 20 million dollars were stolen from the Iraqi people’s money. What about huge contracts? with hundreds of millions or billions of dollars? The money that was supposed to feed the starving Iraqis and provide them with medications was deflected to bribe firms and to buy political support of powerful countries.
Weeks ago, there was the scandal of oil bribes, but that was not the only way that Saddam used to give bribes. Every single contract done under the MOU was providing a chance for Saddam to give bribes, or even worse, he had agreements with many firms to split the income of over-charged contracts between him and the concerned firm. And It’s obvious where he spent that money; palaces, weaponry, intelligence work or whatever his sick mind desired to have.
There was always enough money to cover the needs of the Iraqi people. YES, EVEN UNDER THE SANCTIONS.
Saddam always managed to get money. But for whom?
My question is: where was the UN? Where were the human rights defenders? And where were the peace activists? And where were our (Arab brothers) with their (honest media) at that time?
We were getting killed and robbed every day and all they did was blaming the sanctions and the US. They never figured out the real cause of our misery. I think it’s time for them to admit that they were wrong.
We’re trying here to build a new Iraq with the help of our friends and allies, so either they help us and say something good, or let them shut the f*** up.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The 2nd. half spoke today.

This morning, there was a meeting and a public conference for Iraqi women in Al-Firdows Square.
The crowd was actually small, something around 150 ladies from different ages, jobs, political trends and ethnic groups, but all came for one reason (women rights in the new, free, democratic Iraq) Anyway, the reporters and journalists were almost more in number than the women who held the meeting.
The speeches made there focused on the demand that the Iraqi women must have their appropriate representation in the coming national council and in the local administrative councils in every city in Iraq, and that representation should be no less than 40% of the seats in each council, relying on the fact that women make up about 60% of the population in Iraq. This demand was also supported by Mrs.Ssongol (GC member) who also showed her complete refusal to the 137 announcement stating that suspending that announcement is not enough and that they will work hard in the council to cancel it with another official announcement. She also said that a suggestion was made to the Iraqi ministers that every minister should assign at least one female assistant. Yet, one of the groups who attended the meeting (women freedom in Iraq) insisted that women should have 60% of the seats and that they would not accept the 40%. This one also had tough criticizing attitude towards the GC, the Islamic fanatics, and the CPA.
Dr. Mahdy Al-Hafidh (the minister of planning) was also there today and made a speech in which he declared his total support to the Iraqi women demands.
Among the groups that attended this meeting, there were:
- The sports teaching college for girls.
- The economy and administration institute.
- Neenawa’s plains women association.
- Kurdistan libertarian women movement.
- The modern Iraqi woman movement.
- The independent Iraqi women aggregation.
That’s what I could record from the signs, but I think that there were others that I didn’t mention.
The groups who organized the meeting passed papers among the audience to have their signatures to support omitting the 137 announcement from the Iraqi law. AYS and I gladly gave our signatures.
At the beginning, I was disappointed by the small crowd, as it was smaller than I expected, but later I had my hope back…I mean this is the first time that Iraqi women go out to the streets to demand their rights with no fear and have the support for their demands from senior officials. Their voice is now clearly heard, and I believe that in a democratic, free Iraq, women (once they have such determination) will no longer be ignored or deprived from their social or political rights.

**By the way, here are some photos from there:
1,,,2,,, 3,,,4,,,5,,,6,,,7.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Expectations, disappointments and understanding.

Whenever someone criticizes the Iraqis for failing to do their duties and rise up to the requirements of the present and future challenges, my mind takes me back to the old, still unanswered, question which could be applied to any country at anytime:
What makes people evil, coward or lazy? This is a very complex question, to which religions, philosophy and science have different answers that are all far from being convincing.
Through all this controversy, I’ll not try to cross my brain’s limits and I’ll try only to present my point of view about why many Iraqis fail to see and stand up for their responsibilities.
This cannot be answered by looking at each incident alone, as –in my opinion- the response of people to sudden and hard changes is usually shaped as a result of a multifactorial process including instincts, the way they were raised and previous experiences with similar incidents.
This long introduction was necessary to show why Iraqis in many cases (like the last attack on the police station in Fallujah) failed to meet the expectations of the rest of the world, especially their friends and the people who paid so much to set them free.
During the years of Saddam’s regime and especially after 1980 the Iraqis lived in what was close to total isolation from the world; no satellite channels, no cell phones ( with the poor ground lines under intensive surveillance), no access to internet and extreme restrictions before allowing someone to travel across the borders.
This was all Saddam’s doings, which some people could again blame Iraqis for submitting to, an opinion I don’t agree with but one that cannot be easily refuted.
But let’s take a look at the world’s doings, especially after 1991.
After that and for a considerable period of time the whole world closed his doors to Iraqis, no Iraqi was welcomed outside his national borders, and after that only Jordan, Libya and Yemen allowed Iraqis to stay and work but with sever conditions also.
But sure millions of Iraqis were accepted as refugees all over the world, but is that something that you accept for yourself? When you have a job opportunity in a certain country would you accept to live as a refugee (legal, or even worse: illegal) to get this job?
Again millions of Iraqis accepted this as they had no other option, some of them with enough resources applied for immigration and after years managed to make it (they had to do this outside Iraq because it was a serious charge to go to another country’s embassy and ask for immigration or refugee) others less fortunate with their qualifications chose the dangerous costly short-cut which led –not in few times- to them sunk at the bottom of the ocean or handcuffed and forced back to Iraq and you can imagine how Saddam’s security dealt with those fugitives.
This is another reason for writing this post because this happens all over the 3rd. world as a result of poverty and oppression. Another important reason that makes me, as well as it should encourage the free world, to support freeing and democratizing the Arab and Muslim world.
The majority of Iraqis (chose) to stay. Motives??
It’s not easy to leave your home, at least in our culture, many were prohibited to travel outside Iraq; military officers and their wives, relatives of politically opposing personalities, doctors…etc. some (few) chose to stay and fight, others found it very difficult to accept the humiliation of being a refugee (kept in a camp and supervised on and examined for months) and others had combination of all the above. Humiliation here and humiliation there.
Iraqi people were punished for Saddam’s crimes (the borders of most of the world are still closed for Iraqis and yes, even our saviors’ borders with our American travel document!).
Iraqis were left alone to Saddam to do whatever he wants and practice his sadism and hatred (combined with cowardice) teaching without any opposing power.
Alone and isolated, Iraqis were supposed not only to survive and resist but also to emerge through this river of s*** after 35 years as clean and pure as babies and as brave and hopeful as men who were born, lived and taught to be free and brave.
I’m not defending Iraqis, we are, after all responsible in part in what happened, but I’m asking others to be more understanding and patient. This is a hard and important process in which Iraqis together with Americans and other coalition forces and freedom-loving people should stick together, accept each other flaws and understand rather than exchange blames and accusations.
One should add that the IP who showed that day at their police station, knew that they were risking their lives and yet they did show, and after that horrible attack where they faced an enemy who is much better supplied, trained and yes, determined, they showed the next morning and still do. I, on my part would call that bravery, and let's not forget that there are still some Iraqis who look at the IP as part of the (old guard) and there are others who look at them as traitors.
It is been said that" the worst enemy you may face is the one who his goal has turned into a complex inside him"
We are fighting all the evil powers in the world, which their ultimate goal is to destroy the western civilization represented by its leading power, the USA and destroying all their efforts to transmit the disease of freedom and democracy into the Arab and Muslim world via building a model for it in Iraq. These powers are supported by all the shortsighted enemies of the USA including some free and democratic countries! Their dream can be summarized in destroying their enemy or opponent, while ours is freeing the people of the world starting from Iraq. They cannot be more united than us.

-By Ali.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

:: Al-Hurra TV has started broadcasting today at 6:00 pm Baghdad time. This channel is American in origin, but broadcasts in Arabic and has a major office in Iraq.
American information officials stated that this channel will be completely independent and the channel staff will not be subjected to any pressure from the government, so that they will be completely free to tell the truth and show what’s really happening to the Arab audience without exaggeration or manipulation and without being affected by political pressures.
The first program I watched on Al-Hurra was a conference among 2 of the channel officials (who are Arabic Americans) and some Arab journalists and editors representing other Arab and American media. The conference was about the credibility and the desired role of the channel. The channel officials stated that the main goal of the channel is to bridge the gap between the American people and the Arab people, to make both nations' people understand each other, eliminate the feelings of hatred that were planted by some governments and some Arab information sources, and also to tell the news and handle the events and issues (especially those related to Iraq and the Middle East) with high objectivity.
I liked the program and the way the host managed the conversation, and I hope that Iraqis will find time and will to watch this promising channel.

:: Still talking about media, another Iraqi satellite channel (Al-Deyar) will start broadcasting a test transmission next Sunday (on Nile sat and hot bird). This new channel will provide a variety of programs: social, cultural, political and news reports, and of course entertainment programs.

:: In the last week, I noticed that the new Iraqi army soldiers are patrolling (on foot) the streets in Baghdad and other governorates. The new thing is that those soldiers were -for the first time- not accompanied by coalition soldiers, which left a good impression among Iraqis that soon Iraq will have his efficient, free and independent new army. This, together with the growing count of the IP and the ICDC and their obvious hard work and active presence in the streets is strengthening the belief that the dark clouds of terrorism will soon fade away.

:: Electricity has improved considerably since last week. The outages have been reduced from 12 hours/day to less than 8 hours/day and this is in Baghdad only, while in other governorates the electricity is almost continuous with an average of 2 hours of outage/day.

Friday, February 13, 2004

-Abu Hayder*…Abu Musaab.

-Two hard working men.
It’s obvious for every one what enormous efforts both guys are doing regarding Iraq and Iraqis, and I’m sure that they stay awake late every night with their minds busy thinking about the Iraqi people. And they also wake up early in the morning to put a schedule for the day work. They should not have any delay, and always there’s an important question that never leaves their minds and that is “what should I offer the Iraqi people today?”
So let’s start with Abu Musaab:

:: He’s overwhelmed with joy nowadays; as the latest operations which he or other men from his type have performed recently have added to the development and prosperity of Iraq and enhanced the life standards of the Iraqi citizen and made him feel more safe and secure!.
Abu Musaab is sure that the Iraqi people are grateful for what he has done and even demanding more and more heroic actions. He blew up the UN and drove her out of Iraq with many other humanitarian organizations. Abu Musaab is positive that Iraqis need no one’s help.
He blew up the mosque in Najaf and killed hundreds of Sheia in the hope that this will start a civil war in Iraq, which will purify the Iraqi people from the infidels and bad guys and after that only the good men like himself will remain.
Oh. He should envy himself for his extreme wits and his brilliant plans for Iraq’s interest.
And don’t forget the explosions in the headquarters of Iraqi parties, as plurality is a great danger threatening the Iraqi people. It means different opinions, and this is corruption.
Iraq should be ruled by one opinion and one idea and those must be Abu Musaab’s and there’s absolutely no place for another opinion.
Ah.. There are some people who wish to cooperate with America to build a new Iraqi army and a new Iraqi police, and this is a terrible mistake as Iraq needs security forces with iron fist that has no place for the word mercy in it’s dictionary to spy on and eliminate any one who would dare to think in opposing Abu Musaab or his ideas.
While this new police that read the citizen his rights when arresting him for a certain charge is nothing but true evil that comes straight from Satan, because no one opposing Abu Musaab has any right.
What worries Abu Musaab these days and keeps him busy is his hope that the number of his victims would be at least worthy of the enormous efforts he bears on his shoulder on a daily basis “but it’s OK, I will cut down my sleeping hours for the sake of the Iraqi people who are certainly worthy of all this trouble”.
Now I will repeat the question to the others: who’s behind Abu Musaab?
Certainly he’s not alone, there’s the finance, logistic and intelligence support.
Who supports the plan of Abu Musaab and share with him those ideas in serving the Iraqi people?
I know those people. They’re Iraq’s neighbors and some of the media that we finally discovered where do they get the funds. They’re madly in love with the people of Iraq and they will not save any effort to help making this new free democratic model a real success! That’s all what they wish, that there will be a democratic nation in the neighborhood.

:: As for Abu Hayder:
I know he’s very busy too, there are many challenges ahead of him. He just disagrees with Abu Musaab in seeing things and in his perspectives.
Let’s take a look at his plan to rebuild Iraq: it involves
- Rebuilding Iraq. And reforming the fragile infrastructure -that we inherited from the past regime- is his major concern.
- Reforming the Iraqi economy, improving the salaries, improving the exchange rate of ID, lowering Iraq’s debts, improving and supporting private business.
- Handing authority to Iraqis, supporting political peaceful diversions allowing space for free elections at the right time, building new Iraqi police and army that are capable of securing Iraq.
But who stands behind Abu Hayder?
I know for instance that a large sector of Iraqis share his vision with some of the countries who believe in democracy and freedom along with the coalition.
After all that I find myself standing in the middle not sure whom should I support.
Both work so hard and make many sacrifices. One promises us what he believes to be a paradise in heaven, while the other promises a much less appealing and more realistic paradise on earth.
Both of them came from places far from Iraq, endangering their lives and sacrificing so many. Whom efforts should I appreciate and with whom should I cooperate?
I think that the Iraqi people and others will not need a long time to answer this question.

*Abu Hayder is a name used by Iraqis to refer to Mr. Bremer, for more details about this see the post on Jan. 21st.
- By Mohammed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Closing a mine.

There are lots of arguments about how the last war had caused much civilian causality among Iraqis. I plan to talk about the responsibility of Saddam’s regime and the coalition in these causalities in the next post, as the latest terrorists’ attacks on Iraqis made me choose this subject to discuss in brief before going into that annoying issue which has became confusing to many people due to the effects of the way the major media dealt with it, always with lies and exaggerations.

Though I’ve said it before, it’s obvious that the terrorists are the most responsible part for directly murdering Iraqis.
and Their reasons are a little complex ones and can be divided mainly into the following:

- the hatred for the west, Jews, Christians in general and America in particular, so they follow those wherever they go.
-Most of the terrorists’ leaders are either mercenary-agency managers or extremist who rely on whoever interested in supplying them with money and in return, they're ready to perform any cervices their spoonsers demand.
-More important and subtle factor is destroying the Americans and Iraqis efforts to build a new model for democracy, peace and prosperity in Iraq. This seems to be a common goal for many parties, but each pursues this to achieve different objectives.

In this issue the terrorists' leaders have their own fears of such a project that makes them fight so fiercely. This can be summarized as following:
The terrorists’ leaders are in continuous need for frustrated, angry, desperate and ignorant people to teach them their hatred and convert them into blind obedient walking bombs that could be directed wherever and whenever they choose. Such (raw material) was/still provided by the oppressive Arab and Muslim regimes.
I was always on the opinion that hatred or faith cannot persuade a human being to kill himself and others, these can convince him to fight and kill others, but never through killing himself, as life in my opinion is precious for all, and the only way to convince men or women to kill others through giving up their own lives is through driving them to the edge of despair, making them believe that their life worth nothing, and only when they're desperate enough, that hatred for others or the faith in a better life after death can act as an enough motivation to commit such a horrible crime against themselves and others.

So, when Iraq becomes a country that provides hope and peace for her citizens instead of despair, and putting in mind what creating such a model will affect other Arabs and Muslims, one can conclude with no much difficulty that the unseen heaven promised by the terrorists’ leaders will find it so hard to maintain the same effect while competing with a solid reality that provides peace, honorable life and prosperity without even the need to give up the dream of a better life after death. Then those evil leaders will not only loose what was before a promising (mine) of continuously supplying this raw material, but will also loose many grounds on other mines they used to monopolize such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Algeria…etc.

The last horrible attacks were very saddening and proved how afraid those evil leaders are from the ongoing changes in Iraq, never the less when I went down to the streets and despite almost everyone knew about these attacks at least hours ago, the traffic was busy as usual, the traffic police, the IP and the new Iraq army soldiers were all in their places doing their jobs as if nothing has happened, and the reason that I don't believe this is attributed to apathy is that when the same terrorists made a threatening announcement through Al-Jazeera about 2 months ago, asking the Iraqis to go on strike for 3 days and warning those who disobey that they will face horrible consequences, the next day the streets in Baghdad were nearly empty. This is not the case anymore, and it made me surer than ever that we are winning and they will lose because they can’t kill us all nor can they force us to quit our jobs and take a safe corner in our homes.

I’ve always told my friends soon after the war, when most of the attacks were aimed at the American soldiers and the infra structure- they were hardly trying to rebuild with no much help from Iraqis at those times- that I was pretty sure it will be the Americans who will win this struggle. This was not based only on the fact that their case is just, nor their superior technology and resources, but also to another factor that in my opinion plays no less role than the above: they were determined, brave and patient unlike their enemies. They were moving slowly sometimes, taking causalities most of the time, but never hide in their camps or stop patrolling in dangerous areas and very rarely responded irrationally to terrorists’ attacks. I was not the only one who looked impressed and astonished to see those soldiers patrol on foot on the most dangerous areas in Baghdad, where attacks on Americans seemed to be a daily routine, and moreover there was not the slightest sign of fear, anxiety or hostility on their faces, still saluting people smiling to children, as if they are walking in their own land. Now at least one of the major 3 powers, that were a constant threat to their lives, no longer poses such a significant threat and the final outcome bears no doubt in my mind.

I’ve always hoped and believed that Iraqis will adapt such a determination to live their lives as they choose and to believe in their dreams, cling into their hopes to the degree that makes it impossible for such attacks to even hinder their progress to build their country and choose to hope and never surrender to despair.
My believe is that this had happened and it didn’t happen today or last week. My message to those crazy evil creatures is: get out of our land, invaders, and leave us build our country with our friends. This mine is closed.


Monday, February 09, 2004

Where is that convoy?

To me and other Iraqis it wouldn’t matter much if all what was told about the WMDs were nothing but lies, although we all know that this isn’t the case, the war on Saddam’s regime (yes it’s not a war on Iraq) would still be the best decision even if unjustified in the minds of others.

But again this would be so selfish on our part to ask for the world to sacrifice, provide enormous resources and go into, what seems to be a very dangerous split in international relationship that may endanger peace in the whole world, just to save us, Iraqis, from a brutal tyrant who some people blame us to be too coward and lazy to do it ourselves.

So the question is why do I bother answering it? And does it matter what I say in this respect?
The most commonly heard question nowadays"Where are the WMDs?" is irrelevant when it comes to us in Iraq,but when this question is presented to the world it is relevant and we are after all part of this world, so why look at it from this narrow aspect only? And being an Iraqi may add something when I discuss this matter as just a human being, as I lived my whole life under Saddam’s regime and I had the opportunity to know a few things of how secret issues were dealt with at his time and I had many relatives and friends who came in direct and indirect contact with such type of information.

I will not discuss the whole issue as this is beyond my capabilities, but I’ll try to present some well known facts and use them in discussing 2 points: to whom this question should be directed!? And whether the war was the best option available?

-Saddam was a dangerous man.
-He possessed WMDs and there was a reasonable doubt that he did posses some before the war or at least was trying to develop some.
-He used those on his enemies and on his people (a fact, and no need for real distinction here between those 2)
-When those were destroyed as happened several times, he simply started over again.
-During the period from 1991-2003 he made every possible effort to avoid the inspection, and he expelled the inspectors several times.
-When he used to agree for the return of the inspectors, it was only due to threatens from the USA and UK.
-Generally, the technology of producing WMDs or buying them is getting cheaper and easier every day, and the greed of human beings never end.

From the above simple facts, one can conclude without much difficulty the fact that Saddam was a dangerous and crazy man with enormous resources at his disposal and great lust for possessing WMDs. that is if we supposed that he didn’t had them already.A frightening and serious matter that needed to be dealt with firmly and urgently.

What options there were to deal with this serious problem? Obviously not many, and each carries a serious drawback and uncertainty. Let’s take an examining look at the most suggested by the (anti-war) camp and see which is the safest, less costly and more effective,and I'm speaking of contineous inspection process:

-This was tried for 12 years without achieving the desired result, and this is a fact that all agree on.
-This process costs a lot of money too (Iraqi people’s money and USA and UK also)
-It is true that this process made good progress sometimes, but only with the (American gun) pointed directly at (Saddam’s head).
-That power (the American’s) had to act many times to prove that it was serious which cost the lives of civilian Iraqis, as we all know that it was part of Saddam’s ways to protect himself and his precious weapons by using civilian properties as a cover.

So one can reach the result that the world, in order to avoid war, using inspections, needed the military power of the USA at (Saddam’s doorstep) for an unknown period of time, and still will not feel safe with all the cheating, and cooperation that was given to Saddam by other regimes and foreigner firms, and will also cause continuous loss of lives of civilians and American’s tax payers’ money that will surly be higher than what the war did cost putting in mind that there was no possible end (at least not in the short range) to this threat as long as Saddam was in power.

There still one thing that worth mentioning here; is that there is one factor that (favors) the previous alternative over war, that is there would’ve been much less losses among the Coalition soldiers. I agree totally with that and I believe that this should be the first concern of any government, but there remains the fact that this same concern is dealt with, not unusually, by military force, and soldiers are soldiers, they are brave men and women who are well trained and willing to defend the lives and interests of their fellow-citizens. There will always be the sad fact that soldiers, and especially American, for well known reasons, will die during this process, and we can accuse the government of not caring much for the lives of these brave people only when military action is unnecessary or can be safely and effectively be replaced by other alternatives, a case that, in my opinion, doesn’t apply in the extremely important situation we are still discussing. The lives and interests of Americans’ cannot be defended from the national borders, and that has been the case since WW1.

Now, allow me to give an example of my own experience of the old policy: there was a military facility near our district where one of my relatives used to work and despite the fact that I knew the nature of this facility through his (big mouth), it was nearly a common knowledge that this facility was used to develop long range missiles. Few days before the (desert fox) operations, and as it was clear that the allies were planning, and had set up their minds on carrying military strikes directed to Saddam’s regime and mainly to his military power, the old regime, as always, managed without much difficulty to transfer most of the important weapons and instruments that were located in that particular facility, as well as others as could be expected, to other unknown places. I saw with my own eyes at one of those nights a convoy of long green vehicles that was entirely covered, getting out of this facility and it didn’t need a CIA agent to know what was going on, but it sure needed much more than that to know where those vehicles were heading. What happened 2 days later was that 10 cruse missiles were fired at that (important target), and were very accurate as one the whole 9 empty warehouse inside that facility were totaly destroyed. I saw that (live). Oh and sorry for not explaining from the start why 10 missiles were fired instead of 9. The reason was that one of those 9 lost its way, somehow, and hit the ground about 500 meters away from the target. There was no civilian causality that time, but as similar attacks took place allover Iraq, one can imagine the benefits, the costs and the risks. What brought me so such dangerous zone? I didn’t do more than watching from the roof of my house which is located this far(about 400 meters) from the facility and needless to say that our house was there before that facility. I remember watching those missiles go down one after the other and despite the fear and worry, I couldn’t help counting: 1,2,3…10 there goes 10 million $ for nothing. This was one of the most useless applications of hard-earned money and superior military technology, the least to say. What still unknown to me, and to which my relative couldn’t give any help, is what happened to that convoy.

When I hear the question “where are the WMDs?” I cannot but agree and indeed where are they? With one difference is that my question is directed to the anti-war camp rather than to the American administration! Can you confirm to us the fate of that convoy among many others? Can you prove that all the WMDs that were present at Saddam’s times were destroyed? And if so, how, when and where? Or do you want us to take Saddam’s words for it? The only case that would make your questioning about the honesty of the coalition leaders valid, is if it had been proven by the inspectors (after the war) that Saddam had destroyed all his WMDs. Something no one had confirmed till now.

This is the same misunderstanding that was present before the war. Saddam thought/wanted the world to accept, that full cooperation demanded by the Security Council was opining all the doors, but this wasn’t what it meant. What was needed from him is to provide full evidence that he destroyed all his WMDs including providing full documented history and showing the inspectors the places, the remains if any and the way by which the WMDs were destroyed in addition to convincing the international community that he had stopped all the ongoing projects and that after the departure of the inspectors he would no longer consider re-building those and as he failed to do so- and it wasn’t at all expected from him to do it and taking in consideration his history with WMDs and his readiness to use them- the fact that the inspectors at that time found nothing worth mentioning regarding the WMDs, is far from being reassuring and on the contrary cannot but further increase the suspicions to near certainty. Something really effective and decisive was needed and it was done.
Thanks to the people who had the courage to take the decision of going into this inevitable war, our concerns and fears about the Saddam’s WMDs is now only comes from a technically legal point of view, and Kurds, Iranians, Kuwaiti, Saudi and Israeli people no longer fear those horrible weapons.

-By Ali.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Believe it or not.

Today a friend of my father visited us after being absent for a long time. I had heard that he was imprisoned at Saddam’s times when he was an officer in the Iraqi army, so I took advantage of the occasion to hear his story in full details and here is it as I heard it from him:
I‘ve had just been assigned in my new important position in the Iraqi army headquarters and that was in 1991 and I was very happy with my new job, fully dedicated to do it as best as I can, until that day when an officer from one of the Iraqi army divisions came to me with a presidential order to hand him confidential documents that concerned his unit defensive plans in Kuwait. He was authorized to receive those documents and after further checking, I handed the documents to him, and I looked at this as another routine procedure, he took the documents, signed on a paper that verifies this and went on his way to his unite with his escorts.

I didn’t expect the disaster that was coming to lie on my head. As that officer stopped with his driver and escorts on the long road, to have dinner, the idiot left the documents in a suitcase in the car. After finishing their meal, the officer and the men with him were shocked as they went out of the restaurant to see that their car was gone. Someone had stolen the car with its exceptionally important cargo.

Here I interrupted our friend, realizing the size of the terrible mistake, but again not understanding what has he got to do with it, as it was clear that he did exactly what he was told to do, and was not responsible in any way for the awful mistake. He said:

So you say, and so I thought but that wasn’t Saddam’s opinion. When he heard about it, he signed an order of executing all those who were related to that incident, including me, and I was just doing my duty. I don’t know if it was possible to escaped this fate, and where was I incautious, was it be possible that I shouldn’t give him the documents? They would’ve executed me as well. How could I know that the idiot will lose it? It wasn’t me who put confidence in him; it was them who chose him.

I asked for meeting with Saddam, and I sent some people who had strong relations with some of his relatives, who were the only people who could interfere in such sensitive issues without the fear that they may face the same destiny of the people they are defending, and hoped that they may convince him to look into my case in a reasonable way. When I finally managed to reach some of his relatives who explained to him how I didn’t have anything to do with what happened (not for free), the sentence was lowered to 15 years. And I accepted my fate. I have a family and this is better than execution.

After that I was transferred from my temporary prison to Abu-Garib prison, and from the moment I entered my cell, which I shared with many convicts, I couldn’t help but telling everyone that I was innocent and I shouldn’t be here.

The other prisoners gathered around me and asked me “what is your story, brother? You have given us a headache with your whining, so spit it out”

I told them my strange story, and here I was shocked. They all laughed at me, and when I said that this was not funny at all, they shook their heads and one of the said” sorry brother but if you knew why we are laughing you may excuse us. Do you really think you are the most unfortunate man on earth? Well at least there was a document that was lost. What would you say if you knew my case?”

So I asked him” why are you here?” and he said, “listen, I’m a senior Ba’ath party member and I was in charge of a large sector in Baghdad. One time I was sitting with some of my comrades, who I also considered my friends, and we were just chatting. I told them a silly dream I had the night before the meeting. I dreamt that I became the president of Iraq and that I appointed one of the comrades as a minister of the defense. The next night there was a heavy knocking at the door and the (midnight visitors) dragged me out of my house, and after a short investigation, I was sentenced to 15 years in prison and this, and he pointed at one of the prisoners, is the minister of defense who got 10 years in prison”
The man in question shook his head in conformation and said “ yes, I’m the minister of defense who appeared accidentally in another man’s dream. So do you still think you are innocent? No, my friend, you are guilty as charged, on Saddam’s justice scale. So shut up and live with it”.
I have to admit that after hearing (the minister of defense), I felt I was somehow overreacting and that I was lucky!

By Mohammed.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

:: This morning, it was raining in Baghdad, and the rain was very heavy, after a while it started to rain those small grains of ice!! or the so called (HALOOB) in Iraq. this rarely happens in Bghdad, actually this is the first time in the last few years. Iraqis love (haloob) and consider it a sign of a gift from heaven.
the scene was wonderful, and I took this photo for our garden.

Is it 25 thieves instead of 1?!

Yesterday I watched a program on Al-Jazeera called (Al-ettijah Al-mo’akes or the opposite direction) and they interviewed an Iraqi journalist and an Egyptian one. The program was about the GC and SH and who is/was wasting or stealing more from Iraq’s wealth.
The host announced that the channel will be performing a poll through the duration of the program, and at the end of the hour he declared the results, which were:
** 78 % think that the GC members are stealing and/or wasting Iraq’s wealth more than SH used to do.
** 22 % think that the opposite is true.
Do you find this poll result credible?…Well, I don’t.
I’m not trying to defend the GC as it does not satisfy my ambitions, but I challenge Al-Jazeera and those 78 % to find the proof for their bad comparison.
I can’t understand why people deny solid facts and believe in illusions and skeptics.
SH and his sons left Iraq bankrupt after they stole almost every dollar in the banks, so what was there for the GC members to steal? Not forgetting that many of them were outside Iraq and came to Iraq months after the liberation.
Another fact is that the Iraqi budget is now declared after it was a mysterious issue for years, and the amounts of oil exported are now declared and these amounts give a clue about the income (although I don’t have documents that contain the exact numbers) which is really not a significant figure with respect to our needs, add to these facts the obstacles that the oil industry is facing now.
I want Al-Jazeera and the Arab to remember these solid facts:
- Salaries have considerably increased (sometimes 100 times).
- The exchange price for the ID against the $ has increased which indicates that the economy is in progress.
- Promotion of the purchase capability for governmental employees and its effect on the activity of private businesses.
- The reconstruction processes that are carried out even in very far spots in the rural areas.
I sympathize with the GC, for how can they handle such responsibilities and deal with enormous hardships with such a humble budget. The requirements of Iraq are huge, and I doubt that the GC members will find the time to steal funds!. The problem is that almost everybody here and in the Arab world think that Iraq is a rich nation just because we have oil, but the truth is that: we are poor, no, we are below the line of poverty even if we could export 5 million barrels/day.
One last thing to say is that the GC members are not in total accord with each other and I think that if one of them tried to steal or waste any of Iraq’s wealth, then the other members would be glad to volunteer to uncover this action and report the theft, and this is the advantage of plurality.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Five gallons of gasoline.

Oh my god what a fool I was. Yes, I realized this just lately, although I had my doubts but I was blinded by some facts and now thanks to some good friends of the Iraqi people, I’ve opened my eyes to see the naked truth.

For the 1st time I realize what a big lie I’ve been living in for the last 9 months and the worst thing is that it was me who made that lie and believed it so much that I accepted no other opinion. The whole world was telling me to wake up and get real, have some brains and try to find the truth. They offered me several evidences that leave no doubt that I was living a lie, but I was so stubborn and I apologize for it.
For 9 months I’ve thought that things were OK, that America did the right thing, we got rid of S.H. and his killing machine, that I’m happy, free and dreaming of a better future.

Thanks to all the true friends of the Iraqi people, I began to have some doubts and began asking myself real questions and day by day my doubts grew bigger and bigger then I tried to do what I was afraid of during these 9 months. I decided to re-evaluate everything I see and compare it with what it was before the war.

So, one morning I walked down the streets as usual heading to the hospital were I work, but this time my eyes were open and I was very attentive to all that surrounds me:

-The 1st thing that struck me was that all the pictures of Saddam were gone, now of course I’ve noticed that before but I didn’t think about it seriously, I mean NOBODY asked me whether I liked it or not, besides who did this? Was it the Iraqi people? Impossible, Iraqis loved Saddam (the whole media can’t lie) was it the Americans? I think if they had spent their time removing his pictures they would’ve been in Nassireah right now. So I came to the conclusion that there must be a conspiracy behind this, and don’t ask me what conspiracy and who conspired and why, it’s a conspiracy and that’s it.

-The second thing that annoyed me was that NO policeman or security guard or American soldier bothered to ask me where I was heading, where did I came from and didn’t even ask for an I.D. I checked my wallet and I found that I wasn’t carrying any, and in fact I haven’t carried an I.D. since the 9th of April, while prior to that I used to carry 2 or 3 I.D. cards (including the military service certificate) and still I would check my wallet every now and then to make sure that I haven’t forgot or lost any on the road. I mean seriously what is a man without an I.D.?

-Another distressing incident came as I went to buy a newspaper, I found dozens of strange Iraqi newspapers and magazines and more foreign ones ( the total number of Iraqi newspapers till now is 132) instead of the 10 that were all owned by the government before the war, and I said ”what a mess! Who am I supposed to believe now? How can I tell which one of these is telling the truth?” and only for my further disappointment I read a title of the new Iraqi army celebrating the graduation of 700 volunteers! Now what? Aren’t we going to fight anymore (I mean a real war)? What a waste, we had only the chance to go through 3 major wars in the last 23 years and there are still many enemies that we haven’t taught a lesson yet.

-Another depressing news was that there will be no more public executions, what am I talking about, there will be no executions at all, can you believe it? There are no more action or amusement!

-Finally I got to work and there I didn’t find a large difference although I missed those sensational moments when a child dies simply due to the lack of cheap medications and his mother’s cries and the reporters from all over the world who were always around would rush in to get a good shot and make a smashing report about the effects of the sanctions. Things are now very boring, we just treat people and a lot of them even get well!

-Then a friend of mine told me that it was payment day and when I got my salary, they gave me these strange banknotes with no pictures of any Iraqi president. I remember well, and I said it here before, that my salary was around 17$ a month before the war. This time they gave me 200 thousand Iraqi Dinars which if divided by the current exchange rate (which is now 1330 ID for each US$) will be about 150 $ and what was worse is that they confirmed a raise has been approved to make that 300$ starting from the next month with possible raises in the future. And I saw clearly what that meant, they are bribing us! yes, I’m not an idiot! they’re going to steal our oil, and they can say they’re giving the money back to us and that they even assigned billions of dollars to build Iraq and push many countries to cut down the Iraqi debts, but WE are still the ones who are going to lose, and don’t ask me how, because I’ll be damned if I knew the answer.

-On the other hand before the war, Saddam gave us nearly nothing at even better times than these. Still he didn’t steal the oil, he kept the funds safe in his pocket.
And what if he used some to enjoy himself and his family? It’s his right by birth, and what if he made some gifts to the good friends of the Iraqi people like George Gallaway,Bernarde Merime or Jackie... Oops, sorry, the last one is just a rumor.

-And more and more, the long lines at the gas stations, the high prices for kerosiune are all gone and back to normal, and the only things that were left to remind of the (good old days) were the ruins and garbage here and there. But they were also(sadly) being, although slowely, removed and rebuilt . But then I heard an explosion and gave a sigh of relief and thanked my Muslim brothers “ at last, a sound from the past”

What an ignorant I was to think that it was OK and again thank you CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Mr. Dean, Mr. Cherac and our dear Arab and Muslim leaders for showing me the truth, and I’m not talking about the silly things I have mentioned. I’m talking about the most important fact:

You made me realize that freedom doesn’t worth waiting for hours to get 5 gallons of gasoline, and 10 hours of power shortage a day (even if it was temporarily). in fact you showed me that freedom means NOTHING to me. Thank you for showing me that I was born to be a slave and that I enjoyed getting down on my knees in front of my master whoever he was (and there was no one better than Saddam to bow to).
I loved kissing the ground he walks on, and I adored his way of insulting, raping, torturing and killing Iraqis everyday.

A friend has asked me never to use the 4 letter word (and it’s not my style to do so), sorry Scott but I can’t help not saying For all those who tried to show me how I should feel:
Even if I was wrong (and I'm sure I'M not)To hell with oil, to hell with power supply and F***YOU ALL. GWB MADE THE RIGHT DECISION AND AMERICA DID THE RIGHT THING AND WE ARE FREEEEEEEEEE!

-By Ali.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

We all need to dream.

Oh when sorrow mixes with happiness, feelings get confused, muttering hollow words….it’s the Eid and there is pain. I have to congratulate some people and console others.
What can I say when laughter mixes with sounds of explosions to play a tune that I can’t understand?

I’m sad I have a dream*

People celebrate others curse.
Some people realize, most do not do so or choose not to.
I maybe wrong in my demands and others maybe right, but I don’t ask for much.
Don’t be unfair, don’t insult me and leave me in peace. After that choose whatever policy you wish, pray for any God you believe in, but don’t steel the joy from children, they will not understand it. Let’s stop for a moment for their sake, because I’ll never forget that scene of a child who was crying out of fear, not knowing why he should cry, why he should fear, why can’t he have fun and he is not allowed to play as other children do. Stop it please, and let us give up a little of our personal ambitions for the sake other people. I think that what God is asking from us; to love each other.

So, it seems that it’s my destiny not to live like the others.It was meant for me to share the bitterness of others and mourn for their grief. I weep for their anguish, some people do not understand this; how can I weep Iraqi victims and coalition soldiers in the same time? My tears are for all the victims of evil and injustice, and those who sacrificed their lives while fighting it back.

My life and that of who share with me these feelings were so hard and will even be harder, but I will not abandon my dream, that one day all people will be united with love.
I will not stop writing these silly words, this is all I have for now, and I will not despair, even if what I wish seems impossible.
But I will be there; by all means I will be there,
There at the bank of the river,
I will throw my sword and armor.
There on the bank of the river,
I will not think of war any more. *

I need you brothers and sisters, believe me, when I read your words you give me enormous strength to go on, and the truth is: we need each other.
Our world is bad…bad. And it’s full of evil. We claim that we know this evil and that we’re fighting it, and that makes us less happy than the others, but in return for the happiness of today we will have something much more gracious. We will have the wits to do what lie within our capabilities to make the world less painful. *
Individuals reject the good that they see, but the people want the good that they do not see. Everybody needs someone who guides him or her, let’s speak together, and let us no stop speaking*, let our voice be louder than that of the evil.
The word is the leader of the human power. I know the strength of words, I know that words have a ring; they’re not those cheered by the cream of the crop. By the power of those words, coffins are pushed to march on their four wooden legs. *

My heart can be shaped in any image,
A grassy hill for deer and a monastery for priests,
A temple for idols,
And a Ka’aba for a pilgrim,
A sheet from the Bible and a page from the Koran,
I follow love wherever it goes,
Love is my faith and my religion. *

I have borrowed words from the east, from America, Russia, Europe and Arab in an attempt to prove that we, the people of the world, can make one speech, have one goal and can fight for it.

* Martin Luther King
*Richard Right
*Bertrand Russell
*J. J. Rousseau
*Muhey Al-Deen Bin Arabi

-By Mohammed.