Saturday, July 31, 2004

Alaa at the Mesopotamian reports about a new Iraqi satelite channel named "Al FAYHAA" which he considers as an answer to our prayers for an honest constructive Iraqi media. I haven't seen this one yet but I trust Alaa's words about it. I'll try to find it and give you another point of veiw.
Iraqi border patrols arrested 60 Afghanis as they were trying to enter Iraq illegally 80 km south of Basra. Spokeman of the Iraqi Border Guards said that "Only 16 of them were carrying passports" He added, "They were not armed"
Spokeman of the ministry of internal affairs said that infiltrators will be dealt with firmly and they may face long years in prison.
(Al Sabah)

Does the Iranian government really think that anyone will believe that hundreds of foreigners and thousands of Iranians pass the Iranian-Iraqi borders without their knowledge? And some of those traverse the whole country! It seems that the Iranian government is no longer afraid or concerned that their support for terrorism in Iraq may be obvious. Maybe they think because Iraqis are not willing to go for another war and because America is busy in Iraq and may not be able to take very aggressive actions against them, that they can go on with their filthy plan of destroying Iraq without being punished or stopped?

I think they’re playing a very dangerous game and pushing their luck, as such actions cannot go unquestioned and when combined with their refusal to stop Uranium enrichment, it’s hard to believe that the world (Even the European countries that have good relations with Iran) will leave those mad mullahs alone.

Iraqis are far from being ready to face such a threat, as the Iraqi army is still under training and it lacks necessary weapons plus that Iraqis in general totally reject the idea of going to war again despite what the Iraqi defence minister said lately about Iran as he described them as Iraq's 1st enemy (although this is how most Iraqis feel). Still we can't sit and watch those mad mullahs destroy our dreams and frankly I think Iraqis will be very glad to give all the needed support if the free world decided to take serious actions against Iranian regime if they continue with their destructive atittude.

However I think the best we can do now is to continue watching the borders and try to convince the Iranians that their policy will bring serious harm to both Iraq and Iran, hoping that these mullahs are not as insane as they seem to be. I really don't like to think about the consequences of diplomatic failure here, as it's very scary even if we win.

::Baghdad Dweller posted a photo for Iraqi athletes (body builders) celeberating the 57th birthday of Arnold Shwarzenegger in Baghdad.

Iraqis are very angry.

:: Probably the most prominent event in Iraq in the past week was the bloody suicide attack on the police station in Baquoba city. 70 people were killed and a lot more were injured.
The BBC Arabic provided a forum for Iraqis and Arabs to post their responses to this attack and terrorism in Iraq in general.
As usual, I translated some of these responses for you to give you an idea about the reactions in the Arab world and Iraq regarding this issue.
All the Iraqi commentators condemned the attack except for two who describing the IP and ING as collaborators who deserve to die. (Fedayeen ?)

I’ve seen that most of the Arab commentators sympathize with the Iraqi people in these tough days, actually I saw a change in their attitudes as some of them used to prize the “resistance efforts in fighting the occupier” but now that most of the attacks are targeting Iraqis, whether civilians or security forces members, some of the Arabs seem to have realized the nature of the “resistance”. Some of the commentators even apologized to the Iraqi people and admitted that they were deluded by the media that modified the facts and showed a picture that doesn’t reflect the truth. As a matter of fact, many Iraqi commentators suggested that the government must take some action against some Arab media channels. This time you can feel extreme anger and determination to fight back in the words of the majority of Iraqis which is the case in the streets mixed with disgust to the doings of the media that show terrorism as resistance, and to the help the neighboring countries provide to the terrorists. On the other hand, very few Iraqis blamed the "ocupation" for the security problems or asked to end it! While this was the "obvious reason" for most Arabs to cause these tragedies.

There are always people who believe in conspiracies but they represented a minority this time, and those usually don’t miss a chance to accuse the “invaders” or the Israeli intelligence of being responsible in one way or another for the attacks that kill Iraqis but it’s interesting that those people cheer the “resistance” for performing similar attacks to kill the “collaborators and the occupiers’ agents”.

Here are some of the comments:

“Those groups made the police their primary target and any sane human being knows who are the enemies of the police; they’re the gangsters of course but when shall the cheering and clapping for those gangsters end and until when shall these crimes continue using the lousy excuse of resistance.

The media don’t show the slightest care about hundreds, no, thousands of innocent lives. All the media care about is to spread lies as solid facts. For example some media sources reported that jet fighters flew over Ramadi (where I live) and broke the sound barrier, which didn’t happen. Another example: they reported that the American army bombed a house, while the fact was that some mortar shells fired by the so-called resistance men hit the house and this was not the first time; tens of mortar shells fell on residential areas in my town. What can I say, I’m talking to the deaf”
Mohammed Al-Taa’i - Ramadi/Iraq.

“I closely follow the news about suicide attacks and the operations that target Americans and Iraqis because I was about to become part of this game.
The suicide attacks are performed by Arab fighters who’s first goal is heaven while the brains who plan for these operations have deep strategic goals but they will fail because Iraqis have recognized and hated this game. As for small bombs and IEDs; these are planted by a mixture of ex-criminals (hired right now) and intelligence elements from some countries and also those who were privileged before the change in Iraq”
Shahin Abdul Sattar-Baghdad.

“It’s time for you Iraqis to rise and unite your efforts against terror and terror-supporting countries. We will continue to water the tree of freedom with our blood and woe to the enemies of the people whether Arab or not. Woe to the hypocritical media. We will all build the new Iraq, the Iraq of hope and freedom and let the enemies of freedom go to hell.
Here I ask those who call such crimes resistance? What about our children and the poor workers and salesmen? Are they agents too?
Thanks to the Arabs who care about us and share our concerns and I say to the Arabs who consider us their enemies: we’re moving forward on the road of freedom and you can keep your course if you like but we will never waste the time or the chance to build the Iraq of peace and freedom”

“The filthy suicide attack killed 68 honest hardworking Iraqis among whom there were husbands, fathers. This attack and others similar to it are the last breath of these coward groups that hold Jihad as a slogan and use Islam as a cover.
The corrupt media that is bribed by the neighboring countries is morally responsible for these tragedies because they try to give legitimacy to these coward attacks by using the term “resistance”. The government is strong and its steps are supported by all the honest. Time will be on our side”
Mohammed Abdul jabbar-Baghdad.

“This is the “resistance” killing innocent people and threatening peace in Iraq. Is this Jihad? They kill innocents and they justify their doings by saying that Iraqis cooperate with the occupation while the truth is that these poor victims were people who loved and served their country by joining the IP to bring stability and peace to Iraq where coward terrorists established their stronghold. If those terrorists were the least brave they would’ve shown their faces when they appear in front of the cameras of the anti-Iraqi, poison-spreading satellite channels”
Um Noor-Iraq.

“There’s no doubt that only a desperate, full of hatred coward can commit such a crime. We should all respect the feelings of the Iraqi people. As you see, this resistance has reached the extremes of crime and brutality but it’s also approaching its miserable end right now. Wait and see”

“I’ve always listened to the conversations on your station because their time usually coincides with my return to home after work but when the conversations discuss the situation of our brothers in Iraq I usually tune the radio to another station to listen to some soft music to get some relief because I have tachycardia, tension and abdominal cramps when I listen to opinions from our misled or blindly fanatical Arab brothers. Anyway, this sad incident came to end the doubts about the sick and barbaric nature of those who commit such unforgivable crimes. This also includes anyone who tries to find excuses for their doings.

May God bless the souls of the poor Iraqis who lost their lives in that dark era under Saddam’s reign and may God bless the souls of the Iraqis who sacrificed their lives in this new time; the time of liberty and hope”
Nahidh Mohammed Salih-Dubai/UAE.

“These are the ways terrorists use against freedom lovers. The freedom that Arabs lack, and the freedom that terrorists want to destroy before it spreads. Woe to the enemies of freedom”
Mohammed Ubaid-Dubai.

“The reason behind these attacks is the American occupation and I believe that bringing Saddam Hussain back to power is the solution. He succeeded in a task (which is security) that 20 countries including the US failed in. Iraq was secure in president Saddam’s days “in the dark night we miss the moon” Iraqis will never enjoy security unless all the invading forces withdraw from Iraq and what happened till now is the proof”
Al-makashafi Al-Khidr - Amderman/Sudan.

“This is an insane, sadistic, terrorist attack but he blood of Iraqis will not go in vain.
Here I call the Iraqi government to sue the satellite channels that take part in these incidents through providing publicity to the terrorists and their supporters.
Martyrs of Iraq, heaven is yours”
Bashar Al-Baldawi-Iraqi in Oman.

“I condemn killing innocent people but martyr operations is the only way to defeat the Americans. We can’t wait for a peaceful voluntary withdrawal. Let’s remember Palestine and Lebanon and make a comparison”
Sayed Hasan-Egypt.

“The Egyptian brother is describing killing innocents as a struggle and way to defeat the Americans, not the opposite. According to his theory, I, as an Arab should kill Palestinians to scare the Israelis and force them to withdraw to the borders of June 4 1967.
Killing innocents is a struggle? What kind of logic is this!!”
Amr Ali-Egyptian in Canada.

“Is this the resistance that resists the occupation? What resistance? And what occupation?
The American soldier is trying to protect me from the terrorists and the American president saved me from Saddam’s regime. If this is an occupation then I show my deepest respect to it and if such suicide attacks are called resistance then let the resistance go to hell”
Hoshyar Zakhoi-Duhok/Iraq.

Friday, July 30, 2004

:: The Greatest Jeneration criticized Sen.Edwards for his last speech and wrote:

"Sen. Edwards, we've already achieved victory in Iraq!
Saddam's awaiting trial in a humble cell, the rape and torture rooms of his are closed forever and the new democratic Iraqi government is sovereign and hard at work
Read the rest, here.
:: Some journalist from the Sydney Herald Morning is shooting at blogs but Vodkapundit is taking position to defend the blogosphere.
:: Fayrouz has an informative post about the "Iraqi Ambassadors To Athens 2004"
:: Najma has posted a bunch of funny jokes. You've got to read them if you feel you need a laugh.
:: Zeyad is back to blogging and in his first post after a long pause he listed a number of new Iraqi bloggers who recently appeared. Some of these blogs are run by teenagers. The new blogs discuss different subjects, politics, poetry, health care in Iraq and even pets!
:: Tom Villars sent me a message requesting some help with Arabic translation and English proof reading. If anyone is willing to give him a hand, please contact him.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

:: Who said that the traffic policemen are not doing their job?
New Sabah (page in Arabic) reported that the patrols of traffic police in Baghdad have released 79723 violations tickets in the last five weeks in Baghdad only, with a total of 1.78 billion Iraqi Dinars (about 1.2 million $).
The violations ranged from reckless driving to driving vehicles without registration plates and also 3722 vehicles and 409 motor bikes were kept in custody.
If they continue like this, tickets can make a good source of income!
::Increase in electricity supply in Baghdad except for four areas.
Although this will not solve the whole problem, it's good to see an improvement inspite of all the current obstacles, especially in summer season when demands for electricity are at peak levels.
:: Muqtada Al-Sadr called his followers to remove his pictures from the walls and streets in an attempt to show his modesty. He also claimed that he has nothing to do with the atrocities and abusive actions of "some" of his followers.
I don’t know why you remind me of Saddam, Muqtada! To be more accurate; you’re a stupid Mullah (and Mulahs are already stupid) with the criminal attitude of Saddam and some comic qualities of Ghaddafi.

By the way, his pictures are already being torn and disfigured everywhere, and probably this is why he’s asking for their removal, as his followers were posting his pictures on the walls everywhere since the end of the war and only recently Iraqis' rejection and contempt for him have grown and they have expressed this through tearing his pictures and erasing his name leaving only his father’s name, as it’s part of his malicious propaganda to put the two together, along with the Iraqi flag so that no one would dare to tear the poster.

Sometimes you make me sick, sometimes you make me laugh but you always make me wonder; what kind of world is this that allows an imbecile like you not only to cosume some of earth's Oxygen but also to pollute the lives of millions of people by forcing them to see your, uh.. VERY handsome face and hear your eloquent speeches everyday!? As if we don't have enough problems already!

This picture is for one of his posters in an elevator in our hospital that I took about ten days ago. Most of his posters in the hospital were torn in a similar way.


:: Black five posted a great story about two members of the ING who sacrificed their lives to save the lives of 250 Iraqis who were trying to join the National Guard.
This story was also sent to us by one of the readers.
Thanks a lot to all those who spread the truth about how Iraqis do everything and even sacrifice their lives to secure Iraq, protect their freedom and establish a new, democratic Iraq.

 Some people call us "paid off CIA agents" just because we support democracy in Iraq and the efforts of the coalition in fighting terrorism and building a new Iraq.
Well I guess they can say what they like about us but I dare any of them to say the same about those two heroes or the hundreds of thousands of ING and IP members who risk their lives everyday for the same reason. In fact I dare them to say anything at all about these heroes whether good or bad because they can’t say something bad about people who sacrifice their lives for their country’s safety, and they can’t say anything good as well because it contradicts what they have been whining about since the beginning of OIF. Therefore they choose the golden solution and remain silent!
I see this as a good choice, only if it lasts forever.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

This is what you support.

 Tens of victims in a barbaric action committed by those terrorists leaving pain, sorrow and a deep wound in the heart. Once again, civilians pay the highest price and once again terrorists show how cruel they are, reminding us of their hateful presence and their lust for killing and destruction.
What hurts more than this daily terror is the soft way the world is using to deal with the situation.

I believe that the presence of this terror is just a matter of time, as hatred and deception can’t last forever, but the reactions of some parts provide it with the support it needs and give it a second chance. Yes, all we need is the will and determination to crush a company that is so close to bankruptcy but the disgraceful doings of some parts postpone it once again, like what Spain, Manilla and Egypt lately did.

What’s even worse and disgusting is that these governments smugly come and ask the admirably determined nation Australia to apologize while it’s them who must apologize to the whole world for their awful mistakes that encouraged terrorists and reassured them that their criminal tactics can work.
These countries have found excuses for terror and gave the terrorists the motives to carry on with their plans as long as these plans can make "sovereign countries" yield in front of a true criminal action.

They’re cooperating with the criminals and they make it easier for terrorists to increase their activities in Iraq and elsewhere. This is the goal of terror and this is what these countries offered the terrorists on a gold plate. They’ve said clearly "do more of your work, as it will definitely bring an outcome that satisfy your sickness and illusions".

Perhaps it’s become obvious that the failure of terror is getting closer, and tightening the control over its resources is what made terrorists adopt this new strategy of asking for millions of dollars as ransoms for each hostage saying that this money will be used to pay compensations for the victims in Fallujah.

This reveals the fact that the terrorists’ resources are no longer sufficient to their expenses and this is what made them seek financial support through these criminal operations.
Ok, we know now that they’re close to bankruptcy and here come two countries to reinforce the terrorists position by withdrawing from Iraq. And people here in Iraq believe that Manilla paid several millions of dollars to free the hostage just like what the Egyptians did when the Egyptian embassy announced that the operation was more about money than about politics.
Do you know what this means?

Millions of dollars mean hundreds of victims. They’re funding terror in one way or another and I find it very stupid that negotiations take place through the help of a highly under suspicion-group like the "Sunni Muslim Cleric Council".

There’s a deal to fund terror in a different way than before and there are groups and countries who support this and maneuver to override the obstacles.
Negotiating with those thugs provides them with legitimacy let alone submitting to their demands and funding them.

This is totally rejected and it must be dealt with firmly while those who submitted to the terrorists must apologize; they gave a broke company a new chance.

What happened today is a crime and these countries are partners in this crime whether they accept this fact or not. No can make us believe that these governments care about their citizens more than the governments of the USA, Italy, UK, Australia and other coalition members. Can anyone answer the question why those governments didn’t submit to the demands of the terrorists in their own lands, like Abu Sayaf in Philippines?! The same applies to Egypt when dealing with the Islamic groups. Why was the sound of gunfire the only sound we heard when dealing with terror in their own lands? I believe the answer lies in the hypocrisy of these governments. They don’t care a sh*t about the lives of their citizens but they do care and A LOT about their individual and partisan interests. They follow the mob instead of leading them to what’s better for their future.

A good and wise government should be able to see farther than the average simple citizen and also to share this vision with him and let him see where his/her interests and security lie. What these governments are doing is the opposite, as they use the simple and instant reactions of the crowds to strengthen their position saying "we have fulfilled your demands and acted just the way you wanted" However what the people want, and especially when they are faced with a shocking and a threatening situation, is not necessarily what they need.

Can you answer the question what will be the response of Iraqis towards these horrible attacks? I’ll help you; These victims came to volunteer to serve their country as IP members and this is not the 1st time this happens and the response of Iraqis to such attacks was always more volunteers and longer lines. What does that tell you Philippine and Spanish government? If this is bravery and wisdom, then how should your actions be labeled? Maybe it’s not your business? That would’ve been a more honest answer had you said it, but you’re not just cowards or stupid, you’re also hypocrites. This include all the "anti-war" crowd with all the clowns there such as Michael Moore and George Galloway and their likes. You make me SICK when you support the "Iraqi resistance" and call these killers a revolutionists. Did you watch your "resistance" today? This is what you support and this is how history will view you; supporters of murderers and criminals, and for what? Fame and money! Enjoy it. It won’t last, as the truth will soon be revealed and you'll be exposed to all as the disgusting parasites you are.

I doubt that we can forgive you all for your cowardice, stupidity and hypocracy just as we’ll never forget the sacrifices and the help of the Americans, Australians, British, Italians, Japanese and all the other coalition members.

-By Mohammed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Monday, July 26, 2004

Arthur Chrenkoff has posted his second roundup of good news from Afghanistan. It's a great post that was posted in the Opinion Journal as well. Check it out.

Sports and politics.

Iraqi football team qualified to the 2nd round in the Asian Football Championship after wining against Saudi Arabia 2-1 in their last match in the group. Uzbekistan qualified as the 1st in the group with 9 points followed by Iraq with 6 points while Turkmenistan and Saudi Arabia failed to qualify after scoring 1 point each.

This is the 2nd time we beat the Saudis since 1988. The 1st time was this year also when the Iraqi Olympic football team beat the Saudi to the Olympics in Athens.

The game was a difficult one and both teams had a chance to qualify and there was also the match between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to wait for in case Iraq-Saudi Arabia match ended in a draw, but our boys seemed determined not to leave anything to luck and started attacking to score the 1st goal in the 50th minute. After that our team retreated a bit which resulted in the Saudis scoring the equalizer only 4 minutes later, but our team kept fighting with high spirit until the 86th minute just 4 minutes before the end when they managed to score the 2nd goal and settled the issue without needing to wait for the result of the Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan match.

It’s worth mentioning that almost all the Chinese crowd in the Stadium were supporting Iraq, and so were most of the Arab commentators in most of the Arab channels even though the match was against another Arab team! I think it’s understandable as these guys look at Iraq as a victim and as people who need support due to the extraordinary situation they’re facing. However and although we thank them for their support, I must say that they support us for the wrong reason. When it comes to sport and despite the difficult situation in Iraq, the Iraqi team is the closest team to be living in normal healthy conditions among Arabs at least!

Before the liberation and under "normal conditions" Iraqis failed to achieve anything worth mentioning and there was a continuous deterioration in sport as years passed under the "wise leadership". This was the result of deterioration on all levels and what made things worse was Oday’s interference in sports in general and football in particular. He used to punish players severely when they lost a match, and actually the word is "torture" and not punishment. He used to interfere in the plan of each match and in who’s going to play and who’s not until the Iraqi team was no longer Iraqi and became Oday’s team.

I never cheered that team and I even felt relief and joy when they lost, as at least it made Oday upset, and also because I know that any win would’ve been used to serve their propaganda. It was not strange at all to watch songs supposed to cheer the Iraqi team cheering and glorifying mainly "the wise leadership". One of those songs included the exact phrase, "If it’s a game for them, then let them know it’s war for us". Saddam and his son wanted the Iraqi team to qualify to the Olympics in Atlanta badly just so they could instruct the players to show Saddam’s picture underneath their shirts when they score a goal. This actually happened in one of the international matches and you just have to imagine how shocked Iraqis were as they were celebrating a goal and at the same time forced to see Saddam’s ugly face shown as the reason and goal for the players’ efforts.

However I always felt sorry for the players who had to endure all that pain and humiliation for playing the game the love and for trying to honor their country’s name. This is only the story of the Iraqi team, as it happened in all the Arab countries. Just as an example is what happened to Ghada Shua’a, the Syrian Olympic gold medal winner in the Decathlon. When this girl was injured just before the world championship, I saw many Syrian sport analysts turning into political analysts accusing the poor girl of being a coward and even a traitor!!

Nowadays The Iraqi team is free from all that garbage. They are not playing for their masters as all the Arab athletes. They are playing for themselves and their country, as they are free now and no one will torture, humiliate or share their hard earned money -they make from playing outside Iraq- with them.

Most of my friends couldn’t stop supporting the Iraqi team at those times and were amazed of how I could cheer against them. After the war, they thought and because of my strong support for the coalition that I didn’t care much about Iraq! Today I went down to the cafeteria after work to watch the match with my colloquies. One of them asked me teasingly, " So who are you going to support today?" I replied in the same teasing manner, " Is this a question?? We’re playing against the Saudi’s! Your question would’ve been justified if we were playing against the American team though!"

Today I cheered the Iraqi team; my team; our team and I was so happy when they win but like the Chinese and Arab commentator, I felt sympathy, only it wasn’t for the Iraqi team. It was for the Saudi team and all the other Arab athletes who still play to satisfy their leaders. We were stronger today mainly because we are free.
Go Iraqis Go! For more victories and more celebrations!

-By Ali.


Sunday, July 25, 2004

Firas at Iraq-Iraqis is back posting and has something to say about electricity, security, income and the Iraqi Stock Exchange.

Decades of hatred teaching vs a moment of truth.

 After decades of malicious ideological teaching a former Iraqi officer met one of his "eternal enemies". What happened after that changed the Iraqi officer's life dramaticaly. Such story happened many times and are still happening in Iraq but they don't get the coverage and attention they deserve. Some of you may have read this but I've just found about it through an e-mail sent by one of our dear readers. Check it out, it's great! Here are some pictures from Iraq you don't see every day. ( from the same source)
Hat tip Steve in RI. 

Saturday, July 24, 2004

A joint force from the Iraqi National Guard and Iraqi police launched a crack down on dens of terrorism in Haifa street.An authorized source said that the operation started Thursday dawn in Haifa and the  near sites after reported accurate intelligence information on the presence of large number of terrorist groups and supporters of Saddam or those coming via the Iraqi borders from different nationalities.The source added that the Iraqi National Guard undertook installing check points in front of the compounds of the terrorists.The operation resulted in the killing of a number of terrorists from different nationalities and arresting not less than 165 persons among them 20 from different nationalities further for confiscating about 275 pieces of weapons."The accuracy of the intelligence information and the success of the operation contribute lessen the casualties among the national guards men and the Iraqi police ". The source clarified.Thanks to the consciousness of the Iraqi National Guard, the terrorist coalition lost its logistic support in the cities. 

  This operation seems to be a continuation to the one that took place on the 10th of July. It’s worth mentioning that this area has always been a source of trouble (as the people who inhabited Haifa St. Were almost Syrians who supported Saddam and were given flats in those buildings for free in the early 80s) since the end of OIF. This area lies just across the river opposite to the hospital where Ali works and he said that there was heavy gunfire and explosions almost everyday (mainly at night) coming from that direction but lately there has been a considerable decline in such hostile operations and that now you can hardly hear any gunfire.

 In another operation the National Guard and IP in Najaf confiscated 123 mortar and 225 rockets type SBG9 and lots of short-ranged missiles that were prepared to be launched towards Najaf city. The governer of Najaf made this announcement and said that a bunch of people escapede the scene where the weapons were found just as they saw the the IP patrols.
Details from Al Sabah.

So the guy who caught Saddam was an American with Iraqi descent!. God bless that fist Samir. That punch was from ALL Iraqis.

Friday, July 23, 2004

The land of "spies".

Yesterday I went to the barber to have a hair cut. This hair dressing shop that I usually go to ( and have made a sort of friendship with the owner) lies in Adhamyia district, the neighborhood that’s known to be the most anti-American and that showed the most notable resistance to OIF in Baghdad. This is the place where Saddam was seen in public for the last time before his regime collapsed. There’s hardly a day pass without hearing explosions and gun fire in this area, and as one enters this area he’s faced with slogans condemning American presence and the members of the new government written on the walls and other slogans cheering Saddam signed by Baáthists and Saddam’s Fedaáeen.

In this neighborhood lies the tomb and mosque of "Imam Abu Hanifa al Noman", the imam that has the largest number of followers among Muslim Sunnis all over the world. This mosque often witnesses demonstrations against foreign presence and American policy in Iraq.

The barber’s shop was a place where I could know more about the situation in this highly unstable neighborhood. Everyone here talks about politics but you can sense an evident fear when talking about Baáthists and Fedaáyeen here, unlike most of Iraq, as no one dares to say that what happened was right. Everybody is afraid of the revenge of the brutal criminals who are more than ready to kill a man or a woman for just one word and in the most horrible ways.
The last operations carried out by the IP and the National Guard with support from the American army had directed strong blows to these gangs, minimizing their capability to move and carry attacks, as they have found themselves in a defense now; a position that is highly unfavorable for guerilla fighters who find themselves more comfortable with the ‘cut and run’ tactics.

However the remaining members of these gangs and as a result of the death and arrest of many of their leaders and symbols and feeling being almost besieged and with hostility everywhere, have started to show more aggressive attitude, as they know that their neighbors and probably relatives must have a role in detecting their moves and supplying Iraqi and American intelligence with the necessary information to transfer into the aggression.

Now everyone is their enemy and "woe" to anyone who dare to say anything against them or the so-called resistance or even to show the slightest support to the changes taking place in Iraq. They’re now taking cover in the narrow streets that barely let a car pass through and carrying revenge attacks killing many locals believing that they might have been suppling IP with information. There are rumors all the time of these Feda’aeen beheading "traitors" and informers in public. These of course are exaggerations but these thugs know that terrorizing people with such rumors is their strongest weapons left taking advantage of the fear that still inhabits the hearts of many Iraqis from the nightmares of the recent past.

I was sitting there waiting for my turn when someone came in and after "Al Salaamu Slaikum" and "Allah bil khair" he asked the barber, "Did you see the last list of the agents and spies in street no. 20?" "No, how many names are there in this one?" said the barber.
"This one is short. There are only 250 names in it" said the guy. No one commented on this, as it may be dangerous to say what you really believe in this neighborhood. I volunteered to break the silence, "250!! These are all traitors? If there are 250 traitor in one single block then how many honest people are left in this street?" one of the guys said, "Very little. This place is filled now with agents and spies."

I smiled inside as I remembered the days of Saddam when we couldn’t dare to speak fearing Saddam’s agents who seemed to be everywhere. I was living a somewhat reversed picture from the past and it was a bit amusing. I went adding, " I don’t think it’ll take a long time before things get better" This phrase could be interpreted in 2 different ways but still no one dared to approve of what I said. People here are still afraid of a very small criminal group that is capable of everything and believe they’re the only ones who are right and who have honor while all the rest are cowards spies who should be killed without hesitation.

This was the way Saddam and his assistants used to think. They thought that if they had to sacrifice 24 million Iraqis for the rest to live "honorably" then that was what they would do with clear conscience.

These people who are still fighting think in the same way. They carry Saddam mentality ; they and only they are right while everyone else are wrong and there’s no other solution for this problem in their minds other than exterminating them. There’s no place for a dialog in their dictionary and with these you can put the extremist Islamists like Bin laden, Zargawi and even their ‘child’s play’ Sadr. I want to say that I think there’s no use of negotiating with these people who process the absolute truth and are willing to kill everyone who oppose them even if by words. Firm dealing with their ill mentality that’s polluted by illusions from the remote past is what we need and what we should not hesitate to apply.

It seems that the vast majority of Iraqis have agreed to become "spies" and offer help to the IP, national guard and the Americans, and maybe the last series of operations carried in this area as well as other places with similar demography prove that such change in people’s attitude is real. There’s a high coordination between the people and the IP, new army and the Americans, and it has become a regular thing to read in the newspapers about locals giving information about land mines or foreigners in their neighborhood with suspicious behavior and several successful arrests were made and many lives were saved as a result of this cooperation.

These facts will certainly lead those criminals to act more hysterically and they may appear in the streets in a suicidal manner to show their presence and their strength just as they did before in many occasions in futile attempts to reverse history.
Everyday passes make me surer than before that Iraqis have made up their minds and that there will be no turning back.

-By Mohammed.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

:: In a dramatic match, the National Iraqi football team achieved victory upon the team of Turkmenistan 3-2 in the our 2nd match in the Asian championship.
The Iraqi team was the first to score in minute 14 but Turkmenistan soon replied with a goal in minute 16.
The result remained 1-1 until minute 80 when our team scored the second goal but it didn’t take a long time until Turkmenistan scored another goal in minute 84 from a free kick.
The winning goal for our team in this game came in minute 87 to save the team from an undesired draw especially because our team lost the first match against Uzbekistan 0-1.
Now the Iraqi team has a second chance to qualify to the quarter finals of this championship but still our chances depend on the results of the coming match between KSA and Uzbekistan in which a draw can make qualifying easier for our team which will need only a draw in the last and 3rd match against the Saudis.
Till now, there’s no gunfire to celebrate the win but I saw convoys of cars carrying flags and playing traditional Iraqi music in the streets soon after the match ended.
Congratulations to the Iraqi team. They worked hard and they deserve the win.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

:: The ministry of financial affairs have announced plans to raise the salaries of retired government-employees starting from this month. The raise will range from 10%-90% of the old salaries and this new system will depends on the rank, years of service and ex-position of the retired official which divides the retired into 4 ranks.

The old system has classified the retired into three ranks only which made many of the higher ranking ones complain of being paid the same payments that low ranking officials get.
The details about this subject were published on Azzaman paper.
This afternoon, I watched a report on Al-Hurra TV about a couple of successful operations for the Iraqi security forces in which huge amounts of weapons and ammunition were found; one was by the IP in Najaf city while the other was by the National Guards in Baghdad.

This not the first time of course we hear of such successful operations but the new observation this time is that some of the confiscated weapons and ammunition are not from the ususal origins you can see in Iraq (automatic rifles other than the Ak47, bazookas other than the RPG7 and other devices) and these weapons don’t belong to the stuff left behind by the old army after the 9th of April 2003.

This finding leads to the conclusion that these weapons were smuggled from outside Iraq; an operation that definitely cost a lot of money as the prices of weapons outside Iraq are much higher than they used to be in Iraq, and this leads us to two further conclusions:

- There are some groups (or countries) with high financial capabilities involved in the smuggling of weapons. This isn’t new information of course but today’s pictures have added to the evidence we have.
- Acquiring weapons and ammunition from the ‘local market’ has become a difficult process for the following reasons:
1-Due to the rising prices because the 'local market' is running out of such stuff which were either used, destroyed or  confiscated.
2-The continuous efforts of the Iraqi security forces and multinational forces in chasing and busting weapons dealers are making it more dangerous and difficult to purchase weapons locally and makes it easier to smuggle weapons from outside in case of Najaf for example which has common borders wit Saudi Arabia.

This is a good sign indeed because when getting weapons becomes more difficult and a lot more expensive than before we should expect a decline in the frequency of terrorist attacks in Iraq. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

A lesson in English.

One of the readers sent me this document that was published about 2 years ago in the Guardian of London newspaper in which anti-war American artists declare their rejection for the American government international policy and war on terror and ask for support. Since such protests have never stopped, I decided to take a look and see what can I make out of it.
I was surprised by the numerous grammar and spelling mistakes in that document. Maybe the guy who wrote it was not really American? Or probably not very educated? Anyhow and as a member of the human race who wants to help whenever possible, I decided to offer my help to the peace movement in the world and do some editing to some paragraphs, as it may harm their reputation to leave those mistakes there.

Yes I know it seems funny that an Iraqi help some Americans in writing in English but I thought I have attained some modest experience in writing in English throughout these months that probably made me more American than they (linguistically, I mean). Here are the edited paragraphs with the corrections in bold letters:

We believe that peoples and nations have the right to determine their own destiny -and when they’re ruled by dictators the right will be legally transferred to their rulers -free from military coercion by great powers. We believe that all persons detained or prosecuted by the United States government should have the same rights of due process. We believe that questioning, criticism, and dissent must be valued and protected. We understand that such rights and values are always contested and must be fought for, and that these rights are only ours and not for people who live in totalitarian regimes and thus don’t know or appreciate the meaning of democracy and freedom.

We believe that people of conscience must take responsibility for what their own governments do -- we must first of all oppose the injustice, as we see it so even if it brings tyrants like Saddam to trial and save their people, that is done in our own name. Thus we call on all Americans to RESIST the war- any war even if it freed millions of people- and repression that has been loosed on the peaceful Arab and Muslim dictators and the terrorists by the Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral, and illegitimate and will cost *us* more taxes. We choose to oppose this war even if it lead to make common cause with those who oppress the people of the world.
We too watched with shock the horrific events of September 11, 2001. We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage -- even as we recalled similar scenes in Baghdad, Panama City, and, a generation ago, Vietnam. We too joined the anguished questioning of millions of Americans who asked why such a thing could happen but that’s all what we can and want to do.

But the mourning had barely begun, when the highest leaders of the land unleashed a spirit of revenge. They put out a simplistic script of "good vs. evil" that was taken up by a pliant and intimidated media. They told us that asking why these terrible events had happened verged on treason. There was to be no debate. There were by definition no valid political or moral questions. The only possible answer was to be war abroad and repression at home. So you must realize that we are risking our lives by signing this document. It’s not like saying "no" to a guy like Saddam or Ghadafi; This is GWB!

In our name, the Bush administration, with near unanimity from Congress, not only attacked Afghanistan but arrogated to itself and its allies the right to rain down military force anywhere and anytime. The brutal repercussions have been felt from the Philippines to Palestine, where Israeli tanks and bulldozers have left a terrible trail of death and destruction just for their own amusement. The government now openly prepares to wage all-out war on Iraq -- a country which has no connection to the horror of September 11. What kind of world will this become if the U.S. government has a blank check from the congress that represents the American people to drop commandos, assassins, and bombs wherever it wants? Possibly a free world but that's not the point.

In our name, the government has brought down a pall of repression over society. The Presidents spokesperson warns people to "watch what they say." Dissident artists, intellectuals, and professors find their views distorted, attacked, and suppressed. The so-called Patriot Act -- along with a host of similar measures on the state level -- gives police sweeping new powers of search and seizure, supervised if at all by secret proceedings before secret courts. We are afraid that we may be going to live in a place that looks more like Iraq or Afghanistan!
President Bush has declared: "you’re either with us or you’re against us." (We hate him so much by the way but this is not personal!) Here is our answer: We are against you even if it means we’re with the terrorists because we don’t mean to be with them! We refuse to allow you to speak for all the American people. We will not give up our right to question. We will not hand over our consciences in return for a hollow promise of safety. We say Don't free them, NOT IN OUR NAME. We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name or for our welfare. We extend a hand to those around the world suffering from these policies; we will show our solidarity in word and deed, but excuse us if we can’t come closer to you because frankly, WE DON’T GIVE A SHIT.

Let us not allow the watching world today to despair of our silence and our failure to act, and prevent ANY action. Instead, let the world hear our pledge: we will resist the machinery of war against terrorism and repression and rally others to do everything possible to stop it and we will offer no alternatives, as it's not our buisness!

Join your voices to ours and lets DO NOTHING.

P.s we sent this document secretly to one of the newspapers and by the time you read it we’ll probably be lying in some unknown mass grave in the large desert of Nevada that contains the remains of most of those who opposed GWB.
-By Ali.

Have some guts Allawi.

Although he’s still wanted for justice by an Iraqi judge warrant, yesterday, the ban on Muqtada’s radical paper got removed.
Is this how we are going to build democracy?! By making compromises with gangs and radical groups that are still trying to impose their vision on the others!?
Today, this group started to launch attacks on liquor dealers In Amara city; burning or blowing their stores, and one of their spokesmen declared that the Mahdi army will not stop until they get rid of all alcohol dealers to implement Share’a laws.
This announcement makes people suggest that this Mahdi army is responsible for similar attacks in other Iraqi cities, as people in Basra recall that Muqtada’s thugs attacked liquor stores in Basra last year to monopolize this prosperous trade.
Some firm action is needed to stop this gang that frankly declares that they will not obey the Iraqi law.

Another 'sovereign' government.

 The Philippines government have withdrawn and submitted to the kidnappers’ demands and the hostage got freed.
In my opinion -and I think many people agree with me- it is a very bad move to submit to the demands of a small group that represents no one but itself and pay no attention for the demands of the whole international community to rebuild and stabilize Iraq and help democratic changes in a very politically- turbulent area. This is a huge mismanagement of a crisis that the government in the Philippines should be ashamed of.
Where is that great example that you offer to your people when you tell them " yes, I'm willing to adopt the opinion of a very tiny group of extremists rather than that of a whole nation asking for our help".
The people of the Philippines should look cautiously at this government and not put their trust in it, as it is isolating itself from the rest of the world, a world in which interests intermingle in a considerable manner that makes such attitude an irrational one.

Not so long ago, the American government provided a lot of support for the government of the Philippines to confront the dangers of the growing terrorism there. The US offered money, experts and advice to assist the Philippines despite the fact that the terrorists were holding an American citizen as a hostage among tens of other hostages.

Is this how the government in the Philippines express its gratitude to the US and the world? Are they trying to say that their lives are more precious than ours or the Americans? Did they think they won’t need help again, and why should the US keep helping them when they betray her?
Why was America willing to sacrifice her sons in the Philippines while the Philippines decided to abandon us?
The war on terrorism isn’t limited to Iraq alone and terrorism exists in the Philippines too and many other parts of the world. So, why don’t they take the risk and accept the sacrifice?
 This is not the way to show care for citizens' lives and to prove sovereignty. Sovereignty means commitment and not Yielding  to threats when it comes to the country's vital interests which ensures citizens' prosperity and safety on the long term. Sorry but you and the Spanish government are not the least bit sovereign and your citizens should worry to whom you're going to submit the next. When you refuse to respond to the US demands you don't show strength simply because you don't fear their punishment since democratic nations don't take revenge or act according to emotions, and when at the same time you submit so easily to a group of thugs you do show how weak and incompetent you are. I'm not sorry that you left, as what we need now are strong and determined allies, and we have them. 

Monday, July 19, 2004

 Mahmood has a great post in which he explains the effect of dictatorship in the Arab world on average citizens' behaviour and thinking, and its serious consequence which may reach the degree of acceptance of terrorism. Thank you Mahmood for putting it so eloquently, I totally agree with you.
The Big Pharaoh has a funny cartoon. Check it out.
How is life in Iraq? Depends on your point of view. A bunch of us were talking the other night; one friend, very angry, said: "Did you see what happened today in Antar Square? The Americans came, blocked the street and attacked the toy store. They were smashing kid's bicycles!" Another friend, listening carefully, asked: "Was there a big loading truck with them?" Yes, came the reply. The second friend then told his version: it turned out he'd been at the store buying a bike for his son. "I was in the middle of tough bargaining with the shopkeeper when two Humvees and a truck stopped out front. One of the Humvees waved all the cars to pass. Soldiers from the second Humvee said they wanted to buy some bicycles. It didn't take a long time, as they didn't bargain, and they bought a huge number of bicycles and filled the truck with them and left." Whom to believe? Here are two good friends and both were on the scene. As for me, it didn't take a lot of effort to figure out who was closer to the truth. Those bikes have probably been delivered to a local school.

-By Mohammed.

Like all Iraqis, I hate Americans. Of course. Here is why:
l The Americans, although they brought us freedom, acted without authorisation from the United Nations. Arrogant Americans
l The Americans, although they rescued us from Saddam Hussein, defied the will of many nations. Insular Americans.
l The Americans won't leave Iraq, say newspaper reports. Get out, Americans!
l Other newspaper reports say the Americans want to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible after throwing us into chaos. Stay here, Americans!
l The Americans spent tens of billions of dollars to liberate Iraq and help it become a prosperous democratic nation. Don't Americans care more about fixing their own problems? Crazy Americans.
l The Americans started this whole war because of oil. That is why fuel costs are at record high levels in the US and is cheaper than water in Iraq. Selfish Americans.
l The Americans are not using the necessary force to keep Iraq safe and secured. Lazy Americans! The Americans are also using excessive force in Iraq while dealing with the security problems. Brutal Americans!
l The Americans support the Israeli terrorist government instead of the good peaceful people of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Says it all. Violent Americans.

-By Ali.

I was working in a village north of Basra a few weeks ago when news broke of the attack, apparently by Americans, on the Imam Ali shrine. I thought to myself: "That's it. Tomorrow there will be an uprising that will involve all the southern 'governates', and I'll be trapped here alone." I couldn't sleep that night, as I was preparing plan B and plan C to find my way back to Baghdad (I assumed the roads would be blocked when the uprising began). But the next morning kids were walking to school in the regular numbers I see every day, there were many cars in the street, and everything seemed normal. When I got to my clinic, I asked my assistant, Abu Hasan, a local man, about this strange peace. What did he think of the American attack? Abu looked shocked: "Dr Omar, this was a very naive try from Muqtada al-Sadr to drag us into his war. We all know that his fellow thieves are responsible for the attack, we know where he positioned his guns and we know where the Americans were. It can't be anyone but Muqtada." Here I got really confused. No uprising? No civil war? The Americans didn't attack the shrine? Then I realised, because I'd spent several earlier months outside of Iraq, that I'd begun to believe the media.

-By Omar.
The above posts were published in the Australian newspaper "The Bulletin" on the 30th of June by help of Tim Blair who intoduced us to the Australian readers and lent us his column. I thought of posting it again in case anyone missed it. Thanks a lot for Tim Blair for trusting us with his column and for his help in editing.
Details here. 
:: Arthur Chrenkoff posted the 6th part of his series (Good news from Iraq) and it was also posted on the Wall Street Journal under the title (Taking Power).
It’s a huge post that contains a lot of information and analyses. Check it out.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

:: Female Iraqi National Guard soldiers take part in preserving security.

Was it legitimate?

:: The debate about Lord Butler’s report has taken a large space in both, the western and Arabic media. As most of you probably know, Iraqis care more about the results of operation Iraqi freedom rather the causes and whether these were legitimate or not.
Because Iraqis have a lot to deal with regarding their daily life needs and the fact that we’re not a major player in international politics, it becomes understandable that they pay less attention than the rest of the world to the legal complexities of the war and most of them see this war legitimate simply because it lead to their solvation and freedom.

You cannot tell a man that saving him and his family from torture, humiliation and death was a mistake and it should’ve not been done because it’s illegal. This is almost an insult to Iraqis to hear someone saying that this war was illegal. It means that our suffering for decades meant nothing and that formalities and the stupid rules of the UN (that rarely function) are more important than the lives of 25 million people.

Still, this is not only about us and despite how inconvenient the present international law is, we do care about preserving normal and healthy relations among all countries, especially the strong ones. As the future of the world will be endangered if there was a lack of coordination among these strong nations not to mention a dispute.
 I always find myself wondering; what is legitimacy? Is it ink on paper that some beaurocrats in the UN agreed on and have used it for decades to suck the blood of poor people while they give their "legitimate representatives" like Saddam, Gaddafi and Omar Al-Bashir comfortable seats in NYC to say all that crap about "the US breaching the international law, violating human rights and threating world's peace" while these regimes slaughter their people in millions?
 To provide more insight about the reactions of Iraqis to this issue, here are some translated comments from the BBC Arabic forum:
"The report of Lord Butler reflects the respect for the laws in a country that has no written constitution. From my point ov view I think that the report is incomplete because it didn’t mention a (thank you) to Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush for doing this honorable job which is toppling the pervert dictator and crushing the iron security grip for the worst tyrant in the world. The soldiers who died in Iraq gave their lives as tributes for freedom. Thanks to all the soldiers who risked and lost their lives for the sake of others’ freedom."
Mohammed Abdul Jabbar-Baghdad.
"The world is busy discussing the points that should’ve forbidden the war. Iraqis were dying and no one bothered himself to ask about the "legal position" when Saddam was murdering Iraqis in thousands.
This issue has many aspects: first of all it’s a proof for the democracy of the west that doesn’t allow to rush into wars without reasonable excuses, unlike the Arab regimes that goes into a war just because the leader wants to be the "hero of the Arab Nation". Another point is that we, in Iraq believe that Saddam and his co-butchers were the real WMDs. Iraqis are benefitting from the mistakes of the British intelligence, so we thank them for this mistake!"
Haider Muhyeddine-Najaf.
"I think that Bush and Blair are the heroes of democracy, humanity and the war on terror and state terror. It’s possible that some intelligence reports were exaggerated but the result at the end is in the interest of the Iraqi people. Those two men deserve all appreciation and respect.
I can say that there was some exaggeration in the criticism also because Saddam did use chemical weapons against us and against Iran."
Zana sefeen-Iraq.

"Who said there are no WMDs in Iraq? The most dangerous WMD exists and the American troops captured it. It’s the weapon that exterminated five million Iraqis and hundreds of thousands from our neighbors impoverished, detained and tortured. Saddam Hussain is the WMD in Iraq. Isn’t a weapon with such capabilities worth to go for a war to (disarm it)? Saving twenty million people from that weapon, isn’t that worth the effort?"
Hasan Al-Shammari-Baghdad.

"America and the UK have offered the human race the greatest favor ever by toppling the ghoul of Iraq. All the debates and the investigations in these two countries are motivated by political ambitions and jealousy rather than the protection of the country and constitution. Bush and Blair deserve a Noble Prize for peace"
Abdulrahman Al-Alwani-Syria.
"Tony Blair made a decision for which we thank him. He’s the man who rid us of the worst dictator in history. Yes, he did a mistake when he didn’t find chemical weapons but Saddam Hussain is more dangerous from those weapons for the Iraqis and Saddam had the money, the scientists and the programs and if he had remained in power he would’ve continued producing WMDs. A world without Saddam in power is safer"
Abu Mohammed Al-Shammary-Danmark.

" The clear statement in Lord Butler’s report that emphasizes that there’s no evidence for any bad intentions for Mr. Blair in taking the decision to participate in the war, this statement confirms that his (Blair’s) conscience and humanity motivated him to rid the region and the 3rd world of the ugliest dictator in the 20th century.
 Blair’s approval of the report results and admitting that there were some mistakes uncover the courage of this young leader who reminds us of his former colleagues; Jim Callahan, Dennis Haily and Michael Foot who helped the oppressed people wherever existed. Bearing the responsibility on behalf of others despite the mistakes they made is a sign of nobility which is an important character for a good leader.
There’s no comparison between a leader who buries his people alive and a leader who offers the finest men in his nation in tribute for freedom and to defend human rights. This report reminds us of the 80s days when we were defending the hero; Nelson Mandela. while he was in prison, we were in college, collecting signatures for support. It’s the same principles Tony Blair depended on when he decided to help Iraqis get their freedom and their pride back from a butcher who’s today shaking and waiting for his destiny in a cage. We wished the report to include some words to thank Blair and his party for their role in saving human rights in Iraq."
Harith Al-Aadhami-Baghdad.

"They shouldn’t have started this war on Iraq for any reason. Life in Iraq in President Saddam’s days were much better than life under occupation and Iraqis say so. That’s why this lie about alleged Iraqi WMDs is the biggest crime against Arabs, Muslims and Iraqis"
Abu Al-Majd-Syria.
"The least I can say about this investigation commission is that it’s a play produced to save Tony Blair once again and it’s very strange to see that Blair when stood in front of the parliament approved of everything in the report. And why would he not when it’s the report that saved him from falling?
Strange also that he still insists that his decision was right. He just keeps being a follower for Bush.
The most strange thing is how could this government take the people’s minds so lightly.
Blair is only good at holding microphones for speeches"
Jamal Mousa-Rafah/Palestine.
" If the British and American Intelligence have made a mistake and this mistake lead to the decision of the war on Saddam and liberation of Iraq from the hands of what was probably the worst tyranny ever, then what a wonderful mistake! The truth is, Blair was brave in his decision and defied all difficulties in this decision. How can anyone imagine that this was wrong? They gave us back our lost freedom and dignity"
Fakherlddine Sharif-Iraq.

I join my voice to theirs. How could it have been wrong!?

Saturday, July 17, 2004

The fifth authority.

 Our Muslim and Arab leaders are good at making their worst defeats look like great victories and they’re great experts in this field. And I see that the free world is an expert in making their great victories look like defeats and this is the reason why Arab leaders lose again and again while the free world triumphs again with less sacrifices.

 The sharp criticism to each process enables you to avoid the mistakes of the previous experiments and turns errors to useful lessons, and this is great. But this time I see that the western media has went beyond the limits of objective criticism and rational pursue for truth.
The media are not displaying their view point leaving the decision making to the audience. I see that the media are pushing us to adopt their opinions and this is totally unacceptable.
The media is losing credibility among audience and this is happening so fast and it is a huge mistake.
 I want to say to the media: by continuing like this you’re taking the dictators and terrorists’ side and you’re feeding their arrogance when you say "We were wrong when we went to Iraq" or "Iraq was better off before the war and Iraqis and the world are suffering because of the war" and you’re using the failure to find the Iraqi WMDs and the casualties among Iraqi civilians as a weapon in this media war.

 It seems that we need to review the past for a while to remind ourselves of what happened; Saddam produced WMDs and this is a fact that no one can deny because Saddam himself announced in a speech in April 1990 that he had such weapons and he threatened to "Burn half of Israel". Saddam used these weapons against Iraqis and against Iran and he sought to possess WMDs as he declared in many occasions. He was trying to possess what others don’t have to satisfy his lust for power and he wanted the most lethal weapons to make himself beyond the reach of anyone while he continue his oppression to his people and while blackmailing his neighbors.
After the 1991 war, Saddam declares that Iraq has destroyed all those weapons and the only proof available is his words. So could we had to depend on his words and promises? This is insane of course but let’s assume for a minute that he decided to get rid of those weapons. What guarantees that he wouldn’t try to produce WMDs again? UN inspectors?!

 Did Saddam’s regime deal with these teams with transparency? Were they really able to track and uncover Saddam’s programs? I don’t think this was a good choice to make because Saddam imported 300 missiles (of unapproved range) ten years after the 1991 war in an illegal way that violates the agreements he made with the world.

 It was simply a regime that you can never trust and it’s a blunder to trust such dictators.
I think you should take in consideration here the Iraqis’ vision regarding this subject because we know about dictatorships more than anyone else as we lived for so long under one of the worst of them and we know about the dangers of WMDs more than many others because they were used against us and Saddam’s programs to produce these weapons depleted our resources. Although you suffered from terrorism we’re more able to explain the dangers of terrorism because Iraq has become the main field terrorists chose to fight their war in. Don’t tell me that this’s a bad side effect for the war, instead you should know that terrorism chose to fight this war because terrorists knew that the war is aiming at them.

 Now, let’s see what was the actual result for operation Iraqi freedom and the question here is: what are the greatest dangers that threaten the world?
- In my opinion, the first danger is dictatorship because it represents the source for terror, ignorance, poverty and organized murder. It leads people to despair and loss of confidence and with the aid of extremists preachers, make men seek to end their lives either as individuals or they decide to take others’ lives with them.

- The second danger is the spread of WMDs or the possession of these weapons by crazy regimes.

- The third one is terrorism that targets everyone and tries to kill everyone.
Here, I’m going to suggest a poll that differs from the polls that are designed to serve a private agenda.

 And I’m going to list what I see as the most important questions that must be asked to verify whether the operation was a success or not and whether it served Iraqis and the world or not.

-Do you think that Saddam had he been left alone would have developed WMDs?
-Do you think that Saddam’s regime represented a danger to his people, the region and the whole world?
-Do you think that Saddam, and had he been able to produce WMDs would have threatened his neighbors and possibly the west?
-Do you think that dealing with such threats, if you believe they existed, was a matter of urgency?
-Do you think the inspection programs were effective, safe and cheep?(think about Iraqis’ money here too)
-Do you think that Iraqis were going to revolt against Saddam soon and what would it have cost Iraq?
-Do you think the parties who would have carried such revolt would have been moderate?
-Do you think there’s a real possibility for a totalitarian regime or a dictatorship to rule Iraq and kill millions of people again?
-Do you think that more than 200 thousands of Iraqi security forces (with their families), the government, all the parties that are going to participate in the elections, the Kurds, a good percentage of the She’at, some unknown percentage of Sunnis (including some influential clerics), all other minorities and most of the government employees (with their families) who have benefitted from toppling Saddam’s regime want and are helping in making the change?
-Do you think the fact that Iraqis keep volunteering to serve in the new army, police, National Guard; doing their jobs in every field; preparing for elections despite the terrorist attacks is a good sign that gives hope in the future?
- Do you think that future governments in Iraq will plan to build WMDs?
- Do you think that future governments in Iraq will be an ally for terrorists or make Iraq a training base for terrorists?
- Do you think Iraq now has a better chance to be a democratic peaceful nation that will not threaten anyone than before?

 After answering these question we’ll be able to find out whether the world is really safer without Saddam or not.

 We always support the free media as they watch the authorities, criticize them and expose their faults and corruption but it seems that the media's role has increased considerably lately and about to become more like a first authority rather than the fourth one as its role in affecting governments decisions and policies has expanded and this great expansion in power has given the opportunity for corruption to creep in, which gives rise for the need of another power to watch the media while they perform their honorable job; a power that has less interest in disfiguring realities and hiding facts and a power that is more attached to events on the ground. Here where the internet and fast communications among people can do a great job to put the "power of people" into action.
I want to say to the media: keep watching them and we’ll keep watching you. 
By Mohammed.

Friday, July 16, 2004

:: The Questing Cat had posted a very nice piece of poetry. Go read it.
:: Today, Alaa at The Mesopotamian sent a letter to our "Arab brothers" and Sheiks. Interesting post

The dangers of ancient communications.

 Each visit to the suburb hides an unexpected adventure, sometimes these adventures are fun but in other times an adventure may actually be a saddening experience.
So, in the following lines I’ll be telling what happened one morning during my last visit to Basra :
 I jumped out of my bed, there was a lot of shooting outside. I looked at the clock to find that it was only 5:50 in the morning. "This is not the usual time for a wedding!" I told myself.
 I recognized sounds of many kinds of weapons: pistols, Ak 47s and even machine guns.
The shooting continued for exactly 55 minutes until it suddenly stopped.
 I was hesitant to go to work, so I decided to ask the guards first about the reason behind all this shooting and when I did, the guard replied "shooting?!" I was really surprised by this silly ‘answer’ and stressed again "There was a lot of shooting about an hour ago. WHAT THE HELL WAS ALL THAT ABOUT?"
"Oh, you mean that shooting, it was only the funeral of an old (Hadji)"
I had a mixed feeling of upset and relief; relief because this wasn’t because of a battle and upset because all that terrifying shooting was for nothing.

 I was born in Iraq and I saw a lot of funerals and people sometimes fire a couple of shots when they lose a young man in an accident (anything other than natural death) but I’ve never seen something like this, I mean this is totally ridiculous, why the fire!? the old man is already dead and it’s only dawn.

 Shooting in the air in funerals or weddings-or when something important happens-is an old tradition used in Iraq and in some other nations, originally as  communication means to inform the neighborhood and to call them to gather and participate in the occasion as there was no other *fast* way of communication at that time. Also the shooting is used to show the (muscles) of the tribe.
Strangely, this method is still used even after cell phones have become available!

 When I reached the health center I discovered that not only one man was dead; a woman was killed and three other people (one of them is a 7 year old kid) were injured by the falling bullets. In addition to that, a bullet had penetrated an eight thousand gallon gasoline tanker that was waiting to be evacuated near the gas station and it blew up causing a huge damage to the station (the suburb suffered from a severe shortage in gasoline for 5 days after that).
I also discovered that this wasn’t the first time for such accidents to happen. People told me that several similar accidents took place in the last several months but I wasn’t aware of those because I spend a considerable portion of my time in Baghdad.

 This accident made me believe that strict measures must be taken to avoid the recurrence of such unnecessary loss because sometimes this random shooting in the air in a residential area can cause casualties not less than those caused by a car bomb and actually it did more than once; I recall that in 1988 when the war with Iran ended there was enormous shooting that lasted for a whole night and the result was catastrophic; hundreds were killed and more than a thousand were injured and last year, when Uday and Qussay were killed, sources from the ministry of health reported that over 70 people were killed and a larger number injured. This wasn’t because of some clashes or bomb attacks, it was because of the free falling bullets.

 The local police often try to control this bad habit but how could some cops face a strong tribe that has hundreds or sometimes thousands of armed men. This is the case most of the times in the suburbs especially when few strong tribes make up the whole population. These tribesmen often have mortars and RPGs in addition to small arms. I have to admit that they’re not using their force against the police but they’re not allowing them to do their job. More than that, the policemen belong to these tribes too and the tribal traditions prevent then from taking action against men from the same (or another) tribe.

 I realize that we have more serious problems to worry about at the moment but we should never ignore any sign of lack of discipline especially when it threatens human lives.
:: here is an example for what falling bullets can do.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

:: Las week, there was an agreement between the governments of Iraq and Syria to form a special force to guard and watch the borders between the two countries in an attempt to put an end for the movement of intruders from Syria to the Iraqi lands.
This issue attracted a lot of attention in the Arab world and on the Arab Media. So as usual I’m presenting here a bunch of the responses (translated of course) posted by Arab readers on the BBC Arabic forum.
There were 81 comments until the moment when I finished preparing this post and I’ve chosen 14 of which that I found interesting or in some cases, weird!
However, to show you the whole picture about what I found in this forum, I performed some statistics work. And the results were:
- 32 % support the agreement but still doubt that the Syrian government is honest regarding the promises given to cooperate with Iraqis to control the passage of fighters across the borders.
- 17 % support the agreement unreservedly.
- 10 % are against the agreement and were critical of the new Iraqi government and the performance of the multinational forces in Iraq.
- 16 % totally against the agreement either because they don’t trust Syria (4%) or because they feel that it will disrupt the unity of the Arab world(12%).
- 19 % denied the whole subject and they think that no foreigners are entering Iraq to give the “resistance” a hand and this is just a Zionist-American conspiracy to control the region
- 6 % were not clear in their statements and didn’t reflect a definite inclination.

“I don’t think that Syria will show any minimal effort to secure the borders with Iraq. The presence of an unstable Iraq will serve her interests because this will impede the progress and democracy in Iraq. That’s why we ask our government to bear the whole responsibility of securing the borders instead of counting on an unelected dictatorship that cares only about protecting its heads and crushing uprisings”
Abu Yusuf-Baghdad/Iraq.

“Yes, Syria is helping the terrorists and every day some of those terrorists are getting caught. In Saddam’s days terrorism was exchanged between the two parts but today with the absence of the Iraqi Mukhabarat, Syria and Iran found open doors for their mercenaries to act under the slogans of Jihad. I think that the Syrian government acts wisely only under threats so I believe that Iraq should hold up the club that’s fit to scare wolves and bugs”!

“I’d just like to remind you that Al-Asad is the only Arab leader who described the “resistance” as legitimate without the slightest care for the feelings of the Iraqi people.
Also there are large numbers of our Arab “brothers” in the Iraqi prisons now and those were caught either while carrying out their plans or because of their suspicious movements in Iraq. It’s so obvious that some of the Arab countries, especially the neighboring ones are working hard to ruin the democratic process in Iraq. They’re trying to show terrorism and organized crime as pure Iraqi resistance in an attempt to tell America that the Arab world can not understand democracy and political reforms.
Sealing the borders with Syria and KSA is more than necessary in this stage and until things are clear”
Riyadh-Iraqi in Qatar.

“A good decision for the government in Syria and it will change it’s policies toward Iraq. Although it’s late, it will help to preserve security for the Iraqi citizen. Yes, Syria encouraged Syrians to go and fight in Iraq, especially after the fatwa and the call for Jihad released by the Syrian higher religious instructor and such fatwas can only be announced with the approval of the government.
They persuaded the young Syrians with hollow speeches that we still hear till now.
I thank president Bashar for waking up before it’s too late. I think it was the religious trend that pushed the Syrian government to the negative attitude toward Iraq”
Ghasan Ibrahim-Syria.

“Frankly it’s the best way to stop the intruders from crossing the borders and I wish this will be applied on Iran and Jordan until things cool up and return to normal”
safaa Al-Asadi-Najaf/Iraq.

“The decision cam late because the Syrian government had already sent most of it’s reserves of terrorists to Iraq before the war. More than 2000 Syrian extremists entered Iraq according to an agreement between the two governments before the war. Those were all religious extremists who belong to Al-Qaida. Saddam provided them with training camps and weapons. That’s what we saw on TV and in the streets before the war. Well, now the Syrians are using the Jihadists card to mess with America and the Iraqi people will receive the eventual harm”
Awadh Al-Taa’i-Baghdad/Iraq.

“I managed-with some colleagues-to cross the borders to Iraq with help from some Bedu tribes that live near the borders. It was a piece of cake but I had to return to Syria because I was wounded during the war. Neither the Iraq government, nor the Syrian government can stop me from going back to Iraq; the borders are so long and it’s so easy to get across”

“We-the Iraqis-have lost trust in any of the neighboring countries except for Kuwait. We need work, not words from those who try to settle their accounts with America on our land. I tell them: Iraq is not Lebanon and you’d better go and try to free your own land, or have you forgotten that you still have part of your land occupied?”
Shakir Al-Ajeeli-Babylon/Iraq.

“When I hear in the news that some Arabs coming from Syria were arrested, a question comes to my mind: why would a Palestinian come from Al-Yarmook camp (in Syrai) to fight and get killed in Iraq while he’s living only 50 km away from Al-Joulan? Why does a man come to Iraq from Yemen using a Syrian passport and how could he cross the borders if his passport was faked? Can hundreds of unemployed young men really cross the borders and the Syrian government knows nothing about their plans? Why is the Syrian president calling for a real government? How is this supposed to look like? Is he asking us to copy and use the process of his “election” as a president? I won’t answer but I ask the Syrian brothers (outside Syria)to answer me, just to avoid the embarrassment”
Mohammed Hasan-Iraqi in Dubai.

“We want the Syrians to control the borders with Iraq to prevent terrorists from entering Iraq with the same strict and serious way they use to protect the Syrian-Israeli borders. We all know that the Syrians don’t allow a tiny fly to cross the borders and enter Israel or Al-Joulan to perform terrorist attacks or “resistance” operations there. Will Syria do this? I don’t believe their promises as we have history with them and it’s not in their interests to see a free, democratic, federal and peaceful Iraq next door. This will be the end for the Syrian Baáthe reign. We shall wait and see.
By the way, Syria is still hosting a lot of Saddam’s followers who murdered the Iraqis. All these facts prove that Syria is not being honest when it comes to Iraq”
Mohammed Al-Khafaji-Babylon/Iraq.

“If Iraq is planning to live in peace then the Iraqis should consider building a wall similar to that one Israel is building to separate Iraq from any other Arab or Muslim country”
Omar Saif Al-Deen Al-Mashhadani-Baghdad.

“I can’t believe that 200 000 US soldiers in Iraq are incapable of watching the borders that are less than 1000 km in length. Let’s be more obvious; if the Americans wanted to seal the borders, they would’ve done it time ago”
Ali Mohammed-London.

“The puppet government in Iraq is only trying to attract attention in any possible way and I don’t think that the intruders are responsible for the resistance. The resistance is carried out by men from Iraq. Is it possible for a foreigner to find a place to hide and work in Iraq if no one wanted him to be there? The Iraqi government has to find other solutions to secure Iraq and this should be from inside not outside. And Iraqis should consider the neighbors as loyal friends not suspect friends”
Abdullah Al-Jahafi-Yemen.

“Sealing the Iraqi-Syrian borders is the first step on the way to seal all the borders among Arab countries and later, all the opportunities for Iraq and the Arab countries to prosper will be sealed”

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

:: The IP carried out a huge campaign yesterday to clean up Baghdad from criminals.
I heard in the news that hundreds of suspects were detained in the operation but I didn't believe the number until Al-Sharqiya TV broadcasted pictures for the arrested suspects and the scene was awesome; the detainees looked stunned as the operation was quiet surprising and unexpected as this kind of preventive strikes by IP is totally new.

Many people may think that the number is so big, and I myself had doubts that maybe there were many innocents among the detainees but knowing that the operation was performed in Bab Al-Sheikh and Al-Kifah neighborhoods explained everything.

These two areas have always been recognized by Iraqis as rich habitats for many gangs responsible for drug dealing, car jacking, murders, looting and burgling and I even believe that there are still many more of them to get busted but hopefully when those watch their colleagues being captured they will think twice before they continue with their crimes.

Something that worth mentioning is that when you walk in these areas you can see pro-Saddam slogans covering most of the walls and in my opinion there’s a strong relation between ordinary criminals and the “resistance” as each group serves the other’s interests; as a thief would love to see chaos spread everywhere and would make use of attacks that target the security forces because this would provide a favorable environment for his work. On the other hand, the “resistance” and their allies would like to see more crimes to prove their theory that things were better off in the past and that the change in Iraq has made things only worse. The routes through which drugs are being smuggled are most likely to be the same ones used to smuggle explosives.

This operation was accomplished with almost no casualties among the security forces and in a remarkably short time. The action was highly organized and performed in coordination with the special intelligence department in the IP, as a senior officer stated in an interview for Al-Hurra TV, he also mentioned that satellite images provided by the multinational forces made the job much easier as it helped to specify the exact locations of the suspects and prevented unnecessary casualties among IP members or civilians.

This is the second time in this month where IP (with logistic support from the multinational forces) carry out such a large operation; the first one was in Battaween area which is another stronghold for criminals and more than 150 gangsters were arrested.

Monday, July 12, 2004

One square kilometer.

There’s an Iraqi proverb that says “when two Iraqis sit together to talk then politics will be there”. This saying was famous during the period of pluralism Iraqis lived before the 1958 military coup and shortly after.

This saying remained suitable in all times as Iraq was, and still a zone for international conflicts that had an impact on our psyche and on our ways of thinking.

Whenever we start a conversation about something we find ourselves somehow dragged into politics, the current events and the political history of Iraq.
This rule applies also to my house, where many friends gather every night to spend some time in chatting after a tough day of work. My group of friends includes people from different segments but still I don’t doubt the good will and nature of any of them.

Although our points of view regarding the change in Iraq vary from one to another, we all believe that getting rid of Saddam was a beautiful dream that has become a reality we live in and we all believe that the transition to a new life requires sacrifice but I feel that some of them have started to lose patience when they face a problem, which is a daily routine.

As in Baghdad’s extremely hot weather these days and when the electricity goes out the house becomes hot as hell which makes you curse even yourself and I don’t blame anyone for feeling so, since we have beared a lot and we know we have probably years before electricity in Iraq becomes stable and impatience remains an original part of human nature even if a better future was obvious and awaiting remains a burden that all humans share their hate for.

But when pessimism reaches an abnormal level then I’m totally against it and I’ll fight it strongly because it will hinder work and spread despair which is the last thing we need these days.
Yesterday the course of discussion lead to a debate about the economy of Iraq and if there was a hope for it to recover and also what has been accomplished since the end of the war. Was there really a reconstruction or not? And at what rate this process is going ? Is it at the desired pace?

As friends, conversation went among us nice and rational; there was optimism and there was constructive criticism with some exceptions. Our friendly meeting included two generations; ours and my father’s (the generation that ruled Iraq for 40 years and took the chance of three generations without allowing any to take its place). As the discussion heated up , one from the old generation burst out saying “nothing happened but the worst, the war destroyed us, our fortune was robbed and the ruins are everywhere. We haven’t seen in our lives a situation worse than this...” and went on in a criticism that was so bitter to reach the grade of despair which as I said I’ve always considered as a destructive attitude that achieves nothing but hindering, delaying and even destroying our efforts to pursue our future plans. He was parroting Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiyah.

I became really angry, however I waited for him to finish then I asked him if I could answer. “Sure I want to see how you’re going to answer” he replied, putting a challenging face.
I said:
-you claimed that Iraq’s fortune was robbed an that you didn’t see a real change or any reconstruction and I will answer you with a picture that you have to see everyday because it’s within a circle of one kilometer around your house and you have to see this picture every morning while you walk out of your house for whatever business you want to do.
He looked at me and said:
-What do you mean!?
-Ok, let’s start with the first thing you see when you get out of your house . The first building you will see is that of the law institute for higher studies which was destroyed after the 9th of April. Was it destroyed by an American bomb? No, it was destroyed by criminals who carried out Saddam’s plan in “burning Iraq before handing it to the Americans” joined by some selfish people and other ignorant and simple Iraqis who didn’t understand that soon after the 9th of April all the state belongings that were Saddam’s have become all-Iraqis’ belongings. Alright, this institute was rebuilt few months later and now it functions in a way better than before and help to create a new law system that is honest and independent and to me this is another and more important addition.

Ok, now let’s move for few tens of meters and you can find the publishing house that used to publish Uday’s hateful newspaper (Babil) this one also was not destroyed by American missiles and we all remember how the thieves left it as mere walls with the vents missing their robbed air conditioners. Ok, what happened later; it’s working now with full power after it was reconstructed and now it’s printing Al-Sabah news paper that you buy every morning. To me this one was also rebuilt twice; once as building and equipments and once as a trust worthy press instead of the pathetic old propaganda machine. Now I’m going to move for only another ten meters to find the (open educational college) where teachers improve their teaching methods, this one, uncle was also not destroyed by American bombs but by the same way as the former two buildings and now we can see that it was soon reconstructed and a few days ago they celebrated the graduation of a new bunch of their students.

Ok, let’s take a look at the adjacent building which is for the transport department in the ministry of trade. We watched that building being robbed in the same way. Do I have to remind you sir that this building was rebuilt and it’s back to work?
I don’t think I have to; you see it every morning.

I’ll move for another 50 meters and cross the street where lies one of the former evil military institutes that was used to train professional butchers; it wasn’t a target for American missiles but was robbed by some sick people who left it as ruins, and you know uncle how the American unit in charge of this area turned it into a residency for students who come from other governorates to study in Baghdad. Now they have air conditioning, hot and cold water and decent bedrooms.

Ok I’m still walking within this single kilometer that you see every day and I’ll walk for another 100 meters to find the ministry of labor and social affairs; this building was not destroyed by American missiles but the thugs attacked it and ruined and robbed everything they found in it. Don’t you see this building every day with its new look after it was rebuilt and started to function again.

I’ll walk for a couple hundreds of meters in another direction to take a look at the beautiful building of the ministry of financial affairs; looting and fire caused more damage to this building than what a missile would cause, look at it now and enjoy its new look without Saddam’s portrait that was covering a whole side of the building.
Here my father tried to interrupt me but I insisted on going to the end with my speech and I added addressing everyone:
I didn’t exceed an area of one kilometer-that we all see and pass by every day-in this round. I have mentioned a lot of things but I also forgot a lot more like all the schools and public clinics that were rebuilt within this area. Now, do you still have doubts about where our oil money went?
And I’m not talking about the whole country here, have you asked yourselves why the exchange price is 1500 now instead of 2200 in Saddam’s days?
And do you think that a 100 times raise for some employees salaries doesn’t represent a part of the money you were talking about? Don’t you notice the private businesses that are starting and those that are booming?
Here one of my friends turned to our pessimist guest asking him “haven’t you turned an old dirty shop into a network gaming hall?”

Here I turned back to my father’s friend:
Isn’t this an addition to your country? And I see that you’re carrying a cell phone that rings every now and then, don’t you consider this an addition? Don’t you see that goods in Baghdad’s streets are being stockpiled and shown on the sidewalks because stores can’t hold all that stuff. Isn’t this telling you something?
Here I end my speech uncle and I’m not going to mention freedom of speech, pluralism and more than 200 newspapers and a satellite dish for nearly every house and hundreds of internet cafe’s to bring you hundreds of views instead of one.

You’re looking with one eye closed and this will do us no good , we need two eyes, two ears and an open mind if we wanted to locate mistakes and find solutions during this phase.
Giving up and whining is no criticism, it’s destruction.
If you had the chance to make some calculations for what was spent till now I’m sure that you’re going to find out that oil revenues were not enough and I’m sure that someone had given us a hand!.
I wonder who would that be? Russia? France? Germany? Or probably Syria? No, no wait, it must be Iran, right?
Then I told myself: if some Iraqis, living in Iraq, watching the changes being done under their noses fail to see the truth and still depend on the media to tell them what’s going on in their own country then how can we blame people who live thousands of miles away for thinking similarly!?

By Mohammed.