Thursday, May 31, 2007

Red on Red in Amiriyah

Fighting in a western Baghdad district between two insurgent groups continued for the 2nd day, eye witnesses told ITM.
The clashes erupted yesterday around noon between two groups of insurgents that are competing for control in the Amiriya district, one of Baghdad's most violent and lawless districts.

The two groups, teams actually, were later identified; on one side there's al-Qaeda and the Islamic state in Iraq and on the other there's the Islamic army and 'Jaish al-Mujahideen' (The brigades of the 1920 revolution in another account), the latter are know to be largely military and intelligence officers of the former regime as well as members of the Baath Party.

"I saw seven or eight bodies of militants who were killed in the clashes lying on the ground" one eyewitness said this morning. This was before the fighting resumed after a short pause.

Sot al-Iraq reports that machineguns, RPG's and mortars were used in the clashes and that masked men, believed to be reinforcements for al-Qaeda began pouring into the district.

Islamic extremists like al-Qaeda often clash with the pan-nationalist, less Islamic elements of insurgent groups which are largely made up former military officers and Baathists, so this is not the first time that such clashes occur in Amiriyah or Adhamiyah where both groups have strong presence but this time the clashes are fiercer and lasted longer than any previous incident.

AP has a quite different story though:

A battle raged in west Baghdad on Thursday after residents rose up against al-Qaida and called for U.S. military help to end random gunfire that forced people to huddle indoors and threats that kept students from final exams, a member of the district council said.

While I so much wish this was true, the information I received from inside Amiriyah says that the fighting was mostly between the two groups mentioned above and the intervention by the American troops was only a routine response to the spike in violence.

Either way, al-Qaeda is under pressure on more than one front and it has lost a bunch of its commanders and fighters and this is always good news.
One correction to the AP story, Hajj Hameed was the chief of the Sharia courts of al-Qaeda in Amiriyah, not the leader of the network. Only god knows how many innocent people were executed by orders from this terrorist. Whether killed by Baathists, fellow terrorists, good Iraqis or American troops….Good riddance!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Imminent Major Battle in Diyala?

Diyala has arguably become the most dangerous place for both Iraqis and Americans.
The recent crimes of al-Qaeda and affiliated groups in recent months in this province have cost tragic losses among Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces and American soldiers.

I haven't found a confirmation of the following news elsewhere but I know al-Sabah is well-informed as it has access to official sources more than any other local news outlet. And I think the editors wouldn't risk their credibility by putting inaccurate information in the front-page story, especially when they're quoting an American officer. Here are the main parts, emphasis added:

After establishing a command center that connects the Provincial council, the city councils and the security forces, Diyala province is about to witness the biggest battle ever to enforce law and bring security.
The purpose of the operations is to rid the province off the militant groups that spread chaos, murdered and displaced the citizens all this time.
The information we have indicate that the authorities will be receive assistance from around a hundred Diyala tribes. These tribes are receiving direct support from the government which is providing them with weapons. The tribes play a remarkable role in watching their neighborhoods and preventing the infiltration of militants at the edges of the province.

Deputy chief of the provincial council of Diyala sheik Dhari Khayon said the battle would be run by Iraqi commanders given the field experience and the knowledge about the terrain of the province they possess. Khayon added that
the concerned authorities have detailed information about the whereabouts of militants and the regions they had declared under the rule of the so called Islamic state in Iraq; these regions include Katoon, New Baqubah, Mafraq, Hadid, Mkheisah, Abukarmah and Jbeinat (all in and around Baqubah) and the villages of Sayyid, Mijadid and Ihaymur (around Khalis) as well as Himbis and Tayih in Miqdadiyah.

Colonel Morris Jones (not sure of the spelling) a battalion commander in the 3rd brigade, 1st Cavalry division which operates in the province confirmed that a group he described as al-Qaeda affiliated insurgents requested negotiations with him.

I'll stop at a few points that were mentioned in this report; first the number of tribes doesn't make sense the way it's presented. I guess the paper is using the word "tribe" for both large tribes and smaller clans.
Second, non-Iraqi elements of al-Qaeda do not negotiate, they either fight or relocate to another region if they see the case is totally lost, so I think the group allegedly seeking negotiations is made of Iraqi insurgents who don't want to be swept along with al-Qaeda. But that really doesn’t change the fact (if true) that they are expecting a serious crackdown that they prefer to not be considered among the very bad guys when the action begins.

Third, and back to the tribes, the tribal coalition of Diyala, generally speaking, might not be as effective as the Anbar salvation and Awakening councils because in Diyala's case the tribes are from both sects, and there is also a considerable Kurdish population in the eastern part, and this means it would be difficult for all those people to agree on a common strategy or to avoid ethnic/sectarian tensions from surfacing among the tribes themselves.

Anyway, the news says the battle is imminent, the details it provided about the positions of the terrorists is interesting and the number of tribes that would be supporting the operations is encouraging; we just have to wait and see how it unfolds.

You can find a previous post, mostly about Diyala, here.

Monday, May 28, 2007

And so they met today!

Iran's and America's ambassadors to Baghdad met here today. Iran's attitude didn't only make the meeting unproductive, it made it insulting.

Ignore the meaningless diplomatic pleasantries of "the meeting was positive" or "we'd like to meet you again in the future" and stuff like that that we hear after almost every meeting between diplomats.

Iran mocked Iraq and America today, their ambassador was here just to laugh at us and buy time for his regime by trying to fool us with his we-want-to-work-this-out-through-negotiations.
Take a look at this part:

He [Qomi] said Iran had offered to help train and arm Iraq's security forces, presently the job of the U.S. military...
He [Crocker] said he had told the Iranians they must end their support for the militias, stop supplying them with explosives and ammunition and rein in the activities of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Qods Force in Iraq.
The Iranians had rejected the allegations but did not respond in detail. In turn, they had criticized the "occupying" U.S. military's training and equipping of the new Iraqi army, saying it was "inadequate to the challenges faced."

How nice and how convenient! The Iranians want to train and arm our new army and they think they can do this better than America.
Thanks but no thanks Mr. Qomi! We know what kind of training and arming you're good at and we're frankly not interested.
All in All, I see that the regime in Iran doesn't want to limit its interference in Iraq, it's simply hoping to give this interference a cover of legitimacy, and that's what I believe isn't going to happen.

You may want to check out yesterday's post to read my earlier thought prior to the meeting.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pre-Dialogue Dialogue

Iranian and American officials (their ambassadors to Baghdad as far as I know) will meet to talk tomorrow in Baghdad. The dialogue, however, started about a week ago. Let’s see what we have…

-America sends two carrier groups the gulf, flexing muscles near Iran's coast in broad daylight.

-Iran sends us Sadr back three days before the planned meeting. What a wonderful gift!

-Abdul Aziz al-Hakeem the leader of the largest bloc in the parliament is diagnosed with cancer but prefers a Tehran hospital over Houston medical center; perhaps the nurses are cuter in Tehran!?

-British and American forces conduct a series of concentrated offensives against top Mehdi army lieutenants in Basra and Sadr city comes under air-strikes for two days in a row.

And perhaps there were smaller signs that I overlooked but this is the kind of pre-dialogue dialogue that's been going on between Iran and America in these interesting times. Each side wants to improve its position on the ground so that it enters the meeting with better cards at the negotiations table.

I'm honestly not expecting much good from such meetings, not in the foreseeable future because the tone of their dialogue on the ground suggests that each side believes (or wants to show) that it has the upper hand in Iraq and the region.
I can't see the slightest hint to concessions from either side so I strongly think that tomorrow's meeting will be only about America and Iran telling each other what they want. The face to face part is the only difference.

It's common wisdom that negotiations are always the hardest at the beginning, but they often become easier and productive with time. The problem is that common wisdom means very little when you are dealing with a revolutionary regime.

I'll keep an eye on it though, maybe we'll have something interesting to discuss tomorrow.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Coup Panic

Fear from coups and implied threats with coups have been a common feature of the political scene in Iraq.
After the formation of Maliki's government with all the rifts inside the major political blocs that accompanied that stage, the political map became quite complex that groups within the same bloc were sometimes thought to be conspiring against each other.
At the center of most coup rumors was almost always the Iraqi List and its leader Ayad Allawi.

Right now there's a new uproar, a panic attack in Baghdad about an alleged coup plan, again, by Allawi.
Yesterday al-Sabah gave half of its front page to a story condemning the alleged coup as well as a column by the editor in chief on the same topic.
The long piece is full of quotes from members of the parliament (4 from the UIA, one Kurd and one from the Accord Front) condemning, mocking, attacking and warning from the consequences of attempting to override the constitutional process but the paper fails to offer the slightest clue as to the nature and seriousness of this great "threat".
The half-page long story had only these lines about it:

The lawmakers gave these comments in response to news that alluded to discussions about the possibility of withdrawing trust from the government during a meeting organized by the Iraqi list led by Dr. Iyad Allawi in Amman May 17-19

As you can see there's no mention whatsoever of a coup or about overriding the constitutional process.
Requesting a vote on withdrawing trust from the government is not unconstitutional at all, on the contrary it's one of the most important mechanism put in the constitution to protect the country in cases of government failure, treason or massive corruption.
Since putting this mechanism into action requires approval from the majority in the parliament and since the angry MP's who spoke on al-Sabah think Allawi can't secure this majority I see that their panic is unjustified. Well, unless they know something we don't and they're hiding it from us.

I have checked out al-Mada and found they ran three updates on the story in 24 hours which is quite rare of an Iraqi paper. The coverage there is basically the same in essence; lots of condemnation, panic and resentment from our MP's except that al-Mada offered a little bit more info about what Allawi and his bloc are doing, not cear enough info though. The paper is just saying that Allawi is trying to attract some individual MP's and groups of MP's from other blocs and get them to join him in forming a new larger bloc. The paper adds that Allawi has been using support from Iraq's Arab neighbors for his project. Excerpt:

Sources who attended the conference said it wad dedicated to discussing the political situation in Iraq and its ramifications. The prevailing sense was that the situation in Iraq was deterioration and thus requires exceptional measures. The sources relayed that Allawi asserted that his political moves were supported by regional and Arab countries, particularly Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, Yemen and Syria.

The conference discussed the formation of a new political bloc that would take the burden of dealing with the situation Iraq is going through. The conference discussed the position of the parties that are involved in the formation like the Dialogue Front led by Salih Mutlaq and the Dialogue Council (part of the Accord Front) led by Khalaf Ilayan. There are also indications that an understanding was reached with some members of the Fadheela Party, the Sadr movement and the Islamic Party, as well as Kurdish elements.

Senior members of the Iraqi list said the main meetings and the talks on the sidelines of the conference revolved around joining efforts and finding a way through which the current political alliances could be broken.

Not exactly news since we had talked about a similar move a few months ago.

Here too, in al-Mada's report, there was no mention of any possible use of force by Allawi in his venture so I don't understand the panic especially that Allawi is very unlikely to get the required 51% of MP's around him.

And it's even stranger that no one in our media bothered to interview Allawi himself and give us a better idea of what his intentions are.

Giving it a second thought I think insisting on describing Allawi's maneuver as a coup and showing signs of panic is a defensive measure to discredit Allawi's plan, whatever that is. The word "coup" in the minds of Iraqis would be immediately associated with the followers of the former regime and their attempts to undo the change in Iraq that followed toppling the Baath regime and so anything associated with a coup will not be received well by most Iraqis.
At the same time there's a reason for our parliament and government to be afraid. The government is vulnerable because of all the challenges it facing and the poor performance it has shown so far. The panicking politicians know that America has been paying more attention lately to Iraq's Arab neighbors, the same neighbors that Allawi seems to draw support for his plan from. So perhaps the fear is about the possibility that Allawi and those countries could convince America that a shake up of Iraq's government at the highest level is the only way to have a stable Iraq within an acceptable timeline if the domestic and international pressure on Maliki doesn't succeed in pushing him to show the desired progress.

Anyway, the ministers from Allawi's list are not leaving the government soon. Al-Mada reported in an update that Adnan Pachachi "who returned to Baghdad yesterday to announce the withdrawal of the Iraqi list from the government has delayed the announcement out of fear that the list's ministers would not answer the demand of the bloc" while al-Sabah had a slightly different account of the delay this morning: "The ministers who belong to the Iraqi list decided to stay in the national unity government even if the head of the list Iyad Allawi decided to withdraw from the cabinet and parliament". Both accounts suggest division inside Allawi's bloc itself.

Just to be clear, I'm personally neither for, nor against Allawi in what he's planning to do because like I said we still don't know enough about the whole subject. I wrote this just to keep you as informed as possible about Iraq's politics these days.

On a final though, those who plan for actual coups cannot not hide their intentions and I see quite a difference between Allawi's plan to walk away from the government and those of Sadr. Looks like some of our earlier specualtions were correct.
Let's take a look at the explicit coup intentions that don't only want to return to the days of dictatorship but want to take us back to the dark ages:

One of the six Sadr movement officials told AP that "The Sadr movement offered Maliki a historic opportunity but the Prime Minister didn't use it. That's why we are planning to form the new leadership of Iraq" and added that Iraq will be Islamic under the leadership of the Sadr movement.

Sources close to Moqtada Sadr affirmed that the coming stage in Iraq will witness the control of Sadr's followers over the government through avoiding confronting the American forces and using verbal escalation to demand the departure of foreign troops, improving political gains in Baghdad and the south and strengthening the relations with Iran.

We're keeping an eye on this subject and will try to keep you informed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Security Update

There hasn’t been any major security incidents in Baghdad since the attacks on three bridges in both its northern and southern suburbs on Friday May 11, more than a week ago. This doesn’t mean Baghdad is essentially calm: there are episodes -albeit minor and limited- still happening from time to time. They often go unreported, so there’s no information on whether they leave any casualties. Anyway, we do hear small blasts and bursts of machine guns a few times a day. In most cases it’s impossible to know whether those were raids by security forces or attacks by militants.

While there’s a decline in significant violence in the capital, there has been an increase in mortar and rocket attacks on the Green Zone as well as heavy attacks on other provinces, namely Diyala and Mosul. In Diyala the increase in violence is just relative, since the province and Baghdad were racing against each other in terms of violence. On the other hand, Mosul has recently been the scene of organized, large-scale attacks after months of relative calm. Mosul is luckier than Diyala, though, as the security forces have usually managed to repel the attacks and limit the losses.

The recurrence of terror attacks in the last few weeks has put a small town in Diyala at the forefront: Khalis. Northeast of Baghdad and the northwest of Baqubah, Khalis’ situation is somewhat similar that of Hibhib, a smaller town only a few miles from Khalis, one year ago. In the spring of 2006, Hibhib came under a series of repeated and concentrated terror attacks well above average in intensity and brutality, particularly after a string of beheadings. A few months later, in June 2006, Zarqawi was killed in an airstrike in Hibhib.

Similar incidents have been taking place recently in Khalis. The town suddenly registered more car bombs than any other in Iraq -in fact more than entire provinces-and last week teachers were ordered at gun point to shut down all the schools. That was only a few days after terrorists raided one school and beheaded two teachers, a man and a woman, in front of students and colleagues. In my opinion these attacks have the signature of the ‘mother cell,’ so to speak, and are very likely to be part of a slaughter and intimidation campaign in order to ‘prepare’ the town into becoming the new headquarters of al-Qaeda in Iraq or one of its main branches. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the chiefs of the network are present over there right now.

Disturbing reports are coming from another town in the Diyala province: last week, terrorists murdered more than a dozen civilians in a village near Mendili called Qara Lus, in a largely peaceful Kurdish area at the eastern end of the province. This poor town’s problem is that it lies on the shortest road between Khalis and the border through Baqubah, which turns it into a strategic crossing point into Iran and back.
Even more telling, Qara Lus is where, in May 2006, the Diyala police disrupted a weapons smuggling operation from Iran that included antiaircraft weapons.

Let’s go back to the attacks on bridges. Cutting the Diyala river bridges and another one in Taji was likely not an offensive but a defensive action meant to deny US and Iraqi troops quick access to the main terrorists’ strongholds. The same measure was used by the Republican Guard during the late stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom in April 2003. If I’m not mistaken, the same three bridges were blown up back then in an attempt to slow the progress of coalition troops towards Baghdad. The only difference I see now is that the troops’ movement is largely from the center fanning out in raids on Baghdad suburbs. The terrorists probably thought that cutting the bridges would prevent US troops, mostly concentrated in Baghdad, from reacting fast to incidents in areas across those bridges.

I’ve also been following the worrisome news about the three missing US soldiers —most likely kidnapped— and I have to say that I found some parallels with the kidnapping of two other soldiers in the same area last year: they all took place only days after the capture or killing of senior al-Qaeda leaders and the launch of major security operations. Last year, the two soldiers were kidnapped only a week after Zarqawi was killed and two days after the government launched Operation Forward Together in Baghdad; this time, there were also a few senior al-Qaeda commanders killed just two weeks ago. And although Operation Imposing Law is three months old, a new campaign is just starting in Diyala.

US commanders recently announced that 3,000 additional troops would be sent there to reinforce the units already there, and it looks like the kidnapping is an act of distraction or, rather, an attempt to force US commanders to redirect thousands of troops to a rescue mission, preventing the troop buildup in the region where the main bases of al-Qaeda are located. In other words, to keep pressure off the mother cells.
Identifying the actual main base of al-Qaeda isn’t easy to do. Looking at the two main routes of al-Qaeda and how the main strongholds around Baghdad are aligned, they suggest that the Fallujah area and its immediate surroundings still remain the main hub for terrorists.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Three Councils of Anbar.

A lot has been said about the Awakening, Salvation and Revolts councils of Anbar and I noticed there was some confusion about which is which, this is why I think this short report from Al-Mada could be useful:

A member of the Anbar Awakening Council said that forces loyal to the council are close to clear Ramadi from terrorists who destroyed the city with the sabotage acts against society and infrastructure, adding that these forces are almost done clearing Heet, Kubeisa, Rutba, Barwana and Baghdadi while progress toward Fallujah, Huseiba and Haditha remains slow because the formations of the Awakening are still humble (in those areas).
This member explained that the Awakening relies essentially on the residents of the towns themselves to deal with terrorists since they know the routes and places they use to move and hide as well as other factors that make the locals much better than others at chasing down the terrorists.

The member, who's close to Sheik Sattar chief of the Awakening Council, denied any connection or cooperation between their fighters and the Anbar Rebels organization pointing out that the mission of the latter is to take revenge upon criminals who had murdered people related to the members of the group.
He stressed that the Awakening forces do not use assassinations or unnecessary killing but rather tries to establish rule of law through putting the elements they capture in jail until they get what they deserve under the law, yet he said it wasn't unlikely that some mistakes were made by some of the council's elements but also asserting that the council holds accountable anyone who makes mistakes.

On the other hand the member said the council is planning to form a political body that will have independent elements—judges, intellectuals, and people who possess the ability to run the country. This council will participate in future elections under the title "Iraq Awakening Council" and will be headed by Sheik Sattar followed by the Anbar Salvation Council whose chief if Sheik Hameed al-Hayis.
The council member clarified that the council itself will not practice actual leadership, instead it will be left to the technocrats to assume positions of leadership, adding that the political platform isn't complete yet and would be announced soon.

One of the reassuring things is that the fighters in the Awakening and Salvation realize what their role is about. I think announcing that they will transform into a political body when the war with al-Qaeda is over reflects maturity and consciousness about the nature and requirements of the next phase. Even better we hear them say they want to include technocrats and men of law and even give them the lead, and this is a healthy attitude because it shows that this group recognizes that the next phase will need qualified civilians, not rebels.

The other pleasing part of the news is that the council prefers handing detainees over to the authorities so the law can take its course instead of assassinations and unsanctioned killing and this is essential for rule of law to take root.

It looks like the evil and violence that gripped Anbar was truly an awakening provoking experience; it awakened them from the illusions of the past years and showed them a better way.
All in all the news from Anbar sounds quite good but it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the Anbar Rebels who while are fighting al-Qaeda it seems they can use some guidance so as they stop being rebels longer than necessary.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I realized I could use some time off from blogging.
Will be back next week I hope.

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's a rough time but I wouldn't panic.

The political process in Iraq has reached another very critical and important stage. This is the time that will decide if Iraq will emerge as a country that can sustain itself and where groups of people-while have many differences-can share this nation and coexist peacefully.

There's no doubt that this is going to be a difficult journey until key requirements to reconciliation, especially the oil distribution law and the Justice and Accountability law (which will replace the debaathification law) see the light. Many concessions will have to be made by every one of the major constituents of this country before the final compromise is reached.

The challenge this time is not about logistics as it was with holding elections. This time we're asking Iraq's political leaders to strike a deal that will shape this country and draw the prospects of the future of their corresponding public bases.
The efforts to reach a final agreement will be faced by many obstacles. Some of those are coming or will come from parties that simply want to get a better deal for themselves and their public bases while other obstacles will come from parties that simply do not want to see any compromise take place even if that meant the disintegration of the country and the failure of the democratic project.

As an example of the first category we have influential people like Ayatollah Sistani who told the delegates sent by Maliki two days ago that he was against making hasty legislations. Sistani isn't against stability or peaceful coexistence with Sunni Arabs or Kurds but emotions and history make him and others around him wary from rushing toward accepting former Baathists among them.
Sadr and his movement are the biggest example of the second category; they are not interested in nation-building and will keep opposing every sincere effort in this direction, thus their attempt to undermine Maliki's efforts and Bush's new strategy. But I wouldn't panic about that because I can tell their bill will be blocked. Critical decision require more than a vote, they require consensus among the leaders of the blocs and the people in top offices and such consensus is unlikely. And I wouldn't panic about the two-month recess either because the lawmakers know it's political suicide to insist on such a childish inconsiderate demand especially with a public long angered by all the vacations and benefits the lawmakers give themselves; I think all they wanted was to not look as if they were taking orders from America.

The major representatives of Sunni Arabs have varying attitudes as well. There are people like VP Hashimi who sat down with Maliki on Wednesday to figure out a way to reach an agreement and there people like Khalaf Ilayan who is sitting in Jordan and threatening from there to withdraw from the government.

Meanwhile the Kurds are staying as neutral as they can so far, which is their usual attitude whenever their direct interests are not seriously threatened—debaathification is not a big concern for them and equal distribution of oil revenues would give them a bigger share of the oil than if they get control over Kirkuk's oil alone, at least for years to come given the current rates of production and export. Even if my math isn't very accurate then the newly estimated additional 100 billion barrels of oil in the western part of the country will make equal distribution a good idea in the long run.
However they agreed to send one of their senior guys Barham Saleh-as duputy PM of Iraq, not as a Kurdish politician though-to Washington to seek support for the ongoing security and political efforts among the Congress.

While it is frustrating to see this process take relatively so much time-and I say relatively because we're talking about only a few months but even this is too much time given the current situation an pressures-I can see that the negotiations among Iraq's leaders tell us who are watching whether from within Iraq or from afar that the difficulty in the negotiations is because the political leaders know this deal and these legislations will not be mere ink on paper.
They view these legislations and their effects as the contract that will define their and their people's position and rights in this country for a long time to come. Perhaps the politicians themselves might not be aware of this particular idea but to me I see that their yelling, disagreements yeas and nays in fact reflect a will to establish rule of law but that will first go through passing the laws they agree to rule and be ruled by.

On the other hand those who are opposed to reaching a compromise unfortunately might have the power to delay the progress through the votes they have in the parliament as well as through violent means, therefore we will need to win every positive voice we can to override those who are against the effort to reach stability and rule of law.
It's not going to be easy though, no one said it would be—we're stuck for another two and a half years with a parliament that has plenty of people who don't respect the concepts of dialogue and compromise and neutralizing their destructive effect will require a lot of courage and hard work from those how do and a good deal of understanding and patience from our friends in the world.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Don't bury your heads in the sand.

I had said it over and over again that some of us in Iraq and America are sending wrong messages to the terrorists and the dictators behind them; in fact I wasn't surprised when I saw Zawahiri appear on al-Jazeera to announce America's defeat, not long after Reid did.

Zawahiri claims al-Qaeda has won and Reid claims America has lost but I see only a war that's still ongoing and I see no victory for al-Qaeda or any other entity. On the contrary I see that al-Qaeda has the shortest stick.
We are going through a fierce war and sending more wrong messages could only further complicate an already complicated situation and create more mess that would be exploited by Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia for their own purposes—more iron-fist control on the peoples and treasures of the region and pushing the middle east to crises and confrontations with the world not forgetting spreading their dark, backward ideologies.

The American forces should stay in Iraq and yes, reinforcements should be sent if the situation required. Not only that, these forces should be prepared to expand their operations whenever and wherever necessary in the region to strike hard on the nests of evil that not only threaten the middle east but seeking to blackmail the whole world in the ugliest way through pursuing nuclear weapons in a feverish desire to destroy themselves along with everyone else. It's a delusional obsession with power derived from the false belief that only they possess absolute justice while denying the right to exist to anyone who disagrees with them.

We must keep fighting those criminals and tyrants until they realize that the freedom-loving peoples of the region are not alone. Freedom and living in dignity are the aspirations of all mankind and that's what unites us; not death and suicide. When freedom-lovers in other countries reach out for us they are working for the future of everyone tyrants and murderers like Ahmedinejad, Nesrallah, Assad and Qaddafi must realize that we are not their possessions to pass on to their sons or henchmen. We belong to the human civilization and that was the day we gave what we gave to our land and other civilizations. They can't take out our humanity with their ugly crimes and they can't force us to back off. The world should ask them to leave our land before asking the soldiers of freedom to do so.

The cost of liberating Europe was enormous in blood and treasure and thereafter it took half a century of American military presence to protect Europe's nations from subsequent threats—now if that made sense during a cold war, and it did, then I don't understand why would anyone demand a pullout from Iraq (and maybe later the middle east) when the enemies are using every evil technique, from booby trapped dead animals to hijacked civilian aircrafts to kill us and destroy the human civilization.

Yes my friends, I will call for war just as powerfully the bad guys do and I must show them that I'm stronger than they are because those do not understand the language of civilization and reason. They understand only power, and with power they took over their countries and held their peoples hostages. Everything they accomplished was through absolute control over the assets of their nations through murder, torture, repression and intimidation.

The policy of the United States and her allies needs to adjust to make better use of the energy God-or nature or whatever you name it-blessed them with. We need to see a firm policy not afraid of making tough decisions replace the Byzantine debate of withdrawal. This became America's destiny the day it became a superpower. A destiny to show responsibility toward her own people and toward the world, and running away from this responsibility won't do any good.
Otherwise those who prefer to bury their heads in the dirt today will be cursed forever for abandoning their duty when they were most capable. I don't understand why someone who has all the tools for victory would refuse to fight the enemy that reminds us every day that it's evil with all the daily beheadings, torture and violations of all humane laws and values.

Some will keep on blaming America and her policies and they will consider anything America did and does wrong whether America stayed or left, fought or ran away, negotiated or boycotted. There will always be those who blame America for everything that goes wrong in this world but that doesn't mean America has to listen to them. America instead should listen to the spirit of America and what it stands for.
Reaping the fruit won't be today, it will be in the future after patience and great fighting.

Friday, May 04, 2007

ISF clash with militia in Najaf.

Our sources in Najaf mentioned that clashes erupted between the Iraqi army and police on one side and members of the Sadr militia on the other.

The available information so far indicates that the clashes began this afternoon after the vehicle (or convoy) of a senior Sadr aide named Salah al-Obeidi didn't obey an order to stop at an army checkpoint. The soldiers manning the checkpoint reportedly opened fire and wounded al-Obeidi.

Our sources added that militiamen have taken positions in the Najaf cemetery while the army deployed units to the streets of the old city around the shrine of Imam Ali.

No casualties were reported so far.


Voices of Iraq confirms the news but says the clashes broke out "after an official from Sadr's office was denied entry to the old part of Najaf". Meanwhile NINA news reports that curfew was imposed at 6 pm by orders from the governor.


A spokesman of the governor's office speaking on al-Hurra denied a curfew was imposed and said everything is back to normal in the city yet he confirmed that Sadr's aide was indeed shot. It doesn't add up but while I hope he's telling the truth previous encounters tell us that escalations with Sadr militia tend to take time before they subside. We'll see…


The situation in Najaf returned to normal this morning after militiamen retreated without resistance reportedly obeying an order from Sadr.
This wasn't the type of the usually exciting stories from Iraq but I'm pleased with the way it ended.
If it's true that Sadr gave that order, I think it's not because he's trying to be nice but perhaps because he's beginning to realize that his militia can't afford open confrontations with government and coalition forces.
Having the ability to deter thugs from making trouble is better than having to fight in order to end the trouble.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Al-Baghdadi Killed?

Early afternoon today news came in that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, chief of the so called Islamic State in Iraq has been killed in Ghazaliya district in western Baghdad.
Uncertainty about the identity of the killed senior terrorist was soon in place, while the Iraqi interior ministry insists it was al-Baghdadi, US officials think otherwise, they confirmed that a senior al-Qaeda operative name Muharib Abdul Latif al-Jubouri was killed though.

So were Jubouri and Baghdadi the same person?

We are following the story @ Pajamas, stay tuned.