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Friday, April 30, 2004
Reconsidering the priorities.
Few weeks ago, I wasn’t quiet sure of the urgent need for the sovereignty handover in the planned date of June the 30th. What gave me such belief were the events we experienced since the great changes that happened in Iraq, because what happened was a dramatic change that needed to be followed by a revolution on the old concepts that dominated for decades, and dealing with theses changes will be accompanied by a lot of obstacles (technical and psychological) that might seriously effect the process of building the new Iraq; this is a fear that became stronger after seeing the modest performance of the Iraqi leadership during the past events. Add to this that it’s difficult for the people to get used to the changes in this short time space.
Here I stress that the positive nature of the change doesn’t necessarily make it acceptable for the people, and that it’s very important to allow the sufficient time space for the change to be rooted in the minds of the people in a way that enable them to see the great pluses the media try to overlook. This will not happen easily without the birth of the new Iraqi citizen who has the faith in the good results in the future and who is free from the paranoia that inhabited the minds of Iraqis and Arabs in general. Only such Iraqis will be ready to go through this hard period and bear the necessary sacrifices.

Unfortunately, sometimes the events enforce a situation against our plans. We spend tens of millions of dollars to create something good and then comes one picture from the media to blow the whole project up and the media win and become the loud voice that people listen to, and it seems that all the millions that were spent were almost mute and their voice couldn’t reach the ears of the crowds. After what happened recently and the attempts made by some outlaws to counter act the change by gun power, I started to have more inclination to see the sovereignty hand over take place according to the planned schedule. This-in my opinion-will achieve many objectives that serve our ambitions for the bright future. More important, it will support the credibility of the coalition countries regarding one of the most important promises given for the sake of the change. And this will be a shock for those (who use their claims that the US in not honest in her promises as the backbone of their media assault). After that, this propaganda machine that depends strongly on the theory of “occupation” and the “legitimacy of resistance” in its war against the people of Iraq in particular and against freedom in general will collapse, and then all they have will be the other claim that the new government in Iraq will be definitely a puppet for the CIA or the Pentagon and this claim is a weak one that won’t have attentive listeners, especially in the civilized world.
The other point -which bears no less importance than the previous one- is that the international terrorism that bet a lot on the failure of the project in Iraq will find that it has lost a great deal of its war because the terrorists have invested lots of money and a lot of personnel for this purpose but all that couldn’t accomplish the task of hindering the change, on the contrary, it speeded things up. Therefore, terrorism- or better say those who finance it-should look for another field for its war or to continue here but with half its previous determination. Here where I agree with the people who say that perception is more important than facts, at least sometimes.
Yes, we’re still looking for something much better than this but the hand over of sovereignty will be a step forward, surely will facilitate future wider steps.

By Mohammed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004
:: I found this carecature on Al-Sabah newspaper yesterday.

The words on the paper (in the carecature) say "A GOVERNMENT OF TECHNOCRATS".
The guy thinks "IS THAT SUNNI, OR SHE'AT!?"

A tough decision.
Today I was reading Al-Sabah newspaper and one title caught my attention “a local armed group confronts Al-Sadr militia” I must admit that I felt relieved at first. At last, some Iraqi civilians took it upon themselves to fight the terrorists. But after a minute of thinking, this question came to my mind; is this what we want to see, Iraqi civilians carry arms to fight the thugs?
The armed group in question distributed a leaflet in which they threaten all those outlaws and terrorists who bring instability and disturb the safety of the city, saying that they will be eliminated.
And on the ground, there were some clashes between this group and Al-Sadr militia in which some men from "Mahdi army" were killed and some others wounded. This clarifies some important points which are-as written in the leaflet-“enough is enough, we should stand up for the challenge”.
Let us first try to take a closer look at what these news mean. When local people (definitely Sheát) rise against what was considered to be a powerful, somewhat holy and a 'largely' supported extremist, this proves that all the crap said about a revolution being in the air has no base at all. it means that either the people of Najaf are not fascinated with the idea of revolting against the coalition and are ready to cooperate with them, or that the people of Najaf saw that what Sadr militia was doing is not a true revolt against the Americans, but rather it was terrorizing Iraqis, looting and releasing their brother criminals from prisons to help them gain control over the huge amounts of money that comes to the holy mosque (we are talking about REAL money here), all with the Iranian clerics acting behind the scene. That's why the people of Najaf couldn't stand their atrocities anymore and decided to face them with all the risk such a decision carries.
The situations have been dealt with by limited military operations and giving time for negotiations and this is understandable when it comes to a holy city for a large section of the Iraqi people, in which some members of the GC played devil's advocate especially the SCIRI and the Iraqi Islamic party (in case of Fallujah), but there still remains the problem that those people don’t understand the meaning of peace talks and negotiations and take these as signs of weakness, and also led to a situation where the people in Najaf lost hope in the coalition and couldn’t tolerate the thugs anymore and started to try solving the problem by their hands. So, is this what we want?
In the 'best' scenario is that this new militia will defeat the Mahdi army but after that this group or maybe other groups will probably claim that they have the right to remain in power and run the city. What logic can we use then to convince them otherwise? How can you tell a man who risked his life and lost a family member to achieve his freedom that he should drop his arms and obey the authorities that left him to deal with the threats alone? Can we assure him that what happened will not take place again?
I know that making the decision to fight the terrorists (inside Najaf) by the coalition and the new Iraqi army carries considerable risks (not as serious as some people try to make it look though) in the time being, but by leaving the issue as it is to be solved by civilians through violence or going back to negotiations (the way these thugs negotiate remind me of the way Saddam used in negotiating with the international community) can only make the losses in the future much more worse.
I hope that the fools who were asking us to carry Ak-47 and fight the terrorists are happy now. Some Iraqis have done that, and if nothing serious is done, others will sure join them.
Not carrying weapons by my people should be a victory for peace and humanity. Our real enemies, and I mean the Arab and Muslim dictators and clerics and not their tools, want to see us carry our arms again and I’m sad to see some Iraqis being forced to do this because this is what the enemies of life and freedom want. The task of disarming the militia is-beyond any doubt- the responsibility of the coalition and they are doing a good job in that, but still the extremists control large sectors of Fallujah and Najaf and terrorize people even in Baghdad (they have spread the word that anyone who criticize Al-Sadr will be executed without a trial by the Mahdi army!!)
My refusal to carry the weapons is my contribution to the process and is the way that Iraqis should use to show their support to the coalition. This is the best we can do and we’ll continue to show that we refuse the existence of armed militias (whatever their ideologies were) and stress on the necessity of building a modern, strong police and a new army that respects the constitution and obeys the law that protects the sons of this country and makes their land safer than ever.

By Ali.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
"The people do not -sometimes-see the good they want"
When I heard about the decision of the coalition to get UN involved the in the process of authority handover, I grew really restless, and what made me more worried is that ‘all parts’ seem to agree on this; the coalition, the UN the GC and the whole world. Now wait a minute! Is that the same useless, half corrupted organization that supported Saddam, and still support his likes in the name of preserving the international wall? Is that the same organization that left Iraq and the Iraqi people after the 1st terrorist attack? I hope they are speaking of something other than that. Some people would say that this is what the Iraqi people want, but this (if it’s ever true) is not the question.

Although many people see this question to be the most determining factor in setting the policy in Iraq, still (in my opinion) this is not the question although it’s an important one. What is more important in my opinion is this question “what’s good for Iraqis and at the same time does not interfere with the interests of the region and the world?”
Nobody really knows what a nation that lost the reasonable and balanced vision for decades would want, and nobody can-and I’m sure of that-claim that he could summarize the people’s demands in definite points and also cannot represent the people regarding their wishes and goals.
We do not have the prominent character or the dominant trend or even the clear and acceptable-for the majority- political program. More important there’s no possible way, with all this violence going, that the Iraqis can voice their real demands, or that significantly valid polls can be performed.
We have the silent majority that was deluded for 4 decades and was persecuted and deprived their opportunity to speak and their right to think. So, how can we rely on this confused vision which is absolutely governed by emotions that lead most of the opinions of those people? We should also not forget that it’s been just a year since Iraq got released from Saddam’s prison and Iraqis were faced with a huge propaganda wave and an intense psychological pressure from outside and inside the country. This was more that what those washed brains could handle or tolerate. Everyone tries to speak on behalf of those minds that were besieged by one single idea for decades; the idea of fear from the brutal government they lived under.
Now, those minds are being asked to define their goal out of tens of choices that are even hard for them to understand not to adopt.
That’s why we find them choosing the easiest solution by not choosing anything from what is available and they tend to prefer to remain silent and keep waiting.
Let’s be realistic and face the reality; the minds of my countrymen have absorbed the emotional aspect of the subject not the practical one, therefore it’s natural to see more emotions and less work and in a situation like this one, it would be wrong to put the whole responsibility on the people’s shoulders and we have several occasions in which some countries postponed elections after receiving trauma from some incidents when they realized that having the elections in their planned schedule might have a bad influence on their future, so what should we think about Iraq when she’s witnessing the most important event in her life, and I think that what we saw in Spain is a good example and to some extent proves the theory; despite the fact that Spain is a great nation and her people are civilized, they made a decision that many of us consider to be not the best they could make and this was because they followed their emotions not reason after the terrible attacks in Madrid. Yes, our people want the good but they can’t see it. Those who were kept in the darkness for four decades will certainly stumble when they see the light for the first time and will need a long time to accommodate to the new atmosphere. How could we ask those to find their way, the way that you find obvious?
The big question-that is sadly being pushed backwards-remains this “what is good for the people?” and if this interferes with what is good for the rest of the world and specially the USA (since she is the part who sacrificed and still sacrifice the most) then we really do have a problem, but since this is not the case, as I think a free democratic Iraq who should be a strong ally to the USA and the free world will serve the interests of all except of course the ME dictators and the Islamofascists, then we shouldn’t have a problem.
Some might say "who has the right to define this, you, the Iraqi intellectuals, the GC, the coalition and the American administration or the UN?
You can make your choice; I’m not in a position that allows me to give orders. Those who have the widest experience should understand this and get prepared to adopt it and a long time may pass before my people realize that what was planned for them is for their benefit. As a matter of fact, this hurts too but it seems that we have-in the mean time, not in the future-limited choices. We should learn from previous similar examples in the world where decisions were enforced on the people to avoid disasters in the future. I hope you don’t get me wrong; the subject is not about who enforces his opinion but it’s about, what’s the best available opinion to adopt regardless of who gave this opinion.
I would never call for the delay of the authority handover. This, in my opinion, should not be postponed (for reasons other than what ‘the people want’), and also I’m not naive enough to think that I know better than the whole world. It’s just my opinion and I could be wrong and hope that the people in charge know exactly, as they showed before, what they are doing and I hope they want to give the UN some role and not a real role in shaping the future of Iraq, because seriously, I doubt if the UN officials ever care about what Iraq really needs.
It’s my right and my duty as an Iraqi citizen and a human being to speak out and say that what Iraq needs is a firm alliance with the USA and the rest of the coalition, because these are the governments that have real interest in establishing a true democracy in Iraq and these are the people that I trust most. As for the UN, it can play a role in organizing humanitarian aids and can also play a minor role in the political future of Iraq.

By Mohammed.

Sunday, April 25, 2004
I was discussing with some friends whom would we like to have as a president in the transitional period. And since no names were suggested so far and since this topic remains a vague one for the majority, we thought that we could help in setting some standards for the candidates that we think the majority of Iraqis agree on.
The requirements are:

1-He should not be a cleric.
2-He should be at least 84 years old with life expectancy of no more than 90 for his family.
3-Should have no criminal record.
4-He should have at least 2 chronic illnesses (organic) with no possible cure.
5-He should have NO sons.
6-He should not be able to make a speech longer than 15 minutes.
7-He should have an IQ that can be measured
8-His birthday should not be known.
9-He should not have been seen wearing a military uniform.
10-He should have no interest in nerve gas, mustard gas, abdominal gas…etc.
11-He should have no experience whatever with guns.
12-He should NOT be a war hero.
13-He should not have a history in using words like conspiracy, historical, mother of all …., the day of days…..etc.
14-He should speak at least 6 languages beside Arabic AND English (French, German, Russian and Chinese are NOT needed)
15-He should feel comfortable with living in one house for a long time.
16-The applicant should show documents that prove that he’s hated by the majority of Palestinians, Saudis, Egyptians and ARABS in general.
17-He should have been criticized severely by Arab media, especially Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.

Anyone who thinks he can meet the above standards, please e-mail us with attached CV.
A draw will be performed and the name of the winner will be announced prior to the 1st of June (I'm serious).
Several contests are expected to be held at different sites and areas in Iraq and the final candidates will be presented to the UN and the CPA to choose THE ONE.

By Ali.

::This is the 'Iraqi resistance' gift to Iraqis; depriving Iraqis form their major resource. I wonder if Al-Sadr or Al-Jazeera will accuse the coalition of this one too but, wait a minute, he thinks that the Americans and the British came to steal the oil, not to burn it. Then who did this?
I wish to hear the answer from the 'resistance'supporters.

::Some news about the IP performance in Baghdad:
-In Al-Dourah neighborhood, the IP have successfully arrested a big car-stealing armed gang that have stolen many cars in the last few months by creating fake checkpoints sometimes and by following poor drivers and forcing them to leave their cars by arms in other times.

-The IP arrested a man responsible for the murder of two IP members and the IP suspect that the man is also involved in some attacks on the coalition forces.

-The IP succeded yesterday in preventing an attack with Katyosha missiles on the memorial architecture of Iraqi soldiers who died during the war with Iran. This site is now used as a military base for the coalition troops in Baghdad. The group of terrorists who were trying to launch the missiles were arrested just before they tried to carry the attack.
News from Al-Iraqiya TV.

Saturday, April 24, 2004
:: Hi everyone. I've just returned from Basra and i'm fine.
First of all, I'd like to thank all those who were worried about my safety. Ali told me that many of the readers were asking about me. I'm so happy; having so many friends who care for me is priceless.
Secondly, special thanks to Kerry Dupont; before I came to the internet cafe' I went to AYS's place and received the laptop and the other cool stuff that Kerry gifted us. The laptop, scanner, printer and digital camera will be very helpful in the blog work.

:: The foolish supporters of Muqtada spread a dirty rumor in Basra just after the attacks last Wednesday; the rumor said that the British are involved in the attacks. Of course, very little people in Basra believed that crap but anyway, here's the truth about the attacks from the IP.

::Al-Hurra TV started a ground transmission few day ago and now, it can be received by any TV set at any house in Baghdad.
Ali said that his colleagues in the hospital(mostly She'at), who used to watch the Iranian Al-Alam channel have been watching Al-Hurra recently and they said that they find it more objective, balanced and entertaining.

::By the way, Mohammed wants to thank everyone who sent him greetings on his birthday; the e-mails were very kind but there were plenty of them, so he apologizes to those whom he couldn't write back.

Friday, April 23, 2004
I didn't know how stupid and 'innocent' I was until I got this mail.

"I want to take this opportunity to personally thank you. I am an American who "knows" why her country has invaded Iraq. Your personal reaction to this invasion of your country has left me overwhelmed and therefor I need to thank you.

Thank you for helping my country become richer and more powerful from the riches of your country. Thank you for accepting that your country's oil gets stolen in order for us to have a steady source of oil for many years to come. Thank you for insuring that the world oil prices are controlled by us and not by any other region and power. Thank you for ignoring the fact that the US helped Sadam Hussein remain in power until he too wanted to becoming too powerful and attacked Kuwait (afterall, we do not like competition, but I am sure you understand this). Thank you for supporting Israel, our number one ally in the Middle East, I'm sure you understand that the murder of women, children and militants alike is necessary for the survival of a terrorist state, you have a very believing heart, so thank you for understanding the tactics of this military state of Israel.

Lastly, thank you for pretending to be blind while the reports of the US military purposely disregarding Iraqi's lives leak out in mass amounts in the world press, while the US spokespersons constantly deny it. (I am sure such things remind you of your days under Sadam, sorry for this).

Lastly, thank you for believing that your situation and the situation of your fellow Iraqis will improve.

Thank you for being so innocent and so foolish."

I didn't post the name of the sender since I didn't ask/get her approval. Keep enlightining me 'good Americans' who 'know' their country.

-By Ali.

After the article on USA TODAY about Iraqi bloggers, we received many e-mails and comments showing concerns about our safety and asking about wheather the reporter had our permission for showing our pictures, our full name and the café' where we work most of the time.
I want to say that the reporter was very honest and fair in his article and he asked for our permission regarding showing our pictures and our full names and we agreed on that. It maybe stupid, but I agree with the good friend and reader who pointed out that this can be explained in the last line of the article. Thanks to all the good friends and readers for their true feelings and their great support.


Wednesday, April 21, 2004
A routine day in Iraq.
Today is a special day for me, it's my birthday I woke up early, had many things to arrange, it was a lovely sunny day. One should enjoy looking at April flowers and not stay at home at all, and I will celebrate it just as I should.

Then I heard the news; tens of people killed in terrorist attacks in Basra with many children among them. Omar, my brother, is still in Basra, and we were very worried and didn’t rest until we called a friend there to have some information about the attacks. We still haven’t heard from him, but that's because he doesn't have a telephone or access to the internet in the small town where he works, and we know that he doesn’t usually go downtown at such times.

This is my daily ‘routine’ thoughout 35 years; wars, meaningless death of innocent people, armed people terrorizing us, relatives and friends get killed or disappeared, close gunshot or explosions awaken me from sleeping, our laughs and talks get lost amid sounds of jetfighters in the sky and noise of tanks in street reminding me where I’m I and where I live. It seems that it’s not allowed for me to live a normal life like others do.

I believe in the bright future ahead but I’m upset now and I came here to write and release some of my frustration. I can't bear it alone. why me? Why my country? All that we need is a moment of peace. I really need it now. Why should I bear it with my people? When will it be over and when can we live in peace at last?

The hardest thing is that I have to fight more, and I will, but God, please give me the strength. Why should I be strong while watching others run away; Spain, Honduras, Thailand, human organizations, the UN and all the others who want (and it’s their right I must say) to avoid the dangers. But why did they disappoint us? Why abandon us in this moment when we really need them? Will they come back when conditions improve? Most likely, but who will need them then!!? We don’t need doctors and engineers. We have enough of those and large numbers of Iraqi doctor, teachers and engineers are working abroad. We do export minds, and some of those have returned and are doing their job and some are on their way back. We need political, financial and military support, and once we get rid of the terrorists, WE will show you what we can do, and we will not forget those who helped us, they will remain as friends and allies, that’s from a political point of view. As for me, they will remain as my real family, my brothers and sisters.

One of our friend was angry when he saw the former slaves burn the flag of their liberators (and he has all the right to feel so), but I saw my country being destroyed for 35 years and I’m not desperate because I have faith that it will be rebuild one day. Still, why am I supposed to be the 'superman' who is never allowed to feel angry, sad or frustrated?

Others ask me to demonstrate and show my support to the coalition. Ok I’m with the coalition but I can’t do it my friends. I’m surrounded by armed criminals who wouldn’t hesitate for a minute before shooting me for just speaking out, yet I do speak, and not only on this page.

You, there in the free world, cannot witness against criminals without witness protection programs. We have nothing of this. Just under trained and half corrupted policemen and few newly graduated army soldiers and the law system, we inherited from Saddam and haven’t really changed it yet, is far from being efficient.
Why do others get discouraged easily? Don’t mistake me. I’m upset but will NEVER run away like some people did.

I wasn’t like this before. I was afraid most of the time. I have always looked for safety above all. I lost faith in the whole world and I wasn’t ready at all to make the slightest sacrifice for the sake of others. I was trying to leave my country and find a better job in a safe place, BUT, The brave solders (who don’t hold shares at Halliburton or Bechtel) who crossed seas and oceans and came to my country to fight for our freedom -and don’t anyone dare say the opposite, as I met so many of these soldiers and had hundreds of letters from them and there families and I know their motives; they fight for their country’s safety and for our freedom and they are proud of what they are doing- gave me the faith and showed me that man should not care only about himself, his family or his country, these are not enough to make a human being. These guys are MUCH better than me because I have to fight for my issue and they fight for me. They deserve the respect of the world and so do the people who support them. They always give me hope to go on no matter how difficult it seems.

I think I’ll have to skip celebrating my birthday this year, but that will not make me less determined than before, and I know that even if other countries pull out of Iraq, we will always have the strongest and greatest nation on our side, the wonderful people of the USA, together with the UK, Italy, Japan and the rest of the coalition forces. We owe you a lot and I pray, and I’m sure, that one day we will be able to return some of your favors and I’m talking about the people not the politicians although I don’t deny those the credit they deserve for doing their job as good as they can. When that day finally comes, you will know for sure that the great efforts and sacrifices you’ve made were not in vain.

-By Mohammed.

Monday, April 19, 2004
The roots of evil.
The Muslim clerics' council made what seemed to be great and good efforts to release some of the hostages who the thugs have kidnapped lately. So, should we be grateful for these clerics? doesn't that mean that we are grateful for the thugs themselves? But let’s, before answering this question, try to find out who these clerics are and what their relation with the kidnappers is.

Before the war there was no such council in Iraq. Unlike the Shea’at, the Sunnis had no organized council or religious authorities that represent the majority of them, and whom they can follow regarding religious affairs at least. All the Sunni clerics were graduates of the “Faqiuh and Sharea’a" college that teaches Islamic law and philosophy in the Sunni version of Islam. That’s why you couldn’t find a single Shea’at in this college. It was only for Sunni men, and the vast majority of those were not intelligent people, as this college had very easy standards to be met if one wants to join it. After finishing their study, the students would become mosque clerics who are responsible for holding prayers and taking care of the mosques. They were government employees who received a regular monthly salary in return for their services, as they were serving the government and not the people.

After the invasion of Kuwait back in 1990 it was very common to see these clerics driving cars that were ‘imported’ from Kuwait. They were not only good servants, but also the majority of them were partners in Saddam’s crimes. They didn’t only accept his gifts, but went as far as justifying Saddam’s terrible crimes.

After the war, and after a period of instability, the traditional Shea’at authorities regained their ‘normal’ role as representatives of the majority of Shea’at, while the poor Sunni clerics found themselves actually as unemployed. There was no one to pay them so how could they live? And not only they lost their benefactor, but they also lost their influence. I’ll not throw accusations without solid proofs, but the bottom line is that those clerics, feeling the great threat to their career and being short of money and neglected, did what was expected from them; they united and formed a council that represent them and announced themselves as the legal representatives of the Arab Sunni. And with some of the Arab Sunni -especially in the western part of Iraq where you can hardly find a single Shea’at and where people used to get obvious privileges, at least compared to the other minorities in Iraq- being afraid of the growing power of their eternal rivals, the Arab Shea’at, the new plan seemed to have a chance. They even managed to form a political party to represent them in the GC, "the Iraqi Islamic party" There remained one problem; finance.

Unlike the Shea’at, the Sunni do not have a commitment to their clerics regarding finance. This was not a problem in the past 14 hundred years as the successive governments in Iraq were almost entirely Sunni, but now and for the first time it’s different and the clerics had to find new sources. These guys are fighting for the lives of their families because they don’t have any qualifications and they know nothing else other than preaching.

Of course, there were many parts that are more than ready to take the part of the collapsed regime, starting from the remnants of that regime itself and passing through Saudi Arabia and Syria and, God knows who else.
I don’t believe in conspiracy theories and I find that they are far from convincing to explain history for a long period of time, but this doesn’t mean that there are no conspiracies at all. However these conspiracies tend to be short living and limited in their effects.

I believe that we have a conspiracy here. Hostages from different nationalities get kidnapped by the thugs, and after ‘great efforts’ from the 'peace loving and moderate' Muslim clerics' council, some of these get released by the same people who used to burn and mutilate the bodies of their enemies!! And the end result: the thugs are not thugs, they are Iraqi Muslim fighters struggling for their freedom and have morals, and the Muslim Sunni clerics are peace loving people who have great support and influence on the Iraqi people! Can they be this stupid? Or do they hope that they can deceive the whole world?

I think that one look at the nationalities of the hostages who were released and those who were killed can make the whole issue more clear, and if we ask ourselves how did those clerics with the help and support of the Iraqi Islamic party, manage to contact the ‘Islamic resistance’ and have such a great effect on them, we can conclude without great difficulty that we are dealing with one part rather than two or three, and what is worse is that these people are actually represented in the GC, a decision which seemed to have taken place to create a sort of a balance to the great Shea’at presence in the GC. These kind of terrorist acts remind us with the stupid plays Saddam's used to come up with every time he found himself surrounded by threats. Taking hostages, threatening to kill them and then release them for certain demands to show how merciful he was, and that he didn't do it unless he has a legitimate demands and a just cause!

We are dealing with a group of Islamo fascists, hypocrite opportunistic clerics, terrorists from outside Iraq, fanatic Iraqi Wahabis and remnants of the old regime who are united in an unholy alliance with different perspectives and goals but they all know that they have this frightening single enemy; democracy and freedom in Iraq.
A great proportion of these powers are now taking shelter in the west parts of Iraq and mainly in Fallujah, using it as a base and terrorizing the innocent people there to make it look that the whole city is supporting them, and in my opinion any attempt to solve this problem 'peacefully' through negotiations will have a disastrous outcome. It will give these people the legitimacy they are seeking as a 'resistance to the occupation’ and this will affect the way the rest of the Iraqi people look at the whole struggle. We should not fall into the trap the pacifist fell in and this applies to Al-Sadr and his group of followers too. These abscesses should be opened, it will be very hard, painful and it will stink, but it has to be done. I don't claim to know how this can be done, as it still a very hard task and requires a skilful aproach to minimize the dangerous expected side effects, but I have faith in the coalition forces and I have faith that the Iraqi people will soon identify these people as the evil and hypocrite they are.

-By Ali.

Thursday, April 15, 2004
:: I've been visiting the BBC Arabic site in the last few days and I found a forum where people from many Arab countries –including Iraq- post their opinions about some hot topics, the main of those is Iraq and terrorism of course. I wasn't surprised to see that most Arabs (especially from Egypt, Palestine, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Syria) are forming one side of the debates while Iraqis and people from the rest of the gulf countries are taking the other side. But I was surprised when I found that the almost all the Iraqis who took part in the debates are on our side, maybe 95% of Iraqis expressed their rejection to the violent behavior of some Iraqis and condemned the terrorists attacks on both Iraqis and the coalition saying that the Arab world must stop supporting the terrorists and the thugs from inside Iraq. It's also surprising that many of those Iraqis live in areas that are recognized to have a public anti American attitude in general like A'adhamiya, Diyala and Najaf. I feel that those people are still afraid to voice their points of view in public in such hostile atmospheres but the internet is providing them freedom and safety to say whatever they believe in.
Here, I translated three of the posts made by Iraqis and for those who can read Arabic or have a way to translate web pages, here's the link.

"What's happening in Fallujah and Baghdad now is the doings of the enemies of Iraq and his people and I mean our "brother Muslims and Arabs" who fear that the fire might reach their kingdoms and let Iraqis go to hell. Iran is supporting Muqtada while our Arab brothers are sending us human bombs to kill our children and all this is in the name of Islam and Arab nationality and the satellite channels are tearing apart and distorting the reputation of every honest Iraqi patriot saying that he's a dirty American agent, so for god sake, enough of what you're doing to Iraq and Iraqis. We did nothing to harm you, so what is this all about?".

"To put things clear, we should know who is supporting Sadr, they're a bunch of lost men who spent their lives serving in Saddam's army and he found no one else to support him. The solid truth is that those thugs need to be taught a lesson and this may be in various ways. Iraq must be saved from those men in any possible way".
Abdul Hussein – Hilla

"The martial show for the Mahdi army that Muqtada made is tearing apart the national unity and therefore Iraq needs the liberating forces to remain to prevent the country which was the origin of civilization from being ruled by fanatics who can see no far than their chins".
Saad Yaseen-Diyala.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
:: AYS returned back from Basra yesterday after he spent 2 weeks there, and today -after this long pause- he posted his point of view about the current events in Iraq.

:: This young man is a case of true schezophrenia. Read this and this.
After he called his supporters to "terrorize the enemy" and after saying that he'll sacrifice himself to "free Iraq from the occupation" he changes his attitude and declares conditions for a compromise , and now he's dropping these conditions when he saw that he will end either in jail or in a box but he still can't find the courage to admit that he made the wrong move, and I don't think there's a chance for him to get out with what he did.
We have a saying here that describes well such nutcases, it says "when someone sh**s in his pants, every move he makes will make his mess worse".
And by the way, he's only 23, not 30.

Saddam's legacy.
The Iraqi public opinion almost totally agrees that this hostage kidnapping phenomenon is absolutely rejected and unacceptable. This phenomenon was not experienced before in our country, foreigners used to travel all around the country without fear and they were very welcomed and I don’t recall an incident, in our history that tells the opposite.

The only kind of kidnapping we knew was what the security systems of the past regime practiced on our people. We used to hear a lot about men, women and even children who disappear suddenly and no one dared to condemn these crimes or say a word about them.
Whenever the poor families of those kidnapped people decided to go and ask for help to know some information about the fate of their relatives, the only answer they could get was “we know nothing about your son”. That’s the way how thousands of my countrymen disappeared and till now no one knows their.

Knowing this confirms that those who commit these crimes or support them are what is left from the past regime, united with the outside terrorism that also adapts this filthy tactic to form organized gangs trying to enforce terror on the Iraqi citizens and the coalition countries’ people to stop us from building the new Iraq.

We tremble with anger as we see such dirty crimes and our call is not to forgive or appease those criminals, any compromise will encourage the monsters to do it again and again. And I stand solidly with the countries that decided stay in Iraq with their soldiers or civilians because this is the correct attitude. At the same time, the GC and the Iraqi security systems must do their best to rescue the hostages. This is their responsibility in the first place; these are our guests and we’re responsible, at least to some degree, for their safety.

These incidents have a very bad effect on our reputation as a nation and also threaten our national security by delaying reconstruction.
We saw those kidnapers on TV; they’re a group of retards -who can’t even speak well- carrying swords in a scene that takes us back to the dark ages. They’re trying to destroy our history and our civilization and they’re trying to kidnap our future (look at them, they’re hiding among women and civilians and using them as human shields while they point their guns towards Iraqis and the coalition; this is just the same thing that Saddam did when he deployed his army in the cities and among the houses. These kidnappers are carrying the legacy of the past regime).

I hope the world shows more understanding to this challenge and we should not give up because of a bunch of animals who think that the free world is a weak world. They don’t realize that the way the world responded to these kidnappings show the great concerns that nations feel about the safety of their citizens, and they’re showing at the same time that they don’t care about human life. This is their nature anyway and their doings reveal their identity.

I am positive that we’ll not see more of these incidents in the future, first of all because they’re against the Iraqis’ principles and secondly; war has been declared to eradicate these gangs and victory will be the on the side of progress against the hate culture of a dead regime that we are witnessing the end of its remains.

-By Mohammed.

Monday, April 12, 2004
:: "The poll was the latest in a series which this overwhelmingly Shia province has held in the past six weeks, and the results have been surprising. Seventeen towns have voted, and in almost every case secular independents and representatives of non-religious parties did better than the Islamists".
Thanks to Steve for the link.

:: The Iraq Net is setting a poll for the Iraqis to see whom would they preferre to be the coming president of Iraq. The results till now are interesting. you'll also find some news and links from Iraq there.

:: The American troops are now surrounding Al-Mustansiriyah University with armored vehicles and tanks; they announced through loud speakers that they have recognized a group of students who are supporting Muqtada. During searching the university, the troops found guns, ammunition and some documents from Muqtada in which he gave orders to his followers to kill the science department's dean, here I remembered one of my friends -who's a student there- told me about a month ago about troubles in the university between Al-Sadr supporters and the dean, the dean complained from their behavior as they covered the walls with their posters and slogans. They also started to disturb the students and even prohibited the students from attending their lectures. At that time, they threatened the dean saying that if he would continue being "anti Islam" they would have him kicked out of the university and hurt.

:: The first news I saw this morning was "the IP succeed to prevent an attack on their station in Mosul and killed the three guys who used grenades and automatic guns to attack the station. The three men were carrying faked identity cards and are thought to be foreigners".
It was a moment of relief, especially when the IP officers appeared on TV carrying their Ak-47's and standing proudly near the attackers' car in which they made tens of holes.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

:: Baghdad is quiet today, probably this is the most quiet day since a week or more.
The She'at practiced their ceremonies peacefully today (although in smaller numbers if compared with A'ashoura) in Kerbala and in Kadhimiyah in Baghdad as well. We were worried that something tragic -like what happened in the same place 40 days ago- might happen but, thank God, nothing bad happened as I know.
Something we noticed recently is that we had no car bombs or suicidal attacks in Baghdad or other cities in the last ten days, this is good of course as we used to suffer from such attacks almost daily, but this gives rise to a question; why? Is it a shift in their strategies, or what?
There are some possibilities, one is that the terrorists are having their plans carried out by some small radical fanatic Iraqi groups who are giving rise to the instability they desire, so why should they bother themselves if someone else is doing the job for them?!
The other possibility is that the foreigner terrorists are relying on the temporary alliance (or cease fire) between the radical Wahabis and the radical aggressive minority of the She'at that follow Muqtada. They probably think that this can be promoted to an allience between all the Sunni and all the She'at against the coalition which will never happen because the majority of the She'at still shows their disapproval with Muqtada's ways, and this was strengthened by Sistani's words
They dream that history can repeat itself (the revolt against the British in 1920) but they forgot that the circumstances now are very different from that time, and even that alliance at that time didn't last long as the radical groups on both sides hate each other more than anything else. I heard it from many Wahabis years ago that the most dangerous enemies to Islam are the Islamic brotherhood and the Wahabis and there's no reason for me to believe that they have changed their minds as fanatics never change their mind.
There's also another possible factor, which is that the majority of foreigner terrorists are now trapped in Fallujah and cannot break through the siege.
Whatever the reason is, I think it's just a matter of time before this honeymoon (the alliance between the to extremes) reaches an end.

Saturday, April 10, 2004
:: The strike -that the terrorists called for- didn't take place the way they desired; I wandered a lot in Baghdad today and I can assume that more than 50% of the shopkeepersrefused to submit to the thugs' threats but in A'adhamiya, the situation is different, almost all the shops are closed today as there were intense clashes between the fedayeen and the coalition troops, heavy gunfire and explosions were heard in the morning.
The traffic activity in Baghdad is normal and the whole city is quiet except A'adhamiya, even that Ali and I today met a journalist and a photographer from the (USA today). We spent more than 3 hours together during which we had a lot of conversation; we had lunch in a restaurant in Karrada and they made an interview with us about the Iraqi blogs. Later we all went to an internet cafe' to show them more details about our blog work.

The myth and the reality.
Despite the tragic loses on the part of the coalition forces and the innocent Iraqis who were accidentally trapped in between, I think that what's happening in Iraq now (al-Mahdi army revolt) will end up in a good way for Iraq. Why do I say that?

This was bound to happen. It was in the air since the 9th of April 2003. Most of the Shea’at in Iraq (as well as allover the world) generally believes in Al-Mahdi state, but they differ in the way they look at it. One part remained faithful to the old myth that someday the 12th Imam who disappeared mysteriously, will appear and start to lead the Shea’at to victory over all their enemies, starting with the hypocrite mullahs and ending with the Jews, and that all they have to do is sit and wait for his appearance. This part is represented by Sistani and his followers in Iraq. These are the people who refused to revolt against Saddam. The other part represented by the late Sadir and before that by Khomaini, saw that this ideology will put the Shea’at out of the political struggle, which led Khomaini to come up with the theory of (wilayat Al-faqiuh) which means that an honest and highly educated cleric can serve as a deputy for the Mahdi and lead the Shea’at to fight and find their way between the lines and prepare for the appearance of the Mahdi.

The Shea’at in Iraq were divided nearly equally in their loyalty between Al-Sadir and Sistani. After the fall of Saddam the Shea’at on both parts found that democracy will give them their golden opportunity to take the lead in Iraq for the first time since the seventh century. The fanatic Shea’at started a muscle show allover Iraq and found lately that their dreams were very ambitious as it appeared that the democracy that is about to take place in Iraq, was not the dictatorship of the majority they were dreaming about. Instead the democracy that was presented to them and which they couldn’t refuse was a liberal democracy that gave all minorities their right to preserve their religious and ethnic identity. As this was obviously presented by the Kurdish parties and was approved by the GC, many Shea’at went mad. It was as if they were going to lose control over a territory that is theirs by law. They demonstrated, hanging posters showing their leaders and their legendary heroes allover Iraq, showed aggressiveness to those who opposed them, but they avoided violence. They were annoyed to be awakened from their vivid dreams in such a 'vulgar' way. During the course of their demonstrations and objections, and as no one opposed them on the streets, they overestimated their power and forgot who gave them their right place to talk, preach for their political programs in public and take their right place as the majority in Iraq. They forgot that this was only granted to them for the first time by the USA and as a result of her efforts in toppling Saddam and promoting democracy in Iraq.

The 1st part, Sistani’s followers, didn’t go further than demonstrating and objecting, because it’s part of their ideology not to use violence, but they were frustrated. The other part, who were scattered after the death of Sadir the father and whom some of them joined his young, ignorant and Iran’s puppet (Muqtada), couldn’t remain peaceful. Poor Sistani was trapped in a difficult position. He was forced to follow the sentiments of the mob, as this is a chronic problem for the Shea’at clerics. They derive their influence and finance from the mob, unlike the Sunni clerics who were always the traditional allies of the ruling regimes throughout the history of Iraq. Sistani couldn’t oppose America directly and he doesn’t like to support his opponent, but at the same time he couldn’t condemn him, otherwise he would have lost his position. It would be an unforgivable blunder to ally with the 'infidels' against a Shea’at Muslim whoever he was. Thus came his weak and rather late fatwa.

So what’s good about this riot? As I said this is a very old dream that is strongly rooted to the conscience of the majority of the Shea’at. And with the freedom of speech and with the defeat of the Arab Sunni and with the support and motivation from Iran, this was bound to happen. It could’ve been worse if a leader with more brains and popularity than this clown carried it.

This riot should be and will be crushed sooner or later, because of the ignorance of the leadership and the lack of support of the majority of Iraqis including Shea’at which made those fanatics resort to terrorizing the people to show that they have the support of the Iraqis like their demand for a general strike which was associated with clear threats.

Another good outcome of this riot is that it showed that the influence of clerics including Sistani, is much smaller than they and their followers were claiming. I’ve heard it from most of the Shea’at that the whole Iraq supports Sistani and that the Americans don’t dare to defy him! They really believed their illusions. Now it appears that the fatwa of Sistani didn’t have any significant effect on the Americans’ determination to end this riot, nor it convinced the fanatic Shea’at to stay calm. Even the GC paid no attention to him and showed readiness to use force if it is needed.
When this riot will be crushed, and it will be, Sistani and all the clerics will no longer seem as strong as they seemed before, and once they see the 'wholly' name Al-Sadir in handcuffs, they will think a million times before committing a similar stupidity in the future. Even some members of the GC with its religious, tribal and ethnic composition, proved to be short of meeting the challenge. This should clear the political field from these traditional representatives of the Iraqis and surly Iraqis in the future will be forced to search for alternatives once they realize how hypocrite, feeble and lacking their current leaderships are.

This will certainly not happen tomorrow, nor will it happen soon after crushing this riot, but certainly the results will make Iraqis aware of the fact that their leaders are actually not as smart and strong as they look, and that their religious, tribal and ethnic groups will not provide them with their needs. Once that happen they will start to reconsider their goals and their loyalty and the voice of reason, logic will certainly be more heard once the horns of ignorance get silenced or ignored by the majority.

-By Ali.

Friday, April 09, 2004
The first candle.
It’s the day that brought me back to life. It’s the 9th of April and I’m free, and they will not steel my joy again and they will not silence me. A year ago at the same date, the thieves and criminals prevented me from celebrating my freedom in the open air, and today thieves, criminals and fanatics are doing the same, but they will not steal my happiness that is making my soul fly and dance with joy and they can’t stop this.

A year ago, words failed me as I met the 1st American soldier, and I still remember his name, “corporal, Adam” and all I could utter was “thank you!” how could I ever put my whole life in few words? How could I have thanked that soldier enough? How could I have told him what it meant to me to see him and his comrades-who brought me back to life- at last? Thank you Adam, Lieutenant Antonio, Captain Brian Curtis and all the coalition soldiers who I can’t remember their names, and those I never met.

It’s the 9th of April and I feel safe! And I don’t care what those ‘political experts’ on the newspapers and TV channels, say about the ‘occupation’, deteriorated security and ‘unemployment’. You can’t understand this, because you never experienced real fear this long. Let me tell you about it, as I’m one of those who passed Saddam’s filthy test of life.
The statue fell and with it, horror fell. You don’t know what it means to be scared to death most of your life, brothers and sisters. I knew that and I faced it during the reign of evil and darkness. I was afraid to talk, I wasn't allowed to think and I wasn't allowed to feel…I wasn't allowed to love.

How dare anyone imply to me how should I feel? And who they think they are, those who try to put words in my mouth? I’m alive and I’m free, and I have the right to say whatever I feel and chose the words I like. No one will tell me again what to say and what to feel.
Yes, it’s the 9th of April. I lit the 1st candle today to celebrate my 1st year, as a free man and no one will prevent me from celebrating. I, who the earth is no longer enough to contain my feelings, I who have wings now, and I don’t have to carry an ID…I’m Iraqi. I have the right to wander through my country southwards and northwards, without being stopped by someone to ask me who I am and where I’m going. I’m the son of the 9th of April.

Years ago, when I was a fugitive, a Ba’athist who’s a friend of my father and a relative said to me mockingly “how long are you going to live like this!? Get out of this ‘hole’ and turn yourself in to the authorities and do your military service.” I looked at him and I couldn’t say anything, but my soul screamed inside me, “The day when your tyrant becomes a defeated fugitive will come. He will search for a hole to hide in, and I will own Iraq then”. And here comes the dream true!

I’m the son of the 9th of April, tyrant’s clowns, and you have to fear me, you who betrayed me every minute and every day, and you want to chain me again???
You know why it’s impossible now? I was a slave and I never knew who I am…. and now I’m free! Thanks to all who dared to tell the truth and didn’t fear the consequences. And as for you, who saved me and my people, I can’t thank you enough. My voice goes feeble and my eyes swell with tears as I think of the Iraqis, Americans and all the coalition soldiers who gave their lives to free Iraq and make this world a better place. God bless their souls and all those who decided to fight to the end and never been discouraged, even in the toughest moments. I hope you can call me brother, because I’ll never fail you, as you never failed me.
This time, the 9th of April has come again and in what way! The powers of darkness and evil are trying to stifle my candle with their foul breaths but this time I'm alive and free and I will face them, and I will lit it again and again …and again.

By Mohammed.

Days I do not want to forget.
The day, Wednesday, the 9th of April 2003.

“The American troops enter Saddam’s city peacefully”, this was the headline I saw when I woke up this morning. Ok, they’re on this side of the city. I didn’t give much attention to this news in the beginning; Baghdad is a big city with many big neighborhoods. Later my friend, Ahmed, asked me to go with him to buy some stuff they need for his grandfather’s funeral. As soon as we got to the street we saw something weird; there wasn’t even a single policeman or security personnel in the street, even traffic policemen disappeared. As a matter of fact we were heading just opposite to the direction from which the coalition troops are advancing and as we reached our destination we found some of the Ba’ath militia taking position in a narrow corner in the market and they looked scared. However, we shopped and drove back home and in the way I told my friend “it must be over, I feel this” he said “let’s try that guy standing over there” he was an ordinary man. I asked “what’s going on?” he said “I don’t know but the army and the Ba’ath party members have evaporated”. A little bit later we were surprised to see a police car driven by a bearded man in civilian clothes, we looked at each other’s face (what is this??) the man was driving around the square again and again with the siren turned on! Just a few seconds later we saw a governmental bus but the passengers were just an ordinary family and they were all sitting near the driver and they were all laughing! It seems that everything is over. I cried: HE’S GONE.

We drove home fast and as I entered the house I found that everyone was watching the news; they were showing an area that’s just a few kilometers from our place and there was a man slapping Saddam’s portrait with his slipper and another one shouting “we’re Americans, no, we’re USA! The time has come when America teaches Saddam a lesson". We were stunned, Saddam has fallen. The neighbors and friends gathered in the street, some faces were laughing and others, you could see fear and denial in their eyes.

I couldn’t hold myself and the joy that overwhelmed me anymore. This is not the time to stay at home, I drove with my friend to celebrate with the people and when we reached the first main street, the scene was different than what it looked an hour ago; their was a clash among the looters at one of the military facilities, we tried to ignore them and go on, but we were surprised by a spray of fire above our heads; the car in front of us took a very fast turn and stopped in front of us the driver shouted at us “go back, they’re stealing cars also”. There was a bunch of armed people standing few hundred meters away with their faces directed towards us. I didn’t see any American troops, they’re not here yet. We hurried back to our homes; the streets are too dangerous.

The rest of my friends and neighbors were waiting to hear from us, I screamed "Saddam has fallen" Everybody was shocked. Some of them couldn’t say a word, one of them asked me to repeat what I said and I replied "F*** Saddam". None of us dared before to swear at the ‘leader’ in public. My father put the radio aside and I saw tears in my father friend’s eyes, who hugged my father and congratulated him. We started to hug each other with tears of joy but I was somewhat depressed. I want to go out to the streets and scream as loud as I can to celebrate my freedom, but I couldn’t.

We gathered around the TV with our neighbors and friends watching the fast events and the funny thing is that many Arab channels (who were covering the war 24 hours a day) have totally ignored the issue in the beginning. They were showing songs, shows or scientific reports!!

We saw the people gathering around the statue and the American and Iraqi flags were held high by Iraqis and American soldiers…. And the statue fell, and fear fell, and here goes Baghdad free of her tyrant. A great feeling of relief.

One of my friends took his AK-47 and fired some shots in the air (for the first time in his life) we don’t know what to do and how to feel but the important thing is…It’s over.

-By Mohammed.

The GC made this announcement yesterday regarding the current situation in Iraq:

“Iraqis were delighted to see Saddam’s regime fall; a regime that practiced all kinds of crimes against Iraqis and forced our nation to enter arbitrary wars with the neighbors.
We all have asked the international community and the United States in particular to stand with the Iraqi people and to help putting an end for the oppression we suffered from Saddam’s regime policies. Therefore, when the coalition forces –led by the US- destroyed that terrorist regime, they did what the vast majority of Iraqis wanted.

But still there are some people who lost some illegal advantages when the regime fell and those will surely stand against the democracy -that Iraqis are working for- and against the coalition forces that helped our people to remove the dictator.
If there’s a chance for the Iraqi people to voice their opinion about what they want, will they support terrorism and fascism? Or will they support the true steps taken to secure democracy?
If they had this chance we would see the truth, which is certainly with the construction of a democratic nation that allows everyone to work peacefully and to express their points of view freely.

What happened in Fallujah days ago is more than a savage crime, mutilating bodies, hanging them from the bridge and dancing around is a horrible, disgusting scene, and no enemy from outside can harm the reputation of this country more than that scene, and it’s really saddening that those terrorists are using civilians houses as shelters.

The GC is standing by the side of our people and asks all the decent Iraqis to obey law and preserve order, and they should not let the chaotic insurgents hinder the progress in Iraq towards the goals that Iraqis have always longed for. In the same time we ask the coalition forces to take extreme care to avoid causalities among innocent civilians.
The GC stands with our brave Iraqi people and entreats all the honest citizens to stick to law and order and leave no opportunity for the troublemakers to hinder the progress of the country towards achieving the goals that Iraqis have always longed for.
And at the same time, the council pleads the coalition to take extra caution measures to minimize the collateral damage so that innocent civilians would not pay the price for the violence they didn’t take part in.
If there was few people, whether on determination or out of ignorance, have allowed the trouble makers to act, then there are millions of Iraqi people who stand with law and order against all those who want instability and chaos to prevail.

The vast majority of Iraqi people in the north, center and south of Iraq want stability and peace to prevail and stands against all those who are committing illegal actions and spread terror.
The GC respects the memorial of the two martyrs (Al-Sadr) God bless their souls, but it refuses that the honorable name of the Sadr family would be used by any part, however close it is to this family, to mess with law and stand against the interests of the Iraqi citizens by spreading chaos and preventing them from practicing their normal daily activities.
Today we ‘re facing two dangers, these are terrorism and breaching the law and the new Iraq confirms one identity for Iraq, which is the united federal democratic Iraq. Iraq will never be united if she falls under control of an ignorant fascist dictatorship, while democratic Iraq will give freedom for any person or party to show his opinion and reach the highest positions in a peaceful way once he achieves the majority through free elections.
The attempt of a group of people to force their law upon the rest of the Iraqi people is absolutely unaccepted, and if the coalition forces will not interfere to end this situation.

Then the forces of the Iraqi people will interfere to stop those people and rid the Iraqis from their evil. The GC stands with democracy and law and will not deal lightly with this dangerous phenomena that threatens the future of Iraq and at the same time, the GC will do all that is possible to prevent the blood shed of innocent people”.

Thursday, April 08, 2004
:: The "Islamic resistence" called for a general strike in Baghdad next Saturday. A shop keeper told me this morning that the "resistence men" ordered him to close his shop before afternoon and that he should also close the shop on Saturday.
Leaflets have been distributed cotaining a call for a strike with a threat that says "anyone who disobeys this order shall be punished".

I know that a strike is a self-chosen protest method used to express refusal for something or to ask for some demands, but this?! I don't know what to call it.

Days I do not want to forget.
The day, Tuesday, the 8th of April 2003.

The fighting continues in many neighborhoods in Baghdad and the sound of machine guns is heard everywhere in the city. The scene of the day is that of the American tanks standing at the bridges; they were not crossing the bridge and I don’t know why but they were shooting at targets on the opposite bank where there were some men dressed like civilians and carrying RPG-7’s, those are mainly Fedayeen and Arab volunteers.
Some press workers were injured today in the fights.

People are traveling in Baghdad carrying white flags on their cars; now it’s almost impossible to reach some areas in the city as there’s great danger of being accidentally shot by fire.

Sahhaf is still lying in a crazy way but it seems that yesterday’s bombing in Al-Mansour has cut the communications among the commanders and no one is receiving instructions from the “higher command”.
My -friend and neighbor- Ahmed rushed to me, I knew from the look on his face that something wrong has happened, he said “come quickly, my grandfather has passed away”
My father, Ali and I went to Ahmed’s house to see that the old man has died an hour ago; he was over 90 years old. Yesterday we visited them in their house when the old man’s health deteriorated and I remembered his son telling him “Saddam is gone” the man smiled in his bed and I don’t know whether ho got the idea or not but I know that he always dreamed to see Saddam gone.
We were confused, how to deal with the situation? How to get to their family cemetery in Najaf? It’s impossible and most of the roads are blocked. So we decided to bury him in Baratha cemetery here in Baghdad near the river. Ali and my father went with Ahmed to the hospital to deal with the paper work and when he came back he told me about the situation in the cemetery. It was a tragedy.
The funeral was held in Ahmed’s house in the garden, in an atmosphere of explosions, bombing and exchanged fire.

By Mohammed.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
::The coalition forces' spokesman declared that the coalition intends to arrest Muqtada and sue him for atrocities he's accused of.
This is the decision I was waiting for; no one should consider himself above the law.
Everyone should obey the law, with no exceptions and Muqtada will be an example that all those who have the will to break the law should take a lesson from, and I prefer to see the IP capture him rather than the coalition soldiers because this -although maybe difficult- will show that Iraqis will stop who tries to harm our people and destroy our future even if he's a cleric and even if he has many aggressive supporters.

:: "Military officials said they got an unexpected assist from some Iraqi civilians who offered their cars and, in one instance, a bus to take wounded troops to safety".

Self destruction.
It is not unusual that the victim-without knowing and after a long time- starts to look like its slayer.
This is the heritage that Saddam left here and it's the result of the incomparable oppression and violence that his regime used against our people.
It's foolishness, diseases and illusions of the past that lead this misled group to hinder Iraq's march to freedom and they're pretending to forget or they actually do not see the motives of their supporters in the neighboring countries, as if the whole matter is just creating a simple, pathetic militia, putting hands on a building or two, handing power to a ruler that leads Iraq to doom again.
And why should those people think in a different way? I mean this is how all the bloody dictatorships in the region came to power to terrorize civilians and spread horror amongst those who have a different point of view.
A bunch of ignorant gangsters who have nothing but the lust for killing and extreme foolishness that will lead to their, and others', destruction.

Jobless people who have no degrees or respect from the community can be easily persuaded with money to become mercenaries, and supplying them with weapons is easy as Iraq is one big weapons' cache. Those, led by notorious leaders whom no one have heard of before are getting strong support from totalitarian neighboring regimes -that see nothing but evil in the birth of a new, free and democratic Iraq- and their propaganda machine that describe terrorism as a heroic action in a holly war.
The hard challenges require tougher determination to face them and it will be an obligation for the coalition and our national security forces to deal with the situation firmly and forcefully to prevent others from falling in the same trap, from believing the same illusion and from ill using the freedom they are given.

The GC should make a definite and frank decision to support the coalition and it's not enough to see them condemning violence and asking everyone to stop using it. They should not talk to both parts in this conflict as if they were equal.
Calling for "calm down" is not the desired one; the defect is obvious in this group of outlaws, we need to stand for the challenge and sue those responsible for the atrocities and severely punish them because they caused the shed of blood of many innocents for no reason.

The action should be made fast to disarm all militias and the necessity of this issue should not be underestimated.
The presence of arms in the wrong hands means more blood and killings therefore,
determination and fast action is a necessity in this period to contain the terrorists, surround them and then, send them to hell.

By Mohammed.

Days I do not want to forget.
The day, Monday the 7th of april 2003

The morning carries with it the sounds of the continuing battle, but this time, we started to hear the sounds of light field-cannons and heavy machineguns clearly. It's obviously a field battle inside Baghdad. I went to the bakery to buy some bread and stood in the line and heard people whispering to each other about battles across the river. Suddenly everyone went quite after hearing the sounds of near heavy explosions and the launch of katiusha missiles. I hurried back home, to see on the way that some cars were showing white flags. No one is safe in Baghdad. Oh, I really miss the air campaign!

I found Omar and Ali sitting in the garden listening to the radio. The news was talking about the coalition take over of many of Saddam's palaces- Karadat Miriam palace, al- Sujood palace and al- Salam palace-in addition to Al-Rasheed hotel, al-Zawra'a Park and the grand celebrations' park.

I hurried inside to watch TV to see a very strange and refreshing scene; American soldiers lying on the grass in one of Saddam's palaces, having lunch, writing letters and some were taking a nap! The whole world is watching the dictator's bedrooms, but where is he? I saw some of the special guard soldiers rolling into the water in attempt to escape from the coalition fire.

The situation is becoming more dangerous for us. Saddam's troops and weapons take cover by the civilian's houses and firing missiles which, we all knew, were random and not directed. We heard a strange sound that looked like as if someone was pulling the furniture next door, but the sound was so loud. We went to the roof to see what that was, and saw a jet fighter flying above our heads. Omar identified it saying" it's an A-10 attacking fighter" the machineguns of this airplane were firing in a lightening speed, and we could see the flash and the smoke that it leave as it dive at its target, to hear a second later that strange sound.

We can hear the machine guns sound clearly now, and Al-Sahaf denies the whole thing in such an arrogance and stupidity. This time he was saying to the reporters " come with me. I'll take you to those palaces and you'll see that there's nothing of what you're talking about"!! he was lying clearly and in front of the whole world and he knows that everyone knows that. I think the man have had a brain damage, as only a mad man acts like this.

Ground to ground-missiles were launched from areas close to us causing a terrible sound that shakes the whole house. Those launchers are firing their rockets from a civilian area and flee away instantly after that.

News talk about an uprising in Ammarah city and the withdrawal of the remnants of the collapsing regime and people in Basra loot the tyrant's palaces and government buildings.
The night carried with it a heavy bombing that targeted mainly an alternative shelter of Saddam in Al-Mansoor district. Rumors talk about his death, but the obvious thing is that the authority is loosing all control after this explosion. There is no one to control the streets and the remnants of the regime forces withdrawing slowly, and the only thing that is preventing the total downfall is the fear and terror inhabiting the Iraqis' minds. "Solomon's stick" must fall so that all people know that the man has died a long time ago.

-By Mohammed.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004
:: Look what Hans Blix said in his report.
Poor old Blix, I don't think he really means what he said but it's rather because of his age.... you know..!!

-Today, Baghdad is a very quiet place (as far as i know). I actually didn't hear a single gun shot till now.
-The activity in the streets is rather less than usual and many students and employees didn't attend their schools or offices this morning because they are afraid that some clashes may happen between the coalition soldiers and Muqtada's men.
-The news say that order has been restored to Basra and Al-Kut governorates but there are clashes still going on in Nassiriyah and Amara.
-Fallujah is still under siege and it seems that the criminals will be seeking negotiotions
(a chance I doubt they will have).
-Ayad Allawe (GC member) condemned Muqtada's actions and described him as a man who's breaking the law and inciting unjustified violence.
-Just right now, American troops are blocking the entrance to Al-Sadr city.

Days I do not want to forget.
The day, Sunday, the 6th of April 2003.

-The British forces secure Basra; YES, another city is free.
-The coalition forces are closing the circle around Baghdad and today I heard that Abu Ghraib city (North West of Baghdad) has been secured. Other news talks about fights in Tajeyat area.
-The sound of artillery shelling is heard loudly all around Baghdad and the citizens show less activity in the city.
-Intense air raids bombing the command centers in Baghdad.
It’s now clear that things are out of the tyrant’s grip and his announcement today is so silly and tells everyone that the end is coming; he asked the soldiers who couldn’t reach their units to join the nearest unit to their residency. I think that Saddam is afraid from a mass escape from the army like that in 1991, which started the uprising after the gulf war.
He’s trying to keep them under control but everyone I know is now hiding in his house.
The disgusting thing today is Al-Sahhaf’s announcement in which he threatened frankly that anyone proved to be spreading rumors would have his head cut.
I’m hearing rumors about executing the soldiers who try to escape their positions and those who are accused of cooperating with the coalition. Those poor soldiers couldn’t make it to the end.
-The coalition air forces changed their strategy of air raids to the (close direct support) but an American pilot made a mistake an attacked American and Kurdish vehicles in the north killing 18 men.
-Rumors are talking about Saddam trying to flee to Syria and that the Russian diplomatic row of cars that was attacked by the coalition was carrying some VIP but still no one knows the truth about the incident.
There is no defined line now separating between the coalition troops and the remains of Saddam’s army and we don’t know how long the regime is going to hold on.
-Anyway, here is the most exciting event of the day “a C-130 lands in Baghdad’s airport for the first time today”.

By Mohammed.

Monday, April 05, 2004
An Iraqi judge issued an arrest warrant against Muqtada Al-Sadr.
The judge said that Al-Sadr is accused of murdering Abdul Majeed Al-Khou'e (a respectable Iraqi cleric who returned to Iraq from the UK in April last year) in Najaf during the war.

The trap of the moment.
Where will all these voices -that can see only this moment- be going when the smoke fades away and victory become the prize of the free?
Our enemies want us to live this bloody moment and to lose the spirit that looks forward to the future. Despair is all we can get if we fall in this trap, and I want to point out that this doesn’t include everyone; it doesn’t include the soldier of the coalition fighting in the battle and doesn’t include the Iraqi policeman who was attacked yesterday and had his station burnt, and it doesn’t include me and my comrades who decided to fight as long as it takes. We’ll deal with the situation wisely and toughly if it needs.
I’m here on the frontline of the war on terror and I see despair infiltrating our lines, yes, despair and fear too and this is exactly what the enemies want to see.
Few weeks ago, an operation in Spain changed the opinion of the people there and it’s now obvious that terrorists didn’t leave Spain, on the contrary; they're preparing for more attacks. The Spaniards fell in the trap when the sight of blood and destruction paralyzed their thinking. Terrorism revealed his identity and ambitions and we’re fighting a war against many regional and international parts. We know that Muqtada visited Iran and met people on the highest levels. This man whom everyone refused to ally or open a dialogue with was met by none less than Khamenie himself and of course this was accompanied by financial support and instructions.
We still see Syria pay money to attract the enemies of freedom to Iraq from Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Palestine. The battle is very hard on both of us and they’re challenging our determination to go on with our plans for a new Iraq.
Everyone who imagines that our poor and oppressed people have decided to remain silent and watch the events is wrong but the threat is larger than we can face alone and you know that.
Yes, this is my battle before it’s yours. It’s my duty to preserve the democratic changes we achieved, and just yesterday I saw the long lines standing under the burning sun to join the IP and they all know how dangerous this job is, and this gave me hope because they know very well who they’re going to face.
Yesterday, Muqtada’s followers showed in thousands in five of the eighteen Iraqi governorates carrying arms and showing their opposition to the coalition forces and their willingness to fight America but did the majority of Iraqis stand with them? No, but are the majority of Iraqis against them? Yes, but how can that be showed? Do you want us to carry arms and shoot them and then it may end to a civil war that no one knows how or when shall it stop?
We are civilians and we want to remain so for the sake of our country and I don’t think I need to remind you that even in your countries one can find a neighborhood that is inhabited by thousands of people, terrorized and controlled by a handful of criminals.
We need an authority that preserve law and security and defend them and right now -as the Iraqi army is still a new born and the IP still under-trained and trying to gain the trust of the people- it is mainly the job of the coalition forces, otherwise these forces will be just occupying Iraq; which is not the case.
It is not wise to ask the Iraqi civilians to fight this collection of fanatics, criminals and outraged fools. This will open a door that we may not be able to close.
I will not be trapped in the moment. I will not just look through a magnifying lens on the small events -although it’s needed- and forget the whole picture. And I will always look for the future, which should be bright because we are right and we know what’s good for the Iraqi people and how to do it.

By Mohammed.

Days I do not want to forget.
The day, Saturday, the 5th of April 2003.

“The coalition forces are marching in the middle of Baghdad” shouted Omar while I was sitting in the guests’ room with some of my friends. We jumped to the TV to see something that made us froze in our places; the tanks were moving in the area of Um Al-Tobool mosque. This is the first time I see an area that I know well; the corners, the street and the buildings are familiar. Suddenly one of my friends said that he’s going to that area to see what’s happening, we tried to warn him saying that it could be dangerous but he didn’t care and drove his car we got very worried but after about an hour he returned back saying that there’s nothing there that indicates a military action.
We got confused, what happened? We didn’t wait to long until the coalition spokesman declared that it was just “a picnic inside Baghdad”. Our hope meter declined we thought for a minute that it’s over but now it seems that there’s still much to wait for. Still there’s an exciting view when the coalition entered the southern suburbs of Baghdad and the locals welcomed the troops. It was really encouraging.
The artillery shelling became intense and yesterday’s fears became true, they started to use the cannon that is situated near our district; the sound is very loud and annoying. More worrying is that the republican guards placed medium ranged missile launchers at the intersection at the end of our street, I saw these in the morning and in the afternoon a missile was launched which added a new item to our dictionary of sounds. It wasn’t late until an aircraft came and bombed the missile base.
The soldiers are sticking to our houses, this is disgusting; they’re targets and we’re being endangered because of them.
The 101 division is advancing in Kerbala; another city gets liberated while Baghdad is still forced to have the snake’s head in her lap.
The British forces are making a significant progress in Basra and peace is restored in Najaf by the cooperation of the locals with the coalition.
The coalition declares that the Iraqi army’s capability to fight as divisions has vanished and what remain are small groups severed from central command.
The regime is more confused now and the firebrand announcements indicate the collapse of the regime. Al-Sahhaf is talking about restoring control over the airport as if the pictures that the whole world saw came from a historical movie.
The American administration says that they will uncover the plans for ruling Iraq for the coming period. The plans include a military administration and an interim civil administration and Adnan Bachachi says that he’s been told to form a government. When I heard this I asked Omar “will you accept him as a president?” he replied “let them assign a snail and I’ll accept him, anyone except Saddam”.
The situation is bad here due to the electricity outage but people started to use generators; ours had a very loud noise however the neighbors were satisfied with it; one of them said “your generator’s noise is better than the sound of the bombs”.
The night became scary, because you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. But the sight tonight is decorated with a new painting; the illumination ammunition fired in the sky are surrounding Baghdad, lightening the sky and these are remaining suspended in the air for a long time, one friend explained saying that these have parachutes to give light for longer time. We kept watching them falling down slowly like clusters each one consists of four flames. The scene is charming.

By Mohammed.

Sunday, April 04, 2004
The torch and the ash.
We have an old saying here that says "most of the great men leave disgraceful sons" and this applies to today's man in question.
Once again, our “famous cleric” proves his disrespect to reason. Not only that, this time he started to act obviously against Iraq’s interest as well as his own.
“I’ll be your striking hand in Iraq. We have the same goal and the same enemy…bla,bla,bla”. What’s that united goal? Who’s this common enemy? And whom you’ll be striking? I think this guy needs to go back in his memory for just a few years.
Saddam used to consider Al-Sadr family as a threat that must be controlled or eliminated and as the second choice is always easier for a murderer; Saddam assassinated many members of this family in the past years including Muqtada’s father, brothers and uncle.
Muqtada was easy to be controlled, he was just a kid with no qualifications or important social or religious degree, and all he had was the name of his father who struggled for years against Saddam's regime and was respected by most of Iraqis. During the years that followed 1999 when his father got assassinated; Muqtada had no role in Iraq, he had to stay at home not allowed to preach, speak or start a movement; in other words he had to remain silent and accept the presence of his family’s murderer.
After the liberation, the young cleric had the chance to preach in Baghdad’s big mosques, ask his father’s followers to regroup and to start a newspaper named Al-Hawza. Now he has the opportunity to live a normal life in free Iraq or to do his role as a cleric if he chose to be one. Who gave him this opportunity for a new life and who released him from his fears? I guess he forgot this.
Let’s try to get into this man’s brain -if he has one- and see how is he “thinking”? What does he want and what are his ways?
He wants to lead a theocracy in Iraq just like the one in Iran? Let’s suppose this is a legitimate goal, but what has he done to achieve this? And what does he need to do it? He has absolutely no qualifications but he has the chance to control the people who used to follow his respectable father taking advantage of their naivety and religious emotions.
Now part of the desired fame is achieved and it seems that causing more troubles to be more famous is a part of his policy but he still needs the money and this comes from two ways, the first one is from his followers.
The second and the more important is the foreign one. He’s been already receiving support from Iran and now after declaring alliance with Hizbollah and Hamas he’ll be certainly receiving support from other parts including Syria.
The major point that he’s missing is that the countries and organizations that support him are in the same time supporting other criminal and terrorist groups in Iraq, and many of those consider him, in person and the Shea’at in general, an enemy. Syria, Iran and the others do have their goals but I think they’re not those of Muqtada and certainly not those of Iraqis’. A common goal for both of these countries is to keep Iraq in chaos for as long as they can, to protect their regimes from meeting the fate of Saddam’s, and if this mission is accomplished they will surely abandon the puppets who served them and they will not care if they kill each other.
Now let’s turn to the tens of thousands went down the streets to show their support for Muqtada, tens were killed or injured, and I wonder whom do they think will benefit from this violence? It’s clearly the enemies of Iraq after realizing that terrorist attacks from outsiders are not fulfilling the job are now trying to shift their strategy to provoke a conflict between Iraqis (who are originally satisfied with the situation) and the coalition. This represents the major part of the problem. They’re supporting a man who deceived them and is trying now to use them to get to his goal, not theirs. They don’t even know what they’re demonstrating about. So what shall we do to stop this? We can’t simply oppress them and an ordinary man cannot go to tell them that they’re being misled; also it would be a bad idea to arrest their leader.
I think that we have many respectable personalities in the GC and they should do their move now and speak to the people to make them understand the seriousness of the situation. Also Sistani and other religious leaders should do something about it if they really care about Iraqis’ lives and Iraq’s future. They should be direct and tell those who think that they’re resisting the “occupation” that these actions will delay Iraq’s independence and that they just have to wait for less than 90 days to get sovereignty. As for those who cannot be reasoned with, I think they should be prevented from hindering the progress in Iraq by all the necessary means.

Days I do not want to forget.
-The day, Friday, the 4th of April 2003.

We started to get pictures from the airport and the coalition now assured that the airport is fully under control and it’s regained its original name (Baghdad’s Airport) we missed this name for 2o years, since the tyrant decided to name everything after his name; hospitals, schools, cities and streets, as if Iraq was the property of his family, now his name is falling day by day and I hope to see the day when we get rid oh his name forever.

Al-Sahhaf is getting funny, he’s denying the existence of events using words only, and then we see pictures for these events. He wants us to believe his words and deny what we see. It’s weird that some people do believe him.
The electric power has returned to some areas but still very interrupted and so is the water supply. People think that the power stations are sound but some towers have been destroyed during the battles.

The sound of field cannons can be heard everywhere in Baghdad and the news is talking about coalition troops at the outskirts of Baghdad.
The British troops secure the city of Al-Zubair and discover a mass grave in a warehouse; the victims are supposed to be Iranian fighters from the 80s. Their bodies were wrapped in nylon bags put in coffins and given numbers.
Some families continued to leave Baghdad and the road to the east is still very crowded.

I noticed an artillery unit under the bridge near our district, I hope they don’t use it; from this distance the sound will crack our ears.
The fights are still going on with the remaining troops of the republican guards at the outskirts of Baghdad.
No one expected that the battles would reach this stage after only 2 weeks. 2 weeks were enough to reach Baghdad, this is clear. I wonder why the media didn’t see this, no great battles happened and the coalition didn’t actually engage the Iraqi army in significant units. Most of the soldiers and officers I know left their positions and now are staying at home. Everyone wants to see the end, even the army.
Prices of goods are rising in a crazy fashion, there’s no definite price for exchange, some may exchange the dollar for 4500 id, others may exchange it for 4000 id only.
The prices of cigarettes increased more anything else, everyone is smoking and the stored amount is almost over. The more the excitement, the more we smoke.

By Mohammed.

Saturday, April 03, 2004
Days I do not want to forget.
The day, Thursday, the 3rd of April 2003.
It’s a special morning, clouds of smoke still covering Baghdad but there’s a growing feeling that we’re close to the end. The atmosphere is polluted because of the oil trenches but still not enough to hide the beautiful sun of April.
The scene of the roses in the garden is so beautiful and the good new is that one of our date palms is giving signs of growing dates this year for the first time.
People in the streets are nervous and confused as there is more information coming about the coalition troops approaching Baghdad.
Army vehicles, tanks, missile launchers and field cannons are retreating to Baghdad and gathering in the residential neighborhoods (the bastards are taking positions near our houses and we started to see trucks loaded with ammunition hiding in the neighborhood’s narrow streets. This is scary, are they going to fight from here? They’ll destroy everything?).
The news today say that the coalition troops are now only 20 km from Baghdad and we’re hearing rumors that some sectors in the south of Baghdad are being evacuated from civilians, after a short while we got a confirmation that the rumor is true; my uncle came with his family this noon after they left their house (in an area adjacent to the airport) he said that he woke up in the morning to find that some soldiers have opened the out door and put some boxes of artillery ammunition in his garden. He said, “Who can disobey those guys or even try to negotiate with them. I left the house and I couldn’t even show my objection”. My uncle was so sad; it was hard for him to leave the house that he spent years building it; he’s a father for 5 children and he doesn’t even want to think about the fate of his house and we tried everything to reassure him but it was useless.

Events are coming fast and the news now say that the troops are now 10 km away from the airport. We are really excited but having the army units hiding among our houses is the scariest thing.
It’s night now and here comes the most important update “the coalition controls 80% of the airport” Oh God, they’re so close! Many families started to escape our neighborhood heading towards the governorate of Deyala. The street is very crowded by the cars heading east and anxiety is seen clearly in the faces.

Ok, Baghdad is surrounded from the south and I think the Americans will not attack until they surround Baghdad from all directions. Now we have the last chance to escape through the eastern way but today the decision is taken; we will stay and we will live the moment.
The sound of the jet fighters and bombing has increased tonight, and then the thing we were afraid of finally happened (electricity is gone) we went to the roof to face a scene that is more like fiction, heavy darkness covering the entire city and not a bit of light at the horizon. I can’t see anything few meters away; the shut down involved the whole electricity network supplying Baghdad. It’s a moonless night but the stars are shining so bright. However, we can enjoy this charming, unique view for the sky.
All we have now is the radio, candles and a battery torch. Starting from tomorrow we’ll have to depend completely on the generator. The second surprise is that the water supplies have stopped completely. Ok, we have prepared for this too but life is now very dismal without the light and TV. The explosions sounds are now clearer.

It seemed that I had nothing to do but trying to sleep early but with firs try to lie on the bed and after a few minutes I heard a strange sound; a series of what seemed to be doubled blasts the first one was muffled followed few seconds later by a frank explosion.
I left the room to see that every body have rose too, we looked at each other wondering “what is this?” we haven’t heard such type of explosions yet. My father calmly explained to us the nature of these blasts “these are the sounds of field cannons” (this may not seem frightening to a man like my father who served 30 years in the army but for us; we got panicked) We went outside to see the sky lightens every few seconds with the flash of cannon fire. It is a field battle! And a close one. This is strange, scary and great at the same time; we felt happy, as we knew we’re now so close to the end but we also felt very worried. The atmosphere reminded me of a scene from (gone with the wind) where the union army unexpectedly arrived at the southern city where most of the events of the novel took place, we were taken completely by surprise but the difference here is that we’re happy to see the (union) so close.
The end is much closer than we all expected.
By Mohammed.

Friday, April 02, 2004
Fallujah and a flashback.
Like most Iraqis I was shocked to what happened in Fallujah and till now the Iraqi street condemns what happened and reject it. Even the mosques today including the major one in Fallujah condemned the horrible crime. But what I want to do today is an attempt to remind the others of our tragedy. You can now comprehend the extent of the crime that took place in Iraq for the past 35 years. We were ruled by people like those who committed the crime in Fallujah. Every day we were shocked by scenes like these for our beloved ones our children our thinkers and artists; our bodies were mutilated for 35 years.

You have the right to be shocked and we have the right to scream out loud this is the scene we were forced to see again and again for decades; amputation of limbs decapitation, cutting tongues, casting limbs in concrete, mincing human flesh. You probably have heard of Uday’s iron coffin but have you heard of the “the Ba’ath flame”? Which meant that the prisoner would be chained and stripped of his clothes and then he would be splashed with gasoline to be set on fire until he dies. You can imagine what the comrades of such prisoners would feel while the see and hear the screams and feel the smell of the burning human flesh. I wonder if you saw the tape that Al-Jazeera put right after the war where 3 prisoners were wrapped with dynamite to be blasted in a bloody party so that the barbarians can enjoy their revenge.

We will never forget how the hungry dogs and Uday’s tigers and lion were used to be set free to eat the people -who opposed Saddam- alive.
We used to whisper these events to each other and hear from those who escaped death about all kinds of torture that mankind had forgotten or even never thought of.

We used to see brothers and friends disappear after going to work or shopping without knowing what happened to them.
Can you imagine what it would be like when a girl get raped in front of her family or the wife in front of her husband to force a “confession”?
We were terrorized to death and despite that we resisted and all kinds of weapons were used against us including WMDs.
We’re not cowards and we will never allow those people to make a come back.
You must remember very well that we’re fighting together and we face death every day, more than 500 IP members were killed and many Iraqi contractors or labor men and women who worked with the CPA to build a new Iraq but we will never despair and we’re ready to give more sacrifices so that what happened will never recur.
Do not ask for what is beyond our capabilities; we’re passing through exceptional circumstances ands we’re doing our best against terrorism. Every day one of those terrorists get arrested by the CPA the American officials announce that they got help from the people of Iraq who had made up their minds and put their feet on the right track to change without even thinking about taking a look backwards.
My sincere condolences to the families of the victims. Our fight is one and your loss is ours.

By Mohammed.

Days I do not want to forget.
The beginning of the collapse.

-The day, Wednesday, the 2nd. Of April 2003.
The rhythm of the events is getting faster and it seems that the collapse of the regime is so close. The situation changed today after the important achievement of the coalition forces when they crossed the Tigris River north to Al-Kut. Now the troops are 40 Km only from Baghdad, mean while, the 3rd. infantry division succeeds in crossing an important bridge over the Euphrates and now taking positions about 30 Km south west of Baghdad.
These events made us stick to our maps for a long time trying to figure out where the troops have reached but the movement is so fast and we can’t predict what’s going to happen tomorrow.
The prominent victory of the day is entering Najaf. The folks are welcoming the liberators and the religious leaders advise the citizens to stay calm and not to interfere with the troops’ job.
The scene is so exciting; they’ve got their freedom, tears came to my eyes watching the city getting free from horror, at last. Oh Najaf, you’ve suffered enough from the tyrant and now it’s time for you to enjoy freedom.
The wonderful picture was the behavior of the American soldiers when the citizens asked them to stay out of the shrine. We are not familiar with such scenes. It was thought that some of the Fedayeen were hiding inside the shrine; the well-trained and equipped forces respect the unarmed civilian who has nothing but a request and the soldiers lower their guns and retreat from the shrine’s yard.
This is the first time I see force respect an opinion. I’ll never forget this; I’ve learned something new today. I owe you a lot soldiers; you proved how courageous and humane you are; I hope that Baghdad’s day will come soon.
The troops are still moving fast. This day is full of events. There are rumors in Baghdad that the coalition forces crossed the red line (which is supposed to be the limit after which Saddam will use chemical weapons). There also news telling that Baghdad division and Al-Madina division of the republican guard have been destroyed.
The atmosphere in Baghdad is very tense and we started to see troops from the regular army heading south in an attempt to compensate for the losses; the tanks and vehicles are already looking exhausted and I don’t think they’ll make it to the front line.
Saddam appears on TV smiling to his army leaders trying to tell that the situation is still under control! But the opposite is much truer.
The Kurdish militias cross the border line and take control of the sites that were abandoned by the retreating army.

An exceptional operation succeeds to rescue a 19-year-old female POW from the general hospital in Nassiriyah with the help of an Iraqi citizen.
People in Baghdad are expecting anything to happen now and we in the house made a meeting for the family council. The situation is serious and there’s fear that Saddam may use chemical weapons so we have to modify our plans to face the challenge; do we have to stay? Or do we have to leave Baghdad? I suggested that the others should leave and I stay here to protect the house in case things become chaotic in Baghdad. The truth is that I want to stay because I can’t resist the desire to see what I’ve waited for years. Everyone discovered this and my mother refused to leave unless we all leave. The debate was hard and lasted for more than an hour and in the end we agreed to keep the decision suspended and to act according to the coming events. However we prepared a small bag in which we put all the important documents and our Ids with all the cache and jewelry we had so that we can leave fast as soon as we decide to. We also stocked up some extra fuel for the car that will be enough to get us to Mendily city near the borders with Iran where some of our relatives live; the city is far and therefore protected from what may happen.
As a matter of fact, I made up my mind and I’ll never leave even if it cost me my life.

By Mohammed.

::A senior Iraqi cleric condemns the crime in Fallujah.

Thursday, April 01, 2004
Crime and punishment.
What happened in Fallujah yesterday, when foreigner contractors were killed and disfigured, was more than I could take. I felt extremely angry, disgusted frustrated and desperate. What was worse is that it’s not the first time, nor do I feel it will be the last. There was nothing I could say to explain it, and in fact I don’t want to, nor do I expect anyone to understand. However it made me think a lot trying to understand why such things happen and how to respond to them.

If I was living outside Iraq, I probably wouldn’t bother this much and I would settle with saying that evil exists everywhere in the world and that we shouldn’t generalize this, which is true, but since I live with evil next door, I can’t satisfy with just concluding. I find myself forced to look for answers that may help to stop this madness and to put this country on the right track. I’m not stupid enough to think that I can do it alone, of course, but at least I can do my part, joining those who went there before me, and waiting for others to do the same.

Before going further, I’d like to say that we still have to work our minds while we combat evil and should never surrender to anger alone. There are many criminals involved in this terrible crime on different levels. There are those who preformed the attack (the terrorists), there are those who disfigured and cut the bodies of the victims, (the savages) and there are those who cheered the process, (the disgusting potential criminals) and last but not least the Arab media who celebrated that horrible event and kept showing those scenes again and again. All these should be punished according to their crime.
I’m not going to bother myself with the reasons behind the crimes committed by the terrorists and the savages, and I think we all know the motives of the Arab media, which I have deleted from my list forever and will never watch again. They’re serving the terrorists goal by terrorizing both the coalition people and the Iraqis who cooperate with them and they want to create and promote hatred and distrust between the Arab Muslim world and the west, and discourage those who don’t carry such hatred on either part, all in the favor of the dictators who finance them. These should not be dealt with as journalists; they are a disgrace to this honorable profession.
The only people that I think should be punished less severely are those kids and teenagers who were cheering that terrible act. These are just children who never heard a voice other than that of the mullahs and Saddam’s propaganda, which is still working with no less efficiency, thanks to Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia. They probably haven’t seen any place other than their poor miserable town. Still they should be taught a hard lesson.
The problem with many Iraqis is that they still don’t understand the meaning of freedom, as some of them look at the present situation and the semi absence of punishment as an opportunity to do whatever they want, as was shown by the last riot in Basra lately (which I know that it was carried by a group of professional criminals who claim to be an Islamic She’at group, who are supported and financed from Iran in the obvious hope of starting a civil war or at least a considerable disturbance, and should be dealt with seriously). These people should be lectured about that and when this fails they should be forced to follow the law and respect human life and values. They should know that the absence of a sovereign government does not mean the absence of law.

The CPA should by now have distinguished Iraqis who are cooperative and willing to build a new Iraq, and those who are just not satisfied with them or just have some complains, from those who are (immune to reform) and they have dealt with the second group quite patiently and wisely and gained many allies. Now it’s time to deal with the third group and this should be done firmly. We have the tapes that show the faces of most of those who took part in committing and celebrating that crime and I’ve heard that the CPA is already following them and I hope this will be done soon, but I must add that even those who were just cheering, should be arrested, sentenced to prison for a long period and that this should be shown on the Iraqi TV and all the media, so that the others, especially those who fear the terrorists should learn to fear the law if they can’t respect it.
I for my part have decided, instead of cursing the darkness to light a candle that I know very well it may burn me and my family. I’ll report anyone I even suspect of cooperating or knowing something about the terrorists. And to those who might wonder why this should be a risk, I think the answer is that-despite the great improvement in their performance and ethics- there’s still a considerable number of corrupted members on the IP and even agents for the terrorists and one just wishes to be lucky not to contact the wrong guys, and even the CPA is not a very promising alternative, since they need hard solid evidence, which is quite good in natural circumstances, but unfortunately not available most of the time, and just for the record, this is not the first time I do this. I think they need to be more hard on those who are strongly suspected on committing or helping terrorist attacks, so that the people who turn them in will not fear their revenge once they are released, which happened many times. I’m not calling for violence like that of Saddam’s, I’m calling for enforcement of law and justice and I’m ready to do my part. We are going through a very critical period and strict punishment should be applied to those who try to hinder the development or further disturb an already unstable situation.

Anyhow, my life and my family’s are not more precious than those of all the victims of terror, and I’ve already sent messages to the CPA of all the information I have about people I have strong suspicions about, and who are supposed to be my people and some of them are actually related to me or consider me a friend or a neighbor but simply I don’t consider them so anymore, not until they denounce terrorist activities and stop cheering them as resistance, as my friends and my family are those who help me and the Iraqi people and whish the best for me and for Iraq. In case that will not work I’ll take the risk of going to the IP. The reason is why I’m doing this now and not before is because I don’t have solid evidences and it’s almost impossible to contact the coalition forces directly, but I’m also SICK of living with fear and I’m sick of getting, with all the good Iraqis and Muslims, the blame because of these terrorists and barbarians, because this only serves the terrorists plan, that is to block any way of communication and understanding between Muslims and others, and they use comments made by westerns in such times to show the other Muslims that hatred is eternal between them and all the others.

This is not between Isalmists and the west, not between Saddam loyalists and America this is between good and evil, light and darkness and I can’t sit and watch or explain anymore. You can say, “Nuke Mecca” or “nuke Fallujah” and you can chose the Spanish government’s attitude and submit to terror, or you can join us (Iraqis and coalition) in fighting dictatorship, terrorism and their-no less evil and damaging- propaganda machine. I call for serious measures upon such channels that provoke hatred and celebrate terror and show it as a heroic action. I say, “‘nuke’ Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia, the terrorists and all dictators in the world. It’s either us or them”. The evil TV channels should be prevented from entering Iraq and spew their poisons into the minds of simple people. They’re more dangerous than the terrorists themselves and no rigid concepts such as ‘freedom of speech’ should stop us here. This is not journalism, its terror propaganda.

I don't think there's a need to change the coalition strategy in Iraq in a radical way, it's a very good one, but needs some fine adjustments. I think what should be done is that we go on with our plans to build a new free and democratic Iraq and show the people the benefits and beauty of freedom, but at the same time we should deal firmly with those who act only in response to hatred and fear and have no respect for any law or human values, in other words people who made it necessary that every country should have an efficient law system supported by a powerful police to make sure that law is respected and to punish, and even eliminate when it’s necessary, those who don’t fit in the society.

We have suffered enough to get our freedom, thanks to our friends who sacrificed much to achieve their peace and ours, and we can’t turn back and we will never accept slavery again. No, better to die free than live as slaves for our fears.

By Ali.

Days I do not want to forget.
-The day, Tuesday, the 1st of April 2003.
The regime’s headquarters and communication centers are still the primary targets for the coalition air forces. Air raids are continuous and we can hear the sound of jet fighters all day and night flying at low altitudes over Baghdad.
Air raids have targeted locations on the borderlines between Kurdstan and Kirkuk and Mosul.
Food aids reach the liberated areas and they’re being distributed to the citizens. I really don’t think that there’s a great need for food and as we never witnessed a famine in Iraq and I don’t think it’s possible now.
The British forces are tightening the circle around Basra and the citizens are still escaping the city with great numbers. Liberating Basra will have a great influence on the war; we need a victory and a victory in Basra will accelerate the fall of the regime.
Today I’ve heard about battles around No’maniyah. I know this area well, it seems that the troops are accomplishing their tasks well in their way to Baghdad but there’s still a lot of mysteriousness covering the movement and direction of these troops.
Today we were talking about Rumsfelds speech in which he refused the idea of doing any negotiations with the regime. He stated also that the only way to stop the operations is unconditioned surrender by the regime. Everyone agrees that Saddam must surrender and we agreed that Saddam -as usual- would not make the right decision.

By Mohammed.


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