Friday, December 31, 2004

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE...celebratory gunfire is heard here in Baghdad!

Happy New Year.

I couldn't decorate my tree with lights
Because I don't have enough electricity to do that
I decorated it with candles…….and it looks more romantic this way

Yes, we still celebrate the arrival of a new year
And we still exchange hugs and wishes
And we still dream of a better new year
Sorry, pessimists, we didn't lose hope in Iraq yet
And we didn't decide to surrender
The churches still ring their bells and the car bombs couldn't stop my people from going there and hold their prayers
We just placed a block on the street
To stop the terrorists, not the visitors

A lady from New York asked me.
Do kids go to school in Iraq?
Yes ma'am; millions of them and every day
We still read and learn and we still hunger for knowledge

Yes we have our fears and who doesn't have fears
But our love for life is stronger
Yes we still hope that the coming year will be a better and a safer one
Yes we still care for others' pains and sufferings
And we feel sad for the world's disaster
Our concerns didn't stop us from praying for all the people of the world
Our coming year will be better, trust me
I see this crystal clear

We've placed signs of challenge in the streets instead of the New Year's decorations;


We still dream of a democratic Iraq ruled by the law
And this is something we deserve…this is the land of the first law in history
I still find my home in Iraq… it's still the best place in the world in my eyes
I will not waste a minute listening to the pessimists
Instead, I will add a brick to the house we're building
And I will write a word….and pray

I will pray for the ones who fought for the Iraqi freedom
I will pray for the hundreds of thousands who won't spend the night with their families, staying awake on the front line to keep me safe
I will pray for the ones who gave their lives for the sake of others' wellbeing
I will pray for those who went through all the pains
And never lost hope
I will pray for a free and democratic Iraq
I will pray for the world's peace

Happy New Year.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

God bless all the lists

The electoral campaigns are heating up in Iraq and the elections are occupying greater portion of the Iraqis' thinking.
Many people keep asking me about how broad is the Iraqis' interest in the elections? What's the expected percentage of participation in the upcoming elections? As the vision for the world regarding these issues is still blurred, so I'd like to clarify few related points:
First of all, lots of people and parties try to speak on behalf of Iraqis and I tell them "we're capable of expressing ourselves and no one can play this role other than Iraqis themselves".

The situation here indicates that a great percentage of Iraqis are WITH the elections and are looking forward to participate in the process and truly I don't know why the media insists on showing the voices that oppose the elections that represent parties swimming against the majority's current and chose violence and terror as a way to deal with the people and this is a striking evidence for their failure because if they were representing the general will of the people we would've seen peaceful activities in which the sons of Iraq take part, the thing that didn't happen because Iraqis are certain that the elections fall into the interest of the whole population (except of course for the terrorists and the remnants of the dead regime).
Iraqis' response to terror was so clear; after the terrorists, or the so called insurgents threatened to slaughter anyone who participates in the elections, 7200 Iraqis rushed to announce their candidacy. YES, 7200 Iraqis representing more than 200 different political parties and I believe this makes the image clearer for the viewer.

And to remove the fog and debunk the claims about the Sunni population being against the democratic process, I want to point out that tens of the political parties come from the Sunni population. Moreover you almost can't find a single list that lacks Sunni candidates in it, even lists from She'at, Kurdis, Christian or liberal parties.

Iraq is bigger than the small tension spots that you hear about from the news. If you take a look at the map you'll find that 13 provinces are enjoying peace and almost a normal life while people in the remaining 5 provinces are also practicing a normal life in wide regions of these provinces. The troubles and the poor security situation are localized to certain regions in the cities and some suburbs around the cities.
That's why we must not impose one fact over the whole larger story.

I've traveled in the past week in several cities in the north, south and middle of Iraq and the common finding in the streets was tons of elections' posters encouraging people to join the elections and in some cases advertising for the policies of the competing political parties.

The beautiful thing is that everyone has absorbed the process of peaceful and civilized competition; words and conferences are the weapons in this competition.
The escalation in terror attacks couldn't break the determination of the people to move on towards their goals. There's a common feeling that elections will be a success and will be a good step in improving the security situation although people realize that these attacks won't cease to occur soon after the elections.

The primary goal for terrorism now is to hinder the democratic process and to stop as many people as they can from giving their votes. That's why accomplishing the task will deny the terrorists their weapons which is the claim that the government doesn't represent the people and I think that they will accuse the elections of being unfair or illegal because they were done under "occupation".

However this isn't going to convince the people because when that time comes the people will see the fact that they were the ones who chose the representatives and not someone from outside.
I'd like to say again that the activities and the events filling the streets and the conferences and seminars held everywhere even in the most remote villages send a clear message saying that Iraqis do want to change and they want to participate in pushing the process forwards until the authorities are democratically elected.

During my last visit to the south I met many ordinary people, journalists and people from NGO's and I got a confirmation that Ayatollah Sistani didn't bless any particular list of candidates.
I've seen many posters with slogans like "vote for the list blessed by the Hawza" being taken down by people from the SCIRI after a short time from posting them as the people began to question the credibility of the statements on such posters. When I asked one of the local officials from the SCIRI about that he said "the Ayatollah blessed this list" and when I asked for a proof for that he said that they don't have a proof and added "we know that Ayatollah wants to see people vote for this list and then I asked "is there a written fatwa about that?" the answer was "no, but it's an internal discussion among the members of the list".

Everyone I asked said that Sistani blessed all the lists through a written fatwa that I read and it was calling the people to vote for the best choice regardless of religion or ethnicity.
The most interesting phenomenon that caught my attention was that the majority of the parties are trying to make their lists include elements from all the segments of the Iraqi population. Even the lists of the religious parties included technocrats and liberals and all the lists tried to include Arabs, Kurds, Muslims (Sunni and She'at), Turkmen, Christians and even people from the Yazeedi and Subbi minorities.

This clearly says that everyone is trying to please the people and their wish to have an Iraqi list that is not limited to a certain religion or ethnic group.
For the first time we see the politicians trying to please the people, not enforce their word on the people.
And this indicates also that everyone realizes that the list has got to be IRAQI and this is what Iraqis want. You will not find a single list that represents only one segment because people know that such a list would definitely lose.
One last thing, two posters drew my attention and brought delight to my heart and that was in the south:

"Take the hands of your disabled and your elders and help them vote"
"No to forgiveness checks and false promises. Yes to a vision of reality"

By mohammed.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine writes about a post on Mohammed Ali Abtahi's blog.
The post, which was translated to English by another Iranian blogger talks about some Iranian bloggers being subjected to psychological and physical torture.
If the information in this post is true, then I think we should pay more attention to the situation of bloggers under oppressive regimes such as the one in Iran.
I just want to add that if the story took place under Saddam's regime, the torture would've been doubled or tripled. Maybe it was an advantage that I couldn't blog at that time!

Monday, December 27, 2004

In the last two days I was busy putting my blog together after that mysterious error and it seems that I overlooked some very important stuff and missed some news that require a stop.
The one I'm trying to point at is THIS.
I saw that not a few bloggers have already addressed this……Damn it, I can't find a word to describe it. Anyway I just want to add few words from my personal experience.
Haifa street is not a preferred choice for Baghdadis when they want to go for a walk or even for regular movement because of the dangerous alliance that was born several months ago between the Ba'athists who have the money and the regular criminals who are alwyas hungry for money and these criminals inhabit the old neighborhood close to this street.

And I believe it's become a sinister spot for journalists who work for foreign media after one of them got killed in a helicopter rocket attack during some clashes between the terrorists and the coalition troops some time ago.
So, what the f*** was that photographer doing with his equipment at that particular moment, in that particular spot?

An explanation is needed….No wait, what would I do with a stupid explanation!
I demand an investigation on this incident, immediately because frankly I'm tired of watching this happening again and again and I'm tired of talking about such suspicious activities from some news networks. Once it was Al Jazeera, the second time it was Al Arabiya and now it's AP.

Who's going to get killed next? And who's going to cover it live?

Sunday, December 26, 2004

I was living a nightmare yesterday because of some stupid error with bloggeer or maybe with my ISP's server. I couldn't view my blog and all I could get was a blue screen, no posts, no side-bar…..simply nothing!
I went to take a look at my template and found that most of it was missing.
I was telling myself, OH MY God, everything is gone. I even considered moving to a new URL which would mean losing all the history of the past 13 months.

With a miracle, I found an old backup file that contains a previous version of the template contents, I uploaded it and again, nothing but a blue page. I went to haloscan and searched for new comments and it was kind of a relief to find new comments coming (which means someone CAN view the blog) and I began to read them through haloscan in a desperate attempt to remain in touch with my blog and the readers.

Only this morning I could see my blog again. What a relief!

I don't know if you noticed that mess or not because I'm not sure of the source of the defect but I'm sure you noticed that many of the side-bar links are missing and I received some e mails from the readers saying that the comments link either doesn't exist or they can't post their comments onto it.
Replacing the lost links and preparing a full report of the damages and fixing them will take some time.
Please accept my apologies for this inconvenience.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

It's really hard for us that a beautiful occasion like Christmas comes in sad days like the ones we've been through in Iraq last week.
We lost tens of our Iraqi brothers in Najaf, Kerbala and other Iraqi cities. Those people did nothing wrong except dreaming of a normal life; a dream that is seen as a crime in the eyes of the terrorists.
And we lost tens of our friends in the coalition who did nothing wrong but helping Iraqis in making their dreams come true; and that's another crime in the eyes of the terrorists.

It's never easy for us to see the blood of our brothers and friends being shed everyday but we should also remember that great goals to be achieved need great sacrifices and now it's our duty; we, who are still breathing must make sure that the priceless blood of our brothers and friends was not shed in vain and we should remember that the sacrifices they made were made for a noble reason.

Huge responsibilities are waiting for us; responsibilities towards the coming generations and responsibilities towards the brave ones who sacrificed their lives on the frontline.
We cannot let despair walk into our hearts now and we must keep the faith in our cause and keep the hard work until the dreams of our loved ones come true and I believe we should learn the lesson from the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ who offered his life for the cause he believed in and struggled for; freedom and justice.

Lets all pray for the souls of those who lost their lives defending freedom and justice.

Merry Christmas everyone and may the next Christmas come in better days.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Rose describes briefly her experience with Christmas in Baghdad and writes a little about the social bonds among Iraqis from different religions, ethnicities..etc

"The Iraqis have strong bonds between them, in spite of religion or ethnic differences, we all work together, have neighbors from other religions, visit each other and respect our differences. my neighbors are shias, my best friends are Christians and Kurds and I’m Sunni"
It's a nice post, read the rest here.
Fayrouz has some good news about a center that offers information technology to Iraqi children for free!

"More than 130 Iraqi boys and girls, aged 8-14, from 17 different schools in the Karrada area attend a two-hour computer course every day, delivered by fresh university graduates who volunteer to teach the children"

"We teach these children for free. Most of them come from families who cannot afford to have a computer in there homes," says Mithal Alaa, 27, who studied at the Nationalist Computer Science Centre under the old regime.

Another good thing about this is :

"The Karrada Cultural Center for Youth Computer Teaching" is located in a villa which used to belong to one of the bodyguards of Saddam Hussein, before he was toppled in April 2003"

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I think that we owe the readers some clarifications regarding what happened in the last couple of weeks and we apologize for not posting anything about that.
We were very busy during our visit to the States that we couldn't find the time to communicate with our readers.
Those days were very special ones and we never felt like strangers there; we were surrounded with love and respect where ever we went. We were amazed by the endless support and good will that the American people have for Iraq.
Everyone was saying "we're praying for your people and your country".
It's been a great opportunity to meet many of our dear readers and respectable bloggers like Jeff Jarvis and Roger Simon and many other friends who kept following and supporting "Iraq the Model" throughout the past 13 months.

We weren't, and will not be afraid of anyone when it comes to what we are trying to do for our country; we have faced many challenges during the lifetime of "Iraq the Model" and our readers know that, and we have always confronted the challenges and accusations that come from people who offensively and illogically oppose our pursue for truth and freedom.

Ali's decision to leave the blog is a personal decision that neither I nor Mohammed want, or have the right to interfere with, but I'm sure that he had his reasons which he preferred to keep for himself, at least for now.
Anyway, he only left the blog because he thinks he can serve his country in a better way through doing other things but we still hope that he will reconsider his decision.

We want to emphasize that neither I nor my brothers have changed our opinion about the American people and we're still grateful for the people who risked and sacrificed to liberate Iraq from the tyrant and that we haven't faced any ill treatment from any American in Iraq.

The other issue that I want to give some clarifications about is our visit to the States because the press and some bloggers began to make up stories based more on assumptions than on facts.

We were primarily invited (as Iraqi bloggers) to attend a conference for international bloggers in Harvard; an event that was attended by bloggers from Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, China and many other countries in addition to bloggers from the States.

The main reason why we accepted this invitation was because of "Arabic blogging tool" that was going to be demonstrated in the event because we believe that this tool can provide the opportunity for interested people in Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab region to freely publish their ideas and opinions onto the web to give the audience outside this region a better understanding on the political and social situation in this part of the world without having to pass through the filters of the media or the governments. This will also provide a gateway through which those future bloggers can exchange their ideas and feel connected instead of isolated.

I want to add a few words about the "friends of democracy" and the "spirit of America" and the cooperation between these two groups; "spirit of America" is a humanitarian organization that implemented some successful humanitarian projects in Iraq and we are impressed with the good will of the people behind these projects and this is what drew our attention to this organization while "friends of democracy" is an Iraqi pro democracy NGO that is run by Iraqis who want to spread democracy in Iraq and Iraq the Model suggested the formation of the "friends of democracy" NGO and brought its members into contact with SOA, and we volunteered to assist both organizations in their work but we have nothing to do with their financial or administrative operations.

I just want to point out that "Iraq the model"-because of our humble experience in blogging-was interested in introducing the Arabic blogging tool (that spirit of America is developing in cooperation with a Canadian software company) to the friends of democracy which will eventually introduce this tool to the people who want to start their own blogs in Arabic.

The three of us will never quit fighting for freedom and democracy along with our brothers and sisters in Iraq and the rest of the world and now we're doing this with more confidence and faith in a better future as we knew that Americans supported freedom in Iraq but we had no idea how great this support is and how committed the American people are for the success in Iraq until we saw it in our trip.
Thank you again.
We will never disappoint you because basically we're fighting for our dream.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

This is the last time I write in this blog and I just want to say, goodbye. It's not an easy thing to do for me, but I know I should do it. I haven't told my brothers with my decision, as they are not here yet, but it won't change anything and I just can't keep doing this anymore.
My stand regarding America has never changed. I still love America and feel grateful to all those who helped us get our freedom and are still helping us establishing democracy in our country. But it's the act of some Americans that made me feel I'm on the wrong side here. I will expose these people in public very soon and I won't lack the mean to do this, but I won't do it here as this is not my blog.
At any rate, it's been a great experience and a pleasure to know all the regular readers of this blog, as I do feel I know you, and I owe you a lot.
Best wishes to all of you, those who supported us and those who criticized us as well.

Yours sincerely,

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Answers and clarifications.

Both Dr. Cole and the guy at Martini republic have responded to my last post (Still not linking to us!) trying to defend their original attack that was directed against us and those who support us.

While many good bloggers have already done a great job in refuting the silly accusations from both, I still feel there are few issues I have to address.

First, Dr Cole tried to twist what he said in a previous post about Fallujah and its role in the large 1920 rebellion, saying that what he meant was that Fallujah has been celebrated by Sunnis Arabs for its role in that revolt. He seems to have forgot what he said in a previous post when he repeated what another professor had said in that Fallujah has been celebrated by Iraqis, not only Sunnis, or maybe he is hoping that we may have forgot that. This is what he said in that post:

Most Americans do not realize that Fallujah is celebrated in Iraqi history and poetry for its defiance of the British in the Great Rebellion of 1920. The 1920 revolution against the British is key to modern Iraqi history. One of the guerrilla groups taking hostages named itself the "1920 Revolution Brigades." Western journalists who don't know Iraqi history have routinely mistranslated the name of this group
So why did he change his statement from "Iraqi history" to "Sunni Arabs"? Because he couldn't admit he was wrong and was hoping that he might get away with it if he twisted it a little.
But even that (Sunnis celebrating Fallujah) is not true at all, as it's not Fallujah that had a role in that fight but Dhari's tribe that live in "Khan Al Nukta" midway between Baghdad and Fallujah, while the major tribe in Fallujah and all "Anbar" was, and still is, "Al Dulaim" tribe which was, as I stated in my previous post, a strong ally for the British and never took part in that revolt and even threatened "Dhari" to leave their province or they would fight him. The other issue is that Sheik "Dari" himself was one of those Shiek tribes that were paid by the British and only joined the revolt after his son killed colonel Lichman when he couldn't stand the outrageous insults Lichman directed to his father.

As for polls, we never said that the vast majority of Iraqis love America, as I don't believe it's true and it's not true that the majority of Iraqis hate America also. However, the same polls that Dr. Cole rely on keep telling us that the majority of Iraqis favor elections and want them without delay, which should mean that the majority of Iraqis want democracy and that is what we say and want. So how can we be outside the main public opinion!? However, this is a highly subjective issue and we can wait for the upcoming elections and see how many Iraqis will vote and what they are going to vote for.

The other terrible misinformation is repeating what he (Dr. Cole) read from another specialist that there was a huge air bombardment of Fallujah to end their revolt. I cannot describe this with anything else than a lie, as all history books that I read about this revolt talked about a large scale air campaign in the middle Euphrates (Samawa, Diwaniyah, and Hilla mainly) and limited logistic support and back up around Baghdad and later in the north, particularly Mosul and Tala'afar. There was no mentioning whatsoever of any raid on Fallujah, and I challenge you and all your informed friends to provide one evidence that support your story!

As for the guys at MR, they kept complaining that "someone presenting himself as Ali posted that he would answer Joseph's questions on the Model blog, but did not address them." Well if you remember me asking you to clarify this domain thing to me, as I really didn't understand what he meant. Still you can look at your own comment section and find the answers, but I will try and answer your sharp questions that I tried to avoid, but what can I say! You got me! Ok let's take a look at those questions:
Were these bloggers prompted by invasion forces to start their blog?

No actually we were prompted by Zeyad and AYS who were prompted by Salam and got help from Jeff Jarvis. You can ask AYS and Zyead and Salam to verify that.

"Who was their contact for their unlikely Abiline, Texas domain host?"
I thought many people have already answered this. Our domain is a free one by google, while the domain was registered by one of our friends, a reader named Jeff Reed who also got the domain for Zeyad, AYS , Alaa, family in Baghdad and Riverbend. So whatever our friend Mr. Reed represents, your friend Riverbend and the anti-American family as well should be on the payroll of his group/organization or whatever you are accusing us or anyone supporting us with. You can mail all these people and check this too. I shouldn't need to tell you that as it was left in your own comment section:

"I saw your post mentioned on Juan Cole's blog and thought I'd add my two cents. I http://ancapistan.typepad.c... speculated once on this subject and received these emails from a person named Jeff Reed of CIATech solutions:[i]Hello,

I was rummaging through the Internet and happened upon your
site and a huge conspiracy theory on the Iraqi bloggers. As
far as I am concerned they are all legit, I have talked with
each of them. In the spirit of democracy and free thinking,
I registered:


for these bloggers to make it easier for people to get to
their sites. These are forwarded to their respective sites. CIATech Solution has nothing to do with
the US Government. It is just a web hosting company that
hosts the domain names.


Jeff Reed
I hope this end this stupid question that is not funny any more.

"Are the brothers now or have they ever been in any kind of American pay (beyond the largesse of their rightwing PayPal contributors)?"

Yes and no. Yes we were promised by "Spirit of America" to pay for the costs of our NGO "Friends of Democracy" and its projects to help build democracy in Iraq, and they said they have sent some money but we haven't got it yet.
Also we get donations from democrats, independent Americans, libertarians and liberals (true liberals) Australians, French, British, Iraqis abroad and from different countries through our pay pal.

"Why are We, the People of the United States, being invited (by our President, no less!) to care so much about what these particular brothers think, when polls out of Iraq indicate that their blog has historically run far, far outside of Iraqi mainstream thinking?"

Did Bush invite you to do that?! If so then I believe you should direct the question to him not me, as I was never invited to meet Bush (neither my brothers knew until they were there) and we don't know why he wanted that, but this is where I agree with you that those who did set up this meeting had their own motives that we don't share with them.

The thing that upset me the most is that if there are some powers that are trying to use us and our writings as propaganda tool, you and other bloggers as well as some of the media outlets are doing the same with anti-American Iraqi bloggers yet still have the nerve not only to criticize all those who support us (who are not exclusively conservatives) but also insult us and apply the worst description to our efforts and hopes in building our country, many times going as far as disfiguring facts and using stupid conspiracy theories.

When are both sides going to realize that it's not only about them! That there are millions of Iraqis, Afghanis, Iranians..Etc who are suffering daily and who are trying to find a solution and a way to achieve their dreams (with the help they are getting from America) and who do not have the slightest interest in supporting any party in America. The world is bigger than you and your partisan conflicts and frankly I'm getting sick of it. Take this crap somewhere else and leave us alone! We have enough problems to deal with and we are not interested in supporting any party anwhere, as simply we cannot afford the time or the effort.

-By Ali.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The return of the professor.

As I was looking through the blogosphere to find out more news about my brothers (they've been sending mails, but I needed to know more) I stumbled upon this post by martinirepublic. The author post some questions directed to us about the visit. I posted a comment there and got an answer from one guy not the author on the same column (you should really read the comment section. Amazingly funny guys with brilliant analysis!)

Joseph's post was picked up by our celebrated professor Dr. Juan Cole who added some interesting analysis but didn't forget to repeat Joseph's whining about poor little Riverbend and how she's not getting the attention she deserves, unlike us who are overrated. This seems strange when you know that she is linked by much more blogs than ours and when one sees that our blog was awarded the best middle east/Africa blog while she came on the 5th place and I know some people would say that the guys on that site are on the right wing but I don't suppose they were preventing anyone from voting for her!.

There were many comments on the blogosphere about this trip, most were applauding and few harshly criticizing and I know that each one has his motivation. In Iraq now there are those who are with the change and those who are against it. Each camp claims to be the majority, but even the polls that many people rely on say that the majority of Iraqis want the elections. So do us, while riverbend does not believe in the elections which should put her with the minority, but Dr Cole and Joseph among others still insist that her view represent the majority! And that is only when they accept that we are Iraqis, as there has been a great amount of suspicion about this too! We, the ones who have put our full true names, allowed to be photographed by a major newspaper like the USATODAY, interviewed by the BBC TV, and have formed a party that has been approved by the higher commission for Elections in Iraq and are forming coalitions with other parties, still have to prove that we are Iraqis. While someone using a pen name with no evidence whatever that he/she is actually living in Iraq is considered to be a "real Iraqi"! Can someone please tell me the philosophy behind such argument? As it has to be philosophy that can only try and solve such a mystery since logic won't possibly do.

So, back to topic, while the majority of Iraq is facing the little minority's hatred and terrorism on a daily basis and which is reflected in Iraqi blogs by pro and anti-American Iraqi blogs respectively, it was natural (but sad) for some powers inside each one of the two major political societies in America while they are divided as they have never been before, to adopt the perspective of one of the two and try to use their writings as propaganda tools in their struggle for power inside America. I keep telling myself that if we are ever going to lose this struggle for democracy in Iraq it would be the result of partisan conflicts either in Iraq or America.

However, if this means that we are definitely hired by such power on the right then it should mean that anti-American Iraqi bloggers would be very likely hired by some powers on the left. Can anyone agree on this?! I simply refuse both silly assumptions.

I must add that I believe that not all these people who criticized us are anti-democracy, communists or whatever the right wing calls them. They are just confused and they have every right to look at this tour (part of it) suspiciously. Which brings me to another point and that is some of our readers got me wrong after my last post. I'm not sad that my invitation was cancelled, as I have already decided by that time not to go. The truth is that I was very happy and relieved! I know that more clarifications are needed, and their will be!

Anyway, if you look at the Iraqi blogs you'll find the majority supporting the new Iraq even if complaining about the difficult situation now and then. Only 4 or so are purely anti-American, anti-democracy although they don't admit the later, and such statistics can't be just a coincidence. You can see a detailed list that contains most if not all Iraqi blogs on Iraqi Blog Count and you can do the math if you have the time and judge by yourself.

It seems to me, and as one of our readers suggested through a mail he wrote to me that our dear professor was very annoyed by one of my previous posts in which I, so rudely, dared to challenge his and one of his colleagues' knowledge/credibility. Instead of resorting to his supposedly gigantic store of information to prove his theory, he chose to wait for a better moment when our own credibility would be at stake and when someone else starts it so that it won't be personal. This brings some questions to my mind. Why did he not respond to that post as long as he knows about iraqthemodel? It seems from his words that he had read us before otherwise he wouldn't criticize us! Also, why not put a link to us so that his readers know what iraqthemodel is?! He did put a link to Riverbend although there was one in the original post he linked from. Is it that he does not want to give our site more hits and provide us with more readers? But that shouldn't be bad for him, as people would know how silly our site is! Is he afraid that some of these readers might actually not find enough evidence to support his claim, or that they might find out that post of mine that show how informed he is?

I've exposed you once Dr. Cole and so I did to you precious Riverbend, but I, and my brothers have great expectations for our country and we spend most of our time trying to make them come true. However, if you ever insult my brothers again, I'll make sure to make time for you with a free bonus to your Riverbend. So don't let me put you on my mind or else you'd better focus on something other than Iraq. Talk about Lebanon, or Yemen. Yemen is good! You haven't messed up with a Yemeni blogger I assume? Or if you can't live without talking about Iraq, then keep it poetic. It saves my time and your reputation.

-By Ali.

Arthur Chrenkoff has another round up of good news from Afghanistan. I can't stop feeling amazed whenever I see the enormous effort Arthur puts in his blog trying to show some of the untold news about Iraq and Afghanistan, and I keep wondering, "On who's payroll is he?! Poor "anti-war" bloggers, who toil just for the sake of truth living only on wine and french bread.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Some corrections.

Some blogs were reporting about my brothers' visit to the states and I was waiting for them to give us an update but it seems that they have been too busy to do that. And out of respect to our readers I thought I should post something especially that there has been some confusion about the trip.

First, some blogs referred to my brothers as "Mohammed and Omar Ali" which was confusing to others and even some of our readers and I wasn't surprised that Andrew Sullivan thought he was supposed to meet Omar and Ali (I still hope we could meet some day Mr. Sullivan). Only our dear friend Arthur Chrenkoff corrected this in Power Line blog (Thank you Arthur). We were always known as the Fadhils brothers and I don't know who made this confusing change and why, but I have an idea about it. We were all invited in the beginning and I was very excited to meet our friends that we met through this blog, and I wanted to be able to say "Thank you America" in America, but I decided few days before the trip not to go (for reasons that I'll discuss in the future, probably). However, my invitation was cancelled even before I tell the people who set up the trip about my decision. So I asked Mohammed and Omar to go ahead, as I thought it might be good for our project "Friends of Democracy" and Iraq.

I still hope to visit America some day, but I would love this to happen normally, and not through exceptional procedures and I would be so happy to meet all my American friends and to say thank you to the American people.
More on this in the future, probably.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Right Wing News has put up the results for their "Annual Warblogger Awards" with 47 bloggers as judges. There were many categories of course, and Iraq the Model was selected by the judges as the best non-American blog! Although we feel privileged by such award but honestly I think we don't deserve it, as there are so many great non American bloggers out there, but maybe part of the reason is what John said in that the voters were mostly from the Wright side of the blogosphere.

Speacking of the sides of the blogosphere, I wanted to say that I only knew about the left side of the blogosphere months after we started. I thought that the right side was the whole thing, as in the beginning I thought we were just posting our thoughts 'into the darkness' and get lots of visitors without having any idea were they come from except Iraqi blogs. Later we found about the major blogs such as Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, Buzz Machine, LGF, Tim Blair, Roger Simon, Right Wing news…Etc and for long months I thought these were the only major bloggers! I didn't know because these were the sites linking to us and from were we get lots of visitors and when I used to go to their sites I would find a somewhat similar list. It turned out to be that the other side top bloggers rarely if ever mentioned us or other Iraqi blogs except for the very anti-American ones. I realized lately that the blogosphere was divided into two major parts with very few bridges.

When I started looking at the 'enemy' I found out that most of them were not that horrible! They disagree with us and our friends and supporters on the right side but they feel no shame in reporting good things that can actually show their points of view as being not valid. Then I looked back at our blog index after getting many remarks like "just look at to whom these guys link! Instapundit and Chief Wiggles!" and, "Can you believe an Arab Muslim would link to LGF?? With their extreme anti-Arab, anti-Muslim tone!" and I was thinking, "Why not!? What's wrong with that? They support Iraq in her struggle! And how can they be anti- Arab if they support us?!"

It was really confusing to me in the beginning that liberals would not support the change in Iraq (remember we were isolated so we didn't know much about that) even though they were against Bush, as it's over now and any humanist should (in my mind) support democracy and peace in Iraq. Besides, I've always considered myself a liberal! On the other side, I had a bad impression that many of the people on the right were fanatics and racist! How much did we learn in this year!

Anyway, I still consider myself a liberal (a conservative one) and I intend to add some of the moderate liberal blogs to our sidebar, but of course I would never change my mind about our friends and supporters, and I don't care what people label them as. I judge people by their stand.
Thanks a lot to all those who voted for us and I hope we can meet your expectations.

Apologies for the long pause. To start with, here are some -much under-told- good news from Iraq, reported as usual by Arthur Chrenkoff. Check them out.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Annual blog awards.

I found out today that "Iraq the Model" is nominated for the best Middle East or Africa blog in the annual weblog awards. It seems that our blog is leading for now, but the vote is not closed yet, so you're welcomed to vote for us of course, or any of your favorite blogs not just in this category but in others too, as there are several awards for several categories.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Securing the death road.

Ten days ago, and just before I was heading to my work station in Samawa, I got a phone call from my colleagues warning me from tacking the road the passes through Latifriyah and at that time the news coming from that spot was indicating a close military operation to put an end for the domination of the criminals over that segment of the road to the south.

The significant piece of news at that day was blowing up a small bridge over a small canal near Latifiyah, the small town that turned into a junk yard for burnt vehicles and a slaughter house for Iraqis; officials, IP and ING members and even civilians. Not to mention that all governmental offices were destroyed there.

So, I decided to take the other road that passes along the Tigris River and it wasn't surprising to find that most taxis and buses have switched to that longer but safer road (takes two extra hours) and of course doubled the fees for each passenger but we were all satisfied and we didn't mind paying more money to have a safer ride.
During the days I spent in Samawa I was following the news closely and they were kind of encouraging after the news came telling stories about busting a number of terrorists' networks there.

Finally we heard that the "road is now clear and secure" and yesterday I had the chance to check this statement myself, as I decided to go back to Baghdad using this particular road. At the town garage I talked to some cab drivers who confirmed that the road is safe enough. So the trip began and I was still having some worries and I could see the same on the faces of the other passengers who were with me in the same car. They were telling each other some horrible stories that took place on this road and the closer we were getting to Latifiyah the more disturbed and worried we became. Cell phones rang many times with calls from families trying to check on their sons, brothers or fathers and to see if they passed the danger zone or not.

We reached the segment that is called "the death road" and the bus got wraped in a heavy silence. The 1st checkpoint was for the IP; they were scanning the coming vehicles and ordering some of them to stop, checking Id's and making sure that no one is carrying guns.

We went through this checkpoint and after several kilometers we reached an ING checkpoint. The soldiers were all wearing black masks to avoid exposing their identities. Anyway, we found that the road was blocked by this checkpoint and we had to go for several kilometers off-road in the farms to by pass this block and to get to the main road again.

Here, our fears reached a peak because we all knew that similar paths are the ones used by the terrorists as they're hidden by dense orchards.
I became even more anxious when the guy sitting next to me took out his Id (which says that he works for one of the ministries) and passed it to the driver without saying a word and in what looked like an undeclared agreement, all the other passengers did the same adding their cell phones in some cases (the terrorists think that anyone carrying a cell phone in this area is a spy collecting intelligence for the government or the MNF).

The driver calmly took the Id's and phones and started hiding them in a small secret drawer underneath his seat. The guy next to me looked at me with a question in his eyes "and you?"
I took out my Id and handed it over to the driver because I didn't want to violate this silent security agreement and I felt hurt because I had to hide what should be an honor of being a dentist serving the people, because the "resistance" consider serving the people a crime.

One of the passengers said whispering "where are the Americans? Where are the ING?"
One replied saying "and who dares to enter these territories?!"
We were overwhelmed with fear and anxiety until the guy sitting next to me said "look there" and pointed with his finger to the right.

We all turned to see what he was pointing to, and we regained some of our confidence as we saw a convoy of several Hummer vehicles patrolling the area.
"They're not as cautious and afraid as we thought they would be. Here are they moving confidently" the driver said. "I don't think they'll stay here after sunset. The terrorists will take over the area at night" another passenger added.
I smiled and thought "we fear our countrymen while we feel safe when the foreigners are moving around! Who's the occupier? Who are the bad guys here?"

We were done moving in the farms and we got back to the main road to find ourselves in the center of Latifiyah. I saw something very different from what I saw last time I was there; endless patrols for the MNF and the ING, yet the place was so quiet.
We were ordered to stop at an ING checkpoint and the soldier who dealt with us seemed different from the others I met before; he was very confident and acting in a highly professional way using only signals without the usual verbal communication that is still being used in many checkpoints in Iraq which is a waste of time and fruitless.

He searched the passengers and checked the registration papers of the car and he talked for the first time when he finished his job saying "sorry to disturb you, you can move on".
We moved forward to the bridge that got recently repaired as the news told and there we found a checkpoint for the US Marines and the ING working side by side.
We were also surprised to see that they took positions over the roofs of the near by buildings which made me say "they don't seem to be leaving after sunset, these are fixed stations". It was relieving also to see all the death slogans of the terrorists have been erased and replaced with the slogans of the real heroes, I saw slogans like:
"The terrorists destroyed the bridge and we have rebuilt it""
"Death to terrorism…long live the peace"
"Long live the heroes of the ING, the loyal sons of Iraq"

There was a traffic jam near the bridge and there were some posts arranged in the form of a fence to control the entrance to the bridge by two lanes only but our traditions and our natural hate for awaiting made some of the drivers try to move around the fence to form a 3rd lane and there came a single round from an ING machine gun in the air and this was enough to make everyone there realize how order is important in critical situations like this one where the terrorists use all means to kill people. Some passengers began to shout condemning the lack of discipline of those drivers and I could hear one say "yes, they've got to be tough because these heroes are risking their lives here and we all have to obey the law and not give a chance for the terrorists to take advantage on us".

We passed Latifiyah safely and driver returned our Id's and phones back and we were back to our boring chats. We finally entered Baghdad by sunset to find the city walls covered with signs and posters calling the people to do their role in building the democratic Iraq that will be an oasis for peace in the region.

Terrorism is losing the battle and in spite of tough times we're facing in this battle and in spite of the fear and worries that we carry in our minds I felt a great joy when I saw a sign on the road saying:
"Your voice is as precious as gold. No, it's more than that!"

-By Mohammed.

In a previous post we posted a statement by the INC regarding postponing the elections. Actually when I looked into the statement in the original site, and while I was in a hurry, I thought it was a statement by the National Assembly. Thanks to a comment by one of the readers I realized that I've made a very bad mistake. The two names bare some proximity in Arabic and I'm sorry for the awful mistake. We do not intend to advertise for any political party and certainly not for the INC, as our position regarding Chalabi was clear and did not change since that time. The only exception (advertising) was the IPDP and that was mainly because our readers were asking for update and we do not intend to do this in the future. I'll leave the original post as it is for a short time for the sake of clarity and after few days I will delete the statement.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

**Big pharaoh describes his first reaction after discovering Al-Fayhaa TV:

"Anyway, we discovered Fayhaa channel and we soon became addicts. As soon as I return from work, I take my dinner and stay glued in front of Fayhaa. I have been doing that for 3 days."
Read the rest here.

**Mahmood is reporting about the activities and demonstrations of university students in Bahrain and their calls for liberal changes, he believes that "there's hope!"

"A few days ago, some 60 students went on a march at the university to demonstrate their complete refusal of MP Jassim Al-Saidi's nonbinding law request to segregate the university but at the same time, the student were demonstrating at the lackluster application of the university authorities of the "decent dress code".

Yesterday, some 300 students went on a march again at the university to demonstrate against Al-Saidi's segregationist policies at the university, but also against anyone imposing any kind of dress code on them...."
Full story here.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Few weeks ago, we published a letter that was written by a group of Arab and Muslim liberals and this letter is intended to be sent to the UN and Security Council to call for establishing an international tribunal for the prosecution of terrorists.

Dr. Jawad Hashim (the Iraqi minister of planning in the 70's and one of the leaders of this group of liberals and intellectuals) sent me an e-mail yesterday with the final English version of the letter which you can read here.

It seems that this letter had already caught the attention of the Arab media because few days ago, Al-Arabiya TV interviewed Dr. Shakir Al-Nabulsi (Dr. Jawad's colleague). And as usual, the host tried to make this letter/project look like another circle in the chain of the Zionist-American conspiracy against Arabs and Muslims but the guest was very strong in his statements and defended his group's vision very well.

The letter still needs supports from as many people as possible regardless of their nationality or religion and anyone interested and willing to support this letter can sign with his name by contacting Dr. Jawad Hashim, here .

**Arthur Chrenkoff continues the great job he's doing on his blog which I see now as an indispensable source for good news, this time he prepared for us an assortment of "good news from the Islamic world". Go read it.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

It's been usual for foreigners (diplomats, workers, journalists...etc) in Iraq to take lots of security precautions when they move around in Baghdad or some other Iraqi cities; they try to hide anything that might reveal their identities and I even noticed that they began to choose ordinary cars-from the kinds that many Iraqis own instead of fancy new cars- for use in their rides to avoid attracting attention.

This is of course as a result of the kidnappings and various attacks that targeted foreigners in Iraq regardless of the nature of their presence here. This created the feeling that every foreigner walking on the streets is an easy target for direct gunfire or for kidnapping (for money or to be beheaded later). This even included Arabs and Arab firms and even Iraqis working in Arab firms. In short, anyone who is here to do something that might be good for Iraq.

One group of foreigners really caught my attention by ignoring all the dangers and moving in the streets of Baghdad showing their identity so clearly.

One might think that this group of people did so because they are very bold but actually I don't think this is true for this case. Why? Because simply they were French.
Yesterday, I saw a single car with the words "FRENCH EMBASSY" written in Arabic on the windshield moving in Karrada crowded neighborhood in broad daylight. They didn't seem to be in a hurry and were driving slowly unlike other foreigners who try to drive as fast as possible to avoid being tracked and chased.

It seems that the French are not afraid of the terrorists. Were they excluded from the terrorists' targets list for some reason? Is there a peace truce between them? Did we miss something here? Because the French are moving freely and saying for the terrorists:
"Hey, it's us, so don't mistake us for your enemies, the other foreigners! And we are not just ordinary French. We are the French government! And we are certainly not doing something good for Iraq, so relax!"
This may explain why no one is anymore worried about the two French journalists; they're in friendly hands!

On another subject, it's well known in Iraq that political parties that plan to participate in the upcoming elections are not allowed to start campaigning in the media before the 15th of December 2004.
This rule was breached yesterday and on the hands of one of the well known parties that are part of the current administration.

This party "The National Democratic Party" reserved half a page on Al-Sabah newspaper to advertise for its political program. What is worse is that Al-Sabah is published by the "Iraqi Media Network" which is run by the government in one way or another, and it's more than obvious that the government should not advertise for any political party. I expect Al-Sabah to repeat this with the major parties that form the government, but certainly not for other parties.

This is a bad sign because some parties do not seem to understand that they cannot inherit Iraq. Similar maneuvers belong to Saddam's dark age and do not and must not have a place in the new Iraq we're trying to build and parties like the one I mentioned need to wake up to this fact.

Still in the elections, I've been following the latest demands by some parties to delay the elections, and while it was really distressing to see such demands come from legal parties not from terrorists disguised in the clothes of politicians or clerics, I do understand why they made such demand that goes very well with the ultimate goal of the terrorists.

Some of these parties cannot think beyond their partisan interests and it seems they want things to calm down in the so-called Sunni triangle so that more Sunnis participate in the elections. This seems like a reasonable demand, but the problem is that they do not seek that as much as they seek to strengthen their own individual and partisan positions. I know it's just an assumption and I should not accuse them without a solid proof, but I know these people and they're not too stupid to notice that the terrorists dream is to delay the elections as much as possible if they can't prevent it.

They do understand, this yet they still want to risk the whole future of Iraq just to ensure they get more seats in the parliament. It's true that Iraqis are still not very ready for the elections and no one did a great job in educating the majority about the importance, the rules and laws of the democratic process, and from the beginning I thought we need more time to ensure that most Iraqis not only want democracy but have a minimum accepted knowledge about what it means. However, when the decision was made (due to pressure from inside and outside) I accepted it and was and still on the opinion that it should NOT be delayed no matter what.

It's interesting to see that some of the parties that demanded the delay rushed today to announce that they did not sign any document regarding this appeal! They understand that the majority wants elections as soon as possible, and most people are afraid of any delay, but the truth is that they expect it to come from America, not from Iraqi parties. Thus any party that declares such demands would be probably seen as collaborating with the Americans to prolong "occupation".

This does not necessarily mean that the parties that demand elections to be held at the exact set up date are the true patriots, as among these there are many who want this just because they will definitely gain when a large proportion of Sunni cannot or refuse to vote. They want it to happen now while they can ensure an overwhelming majority rather than wait for some time which might not only result in more Sunnis voting, but worse than that is that Iraqis would have a better chance to learn more about democracy and find their own voice. They might start to think that it's not just choosing between what's available, but making what you chose, available.

Some of those who rush elections still think in the way Arab dictators think. They don't understand that it's not all about the 1st elections. Politics stink, doesn't it!?

Update: Here's the statement of the Iraqi National Congress:

Baghdad, (26 November 2004): The INC supports fully holding the general elections, on 31 January 2005, without any delay.

Delay in holding the elections will be a delay in the restoration of full sovereignty to Iraq. It will also be a delay of withdrawal of foreign troops.

The INC upholds that the legitimacy of the Iraqi government is based on the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), which clearly states in Art.2.b.2. that elections must be held no later than 31 January 2004. Moreover, Art. 3 of the TAL reconfirms the January election timetable by stipulating that “likewise, no amendment may be made that could abridge in any way the rights of the Iraqi people…; extend the transitional period beyond the timeframe cited in this Law; delay the holding of elections to a new assembly”. The TAL is also reinforced in United Nations Security Resolution 1546 that also refers to date for the elections which must be respected.

The INC welcomes President Bush’s commitment to holding elections on time, which he reconfirmed in his statements today.

The INC believes that a delay in elections will increase the cycle of violence and instability further and undermine the path towards democracy for Iraq.

Contact: Entifadh Qanbar
telephone +1-914-360-3875
Here's a link to the statement

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A failed revolution.

In the past in Iraq (and till now in all arab and Muslim countries except for very few, and since Trotsky came up with his idea of the “Everlasting revolution”), any attempt to change the government or even part of it was considered as a “conspiracy against the revolution” and an act of treason that no one would imagine a more horrible crime and a worse punishment for.

In Iraq for a long time a revolution seemed to us to be the only way to overthrow Saddam and achieve our dreams in freedom, justice and democracy. There’s always something fascinating about revolution especially for people like us who suffered for a long time under a very brutal dictatorship. I used to watch the injustice that’s happening allover the world and the people’s silence about it and think that the only thing that’s going to save us is a wide revolution that spreads through Iraq to the neighboring countries, as the only thing the people of the advanced world seemed to be interested in was delivering fast aid to areas in most need for it, to make our suffering less terrible but not to deal with the primary cause that was continuously causing such crisis. It’s a noble and generous effort but it wasn’t enough, as we didn't want to just live, we wanted to live as human beings.

On the other hand the governments of the advanced countries were concerned only with their interests interfering only when those interests were threatened, while some governments openly and without feeling any shame supported these dictatorships even with knowing that they were participating greatly to our continuous suffering.

We thought we couldn’t and shouldn’t depend on anyone but ourselves. Many Iraqis fought Saddam and his regime with outstanding bravery even with understanding the horrible fate that was awaiting them and their families. Others, like us kept trying to gather support, encourage people to take a stand and educate them about their rights, that they should be the ones who decide the way their country is run. However in each time we tried to organize a larger group than just us and our closest friends, we failed to gather the support of more than 5-10 people.

Trusting others was almost impossible and very risky. We had to consider that we were not only risking our lives but also the lives of our family, close friends and relatives and the future of our relatives to the 4th degree! One of these days at Saddam’s time some friends were gathering in our house. We were just chatting and having fun. Our neighbor who is a Tikriti and worked for the intelligence knocked on the door and when I opened he asked me about the cars outside our house. I told him that these were our friends’. He said to me, “You know that gathering is against the law and if it wasn’t for the fact that you’re my neighbor and I respect your family, I would’ve sent you behind the sun. Be careful, as I understand but other people may not” He said it in a warning tone not as an advice!

However, one of these days we decided that we could never accept such life and decided to gather support and confront the government in a long awaited revolution no matter what happens. We were prepared for the worst and it seemed to me that my dream of becoming a true martyr was about to come true.

We contacted some friends and people who believed in the same principles we believe in and we told them about our plan. Some people didn’t like it but we still managed to gather more than 800 people who stated that they are not afraid of saying in public that they want to overthrow the government and do whatever it takes. We heard about other groups trying to do the same and we decide to unite our efforts with theirs but first we had to make the first step alone. The group chose me, my brother Mohammed and a friend of ours to go to the authorities and talk to them, as we were still hoping to do this peacefully without unnecessary bloodshed unless they refused. We knew of course that it might well lead to our death but then the rest of us would carry on using the hard way.

We reached the government main headquarter and entered without much difficulty. We went to one of these offices as we didn’t know were to go as this was our first time there. One of the government employees asked us what was our need. We said our prayers and told him that we want to change the regime. He asked us to wait until he call for the man in charge and I said to myself, “that’s it, they’re calling the Mukhabarat” the guy came back with another man who, after greeting us asked about our group. We handed him a file that contained our goals and a list of the people who supported us. He took it and told us to come back in 3 days after they study it.

“Study it!?” I said to myself “ they’re not going to hang us? Maybe they are letting the small fish to capture the large one?” anyway we went back and spent 3 difficult nights full of worries and nightmares.

On the 3d day we went back to the same place and another man was waiting for us, “are you a representative of this group” the man asked Mohammed, “no, I’m their leader” (man, that was brave of Mohammed! Now he’s gone and I won’t have the honor of being the first martyr in the group!).

“Pleasure to meet you Sir! Have a seat please” said the man to Mohammed and the rest of us with a broad smile. ( a trap! Ok so be it!) Our friend was encouraged by this gesture and asked for tea! They brought us tea and some cockies! (Maybe a last wish grant) After few minutes the guy looked into a computer and asked us about the name of our group. We told him the name and the guy said “Congratulations! Your demand has been approved and you’ll have a chance to layout your plans in public and if enough number of people agree with you, the current government would step down and let you among others take the lead”

“What!? These people are so easy! are they wimps or what? They can kill us just like that, and no one would dare to do anything about it. Alas! There won’t be any revolution and I won’t be a martyr!” such questions were on my mind as we left the place wondering why would someone who has all the power and control in his hands hand it to another one without a fight and without the slightest objection!

That was not a dream, it’s for real and it didn’t happen in the “free and independent” Iraq at Saddam’s time, it happened 3 days ago in “occupied Iraq”.

To summerize it and although many of you know that already but I would like to announce that the party we have formed, the Iraqi pro-democracy party is now officially registered and will have the chance to compete in the upcoming elections.

You can’t imagine the thrill and happiness I felt when I held the document that state that the “Iraqi pro-democracy party” is registered and Approved as a political entity that has the right to participate in the upcoming elections! This was a dream to us, and with the help and support we received from all our friends, the readers of this blog, the dream has now became true. We still have a battle to fight and we’re more than willing to go all the way.

You can find a complete list in Fayrouz blog here.
And by the way, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

-By Ali.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Internet in the Marshes!

** I have a bunch of news for you from the south, some are good and some are bad and I'm going to reverse the rule and start with a good one;
I'd like to announce that internet service had recently reached the small town where I work which is practically in the Iraqi marshes area.
The service was limited in the past few months to the governmental facilities like the hospital and the town hall but now it's available for public use in a neat, small internet cafe' from which I'm posting these news.

The service is convenient and the cafe' looks just like any other one in Baghdad or down town Basra and the cost is even much lower than it is in the big cities
(approximately half the cost).

** The situation in the south is somewhat different from what it's like in the middle parts of Iraq; to be more precise, it's more calm here with the attention of the people directed more towards the upcoming elections.

The people here are eager to register themselves in the voters' lists and every once in a while one could hear some of the folks complaining about not receiving their registration forms till now.
From what I've observed so far I expect that this area, together with many other regions in the Iraqi south will witness the highest rates of participation in the elections.

This is mainly because of the more stable situation when compared with certain other areas in Iraq and also because of the impact of the last fatwa of Ayatollah Sistani
in which he urged Iraqis to vote.

Still, the people need a great deal of electoral education and they need to be informed about what these elections can do for them and how elections will serve their interests in a better way if they voted according to what they need and according to their vision for their future, not because someone told them to do so.

** Yesterday morning I was on my way to central Basra when an oil pipeline suddenly exploded, reducing the export capability by 750 thousand barrels/day as I heard later in the news.
This means that this explosion will cost Iraq something around 30 million $/day and no one knows how long it's going to take to repair the damage.
What pissed me off the most is that I know that area where the pipeline was attacked and I know what kind of people live there; thery're what we call in Iraq (Mi'daan)
and this group occupies the base of the pyramid of the Iraqi society. Of course not because of their ethnic or sectarian origins but mainly because of what they do for living!
The majority of these Mi'daan make money from carjacking, kidnapping people for ransoms, smuggling drugs and weapons and even prostitution. In general they have no moral, religious or social values.
what I can't understand is why the government hasn't done anything to stop those thugs from destroying the country's economy till now!

The main problem is that they inhabit the areas adjacent to the main road between Baghdad and Basra and thus why their crimes affects the whole country in a very bad way.
I can be 100 % positive that those thugs are involved in this attack and similar attacks in the same area in the past because no one would dare to pass through their territories, let alone digging to reach the pipes that are under the ground, placing a bomb and arming it. So it's either they cooperated with outsiders (it's important to mention that this area is close enough to the Iranian borders to allow foreigners to move in) and let them blow up the pipes after receiving the 'price', or they've probably carried out the attack by themselves.

** Yesterday, one of the members of te association of Muslim scholars was assassinated in Mousl.
I've clearly shown my disagreement with this group many times so far.
I don't like them and I frankly I consider them as a part of the terror network that is trying to destroy Iraq but I'm against assassinations and I don't see assassinating people as a good way to solve problems.
We're looking forward to build a democracy where law and only law can rule and no one should try to make a judge of himself and throw out judgments and execution orders here and there.
Anyway, I see this assassination as a message from an unknown group to this association telling them that the violence they're encouraging and the hatred they're provoking could easily turn against them.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Sometimes a car is just a car..

Says Arthur Chrenkoff in the 15th roundup of good news from Iraq.

Friends of Iraq.

Spirit of America has started a wonderful contest called “Friends of Iraq blogger challenge” in which bloggers compete as individuals and teams to see which blog can collect the largest sum of donations to one of the multiple projects that these great guys are doing in Iraq.

We have chosen the “Friends of Democracy” project and we are honored to be part of SoA noble task to participate in spreading the values and culture of democracy in Iraq and we are happy to see this wonderful group of friends and colleagues compete together in this blogger challenge to help the largest possible number of freedom lovers allover the world to have a role in making history through helping to build a free democratic Iraq.

Many great bloggers have joined the challenge till now, like Roger L. Simon, Buzz Machine, A Small Victory, Chrenkoff, Winds of Change, LGF, Sisu and lots of other wonderful bloggers.

I don’t know what the prize for the winner will be, but Roger L. Simon says it’s a baseball hat, and despite the strong competition from major bloggers that have joined the contest till now, we still dream of wining this hat and our hope is strong in you to help us get this priceless award that means so much to us.

Anyone cares to help Iraq and help us win this contest can donate through Iraq The Model here (we are now in the fourth rank for individual blogs, so please give us a push upward!) or you can donate through any of your favorite bloggers here, and any blogger wish to help by joining the challenge can do it here.
Let's make history, let's have fun!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

If you knew then it’s a disaster while if you didn't then the disaster is even bigger.

I was surfing the net as usual to find out what’s happening in the world, as I rely mainly on the net instead of TV now When I came across this article by Dr Juan Cole that made me feel ashamed of myself. This man who doesn’t live in Iraq seems to know more about the history of Iraq than I do. In his article he was criticizing the westerns, journalists in particular, for making judgments without knowing much about Iraq’s history, which I must admit is true.

He also provide a link to another article by a professor of Arab studies in the university of Colombia and use it as a reference to back up his theory. What Dr. Cole was trying to tell us, as you can see in his article, is that Fallujah is celebrated in Iraq’s history as a symbol for the large rebellion/revolution against the British back in 1920. His source, Dr. Rasheedi goes as far as considering Fallujah the start point of that event and says in his article:
“To restore Iraq to their control, the British used massive air power, bombing indiscriminately. That city is now called Fallujah.”

After reading the two honored professors’ articles I scratched my head vigorously (I’m sure I looked stupid because I felt so!) trying to remember my country’s history as I read it in school. Well, my memory is not that strong to help me remember all those poets and decorated writings about our ancestor’s bravery that I read in the fifth grade, but I sure do remember the only Iraqi movie that was produced about that rebellion. The director of the movie used a huge budget (Iraqi standards) and hired some British actors including Oliver Reed. He (the director)was rewarded generously By Saddam for showing the truth about that historical event.

In the movie, Shiek Dhari who’s mentioned in Dr. Rashhed’s article was the hero. It seemed that the movie was about him not the “revolution”. So anyway everything looked ok and my mind regained its peace, as everything the two well-informed professors said seemed to match perfectly with what Saddam’s hired director sowed us in his movie! And my face stopped looking stupid anymore!
However, this lasted only for few seconds, as soon after that some naughty brain cells in my head started a rebellion that soon became as massive as the 1920 revolution (compared to my head size) and kept bugging me, “that’s not what you hear from people! That’s not what you heard from your father, grandfather, and tribesmen from Mousl to Basra!”. There’s one thing no one can beat Arabs in, and that’s knowing their ancestors’ history. Any arab dedicated to his tribe knows almost everyone in his tribe and most other large tribes for generations, especially when it comes to important people related to important events.

But the unofficial story is not only told on the streets and in tribes’ gatherings, but it was documented by the most respected and objective historians in Iraq. One of the most well-known and honored historians that came into my mind at that moment was the late Dr.” Ali Al Wardi”. He was a remarkable sociologist and considered by most as the best ever in Iraq and the Arab world but he was also a great historian when it comes to Iraq’s modern history. He wrote a series of books about the modern history of Iraq that is indispensable to anyone who wants to know the development of modern Iraq and the conflict between beduin and civil culture in Iraq that started long ago but was at its peak following WW1. His series are titled “Lamahat Ijtima’ayah min Tarikh Il Iraq Il Hadeeth” or “Sociological Glimpses from the Modern History of Iraq”.

In the 5th part, Al Wardi talks about the 1920 rebellion for about 700 pages; the events, the tribes that took part in it, the clerics role, rumors, feelings...Etc. He also mentioned Fallujah and Sheik Dhari in that part and talked about them for long 7 pages! What Al Wardi wrote in his book and what all Iraqis know is that the rebellion started in Rumaitha near Samawa, by She’at tribes, namely by Sha’alan Abu Al Jon leader of Al Dhuwalim tribe who was a She’at with help from grand She’at clerics who issued a Jihad Fatwa against the British. Only later the rebellion spread to involve most of Iraq including the areas near Fallujah. Moreover, Fallujah actually was never bombed and it was under the control of the British army all the time! Sheik Dhari’s hometown, Khan Al Nukta was half the way on the road between Baghdad and Fallujah and he had no control on any part of it!

Here are some short paragraphs that I translated from his book regarding how the revolution started after an unpleasant meeting between Sha’alan and lieutenant Hiyat (sp?) the governor of Rumaitha that failed to solve the accumulating problems between the British and the tribes there especially after the British decided to remove grand Ayetullah Mohammed Taki Al Sherazi outside Iraq:

Miss Bill said that Sha’alan was very rude to the degree that Hiyat had to arrest him.* After that Sha’alan men attacked the sarai (palace) and killed two cups and freed Sha’alan..
After Sha’alan returned to his tribe he gathered them and said, “Do you accept to serve your infidel enemy that hates Arab and Muslims?” and they answered, “Allahu Akbar! By God no!” after that he asked them to ruin the railway that pass in their lands and reward each one with a golden Dinar for each peace of wood, and then men and women hurried to rip off the wood from the railway and bring it to him..
And that was the beginning of the revolution.

And here’s some of what Al Wardi wrote about Fallujah and Sheik Dhari’s and his tribe, Al Zoba’a, role:

Zoba’a tribe resides near Khan Al Nukta that lies half the way between Baghdad and Fallujah, and it belong to Shimmar tribe that came from the western borders in a late era and that’s why it still preserve its beduin values.
The great victory that the rebels in middle Euphrates (used to describe the are of Hilla, Diwanyia and Samwa) achieved had a huge impact allover Iraq and the rebels sent delegations to the tribes’ Sheiks in Fallujah and Mhmoodiya to urge them to join. Some of them responded like Sheik Kudair chief of Al Janabyeen and Sheik Alwan chief of Albu Muhia.

Where was Sheikh Dhari, Saddam’s hero at that time? Al Wardi says:

The English assigned a monthly salary for Sheikh Dhari, 750 roupyiah (Indian currency) as part of their policy to assure the loyalty of tribes’ Sheiks and kept giving him this salary until early 1918 then they cut it off...

When the revolution started in June 1920 the English felt it was necessary to pay Dhari again but they made his salary only 500 roupiyah but it seemed it was too late.

There are many stories about why Dhari revolted in Al Wardi's book but it can be summerised in that one of those days, and after the revolution had already started and after a fight with colonel Lichman, the English governor- who used to insult Dhari and embarrass him all the time- Dhari couldn’t take it anymore and ordered one of his son and guards to kill Lichman when he was not well guarded.

It’s worth mentioning that Fallujah these days is a mixture of people who belong to different tribes but the dominating one is Al Dulaim tribe which also dominates most of Anbar governerate and that’s why Al Anbar governerate with other parts near it was named officially before “Al Dulaim’s province”

Al Wardi wrote also:

Sheik Ali Al Sulaiman, head of Al Dulaim tribes wrote to Dhari saying: “me and my tribes do not intend to participate with you in the revolution against the English no matter what it cost me, and I give you 24 hours to get out of Al Dulaim lands with your tribe. If you want to fight the English you can go to Baghdad and fight them there, or else I’ll be your enemy after those 24 hours and will fight you”.
After this warning Dhari had to go back to his land in Al Nukta Khan.

Then Al Wardi write quoting Major Haldane:

Zouba’a’s revolution resulted in isolating our troops in Fallujah and Ramadi from Baghdad, although these troops are well equipped, and Major Edi did an impressive job in preserving peace there.*

So you can see how conflicting all these info with what the two professors had provided; No revolution inside Fallujah, no bombing at all and not even the leading role they described for the tribes near Fallujah in the revolution that magically turned to be inside Fallujah in their posts. However I agree that history is kind of repeating itself, only with reversed roles. This times it’s some of the Sunnis tribes that are making the mistake of opposing, or better say not doing enough against those who oppose the change.

Anyway, I don’t know which is worse; that the two experts in Arb world didn’t know about Dr. Al Wardi and his writings or that they knew but chose Sadam’s version of Iraq’s history!?

*Haldane (Insurrections In Mesopotamia)-Edinburgh 1922-p 73-74
*Haldane (Insurrection In Mesopotamia)-Edinburgh 1922-p 171-172
Sorry, I couldn't find a link to the book, but I guess you have to pay to get them. Still, anyone interested can google Al Wardi and can get some info. on him, except the "informed" ones of course!

-By Ali.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Stupid British!

I heard what Mr. Chirac said few days ago and read about it everywhere I turn my head to. At first, it was something I felt I shouldn’t even bother to listen to. It was something like what Al Jazeera keep showing us or what Arab leaders say all the time. But again this was a president of one of the most advanced and civilized countries in our times. It wasn’t Kaddafi or Assad and it made me sad and furious.

The French government keep surprising me with their intentionally stupid and vicious arguments and I don’t know what to say about it or if it’s even necessary to say something at all. But then I’m an Iraqi citizens and these people are taking about Iraq and usually how the war brought nothing good to Iraq or the world, and I just can’t stay silent about it. I know there’s almost no chance that you’ll read my words Mr. Chirac, but it doesn’t matter, as I’m not writing for you anyway. You live in a different world.

In the past, I used to swallow my anger and frustration because I could get killed if I messed up with one of Saddam’s personal friends, but now Saddam is gone and I’m not afraid and I won’t stay silent anymore. This is a difference Mr. Chirac, and it’s a great one, probably just to me and the rest of Iraqis but not to you, and you just have to understand that it’s not all about you and your European dream which no one want to steal from you by the way.

The world is certainly not a better place after the war Mr. Chirac, but that’s your world, while our world, Iraqis as well as tens of millions of oppressed people everywhere who are dying for some help, is certainly MUCH better now, and I’m sure the Americans and the British world as well as most countries (including yours) is better and safer and will keep getting better. However I agree with you, as your world, your own personal world, the world of your fellow corrupt politicians in France, Russia, Germany, China and the stinking UN, your fortune and your influence is definitely suffering. I’m even surprised that you ‘saw’ that Saddam’s departure was positive “to a certain extent”, and I can’t wonder why is that! Is it because it left you with some bills you don’t have to pay?!

Is my language too offensive?! Not as half as offensive and irritating as yours and I will NEVER apologize, not even after you apologize and pay the Iraqis back all the money you have stolen from us in return for supporting your partner, Saddam and keeping him in charge for few more years.

You see, your problem and what separate you from men like Tony Blair is that you look only for what you might gain, and again “you” is not the French people, but rather you in person and the bunch of hypocrites that so sadly control the French people and manipulate them through lies and silly arguments. You never cared what would happen to Iraqis and the rest of the world had Saddam stayed in power, while Tony Blair did. Do you know why? Because he and the British government with all the brave British people live in our world, while you don’t.

Stupid British! Why should they care for us, America or their own kids when they can do exactly like you; take advantage of America’s need, blackmail her, support Saddam without taking much risk and gain billions of dollars.

Stupid British!Haven’t they learned from WW2 when you got your country back and even decided the fate of other nations on victory even though half of you made peace with the Nazis!? You certainly don’t owe the British and the Americans anything for that, as it was just their own stupidity not to do the math and see how much would they gain. Their lands weren’t invaded and the Nazis were trying to make a peace with them, yet they refused and fought as hard as men and women can fight to free your country for you, so that your troops could march victoriously in Paris! And you dare say that the US doesn’t repay favors!??

If you don’t like the world after Saddam, and if you miss him that much, you can keep living in your own world and we won’t bother all.

-By Ali.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The reason why we weren’t posting regularly in the last week or so is because we were outside Iraq, having meetings with our friends who are running “Spirit of America”.
In the last meeting we put the final touches for the “friends of democracy” project; a project that is dedicated to spread the concepts of democracy among Iraqis through the internet by helping students’ groups and NGOs create their own blogs (in Arabic) and introduce these groups to each other in a way that enables them to exchange their thoughts and spread the news about their activities as well as by arranging for lectures and discussions to inform the Iraqi voters (through interactive discussions) about the nature and importance of the coming elections. This will be done without any interference with the choices they will make because our ultimate goal is to help our people choose what they believe is good for them.
The project will not be limited to the coming elections only; we’re looking forward to extend this project for the time following the elections.

We’ve already carried out some activities that are related to this project including lectures like this one at the college of physical education for girls. We were worried about the way students would react to a lecture like this one but amazingly the hall was full and the seats were not enough for the students. Moreover some of them engaged the lecturers in questions and discussions and most of them were eager to participate in the elections but they knew little about elections, democracy and constitution, etc and were so pleased to find someone willing to teach them. The way we see it is that the most important thing is to educate as many Iraqis as possible about the upcoming elections, their significance and how important each vote is.

We’re trying to tell them that each one of them has a significant role in deciding his/her country’s future. This is more important than encouraging them just to vote as we’re positive that the vast majority of Iraqis will vote but they need to know why they’re voting and what for.
For example some Iraqis still think that the elections are presidential ones! And many of them don’t realize that the main job of the national assembly is to prepare for writing the constitution and this is not their mistake it is the government’s and the higher commission for elections’ responsibility and till now they’re not doing a great job on this. This may be because of the huge responsibilities they have and the risks they’re taking and that’s why we want to help them in their mission.
Anyway, the coming week or two will witness more frequent and more focused activities and there will also be a website in both Arabic and English to keep the readers inside and outside Iraq updated as often as possible.
If anyone is interested in supporting this project, visit the website of “Spirit of America”.

We were planning to stay in Jordan for only 4 days but with the airport being closed, we had to stay there for a longer time.
Being out of the events’ field for a week and having the media as the only source of information made me understand more why many people have a blurred vision about the situation in Iraq, I mean watching Al- Jazeera and the CNN for a relatively long time made Iraq- at certain moments-look like “hell on earth”. Fortunately I lived my whole life in Iraq and when it comes to events taking place over there I can distinguish between the truth and the lies to a certain degree but my concern is about people who have never been there because the media twist facts and exaggerate things in an unbelievable manner.
As a matter of fact, from the news I got from the media I expected to find Baghdad in a terrible condition when I return; no gasoline, no electricity, fighting at every corner and dead bodies everywhere but of course I didn’t find it this way when I returned. Actually I haven’t seen any significant difference except for losing some hours of electricity!

Here's another great piece about "good news from Afghanistan" from Arthur Chrenkoff.
You can find news that do not only discuss politics but security, reconstruction, coalition forces situation and efforts , society and humanitarian aids as well; I think it's a collection that you can't easily find elesewhere.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Iraq The Model, one year old!

Today we celebrate the 1st anniversary of this blog. We sat together recalling the early moments in the life of Iraq the model, reliving the moments of happiness and grief and the huge magnitude of events we’ve been through in the past twelve months where tears mixed with smiles, anger and’s been a long year.

Many people ask me why I started to write and how was the beginning and I today remember the time when we were sitting together, carrying our dreams, our ambitions and our hunger to communicate with the others; it felt like a sweet dream to find all the doors wide open for us and all the chains that restricted our minds simply gone.

I am free...
And I need to tell the whole world what this means.
I’d love to share this feeling with everyone, the feeling of being strong and capable of making miracles happen and that nothing can limit your dreams.
My readers..

This wasn’t an action from one side, your have always been a rich source of inspiration to us.
We have learned the meaning of being united together and we never felt alone in this; freedom lovers are everywhere.
Reading your comments and e-mails made my cry many times and I wish I could remember all your names and I could feel everyone, even those who didn’t write to us.
I wish I could embrace you all.

Together, you and us were, and will always be closer than brothers and sisters trying to stand against the powers of darkness and ignorance, doing our best to make our voice louder and louder and to make everyone see what our dream is.
Sometimes I would despair but your words were always there to comfort me and encourage me to restore my strength and hope.

I used to watch the media presenting the false image all the time and then I would want to scream out loud:
This is not the whole truth, this isn’t right . You’re overlooking a great deal of the truth and you’re not presenting the feelings of the love that exists; those feelings that are stronger than weapons and politics and are stronger than the hatred you’re trying to spread.

And this is the reason why we keep writing to you and we know that our love will find its way to you. No borders can stop it and no power on earth can stand between the love and the heart that opened its doors for the light.

My dearest..
Thank you for your empathy and for walking through this tough road with us. I have no doubt that one day we will reach our destination and even if we stumble once or twice, we’ve got the determination now to try again and again and we will triumph at the end.
We are so happy and we love you all.


What’s a blog and who’s going to read it? And is it important what we have to say? Such questions were on my minds when Omar started our blog and I couldn’t find an answer that convince me to write. However, and after my brothers published their first posts, my questions were answered. “So there are many people who actually read blogs, and it seems to be important what we write!”. after that I decided to join my brothers and post my thoughts and opinions.

What I’m trying to say is that it was the readers, our good friends who share with us this humble page who made me realize that I must write, I must tell people everywhere what I, being an Iraqi see in Iraq, what I think and what I want. I’ll be always grateful for the people who helped me and my brothers find our voices and encourage us to share our minds and hearts with as many people as possible from allover the world.

This simple web page has come to be an important part of my life for reasons that are much more than just expressing my point of view in politics and the situation in Iraq. It is my window to the world through which I greet my friends every morning from Australia to the USA. It’s not a one way road, as I feel I know each one of our regular readers, I worry about you just as you worry about us and I miss you when you’re gone for any reason. I learned from you a lot and the most important things I’ve learned were actually things I thought I knew very well before! This has motivated me to look more into the ‘facts’ and ‘basics’ I believed were unquestionable.

In the end I just want to clarify one thing. This blog was not a propaganda tool and will never be. Our unlimited joy with our new found freedom that we still enjoy its sweetness is too precious to be lost or sold no matter what the price. I know that many people look at our writings with suspicion and disbelieve sometimes. Most of these people are misguided by the huge flow of lies or half-truths from the MSM and I don’t blame them, as how can anyone know what’s happening thousands of miles away without depending on the media!? actually they’re the people we are trying to reach because we know that most people are smart and honest enough to distinguish the truth from propaganda. But again there are those who were born free and don’t appreciate the gift they have received and the slaves who have come to love the walls of their prison and can’t see life in a different light. These are the people who simply can’t understand our joy and enthusiasm, and the only logical explanation to them would be that we, and people like us are propaganda tool. We long for the day when these people can appreciate freedom, and then we will be brothers and sisters again.

We have faith in ourselves, our people and the good people everywhere, and all we are doing is trying to share this faith and hope for a better future for Iraq and the world with the others. What good would it do us to complain and whine about how difficult life is? And why does anyone expect things to be perfect after such a drastic change as the one happened in Iraq, and when they’re not, they start to attack the people who made the change possible?

We have certainly have made many mistakes and said some foolish things over this year and we beg your forgiveness and promise you that we’ll try to remain faithful to ourselves and to keep examining what we write and correct our course when we drift away.
Happy anniversary to all of you, as this is your blog and I’m not exaggerating when I say that you have put into it more than we have.


This is a big day for me but I don’t think I can express my feelings well as I’m overwhelmed with emotions. As a matter of fact, this occasion is more important to me than my own birthday.
Thinking of what we’ve done together on this blog makes me feel proud and gives me hop for the future.

Now we strongly believe that being optimistic in the darkest times is not something to be ashamed of. It can help us override the obstacles we’re facing no matter how huge they may seem and doesn’t mean that we’re dreamers because our optimism is based on beliefs and facts that do exist but are unfortunately not recognized by the MSM and many governments and parties that are either ignorant or have a similar agenda to that of the tyrant we lived under for decades.

The most important thing we achieved in the past year is building trust and understanding among us, failing the evil attempts of those who want us to think of each other as enemies.
I believe that we’ve all learned so many things from each other and to some extent, we’ve succeeded in bridging even if a small fraction of the gap that separates our different cultures, at least in the way of thinking about solutions for our problems because we’re facing similar challenges and above all, we share a common goal; freedom for all mankind.

I truly feel privileged by the enormous numbers of comments and e-mails we received from you and we benefitted from reading them all; the ones that supported our points of view encouraged us to work harder and keep defending our just cause while the ones that disagreed with our points of view taught us to look at different issues from different angles and broadened our horizons.

“Iraq the model” wouldn’t have reached this far without your contributions and ideas my friends.
Thanks to all of you and thanks to our colleagues in this huge, ever growing family (the blogosphere) who have supported us and spread the word about this blog to help us in our struggle to show the world the hidden parts of the fact in our country.
By the way, it's a nice coincidence that today is also the 1st day of Al Fitr Eid! So there's more than one reason to party, and even if it's early for some of you, it is beer o'clock somewhere!