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.