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Iraqi Expat

Friday, June 24, 2005

Saddam the Novelist

Update: Jordan bans Saddam's latest novel.

Saddam has written four novels in his time. I haven't read any of them in the past, and I am not interested in reading any of them in future.

I believe that Saddam can offer me nothing in his novel, and I am not trying to sound too smart here, but I believe that even if I want to understand how this monster thinks, all I need to do is look at his atrocities and read about history and what other dictators have done. And I think that from what I know and what I've seen, I know how he thinks; the short version he is a stupid gangster.

Normally when Saddam writes a novel, he send draft copies to Iraqi and Arab critics and intellectuals. They read the novel and then send it back with recommendations and corrections, and after few revisions the novel becomes eligible for publishing and it gets published signed "Its author".

His latest novel, "Get Out, Damned One", was written just before the war. Some Jordanian publisher then published the novel after the war, and it was signed "Its author". People assumed that this publisher has obtained a copy from one of the critics and or from Saddam's daughter. Excerpts from the novel also appeared in different Arabic newspapers.

As I said, I am not interested in wasting my time reading what Saddam has to say. However, a friend of mine bought the latest novel in Jordan and read it; and he told me that it was laughable and extremely weak dramatically and grammatically. He recited some paragraphs for me in Arabic, that was shockingly unprintable. But hey, Jordanians love Saddam and wanted to publish his novel, so they did.

A rumor I heard about Jordanians a while back that one of Jordan's private schools have waived the fees for some of the families of Iraq's former regime, because they have suffered a lot and they are in trouble now!

apparently the novel will be republished; or for those who didn't know it was published before, it will be published by a Jordanian publisher. It will also be translated to English and French! And unlike his previous novels, this one will be published under his name. I expect that it has been revised and corrected in way that would not be so laughable. To me it is no surprise at all that a novel written by Saddam, without editing and modifications, is ludicrous, what do you expect?

Raghad Saddam Hussein has dedicated the novel to her father:

"To the beat of the heart, to the eye and to the father of the Iraqis ... to the creator of men and heroes ... to the one who taught us all the great values," she wrote.

Now I understand he is her father, but a little shame would be nice; though these people have no shame. The beat of the heart? The eye? The father? The creator? The teacher? It sounds like Allah. She could've have said "To Allah" and everybody would've understand it's for her father.

I know, Muslims will tell me that what I am saying is blasphemy; but guess what? When Saddam is portrayed as God, I become Satan.

"You, who raised our heads high, the heads of the Iraqis, the Arabs and the Muslims ... we present to you our souls ... to the father of the heroes, to my beloved and dear father, with all my respect and glory to you."

I am going to puke. I am not kidding...

Monkeys are Muslims

In fact, not only monkeys are Muslims, but most animals are too.

That is what the pitiful Sheikh al-Mutawa is saying basically, in yet another outrageous and disgusting programme from the be an ignorant Muslim channel, the Saudi Wahhabi Islamic satellite channel Iqra! The irony is that Iqra means read, yet they don't want you to learn!

So is that what it's come to now, to convince the world that you are right, you compare yourself to animals? Well, I guess you are right, you are an animal [Update: Dcat has a picture of a Wahhabi terrorist training].

One word I have for you, sheikh; pathetic. No wonder the Middle East is a mess!

Shattered Windows

We received a word few days ago from my uncle and neighbours in Baghdad that the windows of our house in Baghdad broke. This has happened before in previous wars, so we weren't surprised; however, we were curious as to what had happened.

We knew that no one was injured, so we weren't worried. In our house live members of the family that worked for us for over 30 years; people that we consider family. So we called and talked to different people to get the full picture, make sure everybody was OK and see what we can do or advice.

Apparently, it wasn't only the windows, but the main wooden door broke as well. A mortar shell had fell in front of the house. Thank god that no one was hurt. Thank god that kids weren't playing in the street, and no one was walking by or driving by.

It's a quite neighbourhood! How low can these low life terrorist and their low life masters and their low life supporters can be? Wake up people, you are digging your own graves; and you are bringing nothing but shame to yourselves, your families and your people. You are simply a disgrace, and I am ashamed that you call yourselves "Iraqis".

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Saddam's Palaces

Nuri Farhan al-Rawi, Iraqi Culture minister, announced in Paris that Saddam's 170 palaces will be converted to cultural centres and will be open to public. [Arabic source]

Syria wants to open a "new page"!

Syrian Foreign Minister, Faruq al-Shara, said Damascus wanted to cooperate with Iraq to prevent militants from entering the country and open a "new page" with its neighbour.
"We are open to fraternal and good neighbourly relations with Iraq in order to eliminate any ambiguity and all accusations (about infiltrations)," Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara said Thursday.

"We are ready to cooperate and open a new page with Iraq," Shara said after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing.
Well, should we trust our neighbour Baathists regime? I have my reservations! This Arabic source has more:
"We are ready to cooperate from now on and open a new page with Iraq, because we will not accept unfounded accusations from now on" al-Shara said.
From now on? Interesting.
He also said "Our ambitions are to achieve the best possible relationship with Iraq, and Syria decided to send a delegation to Iraq to evaluate to two important issues, the first is to open a Syrian Embassy in Baghdad as soon as possible."
First Egypt and now Syria, this is good. Unless, the embassy becomes a command centre and a safe haven for foreign terrorists!
The second issue is to contact officials in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and other departments to get the truth about the allegations against Syria. The delegation will ask for the evidence to be evaluated by the Syrian Intellegence and Syrian Foreign Ministry.
Am not really keen on giving them evidence to take back to Syria, I still do not trust them. They are Baathists after all!
Al-Shara also said that Syria is not willing to listen, every now and then, to accusations that could be unfounded!
Could be unfounded? Shouldn't you hear and investigate then? Not willing to listen means you are not interested in the truth!

Then he tries to be smart and goes about how drugs are smuggled to America and how that is not the fault of the country where the drugs are smuggled from! I don't understand how that is similar to Syrian Intellegence officers train and smuggle terrorists to Iraq under the government's nose, but he's a Baathi and they have a different logic from the rest of human race.

Sickening Arab Media

When will the Arab media, journalists, politicians, experts, clerics, etc become decent? When will these people become rational and intelligent? When will they start caring about human life and about the people? I don't know, maybe when the US find life on Mars!

I have seen many disturbing shows on Arabic satellite channels, and this just an example:
As expected, all praised the resistance. All presented the daily terrorist activities as honorable and referred to the present government as a gang of traitors and agents. Operation Lightning, according to them, is solely designed to oppress Iraqis because, again according to them, there are no foreigners operating inside Iraq.
What disturbed me the most, though, was a statement by one of the guests, the editor of a daily Egyptian newspaper: "Killing the police and the national guard is a duty for all Iraqis."
There are even worse shows than this one, and I can't watch these programmes anymore because when I do my blood boils, I start cursing and change the channel. I've got hypertension, you know; and one day, one of these idiots might give me a stroke.

So, give me one good reason why should I trust and or love my "Arab brothers"? And why should I believe in one Arab nation? Or one Muslim nation? My loyalty and love is to Iraq and to hell with the so called "Arab world"!

Whine or Rebuild?

Fayrous started an important topic about Iraqis and you mustn't miss the discussion.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

First Arab Ambassador in Iraq

Egypt will become the first Arab nation to send an ambassador to post-Saddam Iraq. This is a very welcomed move by Egypt which will certainly lead the way to having more Arab ambassadors in Iraq.

Ouch!

He flirted with a glamour model on radio.
She sold his £25,000 Lotus for 50p on eBay within 3 hours.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Despisable... Despicable... Disgusting...

Someone called "Anonymous" commented on one of my old entries, "Why Harith Al Thari is not being arrested?". His comments are way too nauseating.
I came across this blog while doing a bit of research about Harith Al Thari. As a British citizen who has visited Iraq three times during the past year as a volunteer in UN aid missions and currently residing in the United Arab Emirates, I can honestly say the irony in all this are comments such as the above. May I ask all of you, including Ahmed, where do you get your information regarding Iraq from? If its from news media hailing from the two major countries backing this war, then Im afraid you are burrying your heads in the sand.
So what are you saying here? That the mainstream media is backing the war and showing a rosy picture? How funny? I've never heard this before; this is a first. And to answer your question, I get the information from people in Iraq, friends and relatives, from Iraqi news sites, Iraq TV stations, from Iraqi friends who have family in Iraq and last from the mainstream media!
Ever wondered why "insurgent" videos are banned in western media? You would think if such videos depict the killings of innocenct civilians then it would be an ace of spades in the hands of the American and British governments in their never ending propaganda campaigns. Truth is, it is clear and evident that the so called "insurgents" take the utmost care not to hurt civilians in any "resistance" operation.
Come again? Utmost care? Who the hell do you think you are talking to here? Someone who just got interested in a country called Iraq and looked up some information about it, visited it a couple of times and became an expert? How do you know they take utmost care not to hurt civilians? Did you work with them? Did you talk to them? Did they take you hostage? Did they break you eardrum? Or ribs? Did they beat you so hard that you told your family to either pay the ransom or come in your place? Did they decapitate you or one of your friends? Were you a bystander in a market when one of your crazy friends blew himself up? Do you even know why they are fighting? Do you?

And as for the videos, I said before what I think. Anyway, back to your comment.
It is funny that when the US army blows up a wedding party it is passed as collateral damage. But it is sad that you all buy into it when atleast over 20 thousand civilians die because of US and British "collateral damage".
Which wedding party, this?
Dont get me wrong, Im not for terrorism, but I certainly would not go against the God given, and International Law given right to resist occupation and defend your country.
Oh really? You are not for terrorism? Wow! If you are not, then what does one who supports terrorism sounds like? Right to resist occupation and defend your country, how? By killing innocents, Iraqis, and all those that you disagree with even though you are minority? Is that the "resistance" you are talking about? And what about the Iraqis right to live and to choose? What if eight and half million Iraqi do not want violence?
As for those Iraqi's that do die, the striking majority of them are those who have collaborated with the enemy, atleast according to Iraqis. I am sure if this has happened to America, or Britain, we would not be siding with those of us who would ally ourselves with the invading forces. Or do you think that those British who have secretly supported Nazi Germany are not traitors?
According to which Iraqis? Please tell me, because all the Iraqi expats, their friends, relatives and families who live in Iraq, and my friends and relatives in Iraq do not think so! So which Iraqis have been talking to?

"do you think that those British who have secretly supported Nazi Germany are not traitors?" Of course they are traitors, and the best example of such treason today is George Galloway. It seems that you are holding the wrong end of the stick! How about those Germans who secretly worked with the British - or with others - against the Nazis? Or those who helped build Germany after the war? Do you think they are traitors?
Three visits, hundreds of Iraqis from all walks of life, and I have yet to meet one, just one, who supports the American occupation. Let me go further, I have yet to meet one Iraqi inside of Iraq that uses the word "insurgents", no, they are the "resistance".
Three visits? Hundreds of Iraqis? From all walks of life? You sure knew your way around Iraq, didn't you? And you haven't met one? Okay, here are two. But the question is who supports your "resistance"? How many Iraqis want violence? And all those you met called them "resistance"? What can I say, you sure know who to go out with! Here are some Iraqis who live in Iraq and disagree with you and here are some responses from Iraqis.
Let us get over our bias, Al Thari is loved by Sunnis and Shia's alike, specially those more aligned with Muqtada Al Sadr.
Please, be serious, ok? And next time you open your mouth, make sure you understand what you are saying and you can back it up! Don't think that by going three times to Iraq, you became an expert of the Iraqi society and conflicts! Men far better than you, are still seeking knowledge about Iraq, even though they know far more than you do. Do you even know what al Thari does or did? It is funny that you aligned him with Muqtada al-Sadr, because both men are despised by most Sunnis and Shias alike. By the way, don't forget to include this joke in your "research" about al-Thari.
I still wonder why anti-US-UK protest of over 80 thousand Iraqi's in central Baghdad in December of 2004 was casually mentioned in our media, yet a small gathering of 100 Kurdish US backed peshmerga chanting for an autonomous state was plastered all over the news.
80 thousands? In December? In Central Baghdad? Where in Central Baghdad, be specific? I don't have any recollection of such a massive protest! Can someone, remind me here? But did you see the even larger demonstration in January all over Iraq? 8,456,266 went out and protest against violence and voted for a free and democratic Iraq, even though your "resistance" said that it will be a blood bath!
Even if my son was part of the colaition, I would call a spade a spade. Any soldier participating in this farce and unjust war does not die an hornorable death. I will never blame people for defending their own country.
I wish that you are in UAE because they stripped you out of your citizenship; but I know this is wishful thinking. You have just set a new record for being a despicable British citizen, if you really are British! All I can say to you is that you are a disgrace to Britain and you do not deserve to be a citizen of this country.
Time to get our heads out of the sand.
Look at the mirror when you say that. I am sick to my stomach.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Constitution Writing Committee

It seems that an agreement has been, or is about to be reached regarding the constitution writing committee. [Arabic]

It started over a month ago when the 55 member committee was formed with only two Sunnis in it. It was a mistake to assume that a committee with such an important undertaking can be formed on the basis of number of seats gained in the elections. The Sunnis have erred when they boycotted – and or asked people to boycott - the elections; however, that error did not mean that they should be sidelined in the most crucial task today which will shape the future of Iraq.

Having realised the mistake, and after calls from Condoleezza Rice, the Shias decided to include a larger number of Sunnis in the constitution drafting process. The Sunnis welcomed Rice’s move and started negotiations with the Shias, Kurds and the rest.

It has been reported couple of weeks ago that 15 Sunnis will be added to the 55 member committee; however, nothing has been confirmed until yesterday. But even yesterday’s confirmation is not certain; Dr Adnan al-Janabi, a member of the National Assembly and the deputy chairman of constitution committee, said that an agreement has not been reached yet, contrary to media reports. [Arabic]

According to the reports, the Sunnis have requested to have 25 members in the committee; but after negotiations, only 15 Sunnis will be added to the current committee to become a 70 member committee with the Sunnis having 2 members more than the Kurds. And the rest of the 25 Sunnis in the list submitted during the negotiations will have the role of advisors, but are not part of the committee.

If this agreement is final, then I believe it is great news. The Sunnis deserve couple more seats than the Kurds in the committee, so to me it looks fair and square. However, I am not quite sure about other factions!

But what worries me is that the Sunnis – or to be more specific, the Sunni representation – haven’t always acted in an appropriate manner. I believe the problem is that the representation is not the right representation, it is the wrong unelected representation which selected itself, and for some reason the many decent intellectual Sunnis are not part of that representation.

All politicians and representations are prone to making mistakes; but what I consider as inappropriate, unacceptable and way out of line is asking for elements from Saddam’s era to come back and participate or asking for the de-Baathification process to be scrapped completely! Yes, the de-Baathification process is very delicate and must be conducted carefully and fairly, but it is a must for Iraq to move forward. Iraq can not afford to have believers in the old regime or criminals of the old regime to be part of the new establishment.

The Sunni representation, during the negotiations for the constitution committee, has put forward Munther al-Shawi to be a member in that committee. This is the boldest movement by the Sunnis to bring back elements of the previous regime. Al-Shawi was the Higher Education Minister in the 70s, Justice Minister in the 80s, Saddam’s legal adviser in the 90s and finally Justice Minister before the war. I don’t think I need to say more about al-Shawi, do I?

After such boldness, the government issued an arrest warrant for al-Shawi on the basis of new evidence, 102 original execution orders signed by al-Shawi. [Arabic]

Such actions make my blood boils and make me wonder, why there isn’t a decent non-Baath sympathizers Sunni representation. I know that there are many decent, intellectual, democracy-loving Sunnis who are capable of participating and contributing positively; but why only few of them are in the political arena today? If there were enough of those, would the rest of politicians have to negotiate with Baath sympathizers? I don’t think so.

Our problem is, I think, the lack of self-criticism. We have to criticise ourselves and our representatives to be able to progress. In general, Kurds don’t criticise Kurds, Sunnis don’t criticise Sunnis and Shias don’t criticise Shias. This situation is quite dangerous and could make us apologists of our ethnic group or representation, even when we disagree with them.

At the moment, al-Sadr and al-Hakim are the bad elements in the Shia representation, and I know that many Shias will say that al-Hakim is good and his family records speak for itself; but al-Sadr’s family record speak for itself too, can you say he’s good? The problem of al-Hakim is that he is too keen to see Iraq become like Iran and to become Iran’s obedient partner. And unfortunately, al-Hakim is influential.

The Sunni representation on the other hand has bad elements too; like those who are taking advantage of the terror and ask for outrageous demands, such as bringing Baathis and elements of Saddam’s era back. Can they not bring better people to build the new Iraq? And, if they don’t think that Baathis are bad; well how about thinking that they had their chance and failed, and its time to have new faces?

Nonetheless, even though I had no doubt that they will reach an agreement, I am extremely glad that the constitution committee is formed (or not?), and that it has enough and fair representation of the three main factions, and I hope that minorities are represented too.

But I am worried that these stupid demands – and previous stupid demands by other factions - will leave ill feeling inside many Iraqis. It is our job to voice our rejections when such demands are made. If I criticise my representation before others criticise them, and if others do the same, we will leave no room for ill feelings, divisions and problems. In fact by doing so, we might force our representations to change their minds.

The Ketchup Email

I just received the ketchup email and I thought this can't be true, but it is. The sucker guy is a senior associate at Baker & McKenzie! Unbelievable!

Anyway, the ketchup email is officially news. Here is the email he sent on 25 May:
Sent: 25 May 2005 15:27
Subject: Ketchup trousers

Hi Jenny

I went to a dry cleaners at lunch and they said it would cost £4 to remove the ketchup stains. If you cd let me have the cash today, that wd be much appreciated.

Thanks
Richard
And what did Jenny do? Replied to him and carbon copied all her colleagues:
Sent: 03 June 2005 10:25
Cc: *LON - ALL USERS 3RD FLOOR
Subject: RE: Ketchup trousers

With reference to the email below, I must apologise for not getting back to you straight away but due to my mother's sudden illness, death and funeral I have had more pressing issues than your £4.

I apologise again for accidentally getting a few splashes of ketchup on your trousers. Obviously your financial need as a senior associate is greater than mine as a mere secretary. Having already spoken to and shown your email and Anne-Marie's note to various partners, lawyers and trainees in ECC&T and IP/IT, they kindly offered to do a collection to raise the £4. I however declined their kind offer but should you feel the urgent need for the £4, it will be on my desk this afternoon.

Jenny
Well done Jenny, he asked for it!

The best comment in the email, which was going around for a while and is full of hilirious comments, was this "this chap should emigrate"! I think he should :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Iraq to resume flights to Europe this month

The Iraqi government told parliament on Tuesday that commercial passenger flights to Europe would resume this month, 15 years after U.N. sanctions isolated the country under Saddam Hussein.

Do you see it? Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Saddam questioned in his underpants

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

About time

A spokesman for the Association of Terrorists and Kidnappers Muslim Scholars (AMS) said that Iraqi and American forces have raided the house of their chairman, Harith al-Dhari. The joint forces have searched the house, confiscated three Ak-47s from bodyguards and left the area. Unfortunately, al-Dhari was not in the house during the raid. [Arabic source]

Addendum:
This could've been triggered by the 75 million dollars ransom that was paid by TV5 to AMS to release the French journalist Florence Aubenas! Sam, at Hammorabi, has more on this. [Arabic source]

When will these governments and organisations realise that the ransom money they pay will help kill more innocent Iraqis? There is a reason why governments don't - or in your case, shouldn't - negotiate with terrorists. Because when you do, you will be rewarding them for what they've done, and they will probably do it again!

They give millions of dollars that will be used to buy low life criminals and build bombs to save one person - or to save themselves, to be more specific - and they ignore the fact that they are paying terrorists to kill innocents!

RSS from an Arabic newspaper

The Saudi newspaper, Asharq Alawsat, has added an English section and RSS. [Hat Tip: Saudi Jeans]

Finally, an RSS from an Arabic news site; I thought they will never catch up!

The Stringer

Steven Vincent writes a heartfelt piece on Ali, an Iraqi stringer in Basra.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Tribal sheikhs to hand over suspects

Tribal sheikhs/leaders in northern parts of Iraq have agreed to hand over suspects to the Iraqi security forces. [Arabic link]

This rare development contradicts tribal traditions which oblige the tribe to protected refugees no matter what crime they have committed. Having said that, I am not sure whether this agreement is to hand over suspected refugees, or to capture and hand over suspects, or both!

Iraqis Rebuilding Iraq

I received this email today, which was forwarded to me by Iraq Volunteer. Iraqi expatriates who would like to go and work in Iraq for few months (up to a year) can do so by applying for one these jobs.
Dear Sir/Madam

The United Nations Development Programme and the International Organization for Migration are jointly implementing the Iraqis Rebuilding Iraq Programme (IRI) in coordination with the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation of Iraq.

The Programme is designed for expatriate Iraqis with professional and successful backgrounds to undertake short term assignments of up to one year in Iraq. The Programme targets those needs identified by Iraqi ministries which are deemed essential for the reconstruction and development of the country and that are not immediately met by the human resources within Iraq. To date, the participating ministries have submitted to our office over one hundred requests for such experts. Type of expertise needed varies from management, engineering, human rights, IT, social development, environment, medical, law, science and technology, agriculture and many more.

All details on the programme, eligibility criteria, etc are available on the official website: www.iraq-iri.org. Interested candidates will be able to down load the application form available on the IRI webpage, fill it in and send it by email to our Amman Management Unit, at irisupport@iom-iraq.net.

In order to facilitate the access of the Iraqi nationals abroad, we would be grateful if you could pass this information on to Iraqis expatriates that visit your organization. Posters and leaflets are available in English, Arabic and Kurdish. Let us know how many you wish to receive according to your needs, provide as with the mailing address of the organization, and we will send them to you in the coming days.

We highly appreciate your support in promoting the IRI programme among professional Iraqi expatriates in your region and do not hesitate to contact us, should you wish to receive any further information/clarification on the programme.

Thank you in advance for promoting such an important programme to support Iraq and play a significant role in Iraq's new future.

Best regards

Lorena Lando
Iraqis Rebuilding Iraq
Programme Manager
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Iraq Mission in Jordan
llando@iom-iraq.net

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Yes/No Question Update

Thank you all for your participation. So far the answers to the Yes/No Question are:

Verified* No: 16
Verified* Yes: 1

Unverified** No: 1
Unverified** Yes: 1

Last Updated: 11 June, 2005, 21:09 GMT.

By the way, if you are still finding it hard to say yes or no; imagine we have two blocs only in the next election one that says will go back in time and the other one says will move forward, which one will you vote for? If you know, then you should be able to answer the Yes/No Question.

* Known Iraqi bloggers/commenters including myself.
** Anonymous or unknown commenters.

Why NO

I asked fellow Iraqis to put differences and reasoning aside, and to answer a very clear question with a simple yes or no. But not all were able to achieve that and some felt compelled to explain. I can understand why you want to explain; but what you forgot is by saying yes or no, it doesn't mean you are accepting everything in that situation.

We all have more than one reason to explain our yes or no answer; but with too many and different reasons the answer will be lost and a long debate will start instead. The question doesn't ask for reasons, explanations or justification, only the answer to make things clearer and to get a straight answer, no matter what are the reasons.

The explanation could be too long or too short, and people have different reasons for both the yes and the no. Sometimes those reasons are logical and understandable, other times they are not quite so. I believe, through my blog I have expressed my views in so many different post which explains the NO that I will not try to link to these posts. But I will give you a not too long personalised version of the explanation.

I have seen the wars, though not the last one; I have lived in Iraq during the sanctions; I have been afraid all of my life of any government official and the lowest rank police officer who I have to thank and apologise to if he decides to slap me and spit on my face. I simply lost hope.

I used to think that Saddam can be toppled by the people, by an assassination or a revolution; but I was dreaming. It would never have happened, and even if it would, a new dictator would have came a long just like 1958, 1963 and 1968. Otherwise, Qussay would have been next.

If we go back in time to before the war, I would not dare to set a foot in Iraq; but I would do it now, even though I haven't don it, but the idea of going back doesn't scare me now like it used to before. Don't assume that I hold any passport other than the Iraqi passport, because I don't. There is hope today, and if we fail we have only ourselves to blame.

I have lost relatives during Saddam's era. I have seen the brutality of that regime and of the people associated with it. I have a relative who lived all his life in Iraq, i.e. he wasn't an expat, and was kidnapped after the war because he works for some foreign company. He couldn't even afford the ransom and the company paid for him.

I have also lost childhood friends during this war. Two brothers have died in the last few days of the war while driving in Baghdad, and they are very dear to my heart. I have lost people before and after the war; but it is not about me or them, it is about Iraq and giving it a chance to have a better future.

Freedom and democracy doesn't come free and dreams take us nowhere. We may not succeed, but that is our problem; and as Kanan Makiya said "The war made it possible for the country to have a chance—I am not saying a guarantee—of moving ahead in a democratic fashion".

Getting rid of Saddam was never going to be free and easy, and if Iraqis wanted to change the regime, 10s or 100s of thousands would've died. And I even believe that terrorism - or resistance if that's what you prefer to call them – would've happened anyway for many different reasons, mostly because we have people who care too much about themselves and are shameless about it.

The deaths caused by Saddam and his thugs were not being publicised like the deaths that happened in the last two years, but they were on a much larger scale. Terror was the government business and today it is the resistance's business. Until when are we willing to be ruled by terror?

The war ended with little causalities and collateral damage, little compared to the number of deaths of Iraqis if they wanted to topple Saddam themselves. But what happened next? Instead of standing all of us together to build a new Iraq, some of us in corporation with foreign Arab/Iranian governments started a fight and started destroying our own country and the will of the good people. Who do I blame? That some of us!

Why it is better now? Because there is a chance that we might succeed; and if we don't then all those losses during Saddam's era and during and after the war are gone in vain.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Views from Iraq

Throughout today, from dawn to dusk Baghdad time, BBC News has gone behind the headlines to take an in-depth look at life in Iraq. One Day in Iraq: At-a-glance.

Here are some of the comments of Iraqis and non-Iraqis:
I am a British military engineer working to try and improve the Iraqi electrical system. Despite the gloomy news you read from Iraq every day, there is also much good work going on across the country to improve all aspects of the nation's infrastructure. Every Iraqi that I have met has been welcoming, kind and friendly and I consider myself lucky to be in a position to help The rights or wrongs of the war seem a totally irrelevant from where I am sat. I simply believe my contribution here is worthwhile.
Ross, Basrah, Iraq
From BBCArabic.com: In spite of all the bad things we face on a daily basis in Iraq, life is beautiful without Saddam. Today there's a lot of talk about sectarianism but no one looks back to remember who the people Saddam governed Iraq with were. Today even as you see Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and others in the government there is talk about sectarianism and monopolisation of power by one group. Are 35 years of Ba'athist rule not considered sectarianism! The problem today in Iraq is the breath of Ba'athism and sectarianism that still hovers over the minds of some people and we should fight that to live in peace like other people.
Jalal Baghdadi, Baghdad
Did you read that? Life is beautiful without Saddam.
As an Iraqi, I am uniquely qualified to post on this discussion. First off, life is definitely better under the coalition than under Saddam. Saddam's regime killed thousands of my fellow Iraqis. The only way people in the "West" don't see this is because they have a media with a liberal bias.
Abdul Al Suja, Ramallah, Iraq
Can he be anymore right? Spot on.
From BBCArabic.com: Iraq is a country that has been suffering from wars and bloody conflicts for 5,000 years and what you see now is a decisive episode of the bloody Iraqi saga. Perhaps its richness is what attracts all these wars, or maybe it's the despair of its people - whatever the reason the result is the death of innocents, the spread of fear, terror and injustice. I don't remember any period longer than a year without wars and destruction. Now the dream of every honourable Iraqi is to live in peace and quiet. We have grown accustomed to storing food and the basics of life. My hope from God is to grant the people of Iraq peace.
Heymen, Irbil
Amen.
From BBCArabic.com: Is the Iraqi situation that bad? Yes there are some problems but things are going in the right direction. The residents of any area can make it safe or otherwise. When you shelter insurgents you have to expect trouble. As for the sectarian issue, this is promoted by some Arab channels which refuse to have democratic governments like that of Iraq, and time will prove this.
Ahmad al-Saadi, al-Amara
From BBCArabic.com: I want to say that the situation in Iraq is not good, but we can see that the heroes of Iraq sacrifice themselves to keep the smiles on the faces of the children. Pray to God to preserve the heroes of the police and the army and the guards and every honourable Iraqi who protects the smiles of the children and women of Iraq.
Iraqi citizen, Baghdad
Those heros are the true freedom fighters and may god bless them.
From BBCArabic.com: I have visited my country after 24 years of abroad and I have seen such joy at the downfall of the most tyrannical regime in history that I had never seen before.
Mohammad al-Baydani, Sydney, Australia
There is one question that I would like to see answered by Iraqis in Iraq. "If you could return to your life in Iraq as it was before the allied invasion, would you? A simple yes or no would reveal far more than pages of biased reporting by disinterested journalists.
Al, UK
May I ask all Iraqis who are reading this to answer Al with a simple yes or no in the comments section. My answer is of course, NO.

Life in Pakistan and Saudi

Isaac Schrödinger talks about life in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia during and after the Gulf War. Check this out:

[...] After we finished, I was walking back with one kid who out of the blue asked me a question. “Who do you think is going to win the war?”

“The US,” I said.

“Why do you think that?” he asked.

“Since the US is more powerful than Iraq and has sent such a large force across 8 time zones.”

“No, Saddam Hussein is going to win!” he shot back.

I didn’t like that answer and asked him to explain his choice. He gave an answer that I knew was not right but my nine year old mind couldn’t compute as to why.

“Because he is a Muslim,” he replied.

Hehehe... Yeah, that makes perfect sense! And the kid was right; Saddam did win the Gulf War!

One day, I overheard a conversation between my aunt and family. She had come back from a mosque. She told us about a foreign lady who came to teach birth control to women near the mosque. She said that the Westerners were afraid of Muslims. This talk of birth control was a scheme by the Westerners to keep the number of Muslims low in the world. I knew that this statement wasn’t right but kept my mouth shut. By the way, this aunt had seven children. I am sure that Western lady must have been petrified by her.

Yep, that makes sense too! It's all part of the master Imperialist Zionist Western evil plan!

All Levels of the Iraqi Government were Complicit

Kanan Makiya, the author of Republic of Fear, talks about the nature of Baath, de-Baathification, and Iraq Memory Foundation. Here are some excerpts from the interview - which is worth a read:

MEQ: If Baathism is a form of Arab nationalism, how do Baathists define who is an Arab?

Makiya: To Baathists, being an Arab is connected with the degree of loyalty that one has, not only to the idea of "Arabness," but also to the party that carries that idea, that party's central committee, and ultimately, to the party leader. In that sense, it is fascist. Baathist ideology in the pure original sense means you could have ancestors going back hundreds of years in an Arab country and your first language might be Arabic, but still you are not an Arab in the Baathist view. The quality of being an Arab is therefore a subjective and not an objective attribute of an individual.

[...]

MEQ: Were the highest echelons of the Iraqi government involved, or was corruption a low-level affair?

Makiya: All levels of the government were complicit. Profiteering, black market trafficking, and sanctions-busting became the principal activity of the Iraqi elite. United Nations officials turned a blind eye as top Iraqi officials diverted funds from the U.N.-managed Oil-for-Food program into secret bank accounts.

[...]

MEQ: So the coalition invasion in March 2003 served, to some degree, as a catalyst for changing an unsustainable situation?

Makiya: The war made it possible for the country to have a chance—I am not saying a guarantee—of moving ahead in a democratic fashion. The sanctions could not be removed before the regime was removed, and only then could the country pick itself up again. With the removal of the old regime and the elections, we have reached the beginning of a new era. Baathist ideology has, I believe, been dealt a deathblow in Iraq.

[...]

MEQ: Have any of the states neighboring Iraq played a more helpful role?

Makiya: None. None at all. There is no doubt about this whatsoever: We never expected to have friends in the region, and we still don't.

[...]

MEQ: What are the origins of the Iraq Memory Foundation?

Makiya: In 1991, in the immediate aftermath of the last war, I went to northern Iraq to look into rumors that the Kurds had captured tons of Iraqi documents. With the tacit knowledge of the then-director of Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies [William A. Graham], I sought to gain support to transport those documents outside of Iraq so that academics and scholars could work with them. The project began the following year at Harvard.

[...]

MEQ: Was there anything you found that surprised you?

Makiya: We found registers of Iraqi secondary school students with all kinds of personal information, especially political information: when they joined the party, including their degree of loyalty measured by various criteria; whether they participated in such-and-such an event; the loyalty of the members of their family up to cousins of the third degree. So, you end up with virtually a blacklist of the secondary school population. You can imagine the implications of studying Iraq through the prism of these kinds of documents.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Tide Ad

I just received this by email, and remembered that Fayrouz said it would make a good ad for Tide. I think its great and will definitely use Tide from now on, LOL.



The caption says "My Lady, for cleaner clothes and smoother hands ... Tide"

Pathetic Ignorance of Hypocrites

This is not a joke! It is a true story!

Two Algerians went to a take-away restaurant here in London and their breath smelled alcohol, yet their first question was is the falafel halal?

I swear when my friend who was in the restaurant told me, I couldn't stop laughing! How can falafel be halal? It's vegetarian, use your brain for god sake! And if you are so concerned about halal and haram, why do you smell like a pint of lager?

I bet you that these morons support what they call the "resistance" in Iraq!

Promoting Terrorism

About a year ago, I was talking to a colleague about the terrorists and the videos they release and get broadcasted on TV. I told him that such videos should never be broadcasted because it only helps the terrorists. When the terrorists release such videos, it is because they want to show it to the world, they want to deter people and they want to be heard. And therefore, it is important that they won't be heard.

The terrorists kidnap people for one of two reasons; either to get a ransom and the victim most of the time is an Iraqi (or in some cases an Italian!); or to publicise terror. Hence, it is our responsibility to not give them the publicity they are seeking. Think about it, if they can't publicise their terror, what good would it do them to kidnap if not for money? If they kill the victim, all the publicity they would get is a headline saying terrorists killed a foreign businessman; and no one would see Mr X pleading for his life or getting executed on TV.

I am not saying that Mr X is not worth the attention, but showing the video would put Mr X's life in more danger because the message of killing Mr X will serve their publicity agenda, and it would make the kidnapping business a successful PR exercise to terrorise the world. Therefore, TV stations like al Jazeera helps only the terrorists when they broadcast these videos.

Rumsfeld said that al Jazeera promotes terrorism:

"If anyone here lived in the Middle East and watched a network like Al-Jazeera day after day after day, even if you were an American you would begin to believe that America was bad," Rumsfeld told an Asian defense conference.

"Quite honestly, I do not get up in the morning and think that America is what's wrong with the world. The people that are going on television, chopping off people's heads is what's wrong with the world."

"And television networks that carry it and promote it and are Johnny-on-the-spot every time there's a terrorist act are promoting it," he said.

Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, a pan-Arab station, denies it holds any anti-American bias and says it reports the news objectively.

Okay, I will not comment on al Jazeera's laughable objectivity, but can al Jazeera say that they report responsibly? Can they say that they care more about innocents than they care about terrorists or about having an exclusive from terrorists? I do not think so because if they did, they wouldn't broadcast the video the minute the terrorists deliver it to them! And why the terrorists deliver to al Jazeera only and not to other channels? Because they are buddies.

Plans for 370 megawatt

$118 million dollars have been allocated to build a new 60 megawatt diesel Power Station in Samawa, south of Iraq. [Arabic source]

Laith Kuba, the Iraqi government spokesman, announced that Iran has agreed on increasing the power supply from 90 to 150 megawatt.

Abdul Latif Rashid, Minister of Water Resources, announced that his ministry will work on increasing the power supply by 250 megawatt to produce 1250 megawatt once the Turkish government fulfills the agreement of increasing the water flow in the Euphrates.

Association of Muslim Scholars and Sajda

Mohammed Ayash al-Kubaisi, a representative of the Association of Muslims Scholars, have been in contact with Sajda al-Tulfah, Saddam's wife, who resides in Qatar. He has also been in contact with Luay Khair Allah al-Tulfah, Sajda's notorious brother. Al-Kubaisi received millions of dollars and transferred the money through various businessmen to terrorists in Iraq. [Arabic source]

This could well be bogus; but the fact remains that the Association of Muslims Scholars in Iraq was established after the war by Baathi scholars who are more loyal to Saddam and the Baath than to Iraq or even to Allah. It is a well known fact that they corporate with terrorists and kidnappers. So, even if this is bogus; it doesn't mean that they are not doing what Saddam and his family want them to do.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Am back

Thank you all for your nice words. I had a great holiday, tiring though! The weather, the set up, everything was great. And as usual we had too many late nights, too many drinks and not enough sleep, so I came back wanting a few more days off to relax!

Anyway, I am back now and catching up... So far, I don't know anymore than you do as to what's happening in Iraq, so I will be brief as I am sure you know all of this.

10 Iraqi Shias have been tortured and shot, and no one protested like I said they should. Their mutilated bodies have been found in the desert near the town of Qaim, close to the Syrian border.

Tariq Aziz thinks that he would've had "rights" under Saddam's law! Oh yes, I forgot about the right to be humiliated, tortured and to die without trial!

President Talabani said that he expects the trial of Saddam to begin within two months. Let's hope that it will be so, as I can't wait to see and celebrate the end of this monster.

The kidnapped governor of Anbar province, Raja Nawaf, has been found dead along with his suspected captors after a clash with US forces in Rawa, near the Syrian border.

At least 27 people were killed and 128 wounded in a double suicide bomb attack in Hila, south of Baghdad. The attack took place while a crowd of policemen protesting against a decision to disband their unit!

Sunni politician, Mohsen Abdul Hamid, leader of the Iraqi Islamic party was arrested and taken from his home by mistake. The arrest was immediately condemned by President Talabani and Abdul Hamid was released.

What you don't know is this:
A letter from Harith al-Dhari, head of the Muslim Scholars Association, dated July 2004 has been found in Abdul Hamid's house, in which al-Dhari threatens Abdul Hamid and asks him to either join the Muslims Scholars Association and support the resistance or he will be assassinated along with other members of his party. Also in the letter, al-Dhari states that al-Zarqawi and the Saddamites are Muslims and that we must corporate with them, and everything they do is according to Shariah even if they killed all the Iraqis, it doesn't matter, what is important in the end is that the "resistance" succeed! [Arabic link]

When will al-Dhari be arrested? This is becoming ridiculous and am getting sick of it. Harith al-Dhari, his son and al-Sadr must be arrested and tried if we want Iraq to move forward. Al-Dhari should've been arrested instead of Abdul Hamid.