Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Fuzzy and Dangerous Logic

Can we separate ideas from the people who hold them? Sometimes this is easy. You have a friend that you like but on certain issues you just don't agree. You separate the ideas from the person. You are able to look at the ideas separately and judge their merits without reference to your friend's personality.

Other times, however, it isn't so easy. You know someone whose ideas actually give you access to their personality -- and you decide you like neither the ideas nor the person. "I don't like your ideas," you say to yourself, "and from what I've seen, I don't like your personality either." The ideas and that person's character reinforce each other.

One of the major themes here at Iraqi Bloggers Central has been the Deep Divide between the pro-Coalition bloggers and the anti-Coalition bloggers. The battle-lines were drawn a long time ago. When I began this blog, one of my goals was to see if I could initiate some dialogue between the two camps. I tried to be a mediator and I encouraged both sides to air their views and differences. And, while the pro-Coaltion group all had Coments Pages, none of the anti-Coaltion group did. So I also thought this weblog could be a place where people would be able to comment on the anti-Coaltion group's ideas.

Well, almost six weeks on, the dialogue hasn't materialized. I thought that the anti-Coaltion group might soften their stance a bit. They haven't. In fact, Faiza and Raed are even more vituperative than before. The one success we have had is that many people are now finally able to engage in public debate about the statements coming from Faiza, Raed, and the others.

Can we separate their ideas from their personalities? With Faiza and Raed this is extremely difficult. Their ideas are so completely shot through with their pessimism and negativity that it is hard to untangle a single idea from the mass of conflicting emotions in their blogs, an element of their writing upon which many posters have remarked and attempted to analyze.

Both Faiza and Raed excel in a peculiar kind of fuzzy and dangerous logic that allows their feelings to suddenly give birth to "facts." A while ago Raed thought that Muqtada Al-Sadr would be able blow the Americans away with his posse -- and suddenly Raed claimed that Al-Sadr has between 5 and 7 million loyal followers, adding confidently that this was his "conservative" estimate. This was, as everyone knows, complete fantasy. Unfortuantely, each and every one of his blogs are riddled with these inane "facts."

Faiza reads a history of Iraq and concludes that all evil in her country has come from outside.

From their greed and meanness comes our misery, they breed fighting, problems among the people, or the parties, or make agreements with a mad man, and make a dictator out of him, supplying him with money, power, and weapons so as to make wars on neighbors, destroy his nation, and we loose our hopes in a peaceful, settled life, for tens of years.

According to Faiza and her emotional needs, the West is responsible for Saddam Hussein! Saddam Hussein was every bit a local product as Richard Nixon was in the United States. Nixon was forced to resign in August, 1974. For Americans, Nixon was lucky he resigned or his rear would have been impeached. No one shed a tear at his departure. He disgraced the office of president. End of story. Raed, on the other hand, felt sad for Saddam Hussein getting pulled from power -- he was OUR leader, he exclaimed. "Whether we liked that or not," Raed wrote, "Saddam was a symbol of Iraq." (In democracies, Raed, no one is a "symbol" of the country. They're elected and if they screw up, they lose the next election, and the next person gets a chance.) Saddam and his Tikriti Clan had a thirty-year run of terror with 300,000 Iraqis lying in mass graves and Raed feels sorry for him!

Meanwhile Zeyad, a thoroughly logical and sharp-minded Iraqi, analyzes in a four-part, well-researched piece the "clash of cultures" in Iraq between urban values and tribal values and how and why Saddam Hussein is without doubt a local product.

Iraqis therefore have been conditioned (for centuries) by this ongoing 'clash of cultures' to follow two different (and often antithetical) sets of social values; urban values derived from their own ways of life and history as the cradle of civilisation, and tribal values imposed upon them by the Bedouin influence. Urban Iraqis cannot remain totally unaffected by the spread of tribal values and eventually they have to pick up from them in order to defend themselves and adapt to their new environment, the newly settled tribes on the other hand cannot indefinately retain their Bedouin culture which was only suitable for desert life and have to reshape it in order to coexist with the
original inhabitants. This has resulted in a form of duality or 'cultural ambivalence' in the Iraqi personality which is easily recognised by Westerners and they may therefore incorrectly describe Iraqis as being 'two-faced', when in fact Iraqis are unaware of their inconsistent behaviour and have had no choice in it. This duality is also evident on different scales in other Arab countries such as Syria, Palestine, Libya, Algeria, and to a lesser extent in Egypt.


...

The Ba'ath party came to power in 1968 and it regarded tribalism as a major obstacle to reforms and modernisation. Radical agrarian reforms were introduced to the country, estates owned by tribal Sheikhs were confiscated and limited, and peasant associations were formed to reduce the influence of tribal Sheikhs and to undermine their historical position as intermediaries between the government and their tribesmen. It was under Saddam Hussein however that tribalism resurfaced again starting from the mid-80's.

While Zeyad and the other bloggers tackle difficult issues about Iraq's future, using all the powers of reason and discernment at their disposal, Faiza and Raed continually revert to irrationalism. Faiza blaming all of Iraq's ills on the West and on Americans is unwarranted, false, and contains some of the same ingrediants that led to the extermination of millions of Jews and Armenians in the last century.

Can we separate ideas from the person? When we're dealing with interpretations it is always a good idea to find out something about the person behind the views. In historiographical practice, one should always try to learn something about the life of the individual behind the written work. In this case, the history of the Jarrar family -- from what we can glean from the internet -- helps us understand the built-in biases in their interpretation of current events in Iraq. These matters have been discussed on the Comments Pages and I thank the Iraqi posters who have helped us understand the position of the Jarrars in Iraqi society.

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UPDATE: An excellent piece of keyboard research coming from a blogger who tracks down an AP source, an artist who made a nice living under Saddam:

He freely admits to once painting a portrait of Saddam and says, "Look, no person was forced to do this thing, my dear. But the money! I took my friends out to dinners for weeks on the payment."

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ANOTHER UPDATE: AYS over at Iraq at a Glance, before collapsing into bed after a long trip from Basra, has enough energy to type out a big thank you. You're welcome, AYS, and get some sleep.

Congratulations to Iraq and Iraqis on this great day.. A day which is considered a big blow on the heads of those who call the United States and the coalition: ‘occupiers’.. Well.. thank you very much for the ‘occupiers’.. Those who helped us in liberating our country from the tyranny, the ‘occupiers’ who liberated Iraq on the 9th of April, the ‘occupiers’ who sent Mr.Paul Bremer as we did not have a governor at that time..the ‘occupiers’ who helped us in forming a governing council.. The ‘occupiers’ who helped us in the interim constitution.. The ‘occupiers’ who stood against the terrorists.. The ‘occupiers’ who helped us in forming and training our army......etc.. then those ‘occupiers’ handed over the sovereignty to the Iraqis.... they are the best ‘occupiers’ I’ve ever seen.. I hope they’ll ‘occupy’ the countries who are in need to be improved !
Thank you very much...


Oh-oh, this cannot make the Unhappy Campers over at Camp Jarrar in Amman very pleased. Beatnik Raed is working on his Lenny Bruce, I'm sure, while steam slowly rises from Faiza's ears.

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STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Our regular poster Scott from Oregon is quoted in an article by Margie Wylie on the Iraqi Bloggers!

"For me, it's the story. It's just huge, like a triple-wide (James A.) Michener novel," said Scott Simpson, 41, a carpenter from Grants Pass, Ore. He finds the bloggers so compelling that he reads them up to five times per day.


Three cheers for Scott!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

A’ash Al-Iraq! Long live Iraq!

Ali from Iraq the Model tells a wonderful story of celebrating the handover of power at the clinic with his colleagues (includes photos!).

Then suddenly Mr. Bremer appeared on TV reading his last speech before he left Iraq. I approached the TV to listen carefully to the speech, as I expected it to be difficult in the midst of all that noise. To my surprise everyone stopped what they were doing and started watching as attentively as I was.

The speech was impressive and you could hear the sound of a needle if one had dropped it at that time. The most sensational moment was the end of the speech when Mr. Bremer used a famous Arab emotional poem. The poem was for a famous Arab poet who said it while leaving Baghdad. Al-Jazeera had put an interpreter who tried to translate even the Arabic poem which Mr. Bremer was telling in a fair Arabic! “Let this damned interpreter shut up. We want to hear what the man is saying” One of my colloquies shouted. The scene was very touching that the guy sitting next to me (who used to sympathize with Muqtada) said “He’s going to make me cry!”

Then he finished his speech by saying in Arabic,”A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq, A’ash Al-Iraq”! (Long live Iraq, Long live Iraq, long live Iraq).


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Alaa at Mesopotamian:

Hail our true friends, the Great People of the United States of America; The Freedom giving Republic, the nation of Liberators. Never has the world known such a nation, willing to spill the blood of her children and spend the treasure of her land even for the sake of the freedom and well being of erstwhile enemies. The tree of friendship is going to grow and grow and bear fruit as sure as day follows night. And the people deep down at the bottom of their hearts, they appreciate. Make no mistake about that. The people have voted today, the pulse of the street is clear, without any hesitation I would give 90% of all Iraqis are hopeful and supportive of the new government, and this is a tacit indirect yes to the U.S. which has been the prime mover of all these events.


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Jason van Steenwyk at Iraq Now clips An Open Letter to Abu Zarqawi from a Marine.

You look at America and you see a soft target, and to a large extent you are right. Our country is filled with a lot of spoiled people who drive BMWs, sip decaf lattes and watch ridiculous reality TV shows. They are for the most part decent, hard working citizens, but they are soft. When you cut off Nick Berg’s head those people gasped, and you got the media coverage you sought, and then those people went back to their lives. This time it is different. We also have a warrior culture in this country, and they are called Marines. It is a brotherhood forged in the fire of many wars, and the bond between us is stronger than blood. While it is true that this country has produced nitwits like Michael Moore, Howard Dean and Jane Fonda who can be easily manipulated by your gruesome tactics, we have also produced men like Jason Dunham, Brian Chontosh and Joseph Perez. If you don’t recognize those names you should. They are all Marines who distinguished themselves fighting to liberate Iraq, and there will be many more just like them coming for you.

Sam: Arab Media Report Card

Sam at Hammorabi takes a look at how the Arab media handled the early handover of power in Iraq.

On the top of the list is the mouthpiece of the terrorists Al Jazeera. It appeared confused and spitted all of its hater for Iraq and Iraqis. It showed the Iraqi scene after today as a chaos and invited pro-Wahabi Mullah from Haayat Olamma Musleemens from Iraq to mutilate any hope for new free Iraq. They also invited a propagandist from Cairo to talk about it saying that it is another American show.




Monday, June 28, 2004

Congratulations!

Congratulations and thanks to all the Iraqi Bloggers for all the months of debate central to the future of democracy in Iraq!!

Thanks to Paul Bremer for 14 months of tireless service to the American and Iraqi people. You have my utmost respect and only the enemies of democracy will cast stones at your service.

Today is a wonderful day for me and all my friends in Iraq. Congratulations! Live long and prosper!

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UPDATE:

Our Man "G" in the West for the first time attends the Glastonbury Festival. (Hat tip: USA Granny)

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P.S. I wonder if Riverbend is with the Jarrar family at one of their homes in Amman, Jordan?

*thwooooooooonk*

Hey, watch it with that meat-cleaver! Someone could get hurt!

River? Was that you?

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Well, Raed Jarrar has blogged. Let me be blunt about this: Raed is an ENEMY OF DEMOCRACY.

Paul Bremer faced possible death each and every day for a year and two months. Raed today writes:

some hours later, bremer ran away in a black military plane


Hey, Raed, sorry Dr. Death can't join your Baathist Roundtable in Amman. She's in custody. Too bad, fella.

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ANOTHER UPDATE: Connie on the Comments Pages offered a good site for information on the Iraqi Interim Government.

Iraqi Interim Government Leaders

Sunday, June 27, 2004

The Story of Three Iraqi Friends

Salam Pax, Ghaith Abdul Ahad, and Raed Jarrar were three friends living together in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, architecture students who also shared a sharp kind of humor.

Salam Pax was the first one to blog and became the original Baghdad Blogger. His success was well-deserved and any trip to his archives, believe me, is worth your trouble. However, he stopped blogging on April 10, 2004.

:: Saturday, April 10, 2004 ::

I think Hiatus is the word. Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen.
:: salam 2:16 AM [+] ::


He continued to write fortnightly articles for the Guardian. Here are the last two.

Tigris Tales, May 5, 2004.

Tigris Tales, May 19, 2004.

Elizabeth Wynhausen writes a short profile of Salam for the Australian called Salam Pax succumbs the unbearable weight of blogging. In the interview, Salam explains why he stopped blogging.

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Ghaith, using the blog-handle "G," began blogging in the early summer of 2003. The blog (now inactive), called Gee in Baghdad, lasted a few months while he started working as a journalist.

Those early days around the time of the war and the aftermath are recounted in his article for the Guardian called We wanted this war so deperately.

Lying in bed, I was planning my suicide. I had only one dream in my life - to travel, to walk, to see different people and different cultures - and nothing seemed more impossible than this dream in the Iraq of our beloved leader, Saddam Hussein.

Ghaith speaks at a forum on the future of Saddam-era monuments in Brian Whitaker's article Fate of Saddam relics sparks debate.

"Nebuchadnezzar was a tyrant and Saddam was a tyrant. Together, they spanned "a continuous line of despotism," Mr Abdul Ahad said.

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Raed does not have the English-language skills of Salam or Ghaith. While Salam Pax has always been an ironist and Ghaith the most passionate critic of the Saddam regime, Raed has been the most unpredictable and unstable, sometimes writing like an inebriated Italian futurist while at other times like a slightly medicated and thoroughly paranoid Hunter S. Thompson.

When Salam Pax wrote that sometimes Raed's brain "de-rails," we laughed, thinking it was a funny dig between friends. It is that, I am sure, but it also contains an element of truth. Fans of the Iraqi Bloggers, after reading one of his blogs, are left wondering what is going on in his mind because so often the required sequential logic necessary between sentences is missing. And then there are many wild claims, one of my favorite being that Moqtada Al-Sadr had between 5 to 7 million loyal followers. Raed called this his "conservative" estimate!

Here are his last three blogs.

Back in Amman, Jordan, to work on his Master's thesis in architecture, he blogs on Thursday, June 10, 2004.

So yeah,
I had this polite gentleman emailing me the other day, saying that he will stop reading my blog because I sound like a broken record, going on and on cursing bush and his gang, some other small websites spending their time recycling my words started calling me the Booooooosh Booooooooooosh train!
:*)
haha



Blog from June 23, 2004.

I didn’t see that attacking clerics like As Sadr would be the right answer, because he is strong enough to fight back, and he will become a national hero, and that happened. As Sadr is a national hero who is planning to join the next elections, after defeating the American army (he didn’t surrender, he is still having his army, right?)


In this blog, Friday, June 25, 2004, Raed argues that because the US has a fortified embassy in Jordan it is therefore "ruling" Jordan.

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I hope Salam, Ghaith, and Raed are still friends. Their friendship is no different than ones we have with our friends. We usually have a lot in common, but those differences are what delight and attract us.

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UPDATE: Omar at Iraq the Model blogs with a title that says it all: Warning!! Good news. Hazardous for pessimists, trolls and anti-war!

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Big Pharaoh Speaks: Iraq Will Succeed

Big Pharaoh, in a blog called The Right Wish from the Right People, addresses the views of Iraq's neighbors to the upcoming transfer of power and the attitudes toward both Iraqis and Coalition forces.

This afternoon I logged on to the CNN website and their major headline read "92 Iraqis killed". After reading the news report, I logged on to Al-Jazerah's website and guess what their major headline was? "3 American soldiers killed". This is what they ONLY care about, to see America fail. In fact, it is not just Al Jazerah, I am beginning to believe that the majority of Arabs/Muslims feel indifferent towards Iraqi deaths as long as the US sinks deeper in their perceived "Iraq quagmire". They don't give a dead rat's ass about Iraqis being killed on a daily basis by suicide bombings and arbitrary shooting. Their passion of "Arab/Muslim brotherhood" only explodes when few Iraqi civilians are accidentally killed by US forces. I am outraged at such hypocrisy and lies.

Iraq will succeed. For the sake of Iraq, Iran, the free world, and the future of this dark miserable region, Iraq must succeed. Don't tell me it cannot be possible. Nothing is impossible. We learned that lesson from Winston Churchill, Anwar Sadat, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush will teach us this lesson one more time. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said that Hitler could be appeased and war avoided. Churchill said no. Arabs said that Egypt cannot have peace with Israel. Sadat said no. John Kerry said that "we cannot fight communism all over the world". Reagan said no. Today, doomsayers are telling us that Iraq will fail. Goerge Bush must continue to say no.


Big Pharaoh also comments of Michael Moore.

After reading some of Michael Moore's comments, I felt relived that we are not the only people with nuts among us. From what I read about his latest documentary film, I discovered that it really resembled a lot of the fake and emotionally hype stories I read in our media and especially in our cheap tabloids.

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Zeyad at Healing Iraq responds to the terrorists' attacks.

100 dead and over 300 badly injured. The scenes of bloody bodies of Iraqi policemen are painful and heartrending, and there is absolutely NO justification for this. I swear if someone says there is I would be glad to strangle him with my own hands and drink from his blood. I cannot express the rage I am feeling now in words. I did not blog about it yesterday because I would have said some very nasty things, and I am still struggling to restrain myself now from doing so.

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Robin Wright reports in the Washington Post (hat tip: Jim from Indiana):

73 percent of Iraqis polled approved of Allawi to lead the new government, 84 percent approved of President Ghazi Yawar and almost two-thirds backed the new Cabinet. These impressive showings indicate that the new leaders have support spanning ethnic and religious groups, U.S. officials said.

From Amman, Jordan, Raed Jarrar informs us where he stands.

The handover of the small-boring-administrative-responsibilities to some selected groups of Iraq employees (guards, policemen, ministers, president) is not going to change anything on the ground for Iraqis. The real authorities and decision makers aren’t going to leave the fence of the green zone.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Our Man "G" on the Ground in Iraq

G A Ahad -- "G" to fans of the Iraqi Bloggers -- has a new article in today's Guardian. We follow him as he makes the rounds of points of current interest in Iraq.

First stop Kerbala.

"But, alhamdulillah [thank God], the Americans are very wise and respect the shrines. Our brothers, the Americans, are taking very good care of this thing, but as far as the Shias around the world and in Iraq are concerned, they hear that the Americans are fighting 'close to the shrines', and that Shias are being killed. They see the smoke on your films so they come en masse to fight and they are immediately brainwashed by Moqtada and his thugs."

If that's the case, I ask, why doesn't the Ayatollah come out publicly and denounce those people, and show his support for these "brothers"?

"Are you crazy? It's haram [forbidden by Islamic law] to support an infidel, even when he is right, against a brother Muslim."

"So what is your strategy?"

"We will pray for Allah to stop this."


*

Then off to Falluja:

A bunch of Falluja kids, just finishing their exams, are hanging around their school when two muj trucks surround them and pick up all the kids who don't have a "decent" hair cut. They will be taken to get their heads shaved. (Bear in mind that we are talking about Falluja, which is already one of the most conservative towns in Iraq. There aren't too many funky haircuts here to begin with.)

...

I head towards one of the mosques where people are going to get aid and charity donations. A guy in his 40s approaches me with the famous welcoming smile of the Fallujans - a look of, "What the fuck are you doing here?"

I tell him that I'm a journalist and would like to meet the Sheikh.

"How did you manage to get in? Didn't they stop you at the checkpoint?"

Thinking he is talking about the marines' checkpoint, I say, "No, everything was fine."

"Did they see your camera?" I tell him I was hiding it.

"This Abu Tahrir, I don't know what kind of mujaheddin cell he is running! I told him that every car should be thoroughly searched and all journalists should be brought here!"


...

*

Last stop Baghdad's Sadr City.

...

"Don't go, there are Americans down the street," shouts one of the kids, so we duck into a side road. The battlefield is an empty plot of land by a mosque, surrounded by alleyways.

In one of them, a dozen teenagers, three or four of them wearing Arsenal T-shirts and flip-flops, are emptying a car boot of a mortar tube and a sackful of shells. I am allowed to stay and take pictures, but with the usual proviso: "If we discover that you are working for the Americans, we will kill you."

The target is a police station and three Humvees parked in front. Masked like a western cowboy, the shooter, or the "expert" as they call him, takes measure of the angle and shouts to another fighter: "Give me one!" The other guy produces what looks like a rusted, 2-ft long shell. The fighters here are also Mahdi, and the fighting in Sadr City often feels like one big carnival. All the kids are by now doing their cheering chant: "Ali wiyak, Ali!" "Ali with you, Ali!" If I were an American soldier, I would be expecting a flying shell every time I hear kids cheering in Sadr City. After all, this is the only fun they get, shooting at the sitting ducks.


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Commentary from Nizar Abdel-Kader in his article Promoting Reform Efforts In The Middle East for Al-Hayat.

The Middle Eastern political stage remains as it was under the circumstances of the 'cold war.' The governments have continued to be run by a single leader under the banner of a single political party, with no guarantees to individuals or groups that they will be part of the political process, unless they are an integral part of the leadership. This political, economic and social oligarchy has resulted in a poisonous fallout that is manifested in the lack of transparency in government practices and institutions, including the judiciary.

...

The Arab world cannot find a viable exit by itself from the present crisis, and it should admit its weaknesses as a prelude to the acceptance of any new proposals for reforms. Such an exit would start with a sincere and frank pan Arab dialogue in order to come up with a plan to serve as a basis to invite the UN, the US, and the EU to come forward with a constructive role needed to sustain the reform process.


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UPDATE: Omar at Iraq the Model discusses lack of freedom of speech in neighboring countries today.

The situation in Syria now is much like what we experienced before the 9th of April and that’s why I feel that the comments coming from inside Syria that agree with the government’s policy are either posted by agents of the Syrian intelligence or by ordinary people who are so scared and misled.

I used to feel sorry for Arabs in other countries because I believe that we have much more freedom than they can dream of and my friends sometimes laughed at me especially when I mention Saudi Arabia or other gulf countries because my friends took only the economic aspect in their consideration.

Now, after reading hundreds of Arabs’ comments, I can see jealousy in their words and they frankly envy us for what we have.
I’m sitting now in my living room expressing my feelings, posting my thoughts about any subject and criticizing anyone without fear while our neighbors still encounter serious risks when they want to *read* what someone else wrote in the internet.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

Iraqi Bloggers Respond to Today's Attacks

I woke up today, booted up the computer, saw that the terrorists have killed scores of Iraqis, click on the English-language Al-Jazeera website and then read this headline:

IRAQI RESISTANCE EXECUTES MULTIPLE ATTACKS

Iraqi resistance? What kind of shite is this? Now I know why the ITM brothers have stopped watching Al-Jazeera and why every other day Sam and AYS and Firas curse the Al-Jazeera staff. These coordinated explosions are the work of TERRORISTS. They will be hunted down and they will be killed.

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UPDATE: Zeyad says what few are able to say in his blog called Beheadings.

These are the same people that continue to pour in from the borders of our 'friendly neighbours' to wage their 7th century Jihad on Iraqi soil, they are the same people that pack vehicles with tons of explosives to relieve thousands of Iraqis of their existence, they are -I believe- the same people who continue to assassinate hundreds of Iraqi professionals and 'collaborators', they are the same people that run the Taliban-style Emirate of Fallujah, they are the same people who the Arab media insists are heroic 'resistance fighters'. Yet all we hear after such grisly scenes is... (croak).. (croak).. a maddening silence, and then a few obligatory half-hearted 'This is not the real Islam, you know', 'Noooo, it's really a religion of peace, you don't understand'. However, I don't think people are buying these lines any more.

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Sam at Hammorabi is NOT in the mood for taking prisoners.

The days of the terrorist are counted and they know that very well. This is why they try to rock the boat for the last chance in the last minute. It is over for them and so soon their filthy bodies will be executed publicly.


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Mohammed at Iraq the Model takes the long view.

We should present the best example and I am optimistic because I see the majority of Iraqis, and despite their fears, have decided to go on no matter what. Yes, we’ll give sacrifices and we’ll go through sad days but I’m totally convinced that nothing can stop the process. We’ll pay precious blood but it’s worth the sacrifice. The accomplishment will be a great victory and a turning point in history that will influence the region and the world.

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AYS over at Iraq at a Glance stands strong with the rest of his fellow Iraqi Bloggers.

It’s obvious that they failed in everything they did and trying to do, nothing will stop Iraqis and our friends.. They used their terrorists, bombs, assassinations, kidnaping the foreign workers and cutting their heads off...etc.. and now they are using the rumors ! What a coward weak enemy!

We are defeating them.. It’s clear from their new attempts that they are helpless now.. They are unable to break our will, Iraq and the coalition now are ready to thwart any attack..


Two Views of Iraq: Faiza and Zeyad

Let me very clear about this, gentle readers. I think that both Raed and Faiza are decent people. True, Raed is a febrile smart-aleck, but I've corresponded with him for several months and I think he's a good guy. However, even though I like him, I must object to his strange ideas and outlandish characterizations. Faiza is a very good mother to her sons and a good wife to her husband, Azzam. Both Raed and Faiza will be part of Iraq's future. It's their future in Iraq, not mine. Again, however, I cannot accept her characterizations of my country and my country's soldiers. I think she is wrong about many issues and I will engage her in those debates. The two of them have written many interesting blogs and we appreciate that. At the same time, as the latest blogs by mother and son suggest, they open themselves up to some serious criticism when they pen such comments. If they disagree with me, hey, they can post their thoughts on my COMMENTS PAGES.

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Faiza:

We are peaceful nations, our past and present is merciful and composed…
We do not like using force unless in self and country defense, and these are humanitarian traits…


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Zeyad:

This preoccupation with lineage and blood ties was also a source of hostility between different tribes as the famous saying put it 'Me and my brother against my cousin, and me and my cousin against the stranger'. Therefore it is not uncommon for clans of the same tribe to be at war with each other, and then suddenly unite against an outside
aggression or a common enemy, after which they would be back to fight each other.

...

Abdul Malik bin Marwan had to lay siege to Mecca and bomb it with stonethrowers when Abdullah bin Al-Zubair (one of the last surviving companions of Muhammed) rebelled with the backing of several Bedouin tribes, he also sent his strongman Hajjaj Bin Yusuf to control the disorder among Iraqi tribes. Hajjaj massacred thousands of people and forced military conscription. Iraqis to this day tell tales of his violent rule, and Saddam Hussein was always compared to Hajjaj in his ruthlessness. Hajjaj called Iraqis ahl alshiqaq wal nifaq or 'the people of disunity and hypocricy', one famous story was that during a curfew on Kufa, his guards brought him an old Bedouin who had entered the town unaware of the curfew, he implored Hajjaj that he did not know about the curfew and that he just came here from the desert, 'I know you are innocent' Hajjaj replied, 'But killing you is for the best interests of the umma, hang him on the city walls guards!'.

...

One governor, Hassan Pasha, was in constant war with tribes, once he subjugated a tribe, another would immediately rebel against him. After he brutally repressed the Shammar and Bani Lam tribes in 1708, an alliance of several powerful Iraqi tribes including Shammar, Zubayd, Al-Khaza'il, and Al-Mayyah rebelled against him under the leadership of the Al-Muntafiq tribal confederation. A fierce battle was fought near Basrah in which cannons were used against the tribesmen killing thousands.

...

In 1797 an army of Iraqi tribes armed with cannons and firearms led by Sheikh Thuwayni of Al-Muntafiq moved south against the Wahhabis after news of the fall of the Ahsa region in the hands of Abdul Aziz Bin Mohammed Bin Saud. Sheikh Thuwayni was assassinated by a slave who sympathised with the Wahhabis, he stabbed him in the chest with a dagger while shouting 'Allahu Akbar!'. As soon as the news spread among the Iraqi tribes they fled in panic and the Wahhabis looted the army. Another larger campaign followed the next year which was also met with failure, and the Baghdad governor was forced to sign a truce with Ibn Saud. The truce didn't last long, a caravan of Wahhabis was passing by Najaf and they witnessed a Sheikh from Al-Khaza'il kissing the gates of the shrine of Imam Ali, this enraged the fundamental Wahhabis so they attacked and killed the Sheikh. After that Wahhabis continued to raid southern Iraqi villages slaughtering their inhabitants including the women and children. During the Ghadeer day festivities in 1802 they attacked Karbala and plundered the shrines of Imam Hussein and Abbas, killing 5 thousand Iraqis. Four years later they tried to attack Najaf but it was defended by the tribes. Wahhabi raids against the Iraqi south continued to be a problem for over a century until after the British occupation, when British aircraft started bombing the raiding tribes.

...

Political demonstrations were popular during the 50's and on many occasions these would serve as a pretext for anarchy and looting. Political parties acted as tribes and would often engage in revenge killings in the name of 'defending the nation' or 'fighting colonialist spies and enemies of the revolution'.

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It appears that Raed and Faiza read from the same history book, where Americans force innocent terrorists to use the technique of beheading that they had never seen before in their history. Raed:

Did anyone ever heard about beheading before the occupation of Iraq? Before the silly right-wing war of terror?

The same history book where, for Faiza, Iraq has always been a peaceful kingdom and where outsiders are the ones who cause violence:

We are peaceful nations, our past and present is merciful and composed…
We do not like using force unless in self and country defense, and these are humanitarian traits…


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Raed Jarrar: Americans are Responsible for Beheadings

I must conclude that Raed Jarrar is suffering from an unspecified mental disorder, perhaps due to sleeping one night too many with his head next to his trusty Geiger Counter. Over the past month, his thought patterns have slowly been losing basic consistency and more recently have started to break up completely. Let me clip and then comment.

When did this fashion of beheading start anyway?

Did anyone ever heard about beheading before the occupation of Iraq? Before the silly right-wing war of terror?

Who do you really think created these monsters cutting heads?


Raed implies that the Americans are responsible for terrorists beheading innocent civilians. Yes, of course, why didn't I see that, Raed? Of course the Americans forced Al-Qaeda to decapitate its victims!

Just for the sake of argument, Raed, let's say that the Americans didn't force Al-Qaeda to decapitate its innocent victims. Where else could they have gotten this idea. Hey, how about Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia - the beheading capital of the modern world.

Saudi Arabia uses public beheading as the punishment for murder, rape, drug trafficking, sodomy and armed robbery, apostasy and certain other offences. 45 men and 2 women were beheaded in 2002 and a further 52 men and 1 woman in 2003.

The condemned of both sexes are given tranquillisers and then taken by police van to a public square or a car park after midday prayers. Their eyes are covered and they are blindfolded. The police clear the square of traffic and a sheet of blue plastic sheet about 16 feet square is laid out on the ground.

Dressed in their own clothes, barefoot, with shackled feet and hands cuffed behind their back, the prisoner is led by a police officer to the centre of the sheet where they are made to kneel facing Mecca. An Interior Ministry official reads out the prisoner's name and crime to the crowd of witnesses.

A policeman hands the sword to the executioner who raises the gleaming scimitar and often swings it two or three times before approaches the prisoner from behind and jabbing him in the back with the tip of the sword causing the person to raise their head. (see photo)

Normally it takes just one swing of the sword to sever the head, often sending it flying some two or three feet. Paramedics bring the head to a doctor, who uses a gloved hand to stop the fountain of blood spurting from the neck. The doctor sews the head back on, and the body is wrapped in the blue plastic sheet and taken away in an ambulance. The body is then buried in an unmarked grave in the prison cemetery.

Beheadings of women did not start until the early 1990s, previously they were shot. 33 women have been publicly beheaded up to the end of 2003.

Most executions are carried out in the three major cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dahran.
Saudi executioners take great pride in their work and the post tends to be handed down from one generation to the next.


Hey Raed, do you think it's possible that the fact that many of the members of Al Qaeda come from Saudi Arabia and the fact that beheading is very popular there might help explain the terrorists' predilection for severed heads?

Raed, Ya think?

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From Amir Taheri's Brief History of Islamic Decapitations.

Berg is, of course, not the first to be murdered in such a gruesome manner. Nor, alas, is he likely to be the last. For the cutting of heads (in Arabic, qata al-raas) has been the favorite form of Islamist execution for more than 14 centuries.

In the famous battles of early Islam, with the Prophet personally in command of the army of believers, the heads of enemy generals and soldiers were often cut off and put on sticks to be shown around villages and towns as a warning to potential adversaries.

In 680, the Prophet's favorite grandson, Hussein bin Ali, had his head chopped off in Karbala, central Iraq, by the soldiers of the Caliph Yazid. The severed head was put on a silver platter and sent to Damascus, Yazid's capital, before being sent further to Cairo for inspection by the Governor of Egypt. The Caliph's soldiers also cut off the heads of all of Hussein's 71 male companions, including the one-year-old baby boy Ali-Asghar.


Raed, Ya think?

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Mr. Taheri, in Raed Jarrar's history book, beheading is an absolutely new phenomenon, one forced upon the innocent terrorists by the Evil Americans. Raed says:

Did anyone ever heard about beheading before the occupation of Iraq? Before the silly right-wing war of terror?

Well, yes, Raed.

For centuries, from the Iberian peninsula to the Indian subcontinent, jihad campaigns waged by Muslim armies against infidel Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Hindus, were punctuated by massacres, including mass throat slittings and beheadings. During the period of “enlightened” Muslim rule, the Christians of Iberian Toledo, who had first submitted to their Arab Muslim invaders in 711 or 712, revolted in 713. In the harsh Muslim reprisal that ensued, Toledo was pillaged, and all the Christian notables had their throats cut. On the Indian subcontinent, Babur (1483-1530), the founder of the Mughal Empire, who is revered as a paragon of Muslim tolerance by modern revisionist historians, recorded the following in his autobiographical “Baburnama,” about infidel prisoners of a jihad campaign:

"Those who were brought in alive [having surrendered] were ordered beheaded, after which a tower of skulls was erected in the camp." [The Baburnama -Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor, translated and edited by Wheeler M. Thacktson, Oxford University Press,1996, p. 188. Emphasis added.]


Raed, Ya think?

*

Read Jarrar's last blog is chock-full of nuts. Let's see how many we can find.

Source for the first article: Check here for a little more history.

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UPDATE: I have read the latest blog by Belmont Club three times already. It gets better with each reading.

Through the long summer of 1990s, the wounds festered as the infection deepened. It was masked by the ineffectual cologne of NGO projects, corrupt aid delivery, United Nations peacekeeping public relations projects, by selective media coverage and by the jangling of fund raising concerts at which the Secretary General appeared, like some secular pope, to give his blessing, until the boil burst over Manhattan on that bright autumn day. As the debris showered on New York it obscured the fact that a new post-post-colonial ideology was ready to push the Liberal edifice aside and take up the challenge of Islamic terrorism; underneath the War for Terror there was now a War for the West.


Damn, this Belmont Club can write: "the jangling of fund raising concerts at which the Secretary General appeared, like some secular pope, to give his blessing"

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Open Forum: Scott from Oregon

A couple nights ago Scott from Oregon responded to something by our resident Big Fella Battuti from Iraq.

My first language was Arabic, as an infant. Only the sound of it stays in my soul, the words are but distant rhythms and the smell of Pita.

My father used to say shukran at the dinner table for years and years, while we all quietly acknowledged his love for all Arabs, but was never clear why. My older sister speaks enough Arabic still to tell guys like you ("something swarmy stallion... something lust?" is all I can recall of your quote) to go f--- yourself at airports. And she has maintained a penpal relationship with a childhood friend (a Jordanian), for close to forty years....

The enemy is brutality and death. It walks among us all. My backhoe operator was murdered by his son two weeks ago not far from here.....

How to cure it, is the goal. Honesty. Brutal honesty, is the place to roll the dice from. You are not my enemy. Sorry. You are a human being. If you stop being a human being, well, we'll talk....

May you find peace inside yourself, and may your mother (as all mothers are priceless) find peace as well....

And may Iraq find a peaceful middle road where its people can 'overblip' the radars of the world.... That is what I desire. Nothing less.


Iraqi Bloggers Central has been fortunate to be a place to stop and chat, bitch, laugh, argue, mimic, send-up, and vent for many great people -- and occasionally for people like Scott to speak from the heart. Death is indeed the Evil Empire.

*

UPDATE: I am forced to offer Iraqi Bloggers Central a slice from Christopher Hitchens' disemboweling (and that's some massive bowel) of Michael Moore.

If Michael Moore had had his way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed. If Michael Moore had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD. You might hope that a retrospective awareness of this kind would induce a little modesty. To the contrary, it is employed to pump air into one of the great sagging blimps of our sorry, mediocre, celeb-rotten culture. Rock the vote, indeed.

Open Forum: Lucy

Lucy, one of our posters on the Comments Pages, has had an email correspondence with Faiza for some months now. Recently Faiza used a NYTimes article that had been sent to her by Lucy. However, no context was provided. "Some of your more thoughtless and angry readers," Lucy writes, "are now assuming that I am arrogant, disrespectful and condescending."

Faiza,

As you know from the many emails we have exchanged since you began your blog I have been in complete sympathy with you--I am very against Bush and his foreign policy, I was consistently against the war and demonstrated against it here in NYC (where I as you know I was one of the survivors of 9/11 having been in the World Trade Center at the time), I have been consistently against our military occupation of your country, and I was horrified by the abuses committed by some of our troops.

I merely forwarded to you an article from the NY Times which stated that a number of Iraqis believe that the terrorist attacks in your country are being done by the US as an excuse for keeping our troops there and asked you questions about that because I have read similar news reports in five different languages which have said the same thing. I personally believe that al Quada--the same people who almost killed me--are responsible for committing these terrorist attacks in Iraq. I asked for your opinion about the article because I did respect your views! I have expressed concern for your personal welfare that our troops could be withdrawn prematurely before Iraqis can organize your own forces to protect you. You chose to put my email on your site without explaining what the article was about and without any of the emails which proceeded it or followed it. As a result some of your more thoughtless and angry readers are now assuming that I am arrogant, disrespectful and condescending--which you do choose to make public on your blog.

In this case I feel your judgment, in searching for the truth and building a bridge of understanding between our people, has been questionable and certainly very unfair to me since I believed we had become friends and wrote to you in that spirit. In the interest of fairness I wonder whether you will put this email on your blog as well.

Lucy

Thanks, Lu.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Faiza -- Enemy of Democracy

Faiza belongs to the upper-class in Iraq. During the 1990s the family business aligned itself with the Baathist government. You can go to their business website for photos of various top Baathists officials rubbing elbows with the Jarrars. We even see Dr. Death (Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash) in Panel 10 of this page of photos.

When the looting began to occur, Faiza called all of the looters scum. The majority of the looters, most likely, were Iraqis whose families had suffered under Saddam for 35 years. They tried to get something, anything, back from long decades of tyranny. The Jarrars, with their three Mercedes, comfortable home, maids, Baath-blessed business, then turn around and call the lower-class Iraqis scum.

Would Faiza ever offer these lower-class Iraqis the right to vote? No. Faiza believes that HER class should rule and no one else should have the right to even open their mouths. Faiza is just another voice shouting against freedom and against democracy.

In Iraq's democratic struggle taking place right now, it's very clear among the Iraqi Bloggers who believes in democracy -- ANY type of democracy -- and who doesn't. The Iraqi Divide was there at the beginning and it hasn't changed.

FRIENDS OF DEMOCRACY: Omar, Ali, Mohammed, Zeyad, Sam, Alaa, AYS, Firas, and Sarmad.

ENEMIES OF DEMOCRACY: Faiza and Riverbend.

Faiza writes every other day about the GOOD OLD DAYS UNDER SADDAM. Riverbend's contempt for democratic institutions -- actually contempt for anything -- is clear for any casual reader of her blog. For both Faiza and Riverbend, the Doleful Dames of Baghdad, if Saddam were re-instated as president, no one would be happier than them. You might even see them smile.

Isn't it interesting that all the Friends of Democracy have Comments Pages and the Enemies of Democracy DO NOT? Coincidence?

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Faiza writes:

America is corrupt! America is immoral! America is ruled by Satan, who employs the Jews to carry out his bidding! If you are still reading this, that means that there is still some hope for your soul.

Oh, sorry. Actually it's Sheikh Usama ibn Akmed. Strange how similar their viewpoints are, isn't it?

I, Sheikh Usama ibn Akhmed, am the president of Wahabbism Now for America. Our organization recognizes the massive moral shortcomings of this immoral culture and attempts to fix it by enforcing the purest form of Islam; this form of Islam, Wahabbism, is the law of the Holy Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we will impose it on America and all its inhabitants.

Part of America's sin-filled society is due to the excessive freedoms that are available to women. These freedoms promote immorality and promiscuity and must be restricted immediately so that a return to purity can be achieved.


This struggle has brought together quite of collection of people under the banner Death to Democracy.

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UPDATE: Janice (a person living in Australia) on the Comments Pages shouts Bush=Saddam.

Well I know the invasion of Iraq should never have happened. Yes I know Saddam executed and imprisoned people for which he is rightfully condemned. However GWB also executed many people on Death Row so there is no room for him to criticise Saddam there.

The forced equivalence of the mass executions by Saddam numbering at least 300,000 people -- men, women, and children -- and the tediously slow legal process that leads to capital punishment under ANY American president reveals the shallow thinking of people like Janice.

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ANOTHER UPDATE: In an email to Reality Check, Faiza dismisses the Iraqi Bloggers who belong to the Friends of Democracy group.

About Faluja .it was funny stories.. About Omer..or Sam or other pro- American bloggers.. They are just young foolish misled guys.. All Iraiqs laughing on them and on their stories..

Omar, Sam, and other Iraqi Friends of Democracy -- according to Faiza, all Iraqis are laughing at you.

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STILL ANOTHER (BUT VERY IMPORTANT) UPDATE:

Today is the ONE-MONTH BIRTHDAY of Iraqi Bloggers Central. THANKS to all the wonderful, articulate posters who have stopped by to share their thoughts and engage in democracy in action. THANKS to all the Iraqi Bloggers who have stopped by an given me encouragement: Ali, Omar, Mohammed, Sam, AYS, Firas, Raed, Khalid, and Faiza. All the staff at Iraqi Bloggers Central have just raised a glass in your honor. Cheers!!

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Reactions to the Beheading of Paul Johnson

According to Mohammed at Iraq the Model, the terrorists' penchant for beheading is the result of Muslim fanaticism and the region's dictatorships. Both groups, those led by Osama Bin Laden and the Baathists under Saddam, have used decapitation for its dramatic effect and basic cruelty and Sadism -- or is it now Saddamism?

Who are these people? I see that they’re the product of fanaticism that was fed and upgraded by dictatorships in the Muslim world; they are a mutant generation that came as a result of this unholy marriage between retarded religious institutions and brutal dictatorships.

In the recent past people just like these were carrying swords at Saddam’s days, cutting people’s throats for the most trivial reasons. Cutting hands and decapitating is a character of dictatorships that use Islam as a cover to give them legitimacy and to justify their evil wills. It’s a concept that these regimes still try to popularize and one just have to look at the Saudi government. Why do they still use the sword to cut hands and heads of convicted people? Doesn’t this contribute in bringing such a mutant generation to existence?


*

Over on the Comments Pages of Alhamedi's The Religious Policeman, one poster, Saif al-Kufr, writes:

Alhamedi, you're a bright spot of sanity and intelligent humor in this troubled world. The Kingdom's favorite spin master gave a press conference this afternoon in Washington. His excuses really seem disengenuous now. Our moronic press corps never asks him the tough questions, like "How can 3 of 4 terrorists escape from a compound surround on all 4 sides and above by Sharta, Army, National Guard & KSA Special Forces troops? I'd like to see one reporter brandish one of al-Fawzaan's leaflets like "A Glimpse at the Deviated Sects" or one of the magazines Saudi Marketing and Research distributes to KSA military. Or one of the Internet khutbah, like Usama Khayyat's "The Virtues of Martyrdom" and ask al-Jubeir, "Don't you think this state funded material has something to do with the deteriorating situation in your country?" BTW, what has Qaradawi had to say about this turmoil? You can bet on him to play the best positions on both sides of the issue.
Saif al-Kufr | Email | 06.20.04 - 12:11 am | #


He raises a few questions, don't you think?

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AYS at Iraq at a Glance has always stood up for the truth and today is no different.

They behead human-beings....what can we name them?.. I can’t find a word that fits them.. Terrorists? I think this word must be changed.. They are much more violent than what this word means...

We have to stand side by side against them, we must.


*

Sam at Hammorabi, like Saif above, zeroes in on a tender spot.

The question is not how he was killed but why not have been captured before or killed? And is this means the Saudi securty have not done enough to crak down the terrorist? Now the Saudi securty received the orders to finish Muqrin only now to avoid the wrath of the civilized people! Why not before!? Why not before? A big question need not answers but millions of answers! Finish the Wahabism which is the doctrine and ideology feeds the terrorists! Hell is the place of Muqriin and soon for Zarqawi!

*

Mahmood over at Mahmood's Den faces the reality on the ground.

My question is what else are WE as Muslims, Arabs whatever are we waiting for exactly to rise against these bastards? It is quite clear that the governments we have inherited are incompetent in the face of this terror, espcially Saudi, where they still seem to try to sweep this event under a rug and still refusing to accept that this is a violent revolution or civil war that is happening, rather than a few criminals who were "led astray" by "foreigners."

The sooner they face facts and immediately put a transparent action plan in place, let by capable people the sooner we can sleep well again. But that, I fear, if a very long time coming.

My personal commiserations and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Johnson.


*

Ambassador Fayrouz at Live from Dallas asks a very simple question.

It amazing how the Saudi government found and killed those responsible of Paul's death hours after his death. Why didn't the police capture them before they committed their crime? I'm losing my patience with the Saudi government. I think it needs to take tougher actions against these criminals.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Kick Riverbend out of the Foxhole (or is it Spiderhole?)

Riverbend must have read Iraqi Bloggers Central yesterday, where I complained that it had been almost three weeks since her last blog, because she just blogged.

Have you ever noticed that people without jobs who sit around all day at home are often the self-proclaimed EXPERTS about all manner of topics? Yes, that's Riverbend. She sits at home all day, bitching and complaining, watching Al-Jazeera, and sticking pins in dolls of Paul Bremer.

Have you even seen her Little Red Book? Yes, just like those from Mao's times. It's filled with all the latest sanctioned terms and attitudes. Anyone attempting to guide Iraq in this next phase toward democracy is simply labeled PUPPET. See how easy it is? You should see the evil grin on Riverbend's face as she thumbs her book.

Some of the selfsame Puppets

he was actually selected by the Puppets

the Puppets do not breathe unless Bremer asks them,

Puppets do not suddenly come to life


*

Riverbend drops her rear onto the sofa and opines:

The new government isn’t very different from the old Governing Council. . . . It’s amusing to watch our Karazai- Ghazi Ajeel Al-Yawer- trying to establish himself.

Really Riverbend? Amusing? You mean like, "Ha ha ...Tee hee"? The GRAND DAME OF BAGHDAD HAS SPOKEN. From here on in, the democratic struggle in Iraq shall be viewed by all Iraqis as "amusing."

*

Riverbend sits at home -- How many weeks at home now? Three? Four? -- and proclaims:

Iyad Allawi is completely America and Britain’s boy

Oh yeah, Riverbend, we're going to listen to YOU, the Baathist Uber-Beeaatch. Fricking loser.

*

Riverbend is following a rumor about Yawar:

There are also rumors that he is married to a certain lady who is a personal friend and adamant supporter of none other than Ahmad Chalabi... I'm still looking into that.

Hey Riverbend, I heard that you paid top dollar for a bag of dirt from Saddam's Spiderhole. You keep it as a memento from the last place touched by Saladin Saddam before he was ... um ... forced to surrender to the Evil Americans.

But it turns out that the Spiderhole was dug into one of the mass-grave sites from Saddam's Good Old Days and a few bone fragments were found in the dirt!

I heard how angry you were! Those shit Shia, you screamed, were contaminating Perfectly Good Dirt! You tossed the bones of some Shia or Kurd or Christian out the window for the dogs to eat. Now your dirt is Pure.

*

UPDATE: Go to the Jarrars' family business website and click on activities. You will see the Jarrars hobnobbing with all the top Baathists. Jeezus! On this page you will see even Dr. Death with the Jarrars! Take a look at the left-hand photograph in panel 10. It looks like Dr. Death to me. Why don't you check it out and let me know what you think. I could be wrong, but it looks like the Jarrars were part of the Baathists R Us club.

Dr. Death: Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash / WMD Scientist / Five of Hearts in the Pack of 55 / Surrendered May 9, 2003.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Iraqi Bloggers Roundup

Omar, Ali, and Mohammed over at Iraq the Model have continued to pen righteous blogs. Yesterday, when asked to follow events through the eyes of the Arab media, Ali utters Bartleby the Scrivener's terse reply: I prefet not to.

I’ve decided long ago not to trust what these people say and what the media shows me. I’ve decided not to even watch Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabyia. I decide to love and trust the others and not to allow small events committed by few ignorant to shape my views about a whole nation. No my friends, I refuse to be trapped in this momentary dark picture that's far from convincing and that's not just because I'm an Iraqi, it's because I can't let anyone tell me what to believe in.

Zeyed at Healing Iraq has just added Part Four to his explication of the role of tribes in Iraqi history and society.

Iraq's tribal society: A state within a state (part one)

Iraq's tribal society: A state within a state (part two)

Iraq's tribal society: A state within a state (part three)

Iraq's tribal society: A state within a state (part four)


Sam at Hammorabi has been writing about some troubling developments on the ground in Falluja.

They divided the city into various areas and called it Emarat El-Falluja (Emirate) with Zarqawi as the Ameer (Prince). They appointed a leader for each one of these areas among the Mujaheeden with one group under his leadership. They gave Zarqawi an Oath to set out the Islamic state of Caliphate in Falluja and from there they will spread it into the rest of Iraq and the region. They now try desperately to gather lot of youths and young people enthusiastic for that to join them. They also tried to get themselves extended well beyond that area to Baghdad and other regions.


AYS at Iraq at a Glance has some plain talk about Iraq and its neighbors.

The good thing in Iraq is that most Iraqis do not care for the ‘Arab nation’ and other ‘nationalistic’ concepts, they realized that they had nothing but pains from them, and Iraqis were suffering under Saddam while the Arabs were clapping for him, and now, they are exporting their terrorists to help us in building our country! .. So Iraqis started to think as Iraqis not as Arabs, and together with the democratic changes, Iraq will witness a great future.


Firas at Iraq & Iraqis clues us in on the opening of the Iraqi Stock Exchange.

For us as a stock brokers firm, it’s a dream to reopen and establish stock exchange, especially when the American experts who helped to reopen the market are saying “we are trying to develop new, modern exchange facilities”.
Any way I will keep the site visitors informed about what’s new in ISX (and thats Iraq Stock eXchange)reopening and its all on Iraq Stock Exchange


At Kurdo's Wild West Saloon yesterday, Kurdo the bartender put up a big poster that showed Bremer being pulled down like Saddam. All hell broke loose! Today Kurdo and Sheriff Lee C. and Paul "Doc" Edwards are sweeping up the glass and sporting a few shiners.


Sarmad at Road of a Nation posted a conversation with an Arab neighbor.

I was having a little chat to a friend in the messenger, and she was from an Arabic country. She was asking me about the situation in Iraq. I told her we are fine, and things go better day by day. She said really? I told her ”yes “ she told me but we see things on “AL-Jazeera” a lot of things. I told him that “AL-Jazeera” don’t represent Iraqis ,and only what they care about to turn things on. . . . She told me do you like saddam? I told her no one like the devil.


Faiza at A Family in Baghdad is still wrestling with and Angel of Hope and the Devil of Despair in her blogs. Here she responds to a letter from an American named Lucy.

this is the email I have received today..from my American friend Lucy..
ok, I didn`t put the article that she was talking about cause it was very long ..
you can read it from another site maybe..
the article is full of lies agaist Iraqis...
the real story about those young men,they were not dancing and celebrating like zolo people...
they were very angry against occupation force and they were jumping on the top of a destroyed car...shouting agaist USA, cause they think it`s doing very bad actions in their country...and it makes Iraq the feild of battles...


Those Iraqis hoisting the AKs are just "innocent young men" in Faiza's eyes. No comment.


Khalid at Tell Me a Secret has gone AWOL from Camp Uni and the Commando-Professors will roast his *ss when he returns to university in the fall.

Oh my God! I finished I finished I finished!*jumping up and down*
I cant believe it!
God, 8 exams in 15 days, they sure look like 15 years.
now they are all gone!
the nightmare is over!
and I don't have to study till 4 am anymore :D
isn't this the heaven?



Raed hasn't blogged this week. He's in Amman, Jordan, trying to finish his thesis in architecture. All Quiet on the Letter N Front.


Riverbend hasn't blogged since June 1. The hope and anticipation of the majority of Iraqis about June 30 is just killing OUR DOLEFUL DAME OF BAGHDAD.

*

UPDATE: It was bound to happen sooner or later. FAIZA finally lost it today and SPITS ON AMERICANS AND BRITISH. I don't know what to say anymore.

And there are still some fools who would defend the occupation forces, and regard them as the saviors of Iraq…

What a silly joke!!!

Actually, our whole life here became a meaningless silly joke…
I will not tolerate reading any letter from any American, who is still trying to convince me with the humanity of his government, and its great campaign to liberate Iraq and the Iraqis…

Get out of our country…this would be the greatest humanitarian deed you could give us now…
And after you get out, swear to us that you would never mess with our lives again, nor send more criminals and felons to rake havoc in our country…

I personally do not think America or Britain could sleep peacefully if ever we were happy, and in peace. Never. For their happiness always rises from destroying us, and ruining our lives. They are now in the best of conditions…

Here they are, doing to us what they have always dreamed of doing, for tens of years…
But God says : ( these are the days which turn around among people…), Meaning… there will come a day in which their lives will break up and be destroyed…just like they did to us…

The DIVIDE between the group represented by Omar, Ali, Mohammed, Zeyad, Alaa, Sam, AYS, and Sarmad and the nucleus of Faiza and Riverbend has just gotten a little wider. In 12 days the Iraqis will have to figure out where they stand -- with Omar, Ali, and Mohammed and their side or with Faiza and Riverbend.

*

ANOTHER UPDATE: Nothing could illustrate the differences between the two groups than reading Faiza's words above and then to read the compassionate blog just posted by Sam at Hammorabi:

Our Sympathy and condolences
I and my friends in this site who contribute to the comment section and the site send our condolences and deep sympathy to the family of the victim Paul Johnson and condemn totally this devilish act of terrorism.


Sam has been blogging all week on the danger of the Falluja Brigade.

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KURDO'S WORLD UPDATE: Well, at Kurdo's Wild West Saloon all the broken glass has been swept up, tables have been fixed, and Kurdo is pulling drafts again. Sheriff Lee C. is holding court again and already delivered a zinger that even produced a guffaw from Paul "Doc" Edwards.

Saddam was created by a couple of Iraqi people (one male, one female) in the usual manner.

But earlier, I must say, "Doc" schooled Lee C. a bit.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Return of the Pink Panther (Asmar Ahmad)

Watson tapped on the monitor, grinning from ear to ear, as I entered our study this morning. On the screen I could see that Tom Villars, a friend of AYS's, detected that our very own Asmar Ahmad had recently attempted to apply for financial aid of some type. Tom Villars wrote:

Some dumb ass calling himself Asmar Ahmad, tried to apply for financial aid today. His blog is mostly pictures of Baghdad. The pictures are nice, but they were all stolen from another blog.

His IP Address was 217.219.222.170 which I traced to Iran which kind of surprised me.


Well, please excuse Mr. Villars' rough language. His passion, I believe, had gained a position of temporary dominance in head and heart. Assuming another's identity, however, does warrant strong measures and perhaps even occasionally strong language.

For Watson and myself, certainly the connection to Iran stirred our interest in this fascinating case. Return of the Pink Panther, indeed.

If you would like to read our initial investigation into the Pink Panther, please read our Strange Case of Asmar Ahmad

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UPDATE: If I could get my hands on Kurdo, I would rip his head off. Today he equates Mr. Bremer with Saddam Hussein. Paul Bremer has worked around the clock for a year straight, trying to rebuild and keep Iraq together, knowing that he was a targeted man and could be assassinated at any moment. He has a wife and children back in the States praying that Dad makes it home alive. And Kurdo likens him to Saddam Hussein?!


UPDATE: BAR BRAWL AT KURDO'S WILD WEST SALOON!!!

*breathless*
Folks, I just stopped in for a brew and behind the bar Kurdo the bartender had this big picture of Paul Bremer being pulled down like Saddam's statue in Firdus Square! I told him he has an *ss for putting that up. The place erupted! Chairs flying everywhere! An all-out bar brawl! I grabbed the Eastern Kurd Kid and got 'im in a head-lock and wanged on his head until he was out cold. Sheriff Lee C. tried to stop it but I punched him in the mouth!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Sam Pins the Wahabi Bastards to the Wall!

Sam over at Hammorabi demands our deepest respect for facing the Wahabi terrorists and telling them that they're scum.

In a news report distributed by Iraqi demonstrators in Baghdad, the IP in Falluja with the Wahabi terrorists captured and killed 6 Shia Iraqi youths. The demostrators seen in the above picture was during the funeral of the 6 men in Baghdad Today.

...

During their return to Baghdad the 6 Shia men have been stopped by gun men terrorists who introduced themselves as the Mujaheeden who fought against the US Marine in April 2003! The 6 men managed to escape and seek refuge with the IP station in the city. The IP then handed them to one of the Wahabi extremist Mullah who handed them to the thugs. The thugs (some Arabs terrorists among them) asked for a ransom of 3000 US Dollar for each one alive! Among the captured was Mohammad Khodier a 12 years old boy who was released later. He told that the Mullah handed them to the terrorists who speak with non-Iraqi different Arab axons. They then decapitated and mutilated them and among them were his older brother and his uncle! Another man called Alaa Marai said that he went to negotiate with the terrorist to give them alive and most of them were Syrian who refused unless the money paid!

There's more. Read Sam's blog. Then try to tell me that Wahabi terrorists are only targeting Westerners. These terrorists are killing Iraqis. If the IP in Falluja are allied with the terrorist groups, then Iraqis need to flush the toilet in Falluja.

Oh, and Sam also has a few choice words for a few of the Arab media outlets you and I have heard about.


UPDATE: AYS turns on the TV.

I turned it on Al-Jazeera when they were asking Iraqis about the coming trial of Saddam, I’m sure that they met many many of them saying that they are waiting for this great day..BUT they showed someone who angrily said : ‘ Saddam is a hero and he shouldn’t be treated like that’!!

Let’s Bomb Al-Jazeera !!


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Oh My!

It looks like the fate of Saddam Hussein is starting to hit the news, now that the turnover of power is only about two weeks away.

Saddam tortured, says lawyer

Amman - Former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has been subjected to "physical and moral torture" by the occupying forces, his lawyer alleged on Tuesday.

"We have received a confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Crescent (ICRC) that the former Iraqi president was subjected to physical and moral torture on January 21, 2004 and that he suffered wounds as a result," Mohammad Rashdan told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.


Moral torture? Translation, please.

Rashdan leads a defence panel for the ousted Iraqi president, comprising dozens of renowned Arab and non-Arab lawyers.

He said that about 1 500 Arab lawyers, including 700 hundred from Jordan, had so far volunteered to defend the former Iraqi leader. - Sapa-dpa


I would like to see those names. Does anyone know anything about Mohammad Rashdan?

Raghad Hussein has given a recent interview.

Saddam's daughter laments her 'hard life'

It was Raghad's first print interview since she and her sister, Rana, and their children sought asylum in Jordan last July. Shortly after moving to Amman, the two gave interviews to Arab satellite channels and CNN, but have kept a low profile ever since.

...

The Saudi-owned, London-based glossy magazine spread the interview over 14 pages, mostly filled with family photographs, old and new. Raghad, who covered her head with a while veil in last year's television interviews, showed off a new look in jeans and a black sweater, her head bare.

As in the previous interviews, she avoided talking about political issues.

"We didn't want an interview about politics, as we are bored of it," magazine editor Hani Naqshabandi wrote at the beginning of the magazine. "We didn't want an interview about war, as we all are trying to forget it."

Raghad's "new look":

Raghad, who covered her head with a while veil in last year's television interviews, showed off a new look in jeans and a black sweater, her head bare.

I wonder what Saddam's "new look" will be for the trial.

NOW Raghad is bored with politics.

"We didn't want an interview about politics, as we are bored of it,"

So NOW she's bored with politics! Just when Iraqis have chance to build their own representative democracy and NOW she's bored. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like giving her a swift kick?

*

UPDATE: Ali from Iraq the Model posted a blog yesterday called The Iraqi trap. The comments have almost reached 300 already. Check out the discussion.

Zeyad over at Healing Iraq continues today with Iraq's tribal society: A state within a state (part three)

*

ANOTHER UPDATE: Sheriff Lee C. has stepped into KURDO'S WILD WEST SALOON. No doubt about it, he's a straight-talker. Pony up to the bar and grab a cold one. NOT to be missed.

Being an "original people" is not going to prevent ya'll from getting your butts kicked (again) in a full scale war with the Arab Iraqi if it goes to that over secession.

The comparison only fails because you refuse to see even that much.

Lee C. ― U.S.A. | Email | 06.15.04 - 9:35 am | #


Oh, and Paul "Doc" Edwards is sitting at the bar over a whiskey neat, his eyes smiling behind his spectacles.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Sam's Our Man

Sam over at Hammorabi has been posting righteous blogs for a long time now. Yesterday's blog was no exception:

The expected surge up of the terrorist attacks happened and may increase even more. The increase is not only in Iraq but also in other places like Saudi Arabia which is the incubator of the ideology provided motherhood for the hate, racism and barbarism.

...

The problem of the Saudis is not with the rest of the world but with their system as a whole. It is part of the Arab system based on dictatorship, corruption, and downgrading of large sectors of their people. Their problem is with the poisonous ideology of the hate to every non-wahabism.

...

The recent decapitation of 2 Iraqis and a Lebanese young man plus the assassination of many Iraqis is another warning sign to those responsible for Iraqi security to use a strict tactics of mousetraps for those thugs where ever they go. The bomb which killed 12 Iraqis and injured more today and the other one which killed 4 IP and injured more is another factor which should make no mercy toward the terrorist and their ideology of hate.


Sam is just one of many Iraqis who see the upcoming months as their chance to create a functioning democracy in the Middle East. Sam, perhaps more than others, knows that the terrorists will try everything and anything to rip his country apart. And Sam knows it's time to bring the hammer down on the forces of chaos and evil that have been drawn to Iraq. A threatened beast is always dangerous.


UPDATE: Firas Georges, over at Iraq and Iraqis, clues us in on how Iraqis have immunized themselves to terrorist acts. According to Firas, the terrorists are no longer really terrorizing the population. Law of diminishing returns. Here's Firas:

I told the man about the idea that as well as the car bombs and random assassinations negatively can affect our lives, it’s got a positive affect too. Because we are being immune against such disease (terrorism) . At the same time we were passing the crowded area of “Tahreer Sq.” where a bomb car were just exploded and it was still crowded just like nothing happened.

I don’t know if that’s good or bad, are we turning to insensitive people? Is it going to affect our health in future……….When I answered my mobile while I was there, and it was my wife asking how would I want the painter to paint our house (I am building a house and its in finishing stage) by a brush or by the roller, and I told her “as you like its crowded and I don’t want to make an accident”, so she asked “where are you?”, I said “Tahreer Sq.”, at then she said “near the bomb……be careful”………….See just “be careful”…….we are immune,………….. or insensitive.

But it’s helping us to carry on our lives normally during the dangerous situations we live through.


What happens to terrorists when they are no longer able to terrorize? They are hunted down and either brought to justice or killed.


ANOTHER UPDATE: Now that Khalid Jarrar has escaped -- at least for the summer -- the drills of the Commando-Professors, he can try to help out others, like his friend and his girlfriend who have been having some trouble. Here's Khalid:

the thing is, as a marriage consultant, i was receiving a copy of most of these emails, that they exchanged, i really care about them both, and i wanted to help as much as i can.
but when he received the email with the harsh comment, he was sad, and he forwarded this email to me, but he wrote one line, something like: isn't she a b*** or what?
well, he never talked about her that way before, he loves her, and respects her a lot, but he was angry at the moment, it happens, you know.
but guess what?
he did a small mistake, and sent that to her instead of me.
ohhhh myyy God.


I'm sorry, folks, I really like the Jarrars, even if they drive me crazy from time to time.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Who Ya Gonna Call?

AYS at Iraq at a Glance has an interesting story from Baghdad. Street peddlers were blocking streets and disrupting traffic in one particular neighborhood of Baghdad. The IP asked them to move. They refused. Once. Twice. Then the IP used its new training it had received from the Coalition forces.

The IP called other IP force with their 4WD Patrol cars, and others, and others... blocked all the streets to this neighborhood, got their guns and rifles... “ I didn’t see the IP in such an organized and smart moves, they have distributed here and there, taking positions of clashing making all the people astonished and surprised because of the excellent training of the IP members ... they looked like the Americans...everyone said that” my brother said....

The peddlers were sooooo frightened and surrendered at once..!!!
They are training in a very good way, the coalition’s experience is so important and very useful when they learned our IP the basic techniques that must be used in such cases..
In addition to the courses in Jordan teaching the IP the skills necessary to do their job.
All the people were pleased and happy when the IP members controlled the situation in such a clever and fast way.. Surely, they returned back home and felt that they’ve got a strong IP.

Well done..



UPDATE: Something VERY, VERY STRANGE is going on over at The Land of Karda. I could be wrong, but it seems as if this Karda is both DEADLY SERIOUS and SERIOUSLY FUNNY at the same time. You must visit the Land of Karda. Here Karda pastes a question and answer she attributes to Al-Sistani's website (Karda calls the grand mullah "El-Insane") and then she offers her own reply (hold it, is Karda a man or a woman -- Man, I'm confused!). Anyway, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's KARDA!

Question: Is anal intercourse permissible.

Answer: Anal intercourse is permissible if wife is consenting but it is strongly undesirable (makrooh).

Karda: And SM, is that allowed too?

Here Karda wrestles with Sistani's beard!

El-Sistani, actually El-Insane, have send a letter to G. Bush couples of days ago and asked him to forget about the Fedral-system in Iraq or otherwise he will use his beard!

G Bush, actually the dumbest USA president ever, was afraid of his look and when he visited http://sistani.org/html/eng/ he was scared even more and G. Bush said then right and loud “I will do what ever you want el-Insane, just don’t be mad and don’t use your 3 meter long beard!


Ha ha! I have to repeat that:

he was scared even more and G. Bush said then right and loud “I will do what ever you want el-Insane, just don’t be mad and don’t use your 3 meter long beard!


I have no idea who Karda is, but she's on our sidebar and I'll be stopping in at the Amazing Karnak -- oops -- I mean the Amazing Karda's blog tomorrow for sure.


ANOTHER JEFFREY HOLMES MYSTERY: Watson informed me this evening that some of the posters with the Iraqi Bloggers were puzzled over the sexual identity of a new blogger from the northern area of Iraq known as Kurdistan. Watson handed me a printout from the original weblog by Kurdo in which he introduced the new blogger from the region:

Ladies and Gentlement, I would like to announce the arrival of a new blogger from Kurdistan to the World of Blogs. Karda has posted his first message today. His/her blog is called "Land of Karda", a term which was first used by the Sumerians approx 3000-4000 B.C to describe the lands where Kurds where used to live (today's Kurdistan)

Watson caught my eye and I could see the tension on his face. He said, "What in God's name does he mean by saying, 'His/her blog'?"

I raised my eyebrows, tamped the tobacco down in my pipe, and struck another match before I replied, "Watson, let's begin with a stylistic analysis of Karda's prose. I believe the answer to sexual identity lies before our eyes."

Watson grinned, pleased once again to know that there was indeed an answer in sight if we applied enough thought to it, and then turned to start running our textual-analysis program, the one that had solved many of our previous cases.


WELCOME TO ALL LGFers COMING TO READ LISA FROM NEW YORK'S LETTER TO FAIZA!

The Site Meter is rocking from all the LGFers checking out Iraqi Bloggers Central because of a letter from Lisa from New York. Thanks for stopping by. Make yourselves at home. This is a half-serious/half-humorous look at Iraq and the Iraqi Bloggers.

Lisa, your letter has become a BIG HIT in the blogoshere. Sarah D., another LGFer, included a letter from Ambassador Fayrouz in which a link to your letter had been added. All last night and this morning LGFers have been coming over to read your letter to Faiza. Thanks again for letting me feature it here at Iraqi Bloggers Central.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Riverbend on Hunger Strike in her Baathist Bat Cave

Baghdad, Iraq -- The woman known only as "Riverbend" has now completed the eleventh day of a hunger strike. She is protesting the signs and expressions of hope and optimism that have recently started to surface in her nation, according to a spokesperson for whom some are calling the "Doleful Dame of Baghdad."

Riverbend has also taken a vow of silence until the situation in Iraq begins to look chaotic and dangerous again. She has passed a few notes to local journalists that suggest mutilating a few more American soldiers or civilians might be in order to get her country back on the path of implosion, which would then facilitate the return of the Baath party and "Papa" Saddam Hussein.

Raed Jarrar and AYS: Two Views of Prime Minister Allawi

Raed Jarrar has recently given us his views on Mr. Allawi, the interim prime minister. Last Saturday Raed wrote:

So yeah
Finally, we have a president and a prime minister
So “they” selected our president and prime minister in a small meeting,
But they couldn’t even announce the place of their meeting!!!
Haha!
What a great strong authority!
Hiding in a dark smelly shelter someplace in the “green zone”, and announcing fake governments…


Then he wrote on Wednesday, thick with sarcasm:

I feel sooooooo proud of our new P.M.

AYS, on the other hand, wrote yesterday at Iraq at a Glance:

Regarding Mr.Ayad Allwai, I admire him very much ... he stood in opposition to Saddam since 1971 when he left Iraq to Lebanon then UK, worked as an advisor in UN programs and WHO and many other activities..
Saddam attempted to assassinate Mr.Allawi...But this brave man continued his work against that killer...

Now, Mr.Allawi is our Prime Minister, and all those I heard are pleased with him.
We hope that the Interim government works for Iraqis, trying to start the rebuilding processes, control the security and the most important thing for Iraqis.. The electricity.. Then the other needs.. Iraqis are waiting for the new government’s works, I see them optimistic and have positive views of future outcomes..
Many friends, neighbors and relatives welcome the new resolution and believe that Iraq will witness a gradual development...


AYS also writes about the old days when Saddam and the Tikriti mobsters were in power.

Previously, we had a president who was a killer, specialized in assassination, got his certificate by force, and so he was an ignorant man, of course he had many relatives ( especially brothers cause his mother got married four times and you get the picture) and few friends, all those people were also ignorant like him, he fetched them to his government and cleaned them ( after cleaning himself) gave them suits and told them to be Ministers !

Raed's response: Yes, AYS, but he was OUR NATIONAL KILLER! We have no right to ask him ANYTHING.


DOLEFUL DAME OF BAGHDAD UPDATE: Well, it's been ELEVEN DAYS since Riverbend's last blog. Lately it's been about a week between blogs, but all of this HOPE and OPTIMISM must be VERY HARD on the DOLEFUL DAME OF BAGHDAD.

It's looks like Iraqis might really take a chance on democracy. What a TRAGEDY for River! Soon she won't be able to complain about AMERICANS anyone, just the local politicians -- you know, I guess she can beat up on the Shia and the Kurds, if the Americans aren't around.

All in all, though, I can certainly see why Riverbend has been SO SILENT lately. Everything has gone wrong. What must Riverbend feel when she reads a blog by Omar or Ali or Mohammed or Zeyad or Firas or Sam or Alaa or Sarmad or AYS?! It cannot be easy reading for her.

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