Friday, August 27, 2004

End of the Road

Astoria, New York -- The executive board of Iraqi Bloggers Central, considered by many as one of the best of the new American weblogs about Iraq, voted unanimously today to discontinue its weblog service in protest of the amnesty given to Muqtada Al-Sadr and his Madhi militia.

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When I started this weblog back in May, I had five goals. First, I wanted to offer people a place where they could comment on the posts of those Iraqi Bloggers who refused to enable comments pages -- Faiza, Riverbend, Raed, and Khalid. This had already been started by Cry Me a Riverbend, but when he shut his site down due to death threats I decided to throw up a quick blog to carry the baton. Second, I wanted to create a blog that gave English-speakers an overview of the Iraqi Bloggers and add links to any articles that I thought would help us in our debates. Third, I wanted to try to force the two sides of the Iraqi Bloggers -- the pro- and anti-Coalition Iraqi Bloggers -- to engage in a real debate about issues. This didn't happen. The Deep Divide that was there at the beginning still remains. Fourth, I decided to blog every day. One thing that annoyed me as an avid reader of Iraqi blogs is when a blogger wouldn't post for days at a time. I think that a true blogger needs to write each and every day. I always like to check in each day and find something new. And fifth, I wanted to inject a little more humor. Some of my early posts, I think, were successful, but over the last month or so the events on the ground have precluded or at least reduced any generous injection of humor.

I recommend to all of you readers out there to think about starting a blog along the lines of Iraqi Bloggers Central. I learned something new every day while running this blog. Here are some suggestions. Make a promise to blog every day. Don't be afraid to advertise your blog. When I started, I was already known on the comments pages, so for the first two weeks I gave a synopsis of the day's blog and linked it. People saw my name and were interested. Iraq the Model, Hammorabi, Iraq at a Glance, and Little Green Footballs helped me gain a stable readership. You will have to work to gain and keep an audience. I teach fulltime and often until ten in the evening, so many of my posts were written -- Internet searches completed -- after midnight when I should have been in bed. It's up to you. When you link, go to the page source and link to the EXACT item you want, not just the general blog or website. This is more work, but this will make your blog historically accurate. You will be able to click on that link a year later and still pull up the exact post or article. Good blogging is labor-intensive but the benefits are incalculable. We need your voice and your ideas.

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Iraqis are blessed with many great people and I have been fortunate to befriend many of them. Omar, Ali, Mohammed, Sam, and AYS have been my good friends and helped keep this blog rolling. Thanks!

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Iraq's future. I'll be honest. I have no idea. I hope that in January Iraq will get the leaders it deserves, people like Ali and Mohammed and their Iraq Pro-Democracy Party.

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Today a reporter was walking through the Old City of Najaf and came across a father with his son in his arms. The boy was holding a plastic gun. The father grinned and said proudly, "When he grows up, he will kill Americans."

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Goodbye, everyone. Thanks to all the great readers who have engaged me and taught me so much this year.

I will now return as a frequent poster on the Iraqi blogs. (*groan* Oh hell, I thought we'd be able to get rid of this guy!)

I will add links to a collection of best-of posts later today.

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BEST-OF POSTS in chronological order.

May, 2004

Faiza Would More Likely Vote for Bush than Kerry
Mr. Peabody's Improbable History / Salam Pax, Raed Jarrar, and Gaith "G" Ahad
Twilight Zone: Judge and Executioner
Optimists vs. Pessimists?
Revenge of the Secular Muslims!
Another Jeffrey Holmes Mystery: The Strange Case of Asmar Ahmad

June, 2004

Primary Sources: The War Diary of Faiza Jarrar
Saving Private Jarrar
April 9, 2003: Igor Ivanov's Perspective
Raed Jarrar: Saddam, Mein Fuehrer!
Return of the Pink Panther (Asmar Ahmad)
Kick Riverbend out of the Foxhole (or is it Spiderhole?)
Raed Jarrar: Americans are Responsible for Beheadings
Two Views of Iraq: Faiza and Zeyad
The Story of Three Iraqi Friends
Fuzzy and Dangerous Logic

July, 2004

France Loves Moore Because Moore Says Americans are Stupid
A Vote for Al-Kerry is a Vote for Al-Qaeda
Why Iraq Will Be Unique in the Arab World
Out and About in Mosul
Mohammed on the Media
One Happy Iraqi: Hearts and Minds and ????
Gloria Arroyo: "This is how a leader squirms!"
Ass Monkeys and Other Professionals in Iraq
Al-Jazeera to Terrorists: Kidnap Anyone and Leave the Rest to Us!

August, 2004

Sheriff Lee C. Talks Straight
Al-Sadr's "Political Action Committee" at Work
Muqtada Al-Sadr's Infantile Dysfunction
It Ain't Over until the Fat Boy Sings!
Pepto-Bismal? Check.
Return of the Pink Panther (Salam Pax)
Muqtada Al-Sadr's Mullah Backers Hang 16-year-old Girl
Urban Warfare 101
How Much Longer, Muqtada?
Patched Up by Infidels, Al-Sistani Climbs on White Horse
The Arab Parallel Universe Triumphs Again


Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Arab Parallel Universe Triumphs Again

Arabs are always victorious.

If an Arab is killed, he becomes a MARTYR.

If an Arab is defeated (but not killed), like Saddam Hussein, he is an ARAB CHAMPION.

And it's been several centuries since the Arabs have actually won any battle.

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The Multinational Forces are getting screwed over once again by Iraqi leaders as you and I sit here at our keyboards.

I warned you yesterday that if any of the marchers are killed, the Americans will be blamed, even though it is the Mehdi militia and terrorists who are grinning and licking their chops in disbelief at their great good fortune that Sistani has herded all the sheep together in a line, making it easier to kill them and create chaos. Reports are already blaming the Americans.

The Mehdi militia has also joined the marchers to Najaf and are walking back into the city that, just a few days earlier, they had to sneak out of to save their life. They are once again being greeting by their friends inside who are still holding their AKs and claiming victory -- "Arab victory," of course.

All of that hard, dirty, block-by-block work over the last three weeks by the Mulitnational Forces, the IP, and the ING has just been tossed away by Sistani's asinine call to the marchers.

It looks like amnesty will be given to all the thugs and Muqtada Al-Sadr himself. Sistani and Al-Sadr will probably hold a joint Friday service tomorrow, now brothers who saved the mosque from the Infidels, the Great Satan.

It also looks like tomorrow will be the last day of this weblog.

If Al-Sadr walks out of this without a scratch, he becomes another Arab Champion. He will move to another city, start a new arms cache, wait for a good time to start killing more Americans.

It's very simple. If Al-Sadr walks, this weblog closes down.

Well, a few more hours and we'll see. There are some great Iraqis that I've befriended over the last year, but the majority . . . okay, I'll wait until tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Patched Up by Infidels, Al-Sistani Climbs on White Horse

I'll be honest with you. My nerves are frayed after months of having various Iraqi leaders screw the Coalition and now the International Forces.

In Falluja, Americans were sliced, barbecued, and hung over a bridge.

Iraqi leaders did NOTHING.

Al-Sadr spread his Madhi militia around Iraq, setting up his own Sharia courts, and terrorized many towns.

Iraqi leaders did NOTHING. In April, Iraqi leaders (including White Horse Sistani) intervened in Najaf just as the Americans were ready to take out Al-Sadr. Al-Sadr said thank you and began storing arms the very next day. More Americans died.

Al-Sadr and his Thugs go on another offensive, this time seizing the Imam Ali mosque as they fire mortars randomly into Najaf and draq the police chief's 80-year-old father through the streets.

Iraqi leaders have done NOTHING. Just more bullshite from Allawi and Sistani.

The next couple days will decide if I continue this blog or shut it down for good.

If Al-Sistani puts his arm around Al-Sadr and claims that the two of them saved the Imam Ali mosque from the Infidels, I will immediately shut this blog down, wish all my Iraqi friends good luck, and curse all of the other Iraqis who have screwed us at every turn.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

How Much Longer, Muqtada?

Zeyad captures the essence of the Najaf standoff in ONE SENTENCE.

This country is in deep shit if somebody doesn't put an end to this farce.

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An officer on the ground in Najaf reports:

"Two nights ago on a patrol from midnight to 3 A.M., we actually saw Iraqis sitting out on rugs watching and listening to the Coalition aircraft doing their work in the cemetery," 1st Lt. Jeremy T. Sellars — a platoon commander with Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment — told National Review Online on Saturday. "Despite the obvious level of destruction they were inflicting, I watched Iraqis cheer every time the aircraft fired."

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Salam Pax gives us his assessment after spending time with the Mehdi militia.

What I have been trying to do is to take a closer look at the people who support him and are prepared to fight for him, the Mahdi Army. Many of whom come from the disadvantaged and poor Shia areas in Iraq. You won’t find any Moqtada supporters in Najaf or Karbala, where the Shia “aristocracy” are. But in the poor southern cities like Amara and Nasiriyah and the huge slum in Baghdad known now as Sadr city. In Najaf and in Sadr City meeting the men who form the Mahdi Army has made me reconsider my view of them, they are simple people, always very friendly and welcoming. It is their leaders who worry me.

Those people never had hope for a better future, now they see someone who has lived among them championing their cause. They see a hand extended which they have not seen by the Iraqi government. What I fear they don’t see is how Moqtada al-Sadr and the people he listens to are using those masses in a dangerous political game which might disrupt the future for all Iraqis.


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UPDATE: Faiza Jarrar has announced that her youngest son Majid, who recently won a scholarship for overseas education, will soon fly to Canada for college. Let's all wish Majid Jarrar a safe journey and academic success! It is both exciting and difficult living in a new country for the first time. He will miss his family and country and I hope some of our Canadian readers will watch over Majid for us.

Good luck, Majid!

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CB is sitting up in a guard tower when suddenly a bunch of Iraqis in Mosul start shooting AKs up into the sky over the city.

Bang, bang, bang, bang. So I started counting all the shots I heard fired: one, two, three, four, five, six... finally after a couple minutes the shooting silently dissipated. I was unable to count every single gunshot I heard fired, some overlapped each other, but the final tally that I came up with was 67 shots heard fired. I remember awhile ago I was up in a guard tower when it was some Islamic holiday here, like Mohammed's birthday or some shit like that, and there wasn't nearly as many celabratory gunshots fired up in the air that night as there was tonight. So I wondered to myself what the fuck was going on tonight to have all these shots fired all at once? Then, down by the bottom of my tower, a vehicle rolled up and the TC stuck his head out of hatch and yelled up to me, "Hey, I just heard over the radio that Iraq is up! One to nothing!"

Holy shit, that's right. The Olympic soccer games are going on, and these people here are just as fanatical, if not more so, for their soccer team, than they are for their religion.

Strange, very strange.


Monday, August 23, 2004

Urban Warfare 101

The Multinational Forces have slowly been working their way, building by building, toward the Imam Ali mosque to the point now where the cordon is around 250 yards from the structure. The American military has been training for urban warfare for years, especially the last few years. I predict that the Mehdi army will run out of ammunition before too long and then there will some kind of surrender.

Here's the latest AP report:

NAJAF, Iraq - U.S. forces Monday drew near Najaf's revered Shiite shrine, engaging in fierce battles with followers of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as the military stepped up pressure on the insurgents to hand over the holy site to religious authorities.

Al-Sadr followers claimed that U.S. airstrikes overnight damaged an outer wall of the Imam Ali Shrine compound, which remains in control of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia. The U.S. military said the strikes targeted militants' positions south of the shrine but did not hit the wall. There was no independent confirmation of the damage.

Gunfire rang out in the city throughout the day, and black smoke rose over the Old City, a neighborhood of small, twisting alleyways where fighters from al-Sadr's Mahdi Army have been holed up and where the walled, golden-domed shrine is located.

Tanks approached within 250 yards of the shrine, their closest move in days, and U.S. snipers were on rooftops around the holy site, witnesses said.

The size of the al-Sadr's forces in the Old City appeared to have decreased Monday with the U.S. advance, witnesses said. Fewer fighters were seen in the streets and some were seen leaving Najaf, residents said. Militant medical officials said at least two insurgents were killed and four others injured.

Early Monday, explosions shook the city as militiamen fired mortars at U.S. troops, who responded with artillery.


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AYS whups Muqtada Al-Sadr upside the head.

The people hate him, the MNF hate him, the Grand Ayatollahs in Iraq hate him, his followers will run out of arms soon and the government offers a single open door for him to get out of this difficult situation, but he’s trying foolishly to find another possible solution and making use of the place he is in….the shrine, by the way, using the shrine is a good idea, if the IP or any armed force do not have the right to enter it, so all the thieves and murders can hide inside the shrine and no one dares to arrest them since they are in a holy place!

Muqtada is in a big trouble, his attempts failed, his followers are being killed and the city is completely closed..

I hope the government continues on this plan, destroying him psychologically (of course I prefer breaking into the shrine and kill or arrest him, but this might be Allawi’s last plan).


Sunday, August 22, 2004

Muqtada Al-Sadr's Mullah Backers Hang 16-year-old Girl

Muqtada Al-Sadr has already set up Sharia courts and has meted out executions in imitation of his Mullah Masters in Iran. The Mullahs recently hung a 16-year-old girl for "engaging in acts incompatible with chastity."

On Sunday August 15, 2004, a 16 year old girl by the name of Atefe Rajabi, daughter of Ghassem Rajabi, was executed in the town of Neka, located in the province of Mazandaran, for “engaging in acts incompatible with chastity”. The execution was carried out by the order of Neka’s “judicial administrator” and was approved by both the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic and the chief of the nation’s “judiciary branch.”

Although according to her birth certificate she was only 16 years old, the local court falsely claimed that she was 22.

Three months ago, during her appearance before the local court, fiercely angry the young girl hurled insults at the local judge, Haji Reza, who is also the chief judicial administrator of the city, and it is said as another expression of protest took off some of her clothes in the courtroom. This act by the young girl made the administrator so furious that he evaluated her file personally and in less than three months received a go-ahead from the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Court for her execution. The animosity and anger of Haji Reza was so strong that he personally put the rope around the girl’s delicate neck and personally gave the signal to the crane operator, by raising his hand, to begin pulling the rope.

It may be noted that although according to the Islamic Republic’s own penal laws the presence of an attorney for the defense [is supposed to be] mandatory, regardless of the defendant’s ability to afford one, nevertheless the girl remained without an attorney. Her unfortunate father, while tears poured from his eyes, went about the city beseeching the townspeople for money to hire an attorney who in the least would provide his daughter with a line of defense.

The young girl was buried the same day after her execution but during that same night her corpse was disinterred by unknown individuals and robbed. The theft remains unexplained and the Rajabi family has filed a complaint.

The 16 year old girl’s male companion, who had been arrested as well, received 100 lashes and, after the Islamic punishment was carried out, released.


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Iraqis, is this what you want?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Return of the Pink Panther (Salam Pax)

For the last day I've been looking at a new blog that claims to be from Salam Pax. Is this the real Salam Pax or a Faux Pax? The guy behind the blog writes in his most recent post:

Thursday, August 19, 2004

off to Najaf for three days.
not sure I will be able to blog from there. I will if I can beg a couple of minutes online time from one of the journos down there so watch this space.

posted by salam at 7:06 AM


Clever imposter?

Just a few minutes ago, at 12:10 AM on Saturday, July 21, I was listening to the BBC when I heard an eyewitness report from Salam Pax in Najaf.

Okay, folks, I guess Shut Up You Fat Whiner! is the new Salam Pax blog.

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Here Salam Pax responds to a post by Riverbend in which she laments the deaths of Iraqis and then blames the Coalition for all of the problems in Iraq right now.

Essentially I do agree with you, the deaths during the recent days are more than scary and worrying. It makes your heart ache to see what is happening in Najaf. Unacceptable. But I think you are not pointing your finger in the right direction. What is going on these days in Najaf, Baghdad, Basra and other Iraqi cities is not entirely the fault of the coalition.

I can’t understand why you don’t see the danger in the group of people calling themselves Mahdi’s Army and the Sadir followers and why it is important to show them the limits beyond which they are not going to be tolerated.

I am totally convinced that there is no good in them. Has there been any constructive suggestion by them other than demanding the end of occupation? Is calling the shrine of Imam Ali a holy of holiest and then putting snipers on top of it a sign of respect?

I don’t see this situation very comparable to the Falluja situation; to begin with this could be the start of something much worse. It could lead to a much bigger problem in the south and with Sadir’s influence in Basra the threat to the future of Iraq could be much bigger, they already are threatening to close down oil export operations in Basra. And with Iran backing him wait for them to demand the south’s secession.

Sorry Riverbend, I have to disagree with you there, it is not the Americans who should be blamed for turning Najaf into hell on this earth but rather Sadir’s people. And I hope, actually I am sure that you would never say that you see Sadir as a probable leader for Iraq and I don’t think his actions should be in any way be endorsed. You know very well that the day Sadir assumes power in this country you and I will have to think about spending the rest of our lives somewhere else.


Friday, August 20, 2004

Pepto-Bismal? Check.

I've been following the wild back-and-forth of the trigger-happy news people just like the rest of you. Hey, remember that little debacle called the 2000 presidential election? I stayed up all night for that one. I watched all the big-wig network desk-jockeys intone and smirk and sagely predict the future as they called the election for Bush. I kept watching. Around 3 or 4 in the morning, their smiles started to crack. It turns out they were all JUST A WEE BIT HASTY.

CNN comes on today. "Oh yes, it's over, folks. The IP is now in control of the Imam Ali mosque. Hey, pop that champagne! What a wonderful day! Cheers all around!"

And I thought that journalists had already reached the nadir point of popularity and respect! Man, was I wrong.

Let me repeat -- once again -- for the hard of seeing:

IT AIN'T OVER UNTIL THE FAT BOY SINGS!

The Marines on the ground have a fight on their hands and they still see the Mehdi militia in control of the mosque. The spokesman for the Interior Minister must have stuffed a little hash in his hookah. According to all the latest eyewitness accounts, the militia are still inside and still refusing to leave.

Can the air on the top of a three-story building in Iraq be that much thinner than on the ground that it impairs judgement? Hey, journalists in Iraq, get the f*ck off the roof of the building in Baghdad where you do all your sorry-ass standups, walk down the steps, and go out and engage in actual investigation! Try it. Who knows? You might just like actually reporting on something. Hey, it's just a suggestion.

Jeezus, man, what a bunch of complete shits these journalists are.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

It Ain't Over until the Fat Boy Sings!

I told you yesterday that Muqtada Al-Sadr issued his "surrender" as a stalling tactic. And today I wake up and learn that he has indeed reversed course and now rejects the demands of the National Assembly and the Interim government. Here's Al-Jazeera:

Al-Sadr 'rejects ultimatum' to surrender

Thursday 19 August 2004, 15:14 Makka Time, 12:14 GMT

Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr has rejected an Iraqi government ultimatum to renounce violence and disband his militia, says a senior aide.

The head of al-Sadr's office in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya, Aus al-Khafaji, told Aljazeera Thursday afternoon that the Shia leader had refused to accept a list of tough conditions set out a few hours earlier by Minister of State Kasim Daud.



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Prediction: There are rumors that Muqtada Al-Sadr isn't inside the mosque. It wouldn't surprise me. Saddam Hussein claimed victory in Kuwait because, even though his military had been eviscerated by the Coalition forces, he himself lived. Muqtada Al-Sadr will let all of his followers die in the mosque. He has no problem with that, as long as he himself lives. If he escapes alive, he can brag that he stood up to the mighty Americans and use it as a recruiting tool to build up members for the next go around.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Muqtada Al-Sadr's Infantile Dysfunction

Muqtada Al-Sadr yesterday refused to meet with the delegation from the National Assembly. Like a child, Muqty reasoned that if he stayed in his room and didn't actually meet the group, then they wouldn't be able to give him the message. Muqty: Message? What message?

His spokesmen were left to whistle in the wind for him, stooping to new lows in this laughable charade, reminding commentators more of a Marx Brothers vehicle than anything else.

As soon as they entered the shrine, they got signals that they would not meet with Sadr. "If you have connections with the U.S. leader, you should call him and ask him to withdraw his forces a little bit so that we can bring Sayed Moqtada Sadr safely here," said Ali Smeisim, Sadr's deputy, using a religious honorific for the cleric.

"Isn't he in Najaf?" Hussein Sadr asked.

"He is -- in a secret, secure place," Smeisim said.

"The U.S. forces do not follow our orders," Hussein Sadr said. "It is not necessary for him to come. Take me to him."

"Well, it's a secret place," Smeisim responded. "As you know, we are in war conditions."

With that, the delegation was left to wait for three hours before leaving. The group gave Smeisim a communique from the national conference that calls for Sadr to dissolve the Mahdi Army, vacate the shrine and join the political process.


I imagine Muqty will now say that the message MUST be delivered to him in person, thus stalling for another day or two the inevitable confrontation (and if all goes well, his death).

Hey, Muqty, help is on the way. The chemical giant Pfizer is currently working on a pill for infantile dysfunction.

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UPDATE: Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan is itching to get started.

"Today is a day to set this compound free from its imprisonment and its vile occupation," Shaalan told the Arab-language television station Al-Arabiya.

Since peace talks have failed, "we have to turn to what's stronger and greater in order to teach them a lesson that they won't forget, and to teach others a lesson as well," Shaalan said.

After Shaalan's threat, renewed bombing and gunfire were heard near Najaf's Old City, the center of much of the previous fighting.

Shaalan said Iraqi forces were fully trained to raid one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam. He reiterated that U.S. forces would not enter the shrine, which almost certainly would cause an uproar among the country's majority Shiites.

"There will be no American intervention in this regard. The only American intervention would be aerial protection and also securing some of the roads that lead to the compound," Shaalan said on Al-Arabiya.

"As for entering the compound, it will be 100 percent Iraqis. Our sons in the national guard have been trained on the breaking-in operation, which was easy for them."

While never referring to al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia by name, Shaalan referred to those who occupied the shrine as a "gang dressed in the clothes of religion."

State Minister Qassim Dawoud said the planned raid on the shrine would send a message to insurgents throughout the country.

"This will be a civilized lesson for those in Fallujah, Samarra, Mosul, Yusufiyah or Basra. Their is no lenience ... with those people," he said.


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UPDATE: Has Muqtada Al-Sadr caved? Folks, it ain't over until it's over. Keep your eye on the ball, my friends.

Sheik Hassan al-Athari, an official at al-Sadr's office in Baghdad, said the cleric had agreed to the plan but wanted the delegation to return to Najaf to negotiate how it would be implemented and to ensure his militants would not be arrested. He said al-Sadr had other, more minor conditions, but did not elaborate.

Al-Sadr has made contradictory statements in the past, and a previous cease-fire with his Mahdi Army militia that ended a spring uprising two months ago collapsed two weeks ago into street battles throughout the city.


Minor conditions? Like let us keep our weapons?

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UPDATE: On the radio a reporter with the Mulitnational Forces says that nothing has changed on the ground in Najaf. Firing continues. "The soldiers have heard this before from Al-Sadr," he said.

And here's Al-Jazeera:

"Our leader al-Sadr is ready to meet the delegation when the security situation gets better, where the bombing stops and the siege is lifted," al-Shaibani told Aljazeera.

Al-Shaibani said al-Sadr’s organisation was ready to take part in the political process "if it is honest".


When the security gets better? Just watch, people, as Muqtada Al-Sadr drags this out until he can come up with a new plan.



Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Al-Sadr's "Political Action Committee" at Work

Nothing could be more ludicrous than Allawi and the other Iraqis at the conference in Baghdad asking Al-Sadr and his Medhi Thugs to join them and become a political group. This is a colossal joke, right? Those mortars fired by Mahdi Thugs just love-letters to the assembled Iraqis? Well, folks, it's simply another day in the Arab Parallel Universe.

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Militants had just kidnapped and dragged his ailing 80-year-old father through the streets. They also beat his brothers until they collapsed. Forty of his men were killed and several were beheaded.

It's tough being the police chief of Najaf, the Iraqi city that is sacred to millions of Shi'ites around the world and a battleground between Shi'ite militia, U.S. marines and Iraqi police and National Guard.

"They told me that I could go in the place of my father," said Ghalib al-Jezairy, a move that would have had dire consequences for a man high on the militant hit list. As the police chief spoke his father was still being held.

The stress and exhaustion shows on the face of the man who is trying to keep morale high in a police force facing thousands of supporters of firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Many are holed up inside the sacred Imam Ali shrine in anticipation of a major U.S. offensive.

But they still have time to roam the streets, some hoping to fire AK-47 assault rifles or rocket-propelled grenades at Iraqi police officers, who say they are in dire need of more flak jackets and heavier weapons.

"What they did to my father was inhuman. He is a dying old man. They beat my brothers until they fainted," he told reporters late on Monday night, as the sound of mortars being fired could be heard in a nearby cemetery turned battle zone.

BEHEADINGS AND KIDNAPPINGS

They beheaded one of his relatives and Sadr's Mehdi Army militants have gouged out the eyes of some of his officers and boiled them in hot water, he said.

"Do Iraqi police behead people?," he asked. This is barbaric. They enter people's homes and they kill the relatives of policemen."


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In a related news story, Costco announced today that they have decided to enter the COFFIN MARKET. If things don't go well for Muqtada Al-Sadr and his Gang, Muqty can start ordering coffins right now online! Guaranteed delivery within 48 hours! What a wonderful thing the internet is! Think of all those martyrs, Muqty, lying in brand-new coffins!!

New coffins for the Madhi "army."

Priceless.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Sheriff Lee C. Talks Straight

Commenter Lee C. over at Hammorabi summarizes the situation in Najaf very well, offering a view also held by the editors of Iraqi Bloggers Central.

I think the fact that Iraqi are effectively participating in a political process is a good thing. I can't bring myself to say the same for their "cause" though--a negotiated settlement with Sadr? Gimme a break! At some point they're going to have to accept reality. I can understand the anti-American undertow and the reverence for the shrine, and the fear of pissing off Sadr's supporters, and several other causes that could underlie this movement, but, at some point they gotta understand. We ain't gonna keep pouring our military into battle after battle that they won't let us win. We're not going to keep pouring our soldiers on this fire every time he pops his Mahdi Army up to make nuisance. Eventually Iraq will be asking us to "go get him" yet again, and we'll answer, "NO, ya'll go get him yourselves this time; we've had enough of this game."

And now the National Assembly has decided to send delegates to Sadr--he'll either give them nothing, or jack them around too, and we'll have to pull back and then they'll want us to start all over again on it later--gotta come an end to that rerun!

Well, at least Sadr's assembly has apparently admitted that they have wired the shrine to blow--that'll not get us off the hook--they can admit they blew up the shrine, then turn around and say the Americans are to blame, and half the Arab world and half the Iraqi will believe the second part of that statement.

I'm getting fed up with this.


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Wretchard of Belmont Club steps back and gives us the longer view.

Civilization does not principally consist of bricks and mortar, but in a set of commonly accepted values and restraints. If the inhabitants of the sub-Saharan Africa and the United States could be exchanged instanteously; the one materializing in suburban homes and the other in wattle huts, the material imbalance would be reversed again within ten years, because the technology and civilization of Americans is carried in their heads and not in their possessions. There would be nothing Americans could not rebuild in Africa; and there would be nothing Africans could repair or replace in America.

So the most terrifying effect of the War so far has been in the slow destruction of taboos and imperatives which collectively allowed civilization to function. One writer observed that although Britain has possessed nuclear weapons for nearly 60 years no one worried about a UK attack on New York city. He might have added that no one in London lost any sleep over the prospect of an American nuclear strike on Picadilly Circus. The electronics, physics and rocketry check out fine; it was civilization that held them back. The concept of assymetric warfare was supposed to exploit the "fact" that transnational terrorist organizations operating in areas of chaos could strike at a civilization hamstrung by constraints. They could attack orphanages and then seek shelter in the Church of the Nativity; they could fly wide bodied aircraft into Manhattan, then seek shelter in "sovereign" Afghanistan; they could call for the death of millions from the pulpits of Qom; they could fire mortars from the Imam Ali Shrine and never expect the favor to be returned. But the logical flaw in this conception was that civilization could put aside these constraints in a moment. Hiroshima and Dresden are reminders that it could.


Sunday, August 15, 2004

Madhi Thugs at Work

James Brandon, the British journalist kidnapped and tortured by the Mahdi Thugs, tells his story.

Suddenly the guards came rushing back in. The Mahdi army militia fighters loyal to Sadr were at the gate. They told me to hide under the blankets on a bed used by men on the night shift, feigning sleep so that the militia would go away. Ten seconds later, I heard boots charging up the hall. The blanket was ripped off and I found myself looking into the faces of 15 enraged kidnappers. One of the guards must have tipped them off - either that or the woman from the house had told them what had happened.

They were raging. I was dragged from the bed and pistol-whipped again. At some point, my eye was blackened, but I can't remember when. It is difficult to convey the depth of their anger. Still, I wasn't frightened. There didn't seem much point. It seemed clear what was going to happen: they were going to kill me. After a struggle, they put me in a police pick-up. I kept shouting: "Sahafi! Sahafi!"

My shirt had been ripped off in the melee of punches and kicks. One man hit me on the side of my head with a pistol and my hearing just cut out for about 10 seconds. The battering seemed to go on and on - mostly targeted at my shoulders and neck. They didn't hold me down, but just came at me in endless waves of aggression.

They drove me to a deserted building and ordered me to get out. At first I refused, figuring that if they shot me in the back of the truck, they'd have to clear up a horrible mess - shades of Pulp Fiction. In the end, they beat me so badly that I had no option.

It was in a corridor here that the video camera came out. I kept telling them that I was a journalist, trying to keep them talking. They tried to get me to kneel down on the floor, but I simply would not.

"Talk to the camera," they ordered. They took quite a lot of footage before they staged the short sequence that would later be beamed around the world. "My name is James Brandon. I am a journalist for The Sunday Telegraph. I just report what happens in Iraq."


Saturday, August 14, 2004

Belmont Club Keeps an Eye on Najaf

Wretchard of Belmont Club locates another oddity in the Arab parallel universe where you can take yourself hostage and make demands!

Not only do these demands represent a categorical rejection of allegiance to the central government, it also represents a claim to Shi'ite paramountcy in Iraq. If granted, and Grand Ayatollah Sistani returns from medical treatment in London, it would only be to a city patrolled by Madhi Army thugs, with Sadr on a throne, and the whole odious arrangement not only sanctified by Baghdad but also indirectly confirmed by Washington.

And what does Sadr offer in exchange? A promise to halt his ineffectual resistance, which has thus far resulted in the annihilation of his men, the defilement of the Imam Ali shrine and injuries to himself. This is less a negotiation between two armies in the field than a conversation between a suicide and the police, with the suicide demanding a phone call to the Governor in exchange for not jumping to his death. For that reason Sadr is likely to win at least some of his demands. In the perversely distorted political world of the war on terror, hostage-taking is a trump card; and it includes holding yourself for ransom.

But unlike the classic hostage crisis scenario, where the perpetrator's power position erodes over time, Sadr's strength may actually wax unless there is a rapid resolution. Agence Presse France reports that thousands of Sadr supporters are trying to make their way to Najaf. Should that transpire, Sadr could hold out indefinitely because Allawi could never play the ace of unleashing forces on the Shrine; not with so many human shields in the way. Then Sadr would have won out; not through any skill of his own but by the self-imposed paralysis of his enemies.


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UPDATE: According to the AP, the talks have ended with Muqtada Al-Sadr. No go. Let the games begin.

NAJAF, Iraq - Truce talks aimed at ending more than a week of violence between Shiite militants and U.S. and Iraqi forces in the holy city of Najaf broke down Saturday, Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie said.

"I feel deep sorrow and regret to announce the failure of the efforts we have exerted to end the crisis in Iraq peacefully," he said. "Our goal was to spare blood, preserve security and for the militias to put down their weapons."

Al-Rubaie, who had headed the negotiations on behalf of the government, did not say what led to the breakdown in talks, but added that he was going to leave the city.


Friday, August 13, 2004

Our Man "G" in the Belly of Najaf

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, known to fans of the Iraqi Bloggers as "G," is writing from inside Najaf. (Hat tip: Ambassador Fayrouz)

The latest article is about the role of posters in the New Iraq:

Everyone is competing for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people - the Americans, the new Iraqi government, the religious parties, the insurgents, the mujahideen and even young clerics such as Moqtada al-Sadr. And while the Americans are playing left against right, the insurgents are blowing up civilians and the Iraqi government are re-instituting the death penalty, all are using the same method to actually talk to the people: posters. And they are everywhere.

So young Iraqi men and women in police uniforms grin from a big billboard for the ministry of the interior: "We are serving our country. What are you doing?" Another shows a sunset scene more suited to an airline ad. It's for a US-funded campaign, and combines statement with admonition: "Iraq: the progress, the prosperity", then, "Iraq, your country can be better."

Whole walls are covered with copies of one poster, which shows scenes from the good old times, the 70s in Baghdad - the last time that you could take a photo of the city and all the lights would be on. This one is meant to persuade Iraqis of the benefits of democracy, of elections and, chiefly, that one day the electricity will come back.

Usually all these posters are torn down as fast as they are put up - even those for the Red Cross and other NGOs, and those for unexploded ordnance awareness campaigns. The only posters that survive the turmoil of Baghdad are those put up by the imams - Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Shiite imams, Ali and co. - all in different positions: some praying, others killing lions, some with their heads bleeding or hearts shining light. Just months after the fall of Saddam, all the walls which used to be covered by murals in support of his regime are covered by pictures of old men with thick beards. It's very confusing.


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In the other article "G" talks to members of the Medhi Army.

Soon the wounded were evacuated to the rear lines and only the dead were left: nine bodies wrapped in blankets.

"Look," said the man running the hospital, "these are happy martyrs."

Most of the corpses had parts of their heads blown off, one was missing the upper left part of his torso and his skull. In Islamic tradition martyrs are buried exactly as they died, with the blood and the dirt from the battlefield covering them. It is believed there is nothing more pure than the blood of the martyrs.

All who entered the makeshift morgue looked at them with passion, as if this was something to be aspired to.

When one of the bodies was unwrapped, a fighter cried out: "Oh God, when did he die? We were together yesterday."

"Don't say that," said another. "He is the fortunate one. We are all here for that."



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The latest crap from Al-Sadr:

Iraqi Cleric Al-Sadr Sets Conditions to End Fighting, AFP Says

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The Iraqi Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose supporters are staging an insurgency in southern Iraq, has set 10 conditions to end clashes with U.S. and Iraqi forces in Najaf, Agence France-Presse reported, citing a spokesman for the rebel leader.

Under the conditions al-Sadr's militias will pull out of Najaf after the withdrawal of all Iraqi and foreign forces from the city, AFP said, citing Sheikh Ali Sumeisim. Al-Sadr also demanded that the Marjayia religious authority take charge of Najaf, home to Iraq's holiest Shiite Muslim shrine, AFP said.

Other conditions included recognizing al-Sadr's militia, known as the Mahdi Army, as an ideological movement with the right to carry weapons for self-defense, AFP reported.

Iraqi and U.S. forces have been fighting militiamen loyal to al-Sadr since last week. The coalition captured 1,200 fighters in Najaf, Iraqi ministers said yesterday.


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So now Muqtada Al-Sadr, cut off and surrounded by the IP, ING, and Multinational Forces , is the one dictating conditions??!! People, what kind of parallel universe are we living in?! If Allawi agrees with this, I will pull the plug on this weblog and kiss all my Iraqi friends goodbye and good luck. Enough is enough.

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I just posted this over at Iraq the Model:

Omar, Ali, Mohammed,

A lot of the commenters have been here with you guys from the beginning. Lisa, in fact, the very first. I hope that Allawi has a secret plan to club this bastard as he walks out of the mosque peacefully. If not, then there is good reason why all of us pro-Coalition commenters are supremely PISSED OFF at the Iraqi leaders.

They f*cked us over in Falluja. Not ONE PERSON brought to justice after the f*cking Fallujans killed and mutilated and hung Americans over a bridge! They f*cked us over the first time we went after Muqtada Al-Sadr. This time if your leaders f*ck us over again you're going to see a lot of us drop off. I've been with you guys since November and I am freaking tired of bullshit.

This is serious. You think we like to have Americans die and then have Muqtada Al-Sadr negotiate so he can walk out and start arming himself again. Please, ITM brothers, LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD!!!



Thursday, August 12, 2004

Muqtada Al-Sadr: "Time out! Time out!"

Muqtada Al-Sadr, getting his ass kicked and now surrounded, calls for outside intervention. What a buffoon!

Al-Jazeera, the spigot of terrorist scum-covered water, reports on the situation today in Najaf.

Al-Sadr group seeks Arab intervention

Thursday 12 August 2004, 16:47 Makka Time, 13:47 GMT

The Shia Muslim leader has called on loyalists to fight to the finish

Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr's group has called on Arab governments to intervene and work out a ceasefire in Najaf immediately.

Abd al-Hadi al-Darraji, official spokesman of al-Sadr in Baghdad, told Aljazeera in an interview on Thursday that the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf was surrounded by US occupation troops.

Najaf is cut off completely and under heavy bombardment, al-Darraji said. "A shell was fired at the main entrance of the Imam Ali shrine indicating they have surrounded it," he said.

"I call on the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) to issue a fatwa preventing the the US occupation from entering the shrine," he said.

Muslims must also condemn this "criminal acts", the spokesman said.

"The entire Arab and Islamic world should refuse this tyranny. They should try to work out a ceasefire immediately," al-Darraji added.


This morning it was reported that the Medhi Army was firing mortars indiscriminately out of the courtyard of the mosque, pissing off the already pissed-off locals. Many of the locals were also cheering as the American Abrams started to rumble into Najaf.

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UPDATE: I'm watching the Iraqi Interior Minister's news conference right now. It sounds like very good news. They are using a controlled, firm hand. More later.

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Today's coverage of Najaf so far represents, for me at least, just one of the problems with the media. Turn on the TV and all the channels have the same footage of this black cloud rising from somewhere in the city. Most of them don't tell you what the hell is burning. One source says it's an oil line. Could be. But why do we have to watch this stupid freaking dark cloud over and over and over again. Get off your asses and get into the action, boneheads! I guess they figure the rising black cloud looks DRAMATIC. That's not the story. The story is on the ground, so get off the roof where you sit in your lawnchair until the next segment and find out exactly what the hell is going on inside. Man, freaking TV pisses me off.

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UPDATE: I shit you not. I turn on the TV and on CNN this perky blonde chirps to the guy-on-roof in Baghdad, "We've all seen the pictures! Do you have any idea what all that black smoke is?!"

*groaning* Please, God, no, should I kill myself NOW?!

Brunhilda: Jawohl!
Khalid: Yessir!
Raed: Yes, I beg you!
Faiza: Yes, inshallah!
Riverbend: Pistol or noose or seppuku?
Ibn: Allah Akbar!
Nimrude: Pretty please!

Thanks guys. *sniffle sniffle* I never knew how much you cared.


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UPDATE: On MSNBC right now (1 pm EST) you can watch the Iraq - Portugal Olympic soccer match!!!

Go Iraq!!! Go Iraq!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

We Welcome a More Positive, Constructive Faiza!

In her latest entry, Faiza writes about going to a women's group and making a speech in front of the others in an attempt to get elected to the council:

We wrote the names, there were nine names needed… all the time I was thinking, praying to GOD to successd, if there was any good that I could present to people through this society, or to lose, if it were merely a silly, worthless procedure… all the time I was thinking that I was an adventurer… for I only knew three women in the hall, and I couldn't guarantee their votes…but I was betting on my personality, my speech, and their trust in what they heard me say…. Then came the happy surprise that made me laugh a lot….I won by a third of the votes, and became a member of the administrative council of the society…By God I was dealing with the subject in a spirit of mirth, a curiosity to join, and adventure… but today I find my self a little worried, for this is a responsibility, which deserves interest, time, and dedication…Tomorrow is our first meeting…I wish for things to move in a good way, for this society to be a starting point to help Iraqi women in making a better future…I will try contacting some Arabic and Foreign Societies for consultation and listening to suggestions from those who have experience…I hope we will get the chance of arranging training courses, to promote the work and thinking of the working, producing women, especially those responsible for supporting families…and I hope we could produce development programs, in languages and computer skills for collage graduate women, to provide them with better job opportunities by adding new capabilities. Many new ideas will come with time…I wish God would be with us, as long as the intention is true to serving people….

I have learned something nice from the Americans…from those I meet, or those who send e-mails… (Do not just sit and complain )…I always hear this sentence. From friends or foes… yes, this is a frustrating situation…and I intend to try the adventure, and participate, regardless of the danger in participation these days, in these conditions…But I keep my eyes on to God…I say, In The Name of God…He will save me, He will support and encourage me, with all those I love, those who love me…I take the first step…in the thousand miles path… asking success from God.To assist in helping the Iraqi women, building a better life, a better future. In spite of all the devastation all around us…we shall not give up hope of a more beautiful tomorrow….


We wish Faiza nothing but success as she works to help Iraqi women become stronger citizens of the new Iraq.

And thanks, Faiza, for admitting that you did learn one thing at least from us:

I have learned something nice from the Americans…from those I meet, or those who send e-mails… (Do not just sit and complain )…I always hear this sentence. From friends or foes… yes, this is a frustrating situation…and I intend to try the adventure, and participate, regardless of the danger in participation these days, in these conditions…

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Long Live Ladybird!

Ladybird, commenting over at Iraq Blog Count, writes:

Jeff-Arlington you get it wrong

There is a difference between not happy with the situation and Anti-coalition, I am not happy with the situation but I am not Anti-coalition (why not ? I will explain it very soon on my blog). I don't have any problem with both, one of the reasons that I started my blog is to discuss the situation with the opposition.

Look at the links the Jarrar's put in their blog, I speak Arabic I can tell what kind of links. This is some Examples.

"Be proud, you live in Falluja" website

This web site is the meeting point for the terrorists praising the Al-Zarqawi and Bin-Laden. describing the killings of the Iraqi ING's as holly mision, trading beheadings video clips ....etc. I even wrote about this web site in my blog.

Another example

"Al-Basrah dot net"

This web site have nothing to do with Basra city it is a pseudo name for the meeting point for Bathists, the web site is full with Saddam's photos and images and guess what ?? his speeches.

The I will have a problem and I can choose between 2 ways handel my problem.

1-I can say I don't care, let them write what they want. everybody read what they write but nobody agrees with them (kind of beat me and I will still love you effect)and that what the most people do.

2-I can start a dog-fight with anyone want to get us back to the dark time of Saddam.
Somerset Maugham once said :
If you see a slave sleeping, don't wake him up maybe he is dreaming of his freedom, and I say if you see a slave sleeping wake him up and tell a bout his freedom.

So guess what I chose??

LadyBird


Real debate is heuristic. It looks for points of conflict and works on them until we get some answers. Over at Iraq Blog Count, Ladybird is the first person to actually engage a Jarrar -- Khalid, to be exact -- in debate where some of the real differences between the pro-Coalition and anti-Coalition groups emerge. I know many of you out there have been waiting for this for a long time. I will keep you updated on the debate between Ladybird and Khalid. Whether they like it or not, they represent two different views of Iraq's future. Hold on to your seats, people. This could be a bumpy ride.

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I almost had a heart attack when I read CBFTW's latest post. Go read it now but be warned! You may fall off your chair reading it!

I continued blogging and writing. So today I'm walking back from chow, and my Plt Sgt is outside my door waiting for me and he said, The Col. wants to see you, hurry up and go shave, I'll be back in 15 to take you down there. My heart sank. Shit. I know exactly what this one is about. Its like that feeling you get in high school when you'd fuck up, and they'd call your name over the loud speaker and tell you your presence was needed in the principles office, and you know the police are there in the principle's office waiting for you. Not good. I stepped inside my room, and my roommate was inside and he said, "Shit man! The B.C. was just here looking for you!!" Fuck. I'm dead. I felt more scared now then I did on the 5th of Nov. The Battalion Commander AND the Col wants to see me?! All of this reminds me of the classic 80's movie, Pump Up The Volume, where the main character is in high school, and who is kind of a loner, listens to punk and skates, and does that underground radio station, which nobody at his school knows about, and it gets bigger and bigger until finally he gets caught and busted.

Monday, August 09, 2004

See Ya, Muqty!

It looks like Muqtada Al-Sadr's death wish will come true. Omar at Iraq the Model has the latest:

The chief of Najaf IP, brigadier Ghalib Al Jazaeri was interviewed by Al Sharqyia TV today and gave some important statements. Mr. Ghalib confirmed the IP control over the majority Najaf and said that Al Mahdi militia are besieged in small areas. He also said that most of them are surrendering and that among the 1200 captured till now there are 1000 from outside Najaf (Basra, Kut, Amarah, Baghdad) and 4 of them were Iranians who confessed that they have joined the Mahdi army. Those 4 were Transferred to Baghdad for “The importance of the information they have”.

BTW, I just saw film footage from Najaf. Don't they know how stupid they look dancing around with a raised AK? What a bunch of losers! Screw 'em all.

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Check out Sam over at Hammorabi:

Two Disgusting Faces for One Coin!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Three Cheers for Samir!

Samir, the Iraqi-American who pulled Saddam out of his spiderhole, overcome with anger as he had the dictator in his hands, punched Saddam Hussein a couple times before the Coalition forces asked him to stop.

"I grabbed him," Samir told CNN in a recent interview. "I was like I am not going to let him go."

"I told him that if you're a real man, you should have killed yourself," he added.

At one point, Samir said the former dictator called him a traitor and a spy -- words that resulted in the once-ruthless dictator getting punched in the face.

"He made me really upset and I had to punch him. I was so angry," he said, adding that the Special Forces made him stop after a couple of blows.

...

Samir said the former dictator only spoke two words of English: "America, why?" -- a line Saddam said three times.

"I remember one of the forces told me to tell him, 'The reason we are here (is) because President Bush sent us to find you,'" Samir said.

"His response was, 'My shoes' -- he said in Arabic -- 'My shoes are better than you and your family.'"


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Dilnareen over at Kurdistan Bloggers Union comments on the jack-in-the-box commentators working for Al-Jazeera.

Jazeera's office shut yet again

I'm not even sure anymore if that is a good sign. They're still going to continue their spew-fest whether they are in Baghdad or not. Just after they were shut down, they got an expert analyst, abdul barry ‘part-primate’ atoine (sorry its late cant think of anything more creative) . He was going on about ‘I will never accept this government and they’re not legal (fill in the blanks with degratory comments) and something about Hoshyar Zebari which I didn’t quite catch but along the lines of puppet illegal Zionist and then moving on to say that jazeera should be proud they were kicked out. I really wish someone was in studio to say ‘ hold on a minute who cares what u think, who gave u this authority anyway’. What just cos’ he owns a newspaper in London, which I’m surprised is still published judging by its low turnout and the fact that hardly anyone wants to be caught advertising in it. I am still very annoyed at why he is considered expert opinion about iraq, he’s on every channel, I think they make him live underneath those newsdesk cos he pops up on command.


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According to Khalid Jarrar, Allawi is a "dirty arrogant fascist."

Khalid, I'm sad to say, has taken the side of the terrorists. The Palestinian Jarrar household contains the most cynical people one can imagine. While the majority of Iraqis pray for the destruction of the terrorists and Baathists and common criminals, the Jarrars champion these scum and pray for the destruction of Iraq.

But God is there watching, and he is greatest, he is the most merciful, and he knows the truth, and you'll see!, actions are measured by the results, as they say, lets wait and see, what are the results of this occupation, and this government, you'll watch it fall, and you will remember my words, but till then, we will keep loosing hundreds and hundreds of souls, and everyone who supported or was involved in this war, is responsible for them, in front of the history, and for ever, in front of God..

I can only say that we're fortunate that people like Omar, Ali, Mohammed, Zeyad, Firas, Sam, AYS, Alaa, and Sarmad reflect the majority of Iraqis and not the dead-ender Palestinian Jarrars.

DON'T EVER FORGET:

Dr. Death is STILL featured on the Jarrar family business website!

Raed Jarrar said he was sad when Saddam Hussein was taken down because he was "OUR LEADER"!

I would like to see Samir punch Raed a few times in the head. Get in line Baathists!

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UPDATE: Ladybird takes Khalid Jarrar apart. It's very interesting to have another Arabic speaker watch over Khalid's shoulder as he types..

Khalid Jarrar said quoting PM Allawi
Allawi: Iraqi citizens? Which Iraqi citizens? We are the Iraqi government, we are the Iraqi citizens, those you talk about are insurgents,…..and who is the man you just mentioned?The reporter: Aldari

Pm Allawi said more than this and Jarrar choose only the part he likes, this is exactly what PM Allawi said

Allawi: Iraqi citizens? Which Iraqi citizens? We are the Iraqi government, we are the Iraqi citizens, those you talk about are insurgents most of them are people from abroad (you can understand he don’t want to mention Iran by the name) entering Iraq illegaly.

Jarrar…
The reporter: Aldari
(Allawi pretends he doesnt know the man, who is one of the most important characters in the Suna community,

Denying Al-Dari is a very clever move from PM Allawi. Al-Dari is the self appointed negotiator with the terrorists who kidnap people, it seems the man have access to them, their telephone numbers, their address and he knows where to find them, just makes you wonder ??



Saturday, August 07, 2004

Good News: Iraqi Govt. Bans Al-Jazeera for One Month!

FINALLY!

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraqi government has decided to close the Baghdad offices of the pan-Arab television station Al-Jazeera for 30 days, the government said Saturday.

Al-Jazeera was not given a reason for the closure, said Jihad Ballout, the network’s spokesman.

“It is a regrettable decision, but Al-Jazeera will endeavor to cover the situation in Iraq as best as we can within the constraints,” he said.

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s spokesman Georges Sada confirmed the one-month closure, but did not elaborate.

Government ministers have recently been critical of the television station.

During a July 25 interview with Al-Jazeera in Moscow, interim Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari accused the channel of tilted reporting and implied its journalists could be barred from the country.

Zebari described the network’s coverage as “one-sided,” and also condemned the reporting of several other Arab stations.

“We do not tolerate those who exploited the freedom of the media,” Zebari said then. “These channels have become channels for provocation against the interest, security and safety of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government will not be lenient toward such behavior.”


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A bit more:

Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said the government convened an independent commission a month ago to monitor Al-Jazeera's daily coverage "to see what kind of violence they are advocating, inciting hatred and problems and racial tension."

Based on the commission's finding, the National Security Committee ordered the monthlong closure, Allawi said.

Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said the closure was intended to give the station "a chance to readjust their policy against Iraq."

"They have been showing a lot of crimes and criminals on TV, and they transfer a bad picture about Iraq and about Iraqis and encourage criminals to increase their activities," he said.

"We want to protect our people."



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For anyone who reads German, here's an interesting article from Der Spiegel called "Moores vereinfachte Welt" -- "Moore's Simplified World" -- in which Moore is taken apart by Matthias Gebauer. It's encouraging to see a voice of reason coming from Deutschland, often characterized as a country that has adopted Moore as their own simply because he hates Americans so much.

Menschen, die an Fakten interessiert sind, lesen dafür dicke Untersuchungsberichte von Kommissionen oder lange Leitartikel. Menschen, die lieber gut unterhalten werden wollen, schauen Michael Moore. So hat jeder seine eigene Welt.

Fast and Loose Translation:

People who are interested in the facts read the hefty Commission Reports and other longer pieces. People who want to be entertained watch Moore. Each group gets their own world.

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Friday, August 06, 2004

AYS Addresses the Fat Stupid Man

AYS over at Iraq at a Glance makes a few remarks concerning Muqtada Al-Sadr.

What happened to make that fat stupid man appear again?

Iran and Syria.. obviously those two countries are the responsible for all of that, agitating that kid after supplying him with enough weapons to fight, as soon as his thugs run out of weapons and ammo, he gives an order to stop the fight..then a few weeks for another supplement and another fight begins and so on..

This trouble will continue if we leave Muqtada, he must be killed or arrested, and his thugs will surrender after a simple fight, I’m sure of that.



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Mohammed at Iraq the Model agrees with AYS.

The Iraqi minister of internal affair said that there will be no negotiations with Muqtada Al-Sadr and I salute the Iraqi government for taking this decision.
We’ve expected this from the very beginning and we stressed more than once that people like Muqtada are not fit for a peaceful political process and they will refuse all calls for talks because they closed the road to any talk a thousand years ago.

It’s time to take serious actions against the militant groups and it’s time to end any truce with them.

The ING, supported by the multinational forces must do their job because Iraq’s safety has become an international responsibility after many regional and non-regional powers have interfered to spread chaos in Iraq and to intercept the democratic process.

These militant groups have betrayed Iraq by their collaboration with other countries to destabilize the situation in Iraq while the true sons of Iraq are working to build their country. We need discipline and order now more than ever and I believe that who commits a simple traffic violation on purpose is really harming Iraq at this stage, let alone those who carry arms to fight us. Those should not be left free to do more damage.


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Riverbend, the Doleful Dame of Baghdad, after an unannounced sabbatical of nearly two months' duration, has returned to the Iraqi Blogosphere. She naturally picks up where she left off, generally blaming the Americans for all that is wrong with the world. This time she blames the Americans for the death of an aunt. "She had a stroke shortly after the war and has been deteriorating ever since," Riverbend writes. "A combination of bad security, lack of the necessary health facilities and general stress and tension finally took its toll." Those fiendish Americans!

A faint spark of optimism, however, has been recorded in Riverbend's latest entry, as delicate an operation as capturing the faint trajectory of a sub-particle like a muon as its alpha-omega millisecond lifespan plays out in the dark of a supercollider.

Raed, still writing his thesis in Amman, Jordan, warns us that his return to blogging is imminent, now just a few days away. This announcement has been received, I imagine, with mixed emotion by our readers here. Raed's silence has been welcomed by many, reducing as it did by a good number decibels the strident anti-Americanism coming from the Jarrar household.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

CBFTW Reports from Inside a Kill Zone

CBFTW offers us a view from inside a Styker during a fire-fight in Mosul.

We were driving there on that main street, when all of the sudden all hell came down all around on us, all these guys wearing all black (Black pants, and a black t-shirts tucked in), a couple dozen on each side of the street, on rooftops, alleys, edge of buildings, out of windows, everywhere just came out of fucking nowhere and started firing RPG's and AK47's at us. I freaked the fuck out and ducked down in the hatch. I yelled "WE GOT FUCKIN HAJI'S ALL OVER THE FUCKIN PLACE!!! THERE ALL OVER GOD DAMNIT!!!" Bullets were pinging off our armor all over our vehicle, and you could hear multiple RPG's being fired and flying through the air and impacting all around us. All sorts of crazy insane Hollywood explosions bullshit going on all around us. I've never felt fear like this. I was like, this is it, I'm going to die. I cannot put into words how scared I was. The vehicle in front of us got hit 3 times by RPG's. I kind of lost it and I was yelling and screaming all sorts of things. (mostly cuss words) I fired the .50 cal over the place, shooting everything. My driver was helping me out and pointing out targets to me over the radio. He helped me a lot that day. They were all over shooting at us. My PLT was stuck right smack dab in the middle of the ambush and we were in the kill zone. We shot our way out of it and drove right through the ambush.

...

Suddenly about 300 meters away I saw 2 guys creeping around this corner, they were hunched down sneaking around hiding behind a stack of truck tires. I could tell by their body language something was up. I placed the cross hairs right on them, but I didn't fire, because I didn't see a weapon on them and I wanted to wait. Next thing you know, I saw another guy come out of that corner with an RPG in his hands. I freaked the fuck out and yelled "RRRPPPPGGGGGGG!!!" My hands was shaking like crazy, my cross hairs were bouncing all over the screen. I gathered my composure as fast as I could, put the cross hairs on them and engaged them with a good 10 second burst of some 50 cal, right at them. Get Some. My Plt Sgt said "good job!". I didn't see anybody move from behind those tires after that.


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Ladybird talks about booksellers in Baghdad.

An old Arab qoute “books are written in Egypt, published in Lebanon, read in Iraq”

And the best place to find books in Baghdad is Al-mutanabi alley, a very long alley, bookshops from the left and right selling “new books”, old books used books, ask every bookshop owner and he tell his own story about Saddam’s regime and the secret police, each one of them has been jailed or tortured at least one time.

Rasoul is one of them, he is been jailed three times for selling the “wrong” books he said “Before we had to be very careful what we sold, But now look, I have everything in open view”. Sami another bookshop owner wasn’t so “lucky”, selling the “wrong” book (Leon Trotskys The History of the Russian Revolution LADYBIRD: recommended book, must read) cost him one eye under torture, accusing him with communism.


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Dilnareen over at Kurdistan Bloggers Union identifies one of the terrorists killed in Mosul yesterday.

I was searching for more details regarding the fight in Mosul yesterday and I came across this story Khalid Sido, the brother of Mullah Krekar, was killed during the clashes. To those who don't know, Mullah Krekar is a brand name of repellant. No seriously this guy is nauseating at best, he is one of the founders of Ansar al Islam trying to recreate his image as lovable old man (I’m can only sense pedophile). He goes on about how democracy is evil and the usual drivel yet he lives in Norway. The only reason he is still alive is through some legal loophole that’s preventing his extradition. How he gets to stay and get such a strong defense is beyond me.

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Baghdadi offers us a few wickedly spot-on observations.

There were 39 combat related killings in Iraq during the month of January....In the fair city of Detroit there were 35 murders in the month of January. That's just one American city, about as deadly as the entire war torn country of Iraq.

...

Clinton...went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent,Bosnia never attackedus.He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions. In the two years since terrorists attacked US! President Bush has ... liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.

The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking, but.. It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51 day operation. We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find her Rose Law Firm billing records. It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick, drowning Mary Jo.


Oh man, this guy is deadly! Let me repeat that last one.

It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick, drowning Mary Jo.

Ha ha. Thank you, Baghdadi (AKA Iraqi Dude)!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Iraqis Respond to Attack on Christian Churches

Fayrouz warned everyone a few weeks ago about the beleagured Christians in Iraq.

Less than two weeks ago, I wrote about the mounting fears among the Christian minority in Iraq. Some people criticized me for being negative about the dark future awaiting the Iraqi Christian minority. They thought living in America doesn't make me realize what is waiting for these people in the new Iraq.

Today, my fears came true. You don't have to be a wizard to see this one coming. I have many relatives and friends who still live in Iraq. Every time we talk to them, they tell us of their fears and misery. So, no I didn't come up with my previous post from illusions in my head. It did happen this time. It will happen again. Not many people want to listen whether Iraqis or non-Iraqis. What happened today made me so angry that I want to vomit.


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Khalid at Tell Me a Secret writes:

as a religious Muslim, i am very terrified, and ashamed more than i can describe, and really really sad, because of what happened to the churches in Iraq, it is the most terrible thing that can happen, the criminals who are attacking the houses of God, as we call them, should be given the maximum punishment, that is not enough at all, but i cant find the words or ideas to deal with this, i wish i can apologize to every Christian, i wish i can protect every church, but sadly i say that i can't, i cant protect the mosques or the churches, and i don't know what to do about it

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Sam at Hammorabi speaks out clearly:

In Iraq we are one nation, Christians, Sabians, Muslims as Sunni & Shia, and other religions. The Churches which were hit by the barbaric thugs are not holy places for the Christians alone but they are holy places for all of the Iraqis irrespective of their religions. They are holy for being used by human being and by Iraqis our brothers and sisters. They are now holy places for every Iraqi!

Our brothers and sisters who have been killed in the attacks of the Iraqi Churches are not only Christians but Muslims as well. The Iraqi blood mixed together to tell the thugs that we are one body and the foreign bodies are them. Sooner the Iraqi body will expose and destroy them for ever.


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AYS at Iraq at a Glance talks about the attacks on Christians that began after the fall of Saddam's statue.

Another crime in Iraq, and now against the Christians, a new way of violence, the terrorists now are attacking churches.. this is an evidence that those terrorists are the enemies of all human beings and not this or that branch or religion.

Christians are so oppressed since the liberation, especially in the governorates, they had to shut the liquor stores, women are forced to wear ‘hijab’ to cover their heads specially in the southern cities.. they live scary days because of those Islamic extremists, they might be killed if they don’t obey..

I don’t know why they don’t arrest thieves in AlSadr city or Alfadl neighborhood or other places that are well-known of housing the criminals if they want to ‘clean’ the society..

All they can do is to terrify the most peaceful people in Iraq, Christians.
And now they are facing the terrorists..what a life.


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Alaa at Mesopotamian evaluates the situation.

The atrocity has backfired. If the intent of the criminals was to incite sectarian violence between Moslems and Christians; then they have achieved exactly the opposite. In my living memory I have never witnessed such upsurge of sympathy for the Christian community as what is happening right now. The people are really aroused now. The new Iraqi TV stations (including Al Sharqiya) are doing non-stop coverage of the event. Everybody has to proclaim his denunciation in no uncertain terms, even the hypocrites perhaps with some shy and stammering insinuations of the usual charges that perhaps it was the Americans or the Jews etc., sounding unconvinced themselves of these slanders; because even an absolute imbecile can easily guess who is behind this – and in fact, I don’t think anybody has any serious doubt about the identity of the perpetrators.

These hate creatures are beyond redemption. We can perhaps talk about dealing with the root causes of terrorism etc. etc., but this will apply to preventing future growth of the cancer, but the present cancerous cells are incurable. The only fitting solution for these is amputation.


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