Saturday, December 24, 2005
Iraq by Numbers
Governates heavily dominated by UIA, 555 (Shia):
Governates heavily dominated by Kurdistani Gathering, 730 (Kurds):
Governates heavily dominated by Tawafoq Iraqi Front, 618 (Sunni):
And NOW where all the action is. Governates with MIXED results:
555 -- United Iraqi Alliance, (Shia)
618 -- Tawafoq Iraqi Front, (Sunni)
730 -- Kurdistani Gathering, (Kurdish)
Friday, December 23, 2005
Crunching the Numbers
As in all elections, there are winners and losers. I believe that the candidates in this election who have cried "fraud" are simply sore losers.
Valid vote totals for the three votes in 2005.
Votes -- Jan. 30 -- Oct. 15 -- Dec. 15.
Anbar -- 3,775 -- 259,919 -- 369,755
Babil -- 494,054 -- 543,779 -- 553,133
Bghd 1,750,772 - 2,120,615 - 2,392,543
Basrah - 713,271 -- 691,024 -- 794,286
Dohuk -- 383,265 -- 389,198 -- 394,662
Diyala - 210,574 -- 476,980 -- 495,522
Erbil -- 647,994 -- 830,520 -- 660,168
Karbala 297,201 -- 264,674 -- 302,834
Kirkuk - 400,892 -- 542,688 -- 514,068
Missan - 246,957 -- 254,067 -- 317,177
Muth. -- 173,155 -- 185,710 -- 203,902
Najaf -- 359,268 -- 299,420 -- 368,856
Ninewa - 165,934 -- 718,758 -- 820,350
Qadis. - 337,220 -- 297,176 -- 331,302
Salah. - 137,476 -- 510,152 -- 487,451
Sulay. - 731,323 -- 723,723 -- 787,248
Theqar - 522,271 -- 463,710 -- 576,660
Wasit -- 324,678 -- 280,128 -- 346,564
TOTALS - 8,456,266 - 9,852,291 - 10,716,505
Mark, Heiko, Kerry, and myself have been discussing the election results over at Mark's Conserva-Puppies and earlier here at Iraqi Bloggers Central (check the comments pages for these links).
Mark over at Conserva-Puppies has just posted a thorough review of the December 15 parliamentary election numbers.
I decided to calculate, using the highest remainder method of allocating seats by proportional representation by province, how many of the 230 seats will be awarded to each party list. (This calculation doesn't estimate the additional 45 seats that will be awarded on a nationwide basis.)*
Here are my calculations:
(Percent divides the seats won by the party by 230)
List 555 - 111 Seats - 48.26 pct
List 730 - 43 Seats - 18.70 pct
List 618 - 37 Seats - 16.09 pct
List 731 - 21 Seats - 9.13 pct
List 667 - 9 Seats - 3.91 pct
List 561 - 4 Seats - 1.74 pct
List 516 - 3 Seats - 1.30 pct
List 630 - 1 Seats - 0.43 pct
List 631 - 1 Seats - 0.43 pct
The preliminary results don't appear as gloomy as many people have been implying.
I do realize that the Shia based UIA (list 555) isn't the only party that scares people. Some of the Sunni parties aren't exactly full of peace, love and understanding.
I had hoped that at least one secular party, not so closely tied to any particular religious sect or ethnicity, would win a significant number of seats. This has not happened. Most Iraqis are still voting on ethnic and religious lines. Perhaps an electoral system of proportional representation encourages this more than a "first past the post" electoral system.
The UIA will probably have to form a coalition. I don't think they will be able to rule all by themselves.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
The In T View: 24 Steps To Liberty, Iraqi Journalist
Young, Baghdad-based Iraqi Journalist, 24 Steps To Liberty, runs the very fine and appropriately named 24 Steps To Liberty Blog, where he provides his readers with a Reporter's and Personal Perspective on the Events, Dramas, Politics, and Happenings in Iraq and his Life, as well as his chosen profession of Journalism.
It's The In T View: 24 Steps To Liberty, Iraqi Journalist
In T View & Artwork By Mister Ghost
MG: Hello 24 Steps to Liberty. Why don't you introduce yourself to the World Audience. Who are you, What are you, Why are you?
24 Steps: I am just an average Iraqi who had the chance and good luck to hookup with one of the best newspapers in the world and has been
working for it as a reporter for almost three years now.
MG: 24 Steps, What is the Most Important Thing to you in Life?
24 Steps: To be able to produce and try to change what should be changed. Mainly, to be part of some era's influence.
MG: Why is Libya's Moammar Ghadaffi still a Colonel and not a General?
24 Steps: Because it doesn't matter if he was a general or soldier. He rules the country and will be ruling it for a long time.
MG: Is he just a Modest Man?
24 Steps: No, he is a hollow, tough-like man with wired ideas.
MG: What makes you Laugh?
24 Steps: Stupidity of some foreigners, who think they know my country more than I do.
MG: What makes you Cry?
24 Steps: My country. My life.
MG: What book that you've read, has had the most influence on your life?
24 Steps: I don't remember the name, it was something like Leave Worry and Start Living, or something like that.
MG: Tell me about Iraq's Children: Are they being Traumatized by the Violence and Destruction? Is there a whole generation of Iraq's Youth with a Void in their Psyches, a Cloud of Darkness in their Souls? And what would you like to see done to alleviate the situation?
24 Steps: We'll have mentally unstable community for the coming 100 years. Mark my word.
MG: 24 Steps: What is your Ultimate Hope for the Children of Iraq?
24 Steps: I just hope one day they can breath freely and not feel targeted or lost, like how I felt while growing up. I wish they can find their future.
MG: How were you or your family members affected by Saddam and the Baathist Government?
24 Steps: Not directly, but we were affected
MG: Who, What, Where, Why, and How: What is the Most Important Question you as an Iraqi Journalist can ask when getting to the Heart of a Story?
24 Steps: What? I love this question. From there, I lead the way to wherever I want.
MG: What is the Typical Day of an Iraqi Journalist like?
24 Steps: Wake up in the morning at about 7am, dress up, and tell himself or herself in the mirror that "No one and nothing will make me upset today." then drive (if has a car) to the office ignoring the stupid government's decision of cars with even car license number could drive a day, and with odd drive the next!!! Arrive to the office. For those who work for foreign news outlets, they read the Iraqi newspapers to get an idea of what is going on. At least eight newspapers. Then read his or her newspaper, then the competition. Then start working. As for me, I look if there is any press conference I should go to do any interview I already set up and go to. Or, as usual, for those who cover violence, go out to the every-day-bombings. By the time they come back from all this stuff, it is almost 4 or 5 pm. They file and, as for me, go back home at around 9pm. That's it. (that's in fact a typical day for me)
MG: The hotel near your office in Baghdad was recently targeted by Suicide Bombers causing some damage to it: So, how Dangerous is it to be a Reporter in Iraq?
24 Steps: It is one of the most dangerous and unappreciated jobs in Iraq now. You never know when you are going to be in the wrong place.
MG: Have you lost any Journalist Friends or Aquaintances to the violence?
24 Steps: No.
MG: Do you feel safe/secure returning to your workplace after a close explosion, or is the thought always in the back of your mind, the next time they're going to strike directly at me?
24 Steps: No, in fact that day, when they hit a few yards away from the office, I was on my way driving to the office, but the shooting afterward and targeting any car drove by the scene prevented me from entering the compound. So I had to wait for another hour to go back. And this is not the first time this happens near the office, we had car bomb pretty much the same distance as the one happened while ago. So, it is not a big deal. It became an expected drama.
MG: Is it a tight-knit community of Iraqi journalists? Do you know each other and watch out
for each other?
24 Steps: No.
MG: Do you have be secretive when discussing your job, especially in your own neighborhood?
24 Steps: I don't even discuss it. That would be attempting suicide.
MG: How does the Average Iraqi view Journalists, especially those working with the Western Media?
24 Steps: Well, it differs according to level of education, but mainly they think we are "rich" people and don't care about our country or conveying the truth and that we just follow what the foreigners say.
MG: Do Iraqi Journalists fall in love with each other? Is Inter-Journalism Dating common?
24 Steps: This issue is not a big deal here, so I don't hear about it at all.
MG: Is there Government Censorship of the Media in Iraq?
24 Steps: Of course there is, but hidden. And they cannot prevent you from writing something, but they would target you through the irregular armed militias, which all belong to parties that dominate the government.
MG: Is there Religious Censhorship of the Iraqi Media? Can you or any of your fellow reporters write an article critical of Islam?
24 Steps: No, we are free to write, but again, it is the tradition. You would be also targeted just because you violated the rule of traditions.
MG: Are there some reporters in Iraq who are Gore Junkies? People attracted to the Death, Destruction, and Misery?
24 Steps: I haven't hear this before.
MG: After interviewing the family members of victims of the various Massacres, Explosions,
and Shootings, how do you Decompress, Escape from Trauma And Refresh your Mind? Do you take the events of your work day home with you?
24 Steps: I just don't think about it after I am done. I've never thought of a bombing scene after I filed the report to the newspaper or my bureau chief. Otherwise, I would be mentally sick now.
MG: What's the most annoying thing to you about the Foreign Media in Iraq?
24 Steps: Many of the news outlets have their own agenda. Plus, they come to Iraq with no idea about the country and its tradition, which leads to exchanged misunderstanding and disrespect.
MG: Tell me about your Mother. What is Special about her?
24 Steps: She is very sacrificing. She spent her life trying to make my siblings and I be the best. My parents lost the best of their years just to give us the best always.
MG: You tell us via your Blog, that you don't like Tomatoes. Neither do I, but I like tomato sauce for some reason. So, what foods do you like? And what is a Perfect Meal to you?
24 Steps: I like what the Americans would call "junk food." And I love pastry. My favorite meal though is Cheeseburger and fries, or onion rings.
MG: What do you do to Relax, to get away from it all?
24 Steps: Sleep. Nothing else to help in my country now.
MG: Can Islam and Democracy Coexist? Because as Dennis Prager notes via a Freedom House study on Democracy:
Of the world's 47 Muslim countries, only Mali is free. Sixty percent are not free, and 38% are partly free. Muslim-majority states account for a majority of the world's "not free" states. And of the 10 "worst of the worst," seven are Islamic states. So, what exactly is the problem between Islam and Democracy?
24 Steps: Islam cannot work parallel with democracy. That's just impossible. But that doesn't mean Islam is a bad religion or includes bad ideologies. For many people, it works well by itself. But to combine it with democracy?? Never.
MG: Are you upset at the Jordanians for their double standards? When the Jordanian Jihadists
and others were terrorizing Iraqis, there was silence, even support for the terror from the people of Jordan, but after the Hotel Bombings in Amman and Sunni on Sunni violence, now there's suddenly 200,000-strong Jordanian protests? Is there a Hypocricy here?
24 Steps: We have lost thousands of innocent people to terrorism, we have the right to be upset. And the Jordanians lost a number of their citizens to terrorism too, and the have the right to protest.
The United States
You recently accompanied a group of Foreign Journalists visiting the United States: What was the experience like to you?
24 Steps: A five-year-old child, who has to do nothing but live peacefully. And work-wise, it was perfect to meet with my audience and know how much they lack information and how much they are misinformed.
MG: What's the Best Memory you have of the United States?
24 Steps: How generous and hospitable people are.
MG: Tell us about some of the preconcevied notions or beliefs about America that were expressed to you in Iraq? You mention in your Blog, that people kept telling you to watch out, the Americans would hurt you?
24 Steps: Yes, I was told and asked to be careful and not to stay out late at night and that I shouldn't advertise that I am a Muslim from Iraq because people might hurt me, for example, be mugged or stabbed to death. My reaction was that I stayed out late every night. Went out with strangers, whom I didn't know but for a few hours. And wherever I went, I advertised myself as a Muslim HUMANBEING coming from Iraq.
MG: During your visit to the US, you were impressed with all the American Flags that were present, and you saw this as the presence of a National Identity. Do Iraqis lack a similar National Identity?
24 Steps: The Iraqis don't lack this feeling. They are just tired of decades of false calls for the national feeling. And they need to know how to appreciate their country, the one they've never felt safe living in.
MG: Your encounter with the Ocean during your US Visit had a powerful effect on you. Can you describe this feeling to us?
24 Steps: I've been careful all my life, in what I say and what I express. That was because of the tyrant government we were living under. I was imprisoned in a very big cell, that is Iraq. When I faced the ocean, it just gave me a huge space to look at and be free to shout and scream my feelings, which I did at night.
MG: Would you like to come back to the US?
24 Steps: Sure, I would like to meet all my friends there again.
MG: 24 Steps, your Blog name is derived from an encounter you had with the Statue of Liberty, when you were on your American Journey. Can you tell us about it, the meaning of 24 Steps To Liberty?
24 Steps: I was 24 years old when I went to the statue, or ending the 24th. When the guide said "now you will take 24 steps to liberty" I was thrilled. It was like I was liberated, but very late. Every step I had to take to liberty took me a year. That is all about the name.
MG: How did you become interested in Blogging and how did your Blog: 24 Steps to Liberty come about?
24 Steps: Well, very simple. A colleague of mine was doing a story about bloggers and we talked about how much help it would be to myself if I speak things out in a blog. And I was convinced.
MG: Is there another Iraqi or Kurdish Blogger you would like to meet in person and why?
24 Steps: No.
MG: Is there another Iraqi or Kurdish Blogger you'd like to meet in person and give
them a kick in the behind, because you can't
24 Steps: No. Everyone is allowed to say what he or she wants to say. There is no limits on polite and well-behaved blogging.
MG: Besides your own blog, what other Blogs do you like to read and can Recommend?
24 Steps: Many. In general, whatever feeds my mind.
MG: If the Automobile Genie stopped by your home and said to you, "24 Steps, I grant to thee the wish of any Car in the world of your Choosing - Make Your Choice!" What vehicle would you
select, 24 Steps?
24 Steps: Jaguar, any Jaguar car.
MG: Five Years from Now, Iraq will be?
24 Steps: My country, home, identity, and citizenship.
MG: Thanks very much for a Nice In T View, 24 Steps, and Final Question: Have you ever
seen a Ghost?
24 Steps: Not yet!
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
From Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy To The Islamic Republic Of Iraq
Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy!
Who can forget those famous words of a just
liberated Iraqi Man which echoed around the
Sadly, Democracy, Whisky, and Sexy in Iraq has been replaced by:
~ Shi'ite Fundamentalists Will Shoot You If You Sell Whisky
~ And Sexy Ran off to Syria, where there aren't Fundamentalist Death Squads, with a nasty habit of leaving women's bodies crumpled on the streets of Southern Iraq.
So, how did Iraq turn into Route 666: The Highway To Islamist Horrors?
The Best Political Analyst in the Iraqi and Kurdish Blogosphere is Nibras Kazini of the Talisman Gate blog. Kazini is a visiting Scholar at the Hoover Institute in Washington, writes a Weekly Column on the Middle East for the New York Sun, and is working on a History of the Middle East.
Nibras brings us an Insider's View of Iraqi Politics after having worked for Armand Chalabi for seven years and being close friends with another prominent Iraqi politican Mithal Al-Alusi.
Kazimi is especially hard on the Shia and their Electoral Choices in this election:
For 95% of the population, each voted according to his or her sect or race. Iraq's Shia did not vote as a confident majority: they followed the voting pattern of a ghettoized minority still scarred from many years of dictatorship. Rather than think for themselves and exercise their individual right to choose, they have abdicated this responsibility in favor of their behemoth communal shepherd: Grand Ayatollah Sistani. This behavior is dangerous, and it marks the prelude to all-out civil war.
As long as the U.S. forces remain, I don't see the possibility of a Civil War between the Sunni-Shia blocs, though I wonder how the American Public
would stomach the formation of an Islamic Republic, especially if they ever learnt the terrorist background of some of these groups.
Nibras goes on to cite Five Major Factors in the Iranian-inspired Islamist remaking of Iraq to the "The Islamic Republic of Iraq."
1-Sistani’s Edict: This was the doing of Muhammad Ridha Sistani, the Grand Ayatollah’s son, and it was first reported here at Talisman Gate on November 27. Through mosque sermons and catchy jingles, the Shia faithful got the message that voting against ‘Haydar’s Candle’ would anger Imam Ali. [‘Haydar’s Candle’: Haydar is an alternate name for Imam Ali, and the ballot symbol of the UIA list no. 555 was a candle, the same as the January election.]
I never did trust Lady Bird's favorite "Ayatollah Scarecrow" Sistani, always with that nudge, nudge, wink wink, speaking out at just the right time to sway favor - I'm sure his son acted completely independently of his father's wishes.
2-Undeclared Civil War: Shia-Sunni tensions are at historical highs, and Shia voters still feel vulnerable and insecure as to their political future, so they voted UIA to spite the Sunnis who have been waging a low-level campaign of extermination against Shias in mixed areas. Seemingly, the Sunni leadership such as the likes of Saleh Al-Mutlag, who is particularly hated among the Shia, keep pointing the finger at SCIRI’s Badr Brigade for any retaliatory actions targeting the Sunni population, and the communal antipathy is so acute that the Shias would band together with Abdel-Aziz Al-Hakim just to piss off the Sunnis. Iraqi Shias were unconcerned with deteriorating basic services under Jaafari as they headed to the polls; they could live with little electricity and water, but they can’t go on looking over their shoulders for a suicide bomber whenever they do grocery shopping.
Since there's a Political Mandate on the part of
the Current Administration to promote some sort of Democracy in Iraq, as long as Bush is in charge, Civil War isn't happening.
3-Aljazeera’s Godsend: The fluke occurrence of an anti-liberation Iraqi commentator called Fadhil Al-Rubaiee appearing on one of Aljazeera’s most controversial shows and saying nasty things about Sistani a day before the polls opened did plenty to bolster the impression that Shias are under attack and need to close ranks behind their Grand Ayatollah and his blessed list, the UIA. Al-Rubaiee is a regular commentator on Aljazeera, and even has a personal website, while his political affiliation belongs to a pro-insurgency group called the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance. The head of the IPA, Abdel-Jabbar Al-Kubaisi, was arrested by American forces in Iraq last year.
Al-Rubaiee’s outburst allowed Muhammad Ridha Sistani and Iranian intelligence to orchestrate massive demonstrations across Baghdad and southern Iraq that came out denouncing Aljazeera, supporting the UIA and burning and tearing down all rival election posters and related paraphernalia. This was the clearest and most timely opportunity afforded to the Sistani camp to strongly suggest to their flock the virtues of voting for the UIA.
Can the Iranians be any Happier? They let the Americans do their dirty work to set up a Pro-Islamist, what some are calling a Satellite State
of Iran, all at the American taxpayer's expense.
And the interaction of Sistani's Son and Iranian Intelligence, perfect, just perfect.
4-The Iranians Show Their Hand: And just in case Sistani and the threat of ethnic cleansing don’t do the trick, Iranian intelligence came out swinging to systematize the electoral victory of their acolytes in the UIA by stuffing ballots, intimidating rivals and conducting other massive violations of electoral law. The Iranians showed how weak the institutions of the Iraqi state really are; the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq was feckless in the face of flagrant abuses such as showcasing Sistani’s picture of ‘555’ posters and the use of the police and state entities in putting-up/tearing-down candidates’ propaganda. Farid Ayar, the commission’s chairman, keeps telling foreign journalists that he can’t wait until this is all over “so that I can go back to my garden in London.” Ayar is clearly not going to hassle the gun-totting fundamentalist militias, especially if the Americans and the Brits seems unconcerned with what is happening right under their very noses.
Not disarming the Militias and letting their power hold sway in the Iranistahn Section of Iraq was a major mistake on the part of the current administration. It was a difficult process, with
the Kurds unwilling -- and likely rightly so --
to dismantle their legendary Peshmerga, therefore providing the various Shia sects an out to keep their own Militias intact. Not that the Shia Groups needed much of an out. Meanwhile, the British Troops were ineffectual in their guardianship of Basra and Southern Iraq. Who can forget they had to rescue their own men from jail, Sadr's men stomping the heads of the picnic-goers, and the Death of Steven Vincent?
5-Rumors: The rumor that spread around Baghdad on the eve of the election about the city's water supply being poisoned was quickly spun as a Sunni attempt to embarrass the 'Shia' government. Shias were reminded once again that they are under attack and do not have the privilege of political choices in these dire circumstances: they must coalesce around their sectarian identity as
embodied by the UIA list.
And what does Kazini see as the outcome of the political machinations between the Shia and Sunni:
Which leaves us, incidentally, with all the people Iran has been cultivating for decades as the soon-to-be-crowned heads of the Shia community. They will have to do business with the soon-to-be-crowned heads of the Sunni community, who are loathed by ordinary Shias. Adnan Al-Dulaimi, the head of the largest Sunni block 'The Consenses,' was elected by a strictly sectarian bias; Sunnis did not listen to him or his allies in the Islamic Party when they called for voting 'yes' on the constitution back in October. So, Al-Dulaimi is hobbled by the fact that his constituency controls him rather than the other way around, and thus he must stand as a hardliner against policies such as de-Ba'athification, which would further aggravate the Shia.
You can tell that Nibras is deeply disappointed by this election. On a personal level, his friends and those leaders he respected, seem to have come to the end of their road:
Having had the opportunity of a front-row seat during the INC years, I find it heartbreaking that Chalabi—without whom these elections would have never happened—be so crushed. Al-Alusi, whose bravery and fortitude for the cause of a secular and liberal Iraq, even after the murder of his two sons last February, was an inspiration.
Even people like Abdel-Karim Al-Mohammadawi, the so-called 'Prince of the Marshes,' who bravely fought Saddam for 15 years under terrible odds, will walk away with nothing. To watch Iraq lose some of its best political talent at this critical time makes me very afraid.
"Very afraid," the words of Iraqi Political Insider regarding this election.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
$200 Billion Dollars And 2,000-Plus American Lives To Elect A Bunch Of Iranian Wannabees
If I read of another Writer, Columnist, Blogger, like Mark Steyn, Michelle Malkin, Pajama Media favorites Omar and Mohammed, Roger L. Simon, Charles Johnson, Jeff Jarvis, Alaa from the Mesopotamian, Sam from Hammorabi, Victor Davis Hanson, et al. waxing eloquently about Democracy and Democratic Processes in Iraq...
I'm going to hurl over the entire Blogosphere Big Odious Streams of Pungent Bile shock-trooping from my mouth.
SHUT UP, I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THIS SO-CALLED DEMOCRACY!
NASA is Calling you guys and gals. They want their Space Shuttle back and make sure you refill the tank.
Come Back to the Earth you Delusional Folks.
And let's get real.
$200 Billion Dollars And 2,000-Plus American Lives To Elect A Bunch Of Iranian Wannabees,
Another Islamist Regime in the Mid East. What's the matter, the other 200 of them wasn't enough for you President Bush?
That's what happened.
Another Islamist Regime in the Middle East has ascended to power thanks to the United States.
And the U.S. isn't here to make the World safe for Islamist Regimes. The opposite should be true.
But in Iraq, that's just what happened.
The United States has removed Saddam and he's been replaced with the Iranian Wannabees.
It's like overthrowing the Emperor in Japan and
bringing in Mao to bat clean up.
Not exactly the desired results.
Results so disappointing that Akba (hat Tip CMAR) has called it a day/night/morning after, okay he's closed his Iraq Rising Blog because of Muqti and his cohorts ascension:
welcome to the Islamic devided wartorn republic of Shit hole Iraq.. Watch your Petrol Gas pomp prices go up.. A bunch off idiots, the whole lot of ya....
Iraq Rising.. More like Iraq dying..
And how soon before the entire winning SCIRI and Dawa party leadership embark to Tehran to kiss the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeni?
"We Love You Big Ayatollah K - Oh Smooch-Smooch We Love Love Love You Because You Made Us."
And indeed they do owe their existence to Terrorism and the Big Ayatollah K:
Ex-CIA Agent Bob Baier, who dealt with the DAWA Terrorist Group back in the 1980s, knew quite well of their involvement in the bombing of the US Embassies in Beiruit and Kuwait.
And the other main Shia party SCIRI, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, according to a 1984 Washington Post story, was put together
by the Ayatollah Khomeni, as an aggregation of four different terrorist groups for the express purpose of gaining control of Iraq.
And control they have indeed gained.
How soon before Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari brings in his Compadre Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a visit and he denies both the existence of Israel and Dinosaurs. "I've never seen a Dinosaur or a Jew, so how can they exist," Ahmadinejad will say and the roaring crowds in Basra who voted in the Iranian Wannabees will applaud.
And then there's Muqti al-Sadr.
Remember him from his hold out in Najaf and the 24 charred corpses they found in the basement of the mosque that he was supposed to be prosecuted for?
Now he's running the government.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Super Sexy Iraqi And Kurdish Bloggers Had Election Fever
Super Sexy Iraqi And Kurdish Bloggers Had Election Fever
Well you can tell by the way I cast my Vote, I'm An Iraqi/Kurd, No time to smoke.
Voting Proud and Issues Long, We've battled back from all our wrongs.
And now the Election's here, it seems fair,
we're not going to disappear...
Election Fever - The Iraqis and Kurds Caught It
And Remember Voting Is Sexy. Ahhh, So Sexy.
I'm too Sexy for my Vote.
Too Sexy for my Vote.
I'm an Iraqi and Kurd who likes to smoke.
SuperSexy Iraqi Blogger Fay detailed her family's and friend enthusiasm to Get Out The Vote mainly for the Secular Lists:
I just finished talking to my friend in Sydney. She's going to vote for Allawi. BTW, she's Chaldean. That's a good indication on how most Iraqis are voting this time. They aren't voting for candidates based on their ethnic group.
So, Fay's friend Shook Her Kumquats for Allawi. Meanwhile's Fay's Super Sexy Dad Shook His Kumquats for Allawi too, though that may have changed:
My parents voted today in Michigan. When I talked to my dad last weekend, he was going to vote for Allawi. I'm not sure if he has changed his mind and voted for another candidate.
Fay's Super Sexy Sister debated whom to vote for:
I talked to my sister in Michigan last night. She was trying to choose between Mithal Al-Alusi and Allawi. Either one is good.
However, Fay was saddened by the fact, that she didn't have the chance to Shake Her Kumquats for anyone, because there were no polling stations open in Texas. Must be some way to integrate Iraqi Voting and Longhorn Cattle in Texas - that would open plenty of stations.
Super Sexy Dayez Shook His Kumquats for the Seculars:
In case you're wondering.. I voted for the seculars. Always do. Not that I like any of them. Most of them are either thieves or drunken buffoons. But rather a drunken buffoon than a headbanging mulla with a black turban.
Amidst a day of dreaming about sucking his girlfriend's toes, Dayez highlighted a voting flaw:
Something that bugs me whenever I vote is that no one checks my finger to see if I'd already voted. What's worse is that you can find your name in every room at the polling station. So theoretically, one can vote in several rooms, although I never tried that personally.
Not Super Sexy Attawie wanted no part of Shaking His/Her Kumquats on Election Day, because the election, this blogger revealed, wasn't a legitimate one:
I'm not going to vote. If someone is going to take part in this election (with my respect to many people I know who are going to do so) it means this someone is admitting legitimately to this process, while it's not as long as it's under the occupation forces. I didn't even take a look at the lists nor bothered myself with the false and fake promises they made.
Well, I guess they'd be much happier to be one
of the 98 percent of the voters who Shook Their Kumquats for Saddam in previous elections, which were apparently more legitimate in their eyes.
Super Sexy Alaa of The Mesopotamian was greatly excited by the significance of the Iraqis Shaking Their Kumquats for a wide variety of candidates:
Today was a tremendous moment of our history, a turning point and a real milestone. Say what you like; things are not perfect; there are countless problems; the "insurgency" is not going to disappear; the reconstruction effort is in shambles; there is corruption and thieving everywhere; errors and mistakes in everything. Yet despite all that, the political process is proceeding like a dream and the tree of freedom is taking roots, and that tree will continue to grow and grow and grow. The Iraqis are again confounding all the "pundits" and "experts". But some just cannot understand the true soul of a people. That this most profound revolution initiated by an act of liberation, by the daring praxis of the Americans, driven by some mysterious hand of the Providence, has touched the innermost womb of a nation, and that the present agonies of this nation are those of giving birth and new life. Oh no, that they cannot understand. Well then, let them witness surprise after nasty surprise that will confound their logic and demolish their arguments. But the word mongers will always find something to say, as wild dogs are always wont to bark all the more hysterically as they are irked.
The Super Sexy Guy Spinning the Iraqi Roulette Wheel Shook His Kumquats on Voting Day, but isn't as happy as Alaa with the results:
All Iraqis are watching with astonishment on local and Arabic channels reports about the unprecedented success of list 555, people dancing up and down holding portraits of religious leaders celebrating the victory ! . And worse of all, our very own Condoleeza Rice i.e. Mowafaq al Rubai is popping in and out of these channels talking about forming a government since they have won indisputably! , He said - we will contact the ( small parties) and offer our vision of the future, we have the right now to appoint our own PM !. Now this is terrorizing , also reports say that they have been terrorizing voters especially in southern and middle governorates, where the power of religion is present and simple people are made to think that they are disobeying God if they do not vote properly...It is likely that the Party is over and every one is going to roll their sleeves up now and get on with the cleaning up... Poor poor us!!
Super Sexy Caesar of Pentra was planning to Shake His Kumquats for a secular listee and explains why:
Canceling all the spiritual (religiuos) lists and picking out a secular one to mark over.
It is not the religion's blemish but the matter of fact that all the islamic parties here (whether was sunni or shiit) are exploiting Islam to verify something for their own with no link have to do with Islam. Besides, it must be detaching policy from religion. Regimes as Iran, KSA, Afghanstan (during Talaban's reign) and Sudan are such examples of that theory, I also wanna annex the current government of Iraq to that list.
Super Sexy Haneen the Girl With Love Shook Her Kumquats too on Election Day and has a Pic of her purple finger to prove it. Or could that be a stunt double's purple finger? A Clone of Haneen's purple finger? Or the Ayatollah Sistani's purple finger that has never touched a Christian or a Jew? What ever the case, there's a purple finger there, so someone voted. Haneen also provides great insight in to the Pre-Election Night Mosque's Don't Drink The Water, It's Poisoned False Rumor Stunt, that woke up half of Baghdad and left a lot of Iraqis cranky on voting day.
Super Sexy Nancy from Beth-Nahrain wanted to Shake
Her Kumquats for anyone on voting day, but the nearest polling place was hundreds of miles away,
so disappointingly she couldn't vote.
However, Nancy brings good news about the Christians in Northern Iraq, where as many as 200,000 of them weren't able to vote in the previous election, but were able to Shake Their Kumquats in this one:
(MG: Mike notes)
but I read this week a moving story about christians in a small christian town of 10,000 not far from Mosul where the people were NOT allowed to vote back in january.
This was in fact true (except the number was more like 200,000) and it had upset a lot of us and many Christian villages in Iraq went out on protests...but the situation was quickly dismissed as being a "technical error"! the link below is an article I had wrote for my college newspaper at the time about it... Emory Wheel article nothing like this happened this time around though, which is certainly good to know:)
Not Super Sexy at all Ladybird exhibited her Arab Parallel Universe thinking as she exhorted Iraqis not to Shake Their Kumquats on Election Day and wasn't planning to vote herself:
As for myself I will not vote and I will not encourage anybody to vote because I don't want to be part of one of the two choices ( kissing Americans boots or Iranians boots).
So, amidst the hundreds of candidates, there wasn't any middle ground between the Iranians and Americans.
But wait, Ladybird found such a candidate (with a few flaws):
My advice (t)o Iraqis if they would like to participate in the election to choose Allawi not because he is a patriot Iraqi (he isn't) but because he is a corrupt-businessman and this type of persons will always blessed by the Americans.
Ahhh, the Americans always embrace those corrupt officials like Saddam Hussein.
And how will those Neocon Bushitler Americans go about endowing Allawi with the credentials of leadership:
Let's make this more clear: The Americans will try to create a hero from him, how they are going to manage this? Answer: Easy… They stop their support to the terrorists and take serious steps to control the Iraqi borders, out of the sudden the so called Zarqawi will be captured or killed, much important they will release the money for reconstruction and people will see a real improvements in daily life issues (security, electricity. Water).
So, the Americans will stop supporting the terrorists! Well, what can you say, but lets get this War On Terror started then. Shame on you George Bush for waiting this long. Hmmmm, Ladybird's Old Lobotomy doesn't appear to be taking.
Not Super Sexy Truth About Iraqis didn't Shake His Kumquats for Iraq from wherever he is, because he couldn't vote:
I didn't vote because expat voting wasn't available in my locale. Only 15 countries had it.
But, if he could, he'd Shake His Kumquats for Co-A.P.U. Member Ladybird's pick Allawi:
I would have voted for Allawi, a man I much despised exactly a year ago. I still think he is a brute of a man and thug in politics. But he is deeply secularist Shia. And a former Baathist. He has promised other Baathists some kind of deal.
Ahh, to think he couldn't vote and left Ladybird further in the clutches of her disappointment.
Not Super Sexy
Riverbend as to be expected wasn't liking
the what the election had to offer:
The last press conference I watched of Hakim (MG: of List #555) was a few days ago. He was warning his followers of electoral fraud, which is slightly ironic considering his group has been accused of all sorts of fraud this last year. The audience was what caught my interest. The women were sitting on one side of the audience and the men were sitting on the other side, the sexes separated by a narrow aisle. The women all wore black abbayas and headscarves. It could have been a scene out of Teheran.
Some of Allawi's campaign posters show himself and Safiya Al-Suhail. I can only guess Safiya being used in his campaign posters is meant as a gesture to Iraqi women who have felt more oppressed this year than ever. The problem is that if there's one woman Iraqi females can't relate to- it's Safiya Suhail. She's the daughter of some tribal leader who was assassinated abroad in the eighties or seventies- I'm not sure. She was raised in Lebanon and when she's on TV she comes across as arrogant, huffy and awkward with her Iraqi accent tainted with the Lebanese dialect...
More people are going to elect this time around- not because Iraqis suddenly believe in American-imposed democracy under occupation, but because the situation this last year has been intolerable. Hakim and Ja'affari and their minions have managed to botch things up so badly, Allawi is actually looking acceptable in the eyes of many. I still can't stand him
It is not known whether Riverbend Shook Her Kumquats on Election Day, but since she hated everyone not named Saddam, who would she have voted for?
Super Sexy Sunshine's Super Sexiest Dad, Mom, Grandpa and Grandma all Shook Their Kumquats Election Day and went off to vote. Sunshine, of course, was too young to participate, but if she could, she would have Shook Her Kumquats for a now familar name:
If I could vote , I would vote for Allawy (731), but this is my OWN opinion , some people may agree with me , & some may disagree , I think that Allway is an educated & courageous man , & that what we need ….again this is my opinion & I might be wrong !
And be sure to check out the Pic of the entire Sunshine Clan's Blue Fingers.
Super Sexy Sanyora of a Smile To Your Life was another one of the young Iraqi Bloggers too young to Shake Her Kumquats in the election, but her Super Sexiest Parents participated:
As you know, today is the election day,it is an important day for all Iraqis..... From this morning everybody went to the election's centers to vote for someone. My parents also went this morning to vote, everything was going on correctly. The policemen were everwhere trying to protect people & ensure their safety. Even they put barbwires infront of our house to ansure that no car could reach the nearest center.
Infact all Iraqi people were waiting for this day , it is the day of the big elections so we all pray that every Iraqi could participate in it peacefully & we wish that the coming government will be the beginning for a bright future.
Not Super Sexy Faiza Jarrar did Shake Her Kumquats on Voting Day for someone. I'm sure she was fantasizing, what if My Sweet Saddam could run in this election -- the Sweet Saddam that gave me the Three Mercedes and Two Homes -- but Explodes with Anger after seeing a Reuters Photo of an Iraqi Jew voting:
But this morning, a picture in the newspapers, by Reuters, attracted my attention; it was the picture of an Israeli man, carrying his identity papers and passport, holding up his blue ink- stained finger in front the camera, happy that he also voted with the Iraqis in one of the voting centers in Amman.
I do not know how?
Was his father borne in Baghdad, for example? So he obtained this right?
And how did this right come to be? Where from?
Does it mean that if an Indian, Pakistani, French or Dutch person came along, who was borne in Baghdad for whatever reason; would he be a citizen with the right to vote?
Isn't this a comedy?
Who put these extraordinary rules?
But wait, the Feisty Faiza isn't done exhibiting all the usual Jarrar Family Anti-Jew/Israel Hatred:
If this was justice, well then; I agree So, let all the Palestinians who were born in Haifa, Yafa, Akk'a, and all the other Palestinian towns and villages ,that were stolen by Israel and given to Jews to live in, let all the people of those towns have the right to vote in the next Israeli elections, and let them have the right to decide the fate of Israel's policy and its future, otherwise, why would that right be given to an Israeli to vote, like any other Iraqi with Iraqi parents who live in Iraq since hundreds of years?
Fly to Israel, Faiza Honey, and change the Voting Laws there, if it bothers you that much.
Faiza goes on to express more of what's on her alleged mind:
If the Jews of Iraq remained in Iraq, and didn't immigrate to Palestine, if they hadn't permitted themselves to live in houses which their government extorted from the Palestinian residents, if the Jews of Iraq had remained in Iraq; then, yes, they would've had the full right of citizenship like any other Iraqi.
Now, I wonder why the Jews of Iraq moved to Israel? Hmmmm, could it be they were suffering from the same intolerance that Faiza is showcasing? Could the conditions in Israel be better for the Jews? Could they live in a place, where they wouldn't be treated as second class citizens as many non-Muslims are in countries where Islam is the predominate faith?
I do find it funny though, Faiza talking about "full right of citizenship", when she and her family were endowed under the previous regime with many more rights than the Average Iraqi. And, if you don't like the Iraqi policy regarding Expatriate Iraqis and their descendants, Faiza, move back to Baghdad from your Palatial Estate in Amman (Club Med for Baathists) and lobby for a change in voting eligibility.
Faiza with a Head of Steam of Jew Hatred throttles forward with her grievances:
But they went there, and participated in creating an unjust state that built its existence on the ruin, devastation, killing, and dislodgement of another nation, whose people are still scattered in various places around the world. Where is justice?
Somehow, the League of Nations didn't exactly
concur with Faiza's comprehension of the
situation, establishing the Nation of Israel
in 1948 under a British Mandate.
Unfortunately, you can't call the Jarrar's Anti-Semites, because they are Semitic themselves as Raed would tell you, but Anti-Jew and Loathing for Israel - Whooooo. Israel Rage. Jew Rage. Israel Rage. Jew Rage. Israel Rage. Jew Rage...Continues
And the Israeli, what would he want? What is the horizon of his ambitions in Iraq?
Don't tell me he will die from sorrow and worry about Iraq, or that he wants welfare, a secure future, freedom, and independence for Iraq.
Oh, perhaps he wants to participate in building Iraq, by bringing in Israeli companies that are suffering from economical recession, those who want to work in rebuilding Iraq, and improve the economy of the poor Israeli state… my ,my, what noble, humanitarian intentions.
How soon before the Jarrars start denying the Holocaust? Not gracious at all, Faiza.
Much more gracious was Super Sexy Najma, who wished she could have Shaken Her Kumquats on election day and whose entire family turned out to Shake Their Kumquats in a good Patriotic Iraqi way:
I'm under 18, I can't vote, but my parents, my sister and her husband and the rest of the family went to vote..
Two lists have a popularity here, list number 618 (Tawafuq Iraqi front) and list number 731 (National Iraqi list). The first list was chosen by most of my relatives and neighbours in Mosul. A Christian neighbor, who's also a good friend of dad, decided to choose that too, since as the posters say, it's for clean hands -no crminal or suspicious records for the representatives-. But I did hear classmates talking about how their parents are voting for 731.
And Najma's wizened and loveable Super Sexiest Grandpa voted, with Proud Grandchild Najma showing the pic of Gramps holding his blue finger up.
Najma's Super Sexy cousin Hassan of An Average Iraqi tells us more about Grandpa's day at the polls:
This is my 85 year old grandfather. He was treated like a king there. He sat in a chair, and they brought the pen and ballot paper to him. He chose his list, gave it to them, they folded it, and put it in the box. Then they brought him the ink pot.
And Hassan has some nice election day photos from Baghdad. Meanwhile, Hassan's Uncle Super Sexy Dr. Turth Teller of a Citizen Of Mosul Shook His Kumquats, as Najma already told you, and explains the family's post-voting anxiety:
After the end of the voting, we stayed anxious for the results. The people responsible said that the result will be announced after 2 weeks.
Un official news leaked out, and every body claim that his list are winning. I count more than four groups each claim a great result. There seem to be no loser in this election.
I feel comfortable because the group I voted for, claims he get excellent result in several provinces including Nineveh.
The supervisor authorities said all the result announced till now are not official, and probably not correct.
On the Kurdish Front, Not Super Sexy Kurdo didn't Shake His Kumquats election day,
as he was apparently occupied with work, but he regained his Super Sexyness with lots of good Voting Coverage with many links from a Kurdish perspective, and he talks about electoral fraud:
Removable Ink ?!
I did not participate. But fraud and cheating was very wide across the whole of Iraq. My friend who works in Baghdad told me that he and his friends voted several times because the purple ink could be washed off with any cleaning liquid.
Another way to remove the ink was to dip your finger in oil (cooking oil, car oil etc) before entering the polling center, then washing your hands with soap was enough to get it off.
Strangely enough, the Not Super Sexy KBU had very little election coverage. But very little is a vast improvement over the Not Very Sexy Friends Of Democracy , which seems to have died out in October. Spirit of America what is
happening with your Friends of Democracy offshoot?
Super Sexy Kurdish Blogger Hiwa unlike FOD, has plenty of spirit and Love for a United Kurdistan.
He indeed Shook His Kumquats and tells us: I voted my flag, nothing else!
Super Sexy Iraqi-Kurd Bilal Wahab of the Better Kurdistan and Iraq blog was super enthused about the election. He, like his fellow Iraqi-Kurd counterpart Vahal, got to meet President Bush in
the Oval Office after Shaking His Kumquats, and tells us about it:
I had the pleasure of meeting President Bush in this historic day, December 15, 2005 in the Oval Office. He talked with and listened to us, Iraqi voters, for about an hour, took individual picture with us and gave us each a souvenir. He promised us that the US will not abandon Iraq this time.
He encouraged us to make a better future for Iraq because he believes we can. I was dressed up in my traditional Kurdish outfit, the second Kurdish suit after President Barzani's.
He was as enthusiastic as we were about the elections, took pride in our purple fingers and related to each of us. Knowing that he has a good sense of humor himself, I told him a joke about him and Saddam. He liked it.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Voting Age for Iraqis
I woke up today at 11:30 am, and i had a little breakfast while I was checking the internet, then at 12:00 pm, I went down my street and found some of my friends, so I went with them to our pool station, and we voted, I voted for Ayad Allawi as I said before....And Husayn somehow missed the Iraq-MUST-be-a-failure memo from the Mooronic Fringe of the Democratic Party.
I felt very happy when I voted because its the first time that I actually vote, I love being 18 because it gives you alot of things....... loooooooool
ALLAWI is going to be the new iraqi PM......YEAAAAAAAAH
Despite the questioning put forth by so many people about my nation, about what we could do, we continue to move forward. Those of you who e-mailed me, those of you who have questioned this entire episode in history - the sands of time are proving you to be WRONG.Iraq Pundit rebuts the defeatist arguments made by Helena Cobban, Juan Cole, and then Angry Arab.
I am happy to say that the current elections are going on without any problems, it is strange that we have no violence during elections though, if anything - it shows me that our security forces are growing in strength and that is another signal that we are moving forward.
What else can I say - except to say to the naysayers that you must stop your nonsense, and realize that Iraq will be built in a democratic fashion - and that it will happen. Despite all the violence, carnage, and negativity, the Iraqi people continue on the path to freedom.
Even Angry Arab, who should know better, insists that this democracy is being imposed on a reluctant population. He overlooks the fact that more than 11 million people defied the terrorists and walked to voting stations because they wanted to. But why would he think about us?Mark Steyn reviews the latest twitchings of the Surrender Monkey Democrats.
None of these people has any use for ordinary Iraqis. They cannot see us as equal human beings. To them, we are just charming, colourful people to study in a classroom. The Coles and Cobbans skip over the reports of people being moved to tears because they were able to vote for the first time.
They prefer to say many Iraqis hate the United States. They fail to understand that the point is to elect leaders who will serve the Iraqi people. The point is not to vote for leaders who are pro-American. The goal is democracy. But then that would mean that Angry Arab, Cobban and Cole thought about Iraqi people. They're too busy waiting for Iraq to go down the drain.
It must be nice to feel so self-imporant to dismiss an entire population just like that. I can tell Angry Arab, Cobban and Cole that your opinion means nothing to the Iraqis. We are not going to allow Iraq to go down the drain just to please you. To the contrary, we plan to continue to disappoint you every day.
Well, that old Iraqi quagmire just keeps getting worse and worse, if only for the Democratic Party. What was the straw they were clutching at back in January? Oh, yeah, sure, gazillions of Kurds and Shiites might have gone to the polls, but where were the Sunni? As some of us said at the time, the Sunni'll come out tomorrow. And so they did. On Thursday, they voted in record numbers, leaving Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats frantically scrambling for another disaffected Iraqi minority group they could use as proof that the whole crazy neocon war-for-oil scam was a bust.*
Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any disaffected Iraqi minority groups left. Oh, wait, there's Ahmed at 37 Sword of the Infidel Slayer Gardens in Ramadi. Apparently, he's still rejecting the new constitution. Maybe, if we're lucky, he's got a brother who's mildly irked. Whoops, sorry, they just went off to vote, too.
The Democratic Party have contrived to get themselves into a situation where bad news from Iraq is good for them and good news from Iraq is bad for them. And as there's a lot more good news than bad these days, that puts them, politically, in a tough spot -- even with a fawning media that, faced with Kerry and Murtha talking what in any objective sense is drivel, decline to call for the men with white coats but instead nod solemnly and wonder whether Bush is living "in a bubble."
Friday, December 16, 2005
Vahal's Excellent Adventure
[I]t was the best of moments to be standing with my father outside of the polling station. Here was I, a young Iraqi who started opposing Saddam by writing articles in his college newspaper and giving talks at local Boston events in the few years leading up to the liberation. And there was my father, an old Peshmerga who had opposed Saddam by his pen and his gun, in Tehran and in Kurdistan, from ad-hoc offices to snowy mountains. My father spent his entire adult life fighting the injustices of the Baghdad regimes. Today, two anti-Saddam generations of my family stood outside the polling station, thousands of miles away from Iraq and proudly showed their purple index fingers.Pretty great, right? But Vahal's day was not finished yet. A surprise awaited him.
I am honored to say that I was one of only ten Iraqi voters to be invited to the White House to meet with President George W. Bush.So after voting with his father, Vahal ends up strolling into the Oval Office!
It is almost surreal if I begin to think about it, after I voted, I was given the opportunity, the honor to go and meet the man without whom this election would not have been possible, without whom Iraq would still be under the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.
When I first entered the Oval Office, I thought to myself, this is the setting from which President Bush gave Saddam the ultimatum to leave Iraq or else on a cold day in March of 2003, a day that I don't think I can ever forget.Please, stop by Vahal's blog and read the rest.
Because of all of our election coverage, I didn't have time to talk about the 2-year anniversary of the capture of Saddam Hussein.
At around six-thirty in the evening on Saturday, December 13, 2003, Stumble Bum Saddam Hussein was pulled from his spiderhole and when he cursed the guy who was holding him, an Iraqi-American named Samir, . . . well, Samir PUNCHED SADDAM.
Here's a profile of Samir. Let Samir tell you what happened as he gripped Saddam.
"I was so angry," says Samir, who immigrated to St. Louis eleven years ago after fleeing Iraq. "I began cussing at him, calling him a motherfucker, a son-of-a-bitch -- you name it. I told him I was Shiite from the south and was part of the revolution against him in 1991. I said he murdered my uncles and cousins. He imprisoned my father.I've read this six times and I'm still grinning ear-to-ear.
"All these years of anger, I couldn't stop. I tried to say the worst things I could. I told him if he were a real man he would have killed himself. I asked him: 'Why are you living in that dirty little hole, you bastard? You are a rat. Your father is a rat.'"
In Arabic, Saddam told Samir to shut up. And when Saddam called him a traitor, an enraged Samir silenced his prisoner with a flurry of quick jabs to the face.
"I punched Saddam in the mouth."
Hammorabi (Yosemite) Sam has been fighting for Iraqi democracy from the very beginning. While three years ago no Iraqis were allowed to voice their own opinions, today we are blessed with a diversity of views and ideas coming out of Iraq.
Arabs are not Wahabists or Sulafists but diverse in their ideologies and believes and no one has the right to make all of them follow his own way. Balance is the way needed to avoid any hate-based principles. Other countries in the Arab world including Saudi Arabia should respect their citizens and allow them to practice their rights and school of thoughts as they like.Indeed. Damn Varmints!
Thursday, December 15, 2005
The Iraqi Election In T View: Vahal Of The Iraqi Vote Blog
Iraqi Kurd Vahal Abdulrahman has done an excellent job tracking and profiling this Historic Iraqi Election through his Iraqi Vote Blog, and has graciously consented to answer questions about what could be a Watershed Democratic Moment in the Troubled but Hopeful Nation of Iraq.
It's The Iraqi Election In T View: Vahal Of The Iraqi Vote Blog
In T View and Artwork By MG
MG: How is the News and Media in Iraq covering the Election?
Vahal: For the past at least three weeks, the election has been the single most important issue in the Iraqi media and the coverage has been outstanding.
MG: What party/list do you think Saddam would cast his vote for?
Vahal: That’s a tough question, I don’t think Saddam knows what it means to have choices, his elections used to ask Iraqis, “Do you want Saddam? Yes or No?” So this would be a very novel process for him.
MG: What Worries you about this Election?
Vahal: While it is unlikely, the matter that worries me the most is if the United Iraqi Alliance got enough votes to form a government on its own without a coalition, in which case, we are likely to see the country become increasingly more Islamist.
MG: The Iraqi Expat 2005 Election Voting Experience: Can you share your experience as an Iraqi Expatriate casting his vote, thousand of
miles away from the motherland?
Vahal: I haven’t voted yet, but I plan on voting the morning of the 15th. I waited until the 15th for two reasons, first I wanted to vote on the same day all Iraqis voted and secondly, I wanted to cast my vote with my father who will be in town that day.
MG: Will there be many Dead Iraqis voting in the election? Or many Live Iranians - Do you see a lot of Fraud happening with the election?
Vahal: Undoubtedly there will be some voter fraud, however, I hope the fraud will be balanced with the large turnout that is expected to occur.
MG: What's the latest information on the New York Times report of Iran smuggling forged ballots in to Iraq by tanker truck?
Vahal: Officials from the Ministry of Interior have denied the allegations. But keep in mind that even if that particular incident was false, there will still be voter fraud, I just hope that it will be minimal and that it will not have a great impact on the results.
MG: And How strongly will the Iranians try to influence this election?
Vahal: They will try very hard, however, they realize that there are many people in Iraq who are not crazy about their meddling, not to mention that Iraq has a free and aggressive media that will simply expose them and their allies if need be.
MG: Can Democracy really blossom in Iraq, when the two main Shia Parties and likely leaders
of the new government: SCRI and DAWA have Terrorist Origins?
ex-CIA Agent Bob Baier, who dealt with DAWA back in the 1980s, they were involved in the bombing of the US Embassies in Beiruit and Kuwait.
And the other main Shia party SCIRI, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, according to a 1984 Washington Post story, was put together
by the Ayatollah Khomeni, as an agglomeration of four different terrorist groups for the express purpose of gaining control of Iraq.
Vahal: Iraq cannot become a secular democracy if al-Da’awa and SCIRI are the only ruling parties in the next government, however, that is unlikely to happen. As for the terrorist origins, I want your readers to remember that both of these parties sacrificed a lot during the time when they were anti-Saddam forces. You always see me criticize these religious parties and I will continue to do that, but believe me, they, especially al-Da’wa were very significant oppositionists against the tyrannical Ba’ath regime, and thousands of young Shi’a men were executed for having ties to these parties. Again, the thought of a United Iraqi Alliance of which both SCIRI and Da’awa are part, winning enough votes to form a government on their own scares me, but I don’t think it will happen.
MG: So, have the American Citizens given
over $200 Billions of their Tax Dollars to hand
over Iraq to American-Hating, Iran and Islamo-Fascism/terrorist-supporting groups?
Vahal: No, most Iraqis are grateful for the efforts of the men and women of the United States armed forces. That is why it is crucial that the U.S. stays the course in Iraq and ensures that those who are calling for the murder of U.S. soldiers have no say in the New Iraq. As for Iraq being handed over to Iran, that’s an exaggerated claim and Iran’s efforts will ultimately fail because of the differences between the two countries. Let me give you an example, Iran’s president, Ahmadinajad is calling for the removal of Israel, while Iraq’s Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Ja’afari has just said that he doesn’t rule out normalizing relations with Israel.
MG: What are your Family and Friends back
in Iraq saying about the Election? Are they eager
to participate and planning to vote?
Vahal: Well they’re very excited about the elections and, like most Iraqis, they are eager to see a change in Baghdad politics. This government has miserably failed at providing the Iraqis with security and other public services, so to have a chance to try to change things is absolutely exciting.
MG: There's been a lot of complaints originating from Kurdistan/Northern Iraq about the stranglehold the two parties -- KDP & PUK -- have over the political process. Will this turn the Kurds off from Voting? Could there be a protest vote from them, selecting any lists but the Kurdish one?
Vahal: While there are some in Kurdistan who have expressed their dissatisfaction toward the status quo, the overwhelming majority realize that
a strong presence of Kurdish representatives in Baghdad will help the Kurds in meeting their demands, so like the last election, I anticipate that most Kurds will vote for the Kurdistan Alliance (730) to simply affirm their identity as a separate group from the rest of Iraq, very little has changed in Kurdistan since last January.
MG: Will this be the Last Election the Kurds of Iraq participate in before forming their own Nation?
Vahal: That is a tough question considering the next elections will not be held until 2009. I don’t think the Kurds will opt for independence that quickly and if things in Iraq turn out to be okay, independence may not happen at all.
MG: Dr. Iyad Allawi, head of the Iraqi Nationalist List, #731 and formely the Interim Prime Minister of Iraq: Do you think the memory of the Corruption that plagued his administration will hurt his list's chances of obtaining the majority vote?
Vahal: Well I hope that Iraqis have not forgotten about the corruption of that brief term over which Allawi presided. But what you have to remember is that the Ja’afari government wasn’t any better, things didn’t improve and in the case of security, they worsened. Allawi is running on a very clever platform, that of appearing as a tough leader who can take on the terrorists and that will help him get votes, but certainly nowhere near a majority.
MG: Vahal, can Islam and Democracy coexist? Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch thinks that Iraq
"will always be under pressure from the adherents of political Islam, and will have to buy its continued existence via a mixture of force and concessions." In other words, True Democracy won't occur in Iraq, because there will be external forces acting on and modifying the Political Structure. Are you more optimistic than Spencer?
Vahal: With all due respect to Mr. Robert Spencer, I would like him to have a look at the lists that are running in the elections, so many of them are led by liberal democrats. Sure we will always have a battle between secular liberals and Islamists, but that battle is being fought by ballots today in Iraq. So I don’t know how to answer your question about “true democracy,” because I don’t know what that means, but it looks like we’re going to have our own democracy where there is respect for the rule of law and human rights. We are striving to build an Iraq that protects minority rights, an Iraq where freedom of religion, _expression, press are rights that cannot be taken away and an Iraq where there is gender equality. But no, it will not be Jeffersonian democracy.
MG: Final Question, Vahal, and Thanks Very Much for a Nice Election T View: Can you tell us
who you voted for or is it a secret?
Vahal: If you don’t mind, I would like to not answer that. However, know that I am a liberal democrat, a secular humanist, I firmly believe in de-Ba’athification and I am committed to efforts at memorializing Saddam’s decades of horror, so if there’s anyone on the ballot with the a similar platform and set of objectives, then I will vote for him or her.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Fill In The Bubble
Vahal at The Iraqi Vote has a post today on Kurdish Talibani saying he won't re-up for the job of President of Iraq with the next government. Vahal does some supposing on why he's made that decision. This is the comment I left:
Isn't it more likely this has something to do with the firing of 13 high ranking Kurdish officers from the Defense Ministry and the demand by the Iraqi government that the peshmurgas surrender their heavy weapons?
Not that I don't see the point in having the militias surrender their weapons, but I think the SCIRI Badr Brigade and other Shi'a militias should be disarmed first since obviously the ruling party has less perceived need of them.
Dismantling the militias (which currently are as much or more the oppressors of their people as their defenders) is going to be a touchy subject in any case, but if the Shi'a-dominated parties intend to hold the country together, they should lead the way.
Vahal's Dream and the Iraqi Elections
My dream is to see Iraq become a place where all of us, Kurds and Arabs, Jews and Assyrians, Turkomen and Yezedis, Sunni and Shi'a, Chaldean and Shabak in the diaspora would be welcomed to return if we so choose.Vahal's website on the Iraqi election is just to the right on the sidebar. I suggest stopping by Vahal's for updates.
Meanwhile Haneen writes in her diary today about Baghdadis preparing for the election:
Everyone is counting down towards the elections' day. I'll go to vote, and I hope that all of the Iraqis will do just the same. People started to stay at home preparing for the elections since today. My Mother didn't go to her job, and my Father came back early saying that the roads are almost empty. I think that if I could go out today I would see nothing down the streets but the so many posters of the lists and the elections!Later in her entry she announces which list she will be voting for.
Something new happened in my neighborhood today. There were some men who were distributing plastic bags contain posters and some other stuff of the elections. And the way they distributed those plastic bags was kinda fun; they threw them into the houses over the fences! They didn't even knock on doors. My aunt who happens to live in my area called us to say not to freak out if we see a bag flying in our garage! Anyone might suspect it to be a bomb! So, Iwaited, but I got no bag!! My aunt got one with a poster of Iyad Allawi's list.
Hassan looks at:
555 - Unified Iraqi Coalition
618 - Tawafoq Iraqi Front
731 - National Iraqi List
730 - Kurdistani Gathering
And not a PEEP out of Raed, Khalid, and Riverbend about the election.
I'm shocked! Shocked I say!
Oh, and as Iraqis become the first Arab-dominant Middle Eastern country to elect a representative government, TAI is talking about helicopters.
I kid you not.
So much for this chest-pounding half-Austrian/half-Iraqi "patriot," I guess.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Saddam Trial IV
As everyone knows Saddam did not show up for his own criminal trial on Wednesday. Well, actually, he did show up, he did "participate in an unjust court": he had to go to court to make a written and verbal request of the judge to be excused. The judges met privately with Saddam and his attorney's and declared that they chose to not to require the defendant's presence in court based "on law".
Judge Juhi says:
Chief prosecutor Jafar Moussawi said:
In other words, Iraqi law apparently permits an Iraqi to opt out of attending his own trial. Whatever. I'm not an expert on Iraqi law (but then neither is Ramsey Clark), but I find that incredulous. I find myself saying what most Iraqis say when they watch this trial: It is certainly hard for me to imagine such a request being imaginable in Saddam's 35 year government.
However, I definitely think that the judges should somehow hold Saddam's legal team accountable for what they are saying about the court in the Arab press:
Incidentally, when saying the name "Judge Juhi", does anyone else think of "Judge Judy"? That's who I think we need running this trial.
Iowahawk let Zarqawi blog at his site. His blog was entitle I Hate My Boss:
So I guess you could say that everybody was pretty jazzed last week when big bossman Zawahiri sent out a memo announcing casual Fridays and a special ‘R&R event.’
Well yeah, okay, normally the Zarkman is cool with a little downtime. Chance to catch up on the email and paperwork and all that, especially since I’ve got like three months of travel expenses that Fatima (wife #3, the fat one) has been all over my ass to file. Anyway, I’m in the middle of Xeroxing some ammonia nitrate receipts Friday morning, thinking about what I needed to pack for the weekend family trip to Damascus, when I get another memo:
From: A. al-Zawahiri
To: All Associates
Subject: Mandatory Weekend Retreat
Oh fucking terrific. I popped my head up over my cubicle to see if Khalid had read it yet, and he just sorta looks up at me and rolls his one good eye.
Inspired, Nadz let Saddam guest blog at her site recently:
What kind of crappy trial is this? Where's the rack, the electric baton and the whips? How the hell can you expect to interrogate a witness without these basic essentials. I therefore demand to be tried under my laws, with my methods and my kind of execution. This is my Iraq, baby - let's get out the finger screws. Wait, did I just say that? Lies, lies, contemptible lies.
Eight-year-old, Karim Salam, was abducted by gunmen last Tuesday as he played in front of his parent's house. His father, Salam Hirmiz Gorgis, works as a bodyguard for one of the judges in Saddam's trial.
His top lawyers right now are Ramzi Clark and Najeeb al-Nauimi.
(Yes, I know the spelling is "Ramsey" but I like the way the Iraqi bloggers tend to spell it.)
Christopher Hitchens recently reviewed Ramzi's career history:
Clark used to be Lyndon Johnson's attorney general and in that capacity tried to send Dr. Benjamin Spock, Marcus Raskin, and others to jail for their advocacy of resistance to the war in Vietnam. (In a bizarre 2002 interview in the Washington Post, he took the view that he was still right to have attempted this, even though the defendants were all eventually exonerated.)
Interesting. When he had the power, he persecuted people for speaking their opinions...for basically doing what he has done since before and after Iraq was liberated (except I don't think any of them were actually taking money from the North Vietnamese to do so). Now, he defends those who crush individual liberty. I'd say that's perfectly consistent.
From bullying prosecutor he mutated into vagrant and floating defense counsel, offering himself to the génocideurs of Rwanda and to Slobodan Milosevic, and using up the spare time in apologetics for North Korea. He acts as front-man for the Workers World Party, an especially venomous little Communist sect, which originated in a defense of the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956.
The Worker's World Party, friend of Castro and the Iranian Mullahs, organized the anti-US/Pro-tyranny demonstration in Washington DC this summer.
In a recent BBC interview, he offered the excuse that Iraq was then fighting
the Shiite nation of Iran:
He (Saddam) had this huge war going on, and you have to act firmly when you have an assassination attempt.
Just go back and read that again. Ramsey Clark believes that A) the massacre and torture did occur and B) that it was ordered by his client and C) that he was justified in ordering it and carrying it out.
There ya go. That's a defense that I could just about be convinced that Ramzi himself believes in his heart.
Saddam's other attorney is Najeeb al-Nauimi. Mohammed at Iraq the Model had analysis of his defense strategy.
One sentence from the Qatari lawyer was enough to show that he was very far from reality, that was when he spoke of “five million children who died because of the sanctions). I really don’t know where he got this number from but what I know is that his language was a lot similar to Saddam’s who invested the death of Iraqi children to get compassion from the world while he was destroying whole shipments of milk, food and medicine or worse re-exporting to make bloody profits for himself.
The Iraqi bloggers didn't have much to say about Wednesday's proceedings. Without Saddam there, it doesn't seem to have attracted the same interest. That's another reason to insist that Saddam show up in court. Anyway, the lack of attention to the trial in Iraq and world wide is unfortunate because there was some more very interesting witness testimony.
There were two witnessess that day: Witness W, who was a young teen at the time and a woman who was also a teenager when she was arrested. There do not seem to be any reported details of the female witness's testimony.
Since there is currently no translated transcript of the trials, I gleaned the the following quotes from these sources: MercuryNews.com, CentralChronicle.com, San Mateo Daily Journal, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette,
He was a boy at the time. He was "arrested in Dujail and taken to Baghdad. He was interrogated in what he described as a red room with bright lights. " He said there were people "screaming because of the beatings".
"When my turn came, the investigator asked me my name and he turned to [a man] and asked him, `What shall we do with him?' [The man] said, `Take him. He might be useful.' We were almost dead because of the beatings." Witness 1 said that someone standing next to him in Dujail told him that this was Barazan al-Tikriti.
He was then moved to Abu Ghraib prison in a "in a closed crowded van that had no windows", where he was deprived of sleep and beaten at the mere mention of a toothache.
"When we arrived at the building they asked us to stand along the wall," he said. "We were told to stand only on one foot and we were kept in this position for two hours before we were taken to cells with red walls. I was thirsty but the water was very hot." After a few days, the witness said, he was moved to "Hall 63" where "we were kept handcuffed for five days with little food and very hot water. They used to take some persons and bring them back naked. The signs of torture were clear on their bodies".
He "was confined for 1 1/2 years at Abu Ghraib said that an intelligence agent visited him during his detention and promised that his suffering would end. “Don’t worry. Your execution is very near. I will kill you myself, with this pistol,” the agent said.
Eventually he was sent to the desert, where he and others lived in a tent with a television. They gathered wood, drank red dirty water from a well and suffered beatings."
The Defendents' Response
Taha Yassin Ramadan (former Vice-President of Iraq):
"As of yesterday, all the witnesses didn't mention my name. Do they have any witnesses? Witnesses that saw me? I can prove I did not attend all the places."
I suppose that depends on what the duties of the Iraqi VP are. Did he have responsibilities? His best defense seems to be to claim that he had no duties in Saddam's murderous regime.
Barzan al-Tikriti (former head of Intelligence)
"I went to Dujail because I was the head of intelligence at that time. I was responsible for security of the president, so it was my duty to go there and see what was happening."
Which he did. And then he coordinated the arrest, torture, and/or execution of almost every man, woman, and child in the town...which was also his "job".
"He compared his own treatment in prison to the treatment of the witnesses. He told the court that he lived in an isolated, windowless cell for nine months with no electricity or running water. He was given cold food and the cheapest brand of cigarettes, and when he refused to do required exercise, he was not given tea, coffee or cigarettes.
"We were detained by one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet it was only after four months in detention that they gave me cigarettes. And then they were of the worst quality in the world."
"When I was detained I was wearing pajamas that I kept wearing for nine months until my brother came and gave me a dishdasha."
“Talking about lack of food. We have been experiencing the same thing. I lost 18 kilos! The food given to us is of very bad quality. As for the exercise, for nine months I was in a solitary prison cell two meters by two meters. There is no window, no electricity, not even a door. I didn’t know night from day. There was no shower, no water, no tea, no nothing.”
“This is America doing this – the great America. America, Iraq, prisons are all the same.”