Friday, October 28, 2005

Speak Wise Sandmonkey!

One of the reasons many of us have come to appreciate blogging, this new form of media, is that the blogger is able to forgo the usual journalistic niceties of the news-article genre and offer us an earthier and more demotic account of current events. Sandmonkey, for example, types out daily blog entries that are wicked and beautiful and, in their own way, just as TRUE as the latest article from the AP.

As support for this claim, consider, if you will, Wise Sandmonkey's ripping commentary on Ahmadinejad's recent injunction that the Israelis ought to be "wiped off the map,", which is surely reminiscent of Nasser's blustering "pushed into the sea" prediction back in the sixties that blew up in his face -- literally (*cough*1967*cough*).

Here is one of the grafs Wise Sandmonkey clipped:
France, Spain, Britain, Canada and Australia condemned the Iranian leader's remarks and the European trio said their foreign ministries would summon Iranian envoys and demand an explanation.
And now Sandmonkey's response:
And what's funny is that iranian political envoys are being summoned by european governments and asked for an explanation for A.J.'s remarks. Which makes me wonder: which part of "Israel should be wiped out" did you not get exactly? That wasn't clear enough for you? Dude, it was said in a conference called "A world without Zionism". Ehh...Hello.....anybody home? Which part needs further explaining to you? Oh god, why does Europe have to be so retarded?

Oh and fellow egyptians, before you rejoice in A.J.'s comments, ehh, accoridng to him we are traitors who surrenderd the entire muslim world, because we had a peace treaty with Israel. So yeah, he doesn't like us either. Get that through your head , will ya?
Heh heh.

Which makes me wonder: which part of "Israel should be wiped out" did you not get exactly? That wasn't clear enough for you? Dude, it was said in a conference called "A world without Zionism". Ehh...Hello.....anybody home?

Oh, man, I'm still laughing! I'm telling you, I almost fell off my chair laughing at the image of those "envoys" trudging into the embassies and being asked in the perfunctory outrage of someone who has just finished a nice steak if what had been said by Ahmadinejad was really what was truly meant. Oh, lord!

WAKE UP! Listen to WISE SANDMONKEY!

See, people?

Yes, we need as many talented and honest journalists as we can get working in every corner of the globe every day. We rely on them to present us with the results of their quick researches, which are then transferred to us in language that is as neutral and non-partisan and measured as possible. We absolutely respect those journalists who bring intelligence and high-caliber research skills to the news-article form.

But THANK GOD that we NOW also have the blogosphere to balance the dominance of the news article, where bloggers like Sandmonkey offer the reader the underbelly interpretation of events like the ambassadorial etiquette of "summoned envoys."

*

Norman Geras over at Normblog evaluates the Guardian's coverage of Ahmadinejad's lethal talking-points at the "A World without Zionism" conference.

*

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Predictions And Prophecies For The Iraqi & Kurdish Bloggers


By the Power of the Dread Dormammu...By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth... By the Shimmering Shades of the Seraphim...May the Crystal Ball of Divination reveal all that will Be for the Iraqi & Kurdish Bloggers.




Yes...Startling Images are Forming... Through the Etheral Mists they Arise... Murky Shapes of Events from Future Times becoming Sharp and Focused...I See the Future now within my Grasp and will Reveal All.

BEHOLD THE POWER AND PROPHECY OF MISTER GHOST


Omar Fadhil - Will become the new Dentist-Leader of Syria replacing the old Dentist-Leader Bashir, who will suffer a tragic accident, where he'll be shot in the back, tossed off a cliff,
and end up six feet under with bags of lime being dropped on his head. Meanwhile, Omar, the Great Emancipator will free the Slaves, bring forth Women's Suffrage, and strike back against the Japanese Sneak Attack on Damascus - all special characteristics of American Presidents, but they work well the world over.

Ladybird- Will be Born Again as she converts to Christianity and marries in to the Bush Family, where she'll become President's Bush's Top Moslem Advisor and Under Secretary of State to Condoleeza Rice, whom she'll still call a liar but do so with lots of love in her big Christian Heart.

Medya- A Hot Turkish Girlfriend is in the works for Medya and an elopement to Canada, where Medya will perform a duet on stage with his beloved Celine Dion.

Riverbend - Will Mope Intensely and Dislike the New Iraqi Constitution.

Najma- Will Graduate from High School and shock her family by running off with an American Soldier, whom she'll slug and call an Occupier. Najma will head off to College in the States to become a Pharmacist. All the old Iraqi bloggers were Dentists; all the new Bloggers will be Pharmacists. There's something in the air.

Nabil- He'll continue his Pharmaceutical Studies and earn extra money in his spare time by being a Male Exotic Dancer.

HNK- She will go off to College to become a Pharmacist for Rock Stars. See what I mean! Every Damn Iraqi is now a pharmacist. What happened to the good ol' days of the Blogging Dentists?

Hammorabi- Sam will start his own chain of Fish Restaurants in Iraq called Sam's Shark House, where he'll introduce the Iraqi People to the wonders of Fried Clams and Shrimp Balls.

Neurotic Iraqi Wife - Will visit the North Pole on her next vacation and swap hair-coloring techniques with Mrs. Claus.

Mohammed Fadhil - Will form a new party: The Chick Magnets for Democracy Party, and pledge to every voter: Free Love, a copy of Mo's Best Dating Techniques, and the Karma Sutra Translated in to Arabic.

"Truth About Iraqis"- Will be starring
in the Role of Cousin It in the Off Broadway Tour of the New Addams Family.

Ritzy Mabrouk - Honorary Iraqi/Kurd Mabrouk will introduce the Victoria's Secret See-Through Burkha to the Mid East.

Dr. Hanoudi - We hope for a Full Recovery for his son.

Fayrouz- Fay will have a private audience at the Vatican with Pope Benedict XVI, and later go Drag Racing in the Pope Mobile around St. Peter's Square.

Raghda- A Book, Cat Blogger of Baghdad
is in the works.

Ali Fadhil- Dr. Ali, Child Psychiatrist
will debut on the radio in 45 Iraqi Cities and Villages next Spring.

Salam Pax - It's Nuptials for Salam and Andrew Sullivan, the Power Blogger Wedding of the Century in June in Provincetown.

Vlad Poetin- Honorary Kurd Vlad will go back in time to rule over his own Medieval Fiefdom, battling Jutes, Danes, and Herring-Breath Norwegians for supremacy over the North Lands.

Kurdo - To become part of Kurdistan's First Troupe of Skydiving Elvis Impersonators.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The In T View: Ritzy Mabrouk, Egypt's Premiere Political Fashionista Blogger


Ice Fire By MG



She's Suave. She's Sophisticated. She's Sensual. She's a Political News Maven of the Highest Order. Egyptian Blogger Ritzy Mabrouk is a woman of all that and more and showcases her Many Talents in her Blog: Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

It's The In T View: Ritzy Mabrouk, Egypt's Premiere Political Fashionista Blogger

In T View & Artwork By Mister Ghost


MG: Ritzy Mabrouk, how are you? How is life treating you these days?

Ritzy: I am beautiful, thank you. I write this in Ramadan, the month of my holy treats. When the pious are fasting, I connect with higher beings at the spa. That is sort of religious spirituality as well, is it not? I'm not altogether excluded from paradise then. Good, since I plan to spend my eternity with 72 US army virgin troops. I call them refreshers. That said; I presume there is no gender discrimination in heaven.


MG: How did you come to be known as Ritzy, Ritzy? Is that a common name in Egypt?

Ritzy: Perhaps my friend Suzi is better suited to answer this question. I remember that by the time I made my debut in Paris, my name was already on everybody's lips. Since I defined what was young and beautiful, no one ever thought about asking me directly about my name. It was just taken for granted.


MG: Ritzy, you say in your Blog, well at least you use to, that you were Suzi -- wife of Egyptian Dictator-President Hosni -- Mubarak's best friend. Did you ever go out on a double date with Suzanne and Hosni? Was Hosni a Perfect Gentleman? Or did he show Suzanne his Omar Sharif impression?

Ritzy: Honsey (I still prefer his teen name) and Suzi happened very fast; actually I think they skipped the dating phase. A few weeks after a camping trip with the Young NDP Association, Honsey went to Suzi's father and that was it. I never asked what really happened in that tent that night. And yes, he was always a gentleman, the kind you always wanted to keep in good spirit because you wouldn't think of what would happen otherwise.


MG: And speaking of Hosni, it looks like his son Gamal will succeed him in the future as Egypt's Leader. Is this really a good thing? And how do you break the line of succession without giving rogue elements like the Muslim Brotherhood control of the country?


Ritzy: Breaking the line of succession means the long-beards will control the country. I do not doubt the good character of Gamal. After all, he is a Mubarak. He couldn't have changed that much since I was the object of his first crush. That said, how to run a country is not a mystery. Authoritarianism is not desirable. Democracy will not come easily or tomorrow. We need a strong leader who is absolutely dedicated to democracy.

Gamal could be that person. Most think he is motivated by other things though. Perhaps he will find that making the change is not easy. Dealing with everybody on every level who is seeking only personal advantages will be the main problem for any future leader in this country. Greed has become the norm. Painful, is it not? Unfortunately, we don't have much of a political opposition in Egypt today.

Theoretically, they should be given the chance anyway, just to begin the transition. Because of the Brotherhood and because of propaganda scares, the nation will not give anyone else a shot at this moment. It could change fast though.


MG: Ritzy, what is the Hot Topic in Egypt at the moment?

Ritzy: Am I the only one concerned about the First Lady's hair-do? You shouldn't waste your time on the sayings of the babbling classes. If you do, there are quite a few Egyptian blogs out there. They suck.


MG: And have you ever thought of going into Egyptian Politics?

Ritzy: Horticulture, manicure, blogging – yes. Politics – no. Bloggers should blog, that is our strength and how we can make a difference. Bloggers with a political agenda becomes too concerned with exposing themselves. With an agenda, they cease to be worthy of the readers trust. We ought to remember that when we're proposing ourselves as an alternative to main-stream media. Blogs need integrity more than any other outlet.


MG: Ritzy, you Egyptian Women are known for your Beauty -- Who can forgot The Ravishing Beguilement of Cleopatra after all -- and being the Fashion Plates of the Middle East. What are your Glamour Secrets? Can you share them with us?

Ritzy: Let us admit it, by our standards; Cleo VII was a fat cow. Hatshepsut fancied herself as a man with strong shoulders. Nefertari and Nefertiti lived in decadent times and were probably the trashiest girls heeling around the palace ground in their times. And they all had a problem with facial hair. Today is different. Many Egyptian women are extraordinarily beautiful. Many men too. They really stand out amidst the girls with personal issues of inferiority who are hiding behind veils and scarves. It is a sad state of the nation. They forget about their looks. Their bums are growing larger for every day. They never heard about pedicure. The men are absolutely fantastic. It could be due to healthy living despite the pollution and long working hours. The food is fat but it's not junk. And the oil in the fuul beans are the most precious ingredient you can put in your body. And face it: most people still belong to the farming class with the ideals of hard work and a lot of outdoor activity. It is changing though. Enter the pear shaped Kentucky generation!


MG: Ritzy, I'm fascinated that you're an Egyptian Fashionista, that your scene is the Fashion one. Is it a tough business for an Egyptian Woman to be successful at? Are there constrictures placed on you because Egypt is both a Traditional and Islamic society?

Ritzy: Like every other line of business, if you are good at it you will do well. No, I don't allow other people to set the rules. We're occupying ourselves with elegance. They don't know the meaning of the word. And since I'm more interested in creations than running for money like a common car-salesman, my sisters in this country can dress in flower-decorated robes if they like. Enter the polyester generation! Women should not hide their beauty. That's what fashion is about, highlighting what is already there. Why would you not?



MG: Is Fashion a Catty Business? Do the other Women talk behind your back? Do they bad mouth the competition? And do you have any Fashion Anecdotes, naughty or nice, that you could share with us?

Ritzy: I suppose the business is not different than the rest of the country or the blogsphere which means that people are not doing anything else than backstabbing each other. But the people I am associating with are not like that. I wouldn't have anything to share in this field.


MG: Ritzy, is it tough being a woman in Egypt? Fayrouz at Iraqi in America mentioned in one of her posts about the behaviour of Iraqi males, which included oogling women, following them, and stalking them - Does this happen in Egypt too? Do you feel right now in present Egyptian Society that you have the same rights as a man?

Ritzy: Fayrouz should learn how to appreciate attention! Some years from now she will look back at the days when men were still turning their heads in the street. Or would she like to live in a place like the UK where men never do that anyway? Egypt is not bad. The lads are frustrated and not always very polite, or so I hear because I am not troubled myself. I think it also has to do with how you carry yourself. In general, women are restricted in this society; the situation is quite awful to be true. It will take a generation to change. Today, most women can only imagine one role and that is the role of the house wife. Personally, I don't feel restricted. I think that bothers a lot of people, but why should I care?


MG: Ritzy, does washing your hair in Nile Water give it an extra sheen?

Ritzy: The tap water has too much bleach, you know what I mean. If anything, it makes the hair dry. And pulling water from the river – not a chance. You know where it is coming from right? Through which part of the world it has passed? I am not worried about industrial pollution but there are other things that shouldn't go in the water. Also, would you know, ever since that mad tart Liz pretended to soak in milk in a very outdated movie, people have been asking us about our relation to donkeys. Keep asking.


MG: And is the Nile all it's cracked up to be or is just a big slow moving puddle of water infested with a lot of crocodiles with big teeth ?

Ritzy: The high dam destroyed the Nile. We needed it, but Egypt will never be the same. We have crocs in Aswan, not many, and they're under control. I'll bring a baby croc for you one day.


MG: Ritzy, you know that some people like to Make Love in Airplanes, and they call it the "Mile High Club." Are there some people in Egypt who like to Make Love on top of the Pyramids and call it the Pyramid High Club?

Ritzy: Yes. I wonder if my name is still on top of that list.


MG: Ritzy, why don't you have a Pet?

Ritzy: They don't share my standards of hygiene. And they expect you to take care of them. I'd like a pet that took care of me. But then they would have to compete with the men. There would be a lot of barking, perhaps some biting.


MG: And why do you have an F.A.Q. for your Blog?

Ritzy: Fame. All the people are asking the same things. Men. All the men are asking the same thing. For that reason, I ought to update my FAQ a.s.a.p. There is even a link to a 'FAQ about FAQs' site there. Excellent. Most people should have a FAQ. Also pronounced FAKK.



MG: Ritzy, you're like the Drudge Report of Egypt with the vast amount of Material you provide in your Blog. Do your fingers ever cramp up from all the typing?

Ritzy: That's a compliment, I never thought about it this way. Writing is not a problem, I type fast. Research takes a lot of time. And technology. I like to have the best solutions, to be more efficient. Turns out I never catch up with the time I spend on trying different applications. A lot of time goes to things like this. And design. I'm working on my new design right now. Thought it would take a day but since I discovered programming isn't that difficult after all, I want to do new things. And when I learn new things, I discover better things. But I enjoy it. A lot.


MG: And how did you become interested in Blogging and how did your Blog: Miss Mabrouk of Egypt come about?

Ritzy: First, I came across a few good blogs and I wanted to do it as well. I started it for fun. It still is. Second, I looked at the blogs available in this field and figured we need to shake things up a little. I hope I will be able to continue as long as I feel I have something to say.


MG: Your fellow Egyptian Blogger, the red-butted (Ritzy put that part in) Sandmonkey mentioned in a post, that his Blog has been censored a couple of times. Have you had any problems with Egyptian Authorities over the content of your Blog? Is there a lot of Media Censorship in Egypt?

Ritzy: All main stream media are censored. Blogs are not. I never heard about any blogger being censored. Technology wise, it would be easy to block access to a blog. But how would they censor it? Send an e-mail to the blogger and ask him to take a page down? Hack his Blogger account? I think the government has the same strategy for bloggers like for the rest of society: you can talk but you cannot act. They know what you're saying and what you're doing and they make sure you know they are on your back. That way, you will restrict yourself. Bloggers should not care. If we want to make a difference, we should accept the risk. I doubt the government is very interested in bloggers. A few people sitting by their computers are rather isolated. We network on the net with people all over the world but it's not like I'm sneaking away to secret political meetings in the evening. The government, I think, is more concerned with the regular people on the streets. But we will see. If there are problems around the corner, we can deal with it then.


MG: Besides your own Blog, what other Blogs do you like to read and recommend?

Ritzy: That's what my blogroll is for. It changes over time but tend to reflect fairly accurate what I am reading at the moment. They are informative in one way or the other. I didn't put the blogs there to show who I want to associate myself with. That's silly. And what I read is no secret; I keep linking to these blogs every week. It takes time though. Following the big media is fairly easy, catching up with the blogsphere is fun but very time consuming. I am not much for personal diaries and such stuff, although I follow a few blogs in secret that I found by accident. It's nice to learn about their lives as well.

Famous Dooce is not one of them but should be mentioned because she is a classic. Riding Sun is informative, he is also sharing his passion with us and since I am fascinated by biking but don't know anything about it, his blog adds value to my life. I am opening up more to blogs by Academics. Judith Klinghoffer should be mentioned because she is knowledgeable about this region and understand the religions. I follow Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch because it is loaded with information and I feel that what is said there need to be balanced by our own experiences. Of the local blogs, Big Pharaoh is outstanding; I wish he would blog more. The same with Baheyya, of course, who is in a division of her own. In the region, the Iraqi Bloggers Central, the Religious Policeman, Sabbah and Saudi Jeans are my favourites. I hope we will see more aggregators coming up, they are needed. Manaala, 'Aqoul and Jordan Planet is a real value.


MG: Ritzy, I'm starving at the moment. Give me all the details of an Egyptian Delicacy that would really fill my belly and doesn't involve odd body parts from Sheep, Goats, or Camels?

Ritzy: Brains aren't considered odd body-parts, are they? Because there's nothing like fried brains in a piece of bread. Really. But I would like to add pigeons to your list. It is a speciality but I don't like it. It's just about picking small pieces of dripping meat from tiny bones. Well, so give me a real chicken instead.

If you're into deserts, you must know everything about already about Um Aly. I can't get it together myself, not even the stir-in-a-cup version, but it's oven baked filling with nuts, raisin, coconut and honey and it is just delicious.


MG: Ritzy, do you like to cook or is it easier to just order out at the Local Egyptian-Chinese restaurant?

Ritzy: I do like to cook but it doesn't happen often nowadays. Or to put it like this; whatever I make in a few minutes in the kitchen to serve myself and whoever is at the table is not really cooking. There are many good take-aways just a phone call away; it's just too convenient to be without. And they're all reliable. I happily order starters, mains and sweets from different places and get it all delivered about the same time. And if I and the girls get bored, we might just order a few Pizza Hut deliveries around. All their packages are nicely wrapped in Jeans. But we always frighten them off. Then we giggle for hours.


MG: What's your Favorite Dessert?

Ritzy: Ice cream, no doubt about it. Chocolate marshmallows, for example. Preferably at 3 am.


MG: And what does Love Mean to You?

Ritzy: That is when someone matters more to you than yourself and you know you are very important to that person too. It's when you don't think about yourself any longer, it's when your love does it for you. It can be defined to 90 percent, the rest is a mystery. Finding it is not easy, most of us are happy if we experience it a few times in our life.


MG: Is there was one person in the world you could meet, living or dead, who would it be?

Ritzy: The Prophet Mohammed (insert blessing). To straighten some question marks.


MG: Thanks Very Much for a Nice In T View, Ritzy, and Final Question, Have you ever seen a Ghost?

Ritzy: Thank you, my pleasure, I appreciate your questions. I have Ghosts in my PC. That wouldn't be you making the funny stuff, would it? Careful, I may pull the power cable one day when I'm sure you're just about to reach climax.


Monday, October 24, 2005

That Farging Bastij Galloway

The latest report from the United States Senate sub-committee on the Oil-For-Food embezzlement claims:

He lied about all that to the US Senate subcommittee investigating the Oil-For-Food program.

Who is George Galloway?

He came to prominence in the 80s as the General Secretary of the charity War On Want. He dramatically increased its income during his tenure there. He also faced certain questions about his expenses account: £21,000 in one year for luxury hotels whenever he left the country. He was asked about one particular conference he went to in Greece. This was his answer:

I traveled to and spent lots of time with people in Greece, many of whom were women, some of whom were known carnally to me. I actually had sexual intercourse with some of the people in Greece.

He was finally expulsed from the Labour Party for the following reasons:

1) Inciting British soldiers to revolt:

"...the best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders."

2) Calling for Arab countries to join in the defense of the Saddam regime against his own country:

"Iraq is fighting for all the Arabs. Where are the Arab armies?"

3) And calling for an oil embargo against his own country:

"... even if it is not realistic to ask a non-Iraqi army to come to defend Iraq, we see Arab regimes pumping oil for the countries who are attacking it."

So he helped form and ran under a new party: RESPECT The Unity Coalition. whose main component was the communist Socialist Workers Party. He retained his seat in Parliement by some 800 votes.

Christopher Hitchens has provided a bang-up primer on the Oil-For-Food program/scandal here.

He has also provided a wonderful resource to some of Galloway's most emblematic quotes in this article entitled "Galloway In His Own Words". It contains such gems as:

"Just as Stalin industrialized the Soviet Union, so on a different scale Saddam plotted Iraqis own Great Leap Forward. He managed to keep his country together until 1991. Indeed, he is likely to have been the leader in history who came closest to creating a truly Iraqi national identity, and he developed Iraq and the living, health, social and education standards of his own people."

From a speech he made in Baghdad in 1994:

"Your Excellency, Mr President [Saddam Hussein]. I greet you in the name of the many thousands of people in Britain who stood against the tide and opposed the war and aggression against Iraq and continue to oppose the war by economic means which is [sic] aimed to strangle the life out of the great people of Iraq... I greet you too, in the name of the Palestinian people... I thought the President would appreciate to know that even today, three years after the war, I still meet families who are calling their newborn sons Saddam. I salute your courage, your strength your indefatigability. And if I want you to know that we are with you until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem!"

On the London bombings:

"If it is a question of quantum, there is far more blood on the hands of George Bush and Tony Blair than there is on the hands of the murderers who killed those people in London.."

On Syria's involvement in the assassination of Hariri (not to mention the other Lebanese citizens on the street that day):

"Syria is about to be subject of a great deal of international pressure because I am sure of the report on the killing of Hariri went very negative for Syria and this will go for the Security Council. The Security Council will be asked, I am sure, by the US and France to take action. What action? I don't know. This is the reason for the timing of my visit because in advance of this new pressure on Syria, I want to help rally people to the side of Syria, to defend Syria."

In an interview with Prison Planet he implied that the holocaust was staged by Zionists to scare the Jews into Palestine:

"Suddenly Jewish people who had been the victims of Christian persecution suddenly saw their Synagogues being blown up, their countries being attacked and all kinds of provocations being staged so packed their bags and moved to occupied Palestine, then to be called Israel."

This is not a looney legend unique to Galloway. TRP, recently reviewed a Syrian Made-For-TV movie that dramatized the Rothschilds planning the holocaust, WWI, and the "assassination" of a Russian Tzar all as part of their plan for Jewish world domination .



The Constitution Passed with NO FRAUD

Also the vote is in, and the Constitution has been approved by 78% of Iraqis. The UN has confirmed that the tally is accurate.

The Salahuddin province (of Saddam's hometown, Tikrit) rejected the constitution by 81.5%.

Anbar (the western province on the border with Syria) rejected the constitution by 96%.

The Ninevah province (of the town Mosul) rejected the constitution by 55%. But 66% was required for it to veto the referendum.

In the Baghdad province? It passed by 77%; almost equal to the nationwide percentage.

Who shall we thank for this landslide victory in the Baghdad, which (judging by sects, ethnicities, and general secularism) should have been much closer? In my opinion, we can thank Zarqawi and Saddam's orphans for all their hard work this year campaigning for Iraq to move forward regardless.



The 2nd Millennium Celebration

Of course it is hard to find a news article mentioning the approval of the constitution that doesn't have an even more extensive report on the 2000th [the crowd roars] US soldier to die within the borders of Iraq.

As Jeffrey anticipated the macabre celebration has begun. The phony peaceniks are putting on their pointy party hats. It's been like New Years Eve watching them count down the deaths to this moment.

Maybe you are and maybe you aren't aware that this wasn't the 2000th COMBAT death. We'll have wait for almost 600 more American heroes to die before that (oh! the anticipation!). But just as the unrealists clump the deaths of insurgents, victims of crime,and unintended civilian casualties together and then double it to get The Number of Iraqis Killed by the Illegal US Invasion, how the US soldiers died (by terrorists, car accident, or cancer) is really quite irrelevant. In fact, nothing could be less relevant to them than why the soldiers are in Iraq (i.e. their goals and accomplishments).

Oh, by the way, in the spirit of coffin-watching that is so popular during this holiday, here are the pictures (courtesy of Stephania) of 7,500 Kurds that Saddam executed and buried in mass graves in the desert between Iraq and Saudi Arabia:


Muslim Psychological Profile



STOP AND THINK BY DC


Muslim Psychological Profile

Honor Killings: Chirp Chirp Chirp

Female Genital Mutilation: Chirp Chirp Chirp

Beheadings: Chirp Chirp Chirp

Genocide: Chirp Chirp Chirp

Muslims Killing Other Muslims In Terrorist Attacks: Chirp Chirp Chirp

Living Under Dictators: Chirp Chirp Chirp

Piglet and Piggy Banks in England:
Rage, Hsss, Humiliation, Screams, Frothing at the Mouth, Protests

Piggy Banks Banned in Britain - Via LGF

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Truth about Iraq and the Iraqis?

What is the truth about the situation in Iraq today? What’s going to happen in Iraq? I don’t know. As a critical reader of numerous books, newspaper articles, and blogs related to the situation in Iraq, I can find evidence for both optimism and pessimism.

On the side of optimism, we can find sources readily at hand. Michael Yon, a freelance writer who has been based in Mosul about a year, was skeptical of Iraqis participating in democracy until he witnessed first-hand thousands of them voting last January in Baquba. By the end of that day, millions of Iraqis had braved the threats and attacks of the terrorists in order to vote. This time Yon was in Baghdad for the referendum vote on October 15. He traveled around the city during the day, visiting many polling stations, and was surprised by how tranquil the day had turned out. “I know that it was quiet from my perch,” he writes in this Weekly Standard article, “and that the guns had been silenced long enough that we could hear the Iraqi voice speak for a second time. The voice was louder, stronger, and prouder than it had been in January.”

Ibn Alrafidain, an Iraqi blogger, compares the recent October 15 referendum with the referendum vote engineered by Saddam Hussein on October 15, 2002. In 2002 Ibn Alrafidain had decided to boycott the vote as a personal protest, but when the day of the vote arrived his fears of what the Ba’athists would do to him and his family overpowered him and he asked his brother to go down to the polling station and submit the required YES votes for the whole family. Ibn Alrafidain continues in this blog entry:
My brother was received by the senior Baathist in our district, who led him to receive the ballots. They gave him the ballots of the whole family; instructed & watched him closely to be sure that he chose (YES). The most important thing for me and the whole Iraqis was to put a sign against their names in the voting lists, to avoid the baathists harassment. Within two hours the result was announced by Saddam's deputy, Izat Al-Do'ri, which was 100% YES to Saddam.
In contrast, on October 15, 2005, millions of Iraqis voted on a referendum without the fears expressed by Ibn Alrafidain, surely a sign of progress in Iraq that offers support to those Iraqis and their international friends who have a feeling of guarded optimism about Iraq’s future.

At the same time, however, there are darker undercurrents at play inside Iraq. Bing West, author of No True Glory, reports that the insurgents still have the run of many towns and cities in the Sunni triangle. In his multiple reports covering his recent return to Fallujah, West presents a sober assessment of the reality of Fallujah, where the Shia-dominated Iraqi Army soldiers feel unwanted and sometimes threatened inside the city of Sunni Arabs. Although there is far less violence today in Fallujah than there was before last November’s operation, West cautions in this article for Slate that “it is the insurgents and not the police who control the market places, and the mostly Shiite soldiers of the Iraqi army don't feel welcome in the city” and that “[i]ntimidation and individual killings persist.”

Adrian Blomfield, a Telegraph journalist, reports how a few weeks ago in Duluiya, another town in the Sunni triangle, four American contractors were ambushed, pulled from their vehicle, one shot in the back in the head, another doused with gasoline and set on fire, all to the joy of the local community. “Barefoot children, yelping in delight, piled straw on to the screaming man's body to stoke the flames,” Blomfield writes. “Within minutes four American contractors, all employees of the Halliburton subsidiary Kellog, Brown & Root, were dead. The jubilant crowd dragged their corpses through the street, chanting anti-US slogans.”

Source
.

If that hasn’t sobered you up enough, I could also talk about the rise of militia in Iraq and their infiltration of numerous police departments, the resurgence of intertribal conflict as these groups jockey for power in the post-Saddam Iraq, and the general free-for-all conducted by hardened criminals who view the current situation as an unbelievable opportunity for profit from theft and kidnapping.

So what is the truth about Iraq and the Iraqis? What’s going to happen? If you ask Iraqis, you will get answers that span the whole spectrum of current possible realities and future possible outcomes. Each Iraqi views the state of their society a little differently, but many of them sharing either hope or anger or stoicism or weariness. The Iraqi bloggers, along with the journalists and soldiers and historians, have offered us pieces of the puzzle, a puzzle whose pattern has yet to be completely discerned.

*

IraqPundit reviews an article by Jim Hoagland on both the general culpability in the past and and necessary resolve required in the present concerning Iraq.

*

Saturday, October 22, 2005

No Evidence of Fraud

The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) has found NO significant fraud in the Constitutional Referendum. IECI commissioner Adil Al-Lami said:

"[Investigators] didn't discover any serious violations during the constitutional referendum."

He called the allegations for fraud "baseless allegations." (Big surprise since the allegers never even attempted to found their allegations on fact.)

I'm going to conduct my own referendum here: who thinks the rejectionists like Khalid Jarrar, the opposition groups, the international media are going to be satisfied?

Rather than force them to come up with their own angles and charges. I'll give them to them here:

The details are irrelevant. Under the headlines they could post excepts from Harold Robbins novels for all the difference it will make.


Friday, October 21, 2005

On the Saddam Trial

Of course as you know, attorney Saadoun Sughaiyer Janabi, was abducted and has now been found dead.

He was the attorney for Awad Hamed Bader, the former head of Saddam's Revolutionary Court. Bader is currently being tried for unjustly convicting and sentencing to death Shi'ites in the town of Dujail.

If I were to take a trick from Doc Jually Cole's little bag, I would ponder "Who benefits from this?" and come to the obvious answer that Bader does! But secondarily, Saddam benefits, as well as the other defendants. I mean, in the case of Bader, his trial cannot go forward until he secures a new attorney. After all, this isn't Iraq under Saddam anymore. And how can evidence regarding Saddam's collusion in those convictions come out if Bader cannot be tried?

In fact Dr. Ferret-face is already declaring that "This is further evidence that it is impossible to hold a proper trial of Saddam in Iraq in present circumstances. "

No, of course not, Whiskers. We should send him to Belgium where he can add his to Milosevic's never-ending trial (going on 4 years now with I've-lost-track-of-the-number of judges presiding so far) that is likely to give the term "trial of the century" a more literal meaning.

As Cole would do, after citing a few smarmy irrelevant references, I would conclude that "it hard to say with any certainty but my 'gut' tells me this murder has Saddam's fingerprints all over it."

But of course, I don't know who perpetrated this hideous and -- from the point of view of someone who wants Saddam to receive a fair trial as quickly as possible so he can be executed -- extremely disruptive murder. It is another terrorist attack, whoever did it. It would not the first time that a defense attorney was wrongfully condemned as an accomplice in the actions of his client, and there are surely a cornucopia of Iraqis who think Bader (and anyone 'defending him') deserves a couple bullets in the head.

And let's face it, the murder of Bader's attorney will probably not be sufficient to halt Saddam's trial, but the affect on Bader's trial is bound to be noticed by Saddam's Orphans busily causing mayhem throughout Iraq. In that case, Saddam's attorney better look to his own.

But if this has to do with the Saddam-trial, I have to wonder, why Bader's attorney of all people? His client wasn't even in the dock with Saddam this week. Which means, of course, that this murder might have nothing to do with Bader at all.

WHOA!! WAITADADGUMMINUTE CMAR II! Slow down there! Back up a bit! You just said that Saddam's lawyer might be in danger from the saddamites and jihadis being coordinated by Saddam's former inner circle! Doesn't that prove that his trial should be taken out of the country??!!

Absolutely not! Nothing Saddam (or those acting in his interest) does should be permitted to slow or disrupt in any way the Iraqi's right to try him, find him guilty, and duly execute him. I expect him to try anything. The garbage about the head-coverings? The nonsense about Saddam refusing to give his name? That judge better get smart and let Saddam & co. know that he is running things.

"Oh you don't want to give your name? Fine. We'll strip you naked on camera and run a DNA test on skin-scrapings from your anus."

"You need head-coverings do you? They're crucial to your 'identity'? Fine. Here are the berets you enjoyed wearing so much for the last 30 years. No one will have any trouble identifying you in those."

When the Charles Manson Family was being tried in California for their mass-murders, they pulled all kinds of stunts to undermine their own defense in order to try to get the trial scrapped and necessitate a new one all over again. The logic being, "Since I've biased the jury against me, the state is obligated to get rid of the jury, and impanel one that isn't biased." But the judge did not lose his cool. He declared that there was no way he was going to permit justice from being carried out due to actions taken by the defendants deliberately to undermine their own cases.

What I'm saying is that the judge in Saddam's trial ought to expect Saddam to pull this kind of crap, and make it increasingly unpleasant for him to keep it up. We need Judge Judy. Not Judge Ito.


Juan Cole, Friend of Neocons

NOOOO!!!

Not JUAN COLE!!!

A Neocon OPERATIVE??!!

Yep.

All this week IraqPundit has been providing his readers with detailed glosses of Juan Cole's daily pronouncements on all matters Iraqi. Today IraqPundit reviews the bug-eyed professor's claims made about the kidnapping of Rory Carroll, the Guardian journalist based in Baghdad.
The view from Ann Arbor again differs from reality. The professor argues on his blog today that his take was the correct one about the kidnapped Guardian reporter. That is, he says the guy was kidnapped by some faction and that he was released after some negotiations took place. Cole must be getting annoyed by IraqPundit and other critics. Because yesterday this site said Cole was wrong to single out the Sadr gang as one that could engage in negotiations. He had this to say about the now released correspondent:

"One thing this episode demonstrates is that even hard line Iraqi factions can sometimes be negotiated with, which is at least a somewhat hopeful sign."

Never mind what really happened, Cole claims he knows more than either officials in Iraq, where the incident took place, or the kidnapped reporter himself.

(Heh heh -- Ed.)
...

What Cole doesn't know is that there are thugs of all stripes roaming in Iraq, kidnapping whoever for money. They try to sell the kidnapped victim to the highest bidder in some political faction.

Cole might say that IraqPundit is wrong and that Francis Brooke is a liar and that Carroll is still dizzy and confused from the ordeal. Cole might insist that Carroll was in the hands of Sadr thugs. Well, anything could be true. But even if it was, there were no negotiations. If Carroll was in the hands of the Sadr gang, Chalabi would simply have to order his release. If that did happen and Cole argues that Sadr and the gang are noble defenders of Iraq, Cole would be siding with Chalabi, because Chalabi speaks for Sadr. And if Cole sides with Chalabi, that means he sides with the neocons!
Q.E.D.

HELP!!!

SMELLING SALTS!!!

RIVERBEND, the Doleful Dame of Baghdad, has just FAINTED!

*

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Throwing Down The Gauntlet with Khalid Jarrar

UPDATE 10/21

Still no response from Khalid, but the thought occurred to me just now that Khalid's defense before the judge:

"I was practicing my democratic right of viewing people's opinion about a certain topic on a site that people visit from all the countries around the world to give their opinions."*

...is a tacit admission that Iraq IS a democracy and that it's government is not just puppet of foreign occupation.

* Khalid was recently picked up by the Iraqi police on suspicision of being an insurgent when he sat reading the Comments sections of his brother Raed's blog at an Internet cafe. Due to the outrageous anti-new Iraq nature of his posts, Raed's blog attracted the lowest denominator pro-insurgency, pro-jihadi, pro-Ba'athist commenters. Khalid was released after using this statement as his defense.

Also, I BELIEVE that Raed has deleted his snarky post at Salam Pax's site (Dec 2003? Jan 2004?) that mocked all the talk of how bad Saddam was. I can't seem to find it anymore and I've re-read the first two years. If so, I would guess this is part of his bid to become "a little Eichmann" of the The Great Satan (a.k.a the United States of America).



On the Comments page a Khalid Jarrar's site, I got into a back-and-forth with Khalid.

Khalid told me that there was NO REASON for Iraqis to fear blogging anything under Saddam.

So, I asked whether he considered it coincidental that all the Iraqi bloggers only appeared after Saddam was deposed. Then I noted that Salam Pax deleted his blog entries in November 2002 out of fear that Saddam's secret police were on to him. In a final barb, I said that KHALID on the other hand probably could have blogged without fear at the time since his blog would probably have been full of "poems of praise for all Saddam did for Iraq and asides about the evil US."

Khalid deleted that entry and responded:

"it has been one of the ugliest things the Occupation told the world: whoever is Anti occupation is pro Saddam, and that is completely wrong."

This was my response:

"Tell you what, Khalid. You say you don't miss the days of Saddam? Fine here's a challenge: Pick a day. On that day I will post a blog entry giving three reasons why I wish the US had not invaded Iraq to depose Saddam.

On that day YOU must post a blog entry here giving three reasons that make you happy Saddam is gone. You can't give cynical smart-alecky reasons. You can't say "I'm glad because now Bush can be humiliated." They have to be *real* honest reasons that affect you directly. You say you don't regret Saddam's passing? Prove it."

Well, let's see what happens.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"Daddy, I want to be a martyr. Can you get me an explosive belt?"

Most of you have probably already seen this Time article on the guy who supplies and trains murder-suicide bombers.

When his 9 year-old-son asked him the question that I've chosen for the title, he says "I didn't know what to say."

His brother and sister have approached him about becoming human bombs as well. He gave them "basic training", but talked them out of it. For his son?

[He told him] he is too young to become a martyr, but says he recently taught the child how to make roadside bombs and how to fashion a rudimentary rocket launcher out of metal tubes. (He also gave TIME a propaganda video, in which he and two other adults teach a group of four children how to jury-rig a pair of artillery shells into a bomb.)

Take note those of you who think they have proved that the US military targets civilians by simply reporting children killed in terrorist hide-outs. By the way, this monster has directed at least one human bomb not much older than his son. Yet he says:

A suicide bombing should be the last resort. It should not be a shortcut to paradise."

However, he says that is exactly what the human bombs he sets off want:

"[They] come a long way from their countries, spending a lot of money and with high hopes. They don't want to gradually earn their entry to paradise by participating in operations against the Americans. They want martyrdom immediately."

But his own family members...well, there's no reason for them to waste their lives as human bombs.

This guy is a former member of Saddam's Republican Guard. Surprise! surprise! One of Saddam's orphans.

He says that he, essentially, never stopped fighting for Saddam. He fought Coalition soldiers continuously but quickly realized it was futile. Then only two weeks after Baghdad's fall, he began organizing networks of Islamists and ex-Ba'athists under direct orders from Saddam. So much for the insurgency being made of disaffected Iraqis who were disappointed in the "false promises" of the Liberation. So much for the Islamists like Zarqawi and the Ba'athists not being connected.

[Saddam] said that we had to attack the Americans from different angles so they would not be able to settle in Iraq." He made contact with insurgent groups in the Sunni triangle and around Baghdad. He also helped set up Jaish Mohammed (Army of Mohammed), a group of Baathists and ex-military men.

He says he was in Abu Ghraib during the time of the notorious torture photo-op:

In November 2003 al-Tamimi was arrested by U.S. forces and tossed into Abu Ghraib on the outskirts of Baghdad, where, he says, he endured forms of torture similar to those displayed in the infamous photographs from the prison--including being chained at the neck and dragged around like a dog. While these claims cannot be verified without knowing his real name, al-Tamimi showed TIME scars on his leg that appeared consistent with lashing by electrical wires.

For me, rather than causing me to reminisce about the cruelty of humans to one another, this fact makes me wonder at the sanity of the legal system that let this maniac out.

What about civilian deaths?

According to the "Rand Terrorism Chronology," which tracks suicide bombings in Iraq, attacks on U.S. military targets are relatively rare, but there have been more than 250 assaults on civilian targets in 2005 alone, killing more than 2,400 Iraqis and injuring 5,200 others. Pressed, al-Tamimi says angrily, "Civilian deaths are regrettable, but when you are in a freedom struggle, it sometimes happens."

I know. I know. "That's what the US military says." But this guy does not have any doubt about differentiating between a US soldier and an Iraqi. He is TARGETING Iraqi civilians.

What does he say about the future of Iraq after the insurgency drives the US out?

"I've had many conversations with [the jihadis], and I keep asking, 'What is your vision?'" he says. "They never have a straight answer." He fears they want to turn Iraq into another Afghanistan, with a Taliban-style government. [...] "One day, when the Americans have gone, we will need to fight another war, against these jihadis. They won't leave quietly."

War without end. That's the vision of the insurgency for Iraq.


CMAR II's Blog Club

Just a potpourri of what I'm reading...Let's see if I can do for erudite Iraq blogging what Ophra (as my mom calls her) did for sappy girly literary novels.

The Saddam Trial Blog - a new website devoted to legal experts discussing Saddam's trial. They debate lawyerly questions like "Is the Iraqi Special Tribunal...a legitimate judicial institution?" or "Does Saddam Hussein have head of state immunity?" (hat tip: Iraq Blog Count)



In his article With Freedom Comes Politics in the Wall Street Journal, Michael Rubin takes on the notion that if the Constitution passes, Iraqi Sunni Arabs will be flung into the arms of Zarqawi or Saddam's Orphans. He also agrees with something I've been telling people lately: that voting down this constitution and getting Sunni Arabs more involved will not necessarily lead to a more secular or more Western-style draft:

Many U.S. policy makers worry that disgruntled Sunnis may turn to violence if their demands aren't met. But there is no evidence to support the conventional wisdom that insurgent violence is tied to the political process. Insurgents have not put forward any platform. By denying the legitimacy of the state, pan-Islamic rhetoric is a greater affront to Iraqi nationalism than the presence of foreign troops on Iraqi soil. It is no accident that Iraqi Sunnis have started killing foreign jihadists.

Nevertheless, implying violence to be the result of demands not met is an old Middle East game. And in this game, Iraqi factions have played the Western media and policy makers like a fiddle. White House pressure, for example, led U.S. officials to amend the political process in order to augment the Sunni presence in the Constitutional Drafting Commission. Acceding to such demands is not without cost. Because Iraq's Sunni leaders are more Islamist than their Shiite counterparts, the increased Sunni presence eroded the rights of Iraqi women in the constitution's final draft. [emphasis mine]



Jeffrey put me on to IraqiPundit who is, if anything, more revolted by Cole's take on the Zawahiri letter, on the offered Constitution, and on the election than me. I really thought I was way out front exploring the frontiers of The Land of Visceral Revulsion Over Cole, but when I got to the end of my hike Monday, there was IraqiPundit, sitting by a campfire, smoking a pipe.

Like me, his disgust with Cole is not whether or not the Zawahiri letter is authentic, but out of Cole's silly puffed-up reasoning that leads him to believe it is not (which grows like mold on a wet surface from his anxiousness to take al-Qaeda's side of any debate).

IraqiPundit has done a whole series of posts on Cole in the last week or two. Check them all out .



A post by Walid Phares at The CounterTerrorism Blog - This post is on the Zawahiri letter (or Thawahiri as Walid spells it; "th" as in that). He discusses the way the letter was treated in jihadi chat rooms and introduces some doubt about when they got it (hat tip Not PC):

When US media showed significant interest in the Thawahiri letter addressed to Abu Mus'aab al Zarqawi, I attempted to monitor the "Jihadi Chat" regarding the so-called letter. To my surprise, the next day, a letter was being read in a couple chat rooms. It was a lengthy text of about 30 minutes. All of the points summarized in the daily media were included, but the oral paragraphs were much longer. The "moderator" said he was reading the letter from the "doctor"; hence it is assumed to be the same letter. The moderator also mentioned that this document was also read back in August, but I had no way to confirm it. My first conclusion though was that the so-called letter -or a copy- was indeed released internally within the Tanzeem (organization) for dissemination and "discussion."

That day, I had no evidence about the first date of the internal release, nor who released it to the network all the way to the "rooms." Was it released back in July, since July or after segments of the letter transpired in the Western press? It seemed to me that, although Thawahiri's letter was on the face of it "personal" and directed to Abu Mas'aab, it was nevertheless circulated (or pieces of it) among the Jihadists before it was publicized gradually in the US and West. Was there a reason?

Until the Government posted the entire translation of the text on the web site today, the situation was somewhat peculiar: Was it meant to be sent only for the eyes of Abu Mus'aab? I am not sure anymore. For a Thawahiri letter to be read by the room(s) moderators and "descended" on to the cadres, shows the initial intent of the writer(s) and the sender(s). Ironically, while some paragraphs of the letter were surfacing through the media, the (alleged) entire text of the letter (or at least a much longer version) was circulated within the Jihadist community on line. While pieces were appearing in the US press, the entire letter was read in the chat rooms...enigma?

In any event, the moderator a week ago didn't seem [to be] reading some extremely secret letter, but a "strategic document" from al doktor. Couple days later, another reading was performed in a newly formed ghurfa (room). The reading was followed by an interesting discussion, rather Q and A about the "rules of engagement."



This one isn't exactly erudite, but is interesting analysis from an attested expert.

Michael Ledeen posts his conversation with James Jesus Angleton, "once upon a time the head of counterintelligence for the CIA" on the Zawahiri letter. Angleton is not an expert on Iraq: he seems to have been surprised to learn that all Sunnis are not indoctrinated to hate Shi'a. Perhaps that is true in Egypt (I don't know), but it can't be true in Iraq where there is plenty of Sunni-Shi'a mixed families.

But Angleton does say something interesting about Iran's possible cross-involvement with al Qaeda:

JJA: Zawahiri tosses in another peculiar line: "even if we attack the Shia out of necessity, then why do you announce this matter and make it public, which compels the Iranians to take counter measures?"

ML: What's the deal with that? The papers have been full of stories about all the help the Iranians are giving to the Sunni insurgents, even in the south, where Iran has lots of leverage.

JJA: Indeed. And Zawahiri also "reminds" Zarqawi that "we have more than one hundred prisoners many of whom are from the leadership who are wanted in their countries in the custody of the Iranians."

ML: Odd, isn't it?

JJA: I'll say it's odd. It reads like Iranian disinformation. Zawahiri takes great pains to blame Zarqawi for Iranian meddling in Iraq (reacting to attacks on Shiites), and reinforces the old story about Iran holding al Qaeda "prisoners." I've never believed that.

ML: In fact, the 9/11 Commission, for all its faults, showed a long-standing alliance between the mullahs and al Qaeda, years before 9/11.

JJA: Yes, and including obvious assistance from Iran to several of the terrorists when they traveled to America to do the evil deed.

ML: So why should anyone think that Iran is being mean to them now?

JJA: Because the Iranians want us to believe it. Most of the stuff I've seen suggests that Zawahiri himself is in Iran, and has been there ever since Afghanistan, as has bin Laden's son and who knows about bin Laden himself?

ML: So you think the letter is just Iranian disinformation?

JJA: No, I don't think it's that simple. I think it's like a CIA assessment. I think it's groupthink. Letter-by-committee. Lots of it sounds right to me, especially that stuff about using the media, although even there, I have my doubts.

Check out the whole thing for what it's worth.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Who Will Celebrate the Deaths of 2000 Americans?

In a few weeks the total number of deaths of American soldiers in Iraq will reach 2000. As we sit here, you can be sure that the front-page splashes are already being written. What happened when the number reached 1900?

American deaths in Iraq hit 1,900 as 12 more die

BAGHDAD - U.S. officials reported Tuesday that 12 more Americans were killed in Iraq - eight of them members of the armed forces, raising to more than 1,900 the number of U.S. service members who have died in the country since the invasion.

U.S. Military Deaths Top 1,900 in Iraq

The war in Iraq passed a sobering milepost Tuesday when U.S. officials reported 12 more Americans were killed — eight of them members of the armed forces, raising to more than 1,900 the number of U.S. service members who have died in the country since the invasion.

Military: Troop Deaths in Iraq Pass 1,900

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The U.S. military said Tuesday that four U.S. soldiers died in two roadside bombings near the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi and a fifth died in a blast north of Baghdad, pushing the toll of American forces killed in Iraq past 1,900.

Just as CMAR II anticipated the febrile charges of fraud around the Iraqi constitutional referendum, I urge you to watch the behavior of the MSM when the number reaches 2000.

Will those who are animated by a deep-seated hatred for the current administration "celebrate" those deaths? I doubt that they will be happy about the deaths themselves, but there is no question that many of them are more interested is using the figure as one more club to smack over the head of Bushitler.

I heard somewhere that Sean Penn and the other members of the "Hollywood Think Tank" have already made plans for this event.

*

Monday, October 17, 2005

Get Ready...Brace Yourself...Here It Comes...
The Allegations of Fraud in the Constitutional Referendum

I don't think I've mentioned anywhere before that I was once bitten by a radioactive unrealist rejectionist (he ate some depleted geraniums). This has provided me with uncanny, superhuman powers to predict when a rejectionist is about to say something stupid. I call it Riverbend-sense. I began predicting to friends about a month ago, that if the Constitution seemed likely to pass* those who were hoping it would not pass--

only so that they could claim it was "another Iraqi failure"

--would start shouting FRAUD before the votes were even counted.

* In my heart-of-hearts I suppose I hoped it wouldn't pass. But I'm not living in a country where perceived political stagnation means the possibility of slowing the abatement of car bombs on my streets and foreign troops in my cities. Nor do I have hanging over my head that the foreign troops might leave soon and leave me to the externally and criminally funded Zarqawists and "Saddam's Orphans".

When an unrealist commenter at Baghdad Dweller started laying the ground work about two weeks ago ("the constitution cannot pass and -- in case it does -- there are all these signs that the Shi'ites plan to steal the election"), I knew that sadly I would be vindicated. Now today:

Juan Cole: "Several of my knowledgeable readers [CMAR II says:ha ha ha!] are convinced that the Nineveh voting results as reported so far look like fraud. One suspected that the Iraqi government so feared a defeat there that they over-did the ballot stuffing and ended up with an implausible result."

Sheik Abdul-SalamAl-Kubaisi of The Association of Muslim Scholars: "There is no doubt that America has interfered in the process, since they and the Shiite government are supervising the whole operation, and since both want this draft to pass."

CBS News (reporting): "Sunni leaders responded angrily [to reports that a majority in the Nineveh and Diyala provinces with slim Sunni majorities voted "Yes"], some of them saying they suspected fraud and accusing American officials and the Shiite parties that dominate the government."

My Riverbend-sense is tingling, and I predict Riverbend is already talking to her Ba'athist and Rejectionist friends about how the election was stolen. She is right now contemplating whether to make this allegation on her blog, and how to frame it. (BTW note that this is a "Shi'ite government" only because of the techicality that Shi'ites are 60% of the Iraqi population.)

No actual proof of fraud is necessary. The Americans are there. The Shi'ites are there. The Americans are evil. The Shi'ites are turncoat deviants. They are are up to something nefarious unless they are asleep, and they never sleep, and that's how they keep winning.

When proof is offered it comes down this: 1) Nineveh and Diyala are majority Sunni Arab. No Sunni Arab would vote "Yes" to the constitution, so therefore the results mean that the elections was stolen directly or 2) manipulated by preventing Sunni Arabs from getting to the polls.

1) The assertion that the outcome of an election can be determined by ethnic or religious demographics (while often useful to some extent) is not demonstrable to numerical precision. We've had the same bogus arguments regarding "stolen" elections in the US. The Sunni Arabs in Nineveh (who live in multi-ethnic communities) are not the same as those in Anbar. And Riverbend's presumption that SECULAR Sunni Muslims would of course vote "No" on this "Islamic" constitution is not born out from what I'm reading: Salam Pax and Omar are both secular Sunni Arabs with vastly different outlooks on Iraq. Yet both say they voted "Yes". It was not (apparently) an easy decision for either of them, but that is the way they fell. Apparently, there are more factors that weigh on the minds of secular Sunni Arabs than whether the word "Islam" appears in the constitution or if the country is federalized or not.

2) All the evidence that election was manipulated by a dearth of convenient polling stations or by not telling people where they were) is anecdotal and paranoid; Riverbend mentioned this Saturday. Somehow, this allegation goes, the government (and the Americans of course) figured out a way to place polling stations far from only Sunni neighborhoods and kept the knowledge of where they were only from Sunni Arabs. So the Sunni Arab local government, tribal, and religious leaders were unable to bring this up prior to election day? If not, could it have been that those leaders were (like Riverbend) telling their people prior to the election that "it didn't matter" because the election was a farce?


RantingProf takes on Cole's quote to the Washington Post:

"This thing is an enormous fiasco...[having such a solid Sunni Arab bloc in opposition to the constitution] "really undermines its legitimacy, and this result guarantees the guerrilla war will go on."

Right. Well I don't think anyone thought that the vote was in and of itself going to magically stop the fighting. But given the deal that was brokered, the version that was passed is one that permits modification and amendment. The question is whether the Sunnis have figured out that the way to get a voice is participation, despite the fact that they weren't successful on this vote. The answer to that question will come in December, when we see how many Sunnis participate. But it really isn't clear what kind of exercise in democracy Professor Cole would label a success, (beyond, perhaps, that of Iran and Pakistan where he sets the bar). I guess the constitution wouldn't have been legitimate unless it had failed.



I blush to point out that IraqiPundit has taken on Jually Cole's analysis of the election in much the same vein as me. He says:

...the [real] charges of irregularities are for reasons different from those that Cole mentions. Cole suspects any "yes" vote from a Sunni because in his world, all Sunnis think this way, all Shiites think that, all Kurds think this etc. But life outside Cole's head is different.

[CMAR II has a distant faraway look...and then shivers!]

Sorry I was just imagining what it is like in Juan Cole's head. A dark yet crowded place where every face you meet is Cole's (like that scene in Being John Malkovich).

Anyway, check it out.

PS While you're there, check out the squishy sound as he steps on Cole's analysis of the Zawahiri letter. Then check this out. [CMAR II dances around waving his blog entry like a two-year-old showing off his latest masterpiece.]



I'm often still asked why do I "pick on" that poor woman, Riverbend? "She's not biased against the new Iraq. She's not going out of her way to disparage the government and excuse the terrorists. She's just telling what's happening poor soul." And, I, in so many words, have to carefully explain each time, "Bunk":

Omar at Iraq The Model tells what he knows:

Battery lights are used since the electricial power lines that supply large parts of Baghdad were attacked by terrorists yesterday.

The same day, Riverbend said:

We’ve been having more than the usual power outages. Government officials were saying ‘power problems’, ‘overload’, etc. for the last two days and then suddenly changed their minds today and claimed it was ‘sabotage’. It’s difficult to tell. All we know is that large parts of Baghdad are literally in the dark. We’re currently on generator electricity.

See? One would presume from what Riverbend says, that today is no different from everyday and that the reports of the terrorist activities was limited to one word: "sabotage". But that's not true, is it? And that is why one should beware of the crocodile tears shed by this Ba'athist princess, cast down from her ivory IT tower.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Roll Call: Iraqi Bloggers Sound Off On The Constitution And Voting: Update II


Four Shop By MG



Iraq Was A Mess To Begin With

Iraq...was horrible under Saddam Hussein. It was only slightly less horrible during the period since the 1958 coup of Qassem, and then the counter-coups. It was not pleasant for Jews in 1948, when they began to be dispossessed and leave Baghdad in large numbers -- a city that in 1920 had been 1/3 Jewish. It was not pleasant for the Assyrians or the Chaldeans (I have right on my desk the magazine "Nineveh" with some touching accounts), not ever, and certainly not during the massacres of the early 1930s. It was not pleasant when Gertrude Bell wrote of the impossible Iraqis (though she had a real soft spot for Faisal), who noted the resentment of Shi'a tribes at the imposition of Sunni rule. Iraq has been a violent and unpleasant place, as has much of the Muslim Middle East, for a long time.
( Hugh Fitzgerald - Jihad Watch)

That's right Folks, Iraq was One Stinking Hellhole.
Not a nice place to live or one of the top tourist destinations on the planet to visit. And it still may reek to High Heaven even with a New Constitution.

BUT.

At least with a New Constitution in place, the ability to amend it, and the emergence of a Democratic System, there is some hope for Iraq and the Iraqi People. At the very worst, the country will be broken again, which up until this point,
has been the usual state of affairs for the Iraqis.

Thus it's time to check in on the various Iraqi Bloggers for their thoughts on the New Constitution and the reasons for their vote.

Zeyad of Healing Iraq fame returns briefly from his Mysterious Hiatus to tell us he voted No:

I voted against.

Nabil, Zeyad's brother likes the New Constitution:

congratulations Iraq
I just want to congratulate the Iraqis for the New document which we will have questionary on it in Friday 15 oct. 2005, I thank God that the Sunni Parties agreed to this constitution because if the didn't we would had more violence, but I think when all the Iraqis approve this document, that will put an end to this severe violence. And about the next elections, as i said before we will go with Allawi because he is the BEST.


Of course everyone's favorite Baathi Broad Riverbend doesn't like the New Constitution:

Most educated Iraqis want to vote against the constitution.

See, it's just those ignorant uneducated masses
that will vote for the Constitution, the ones easily led by religous leaders and tribal sheiks:

Iraqis are going to be voting according to religious clerics and, in some areas, tribal sheikhs. They aren't going to be voting according to their convictions or their understanding of what is supposed to be a document that will set the stage for Iraqi laws and regulations

Fie, fie, fie on those Ignorant Iraqis, too stupid to determine things for themselves, thinks Riverbend.

Salam Pax gives the New Charter a Conditional Yes:

After a lot of soul searching and nail biting I have made up my mind about the draft.

I don’t like it. I believe we should have done better. And I am especially angry about the US administration for jumping around and cheering about how great this document is, just stop it.

BUT,

I am also scared of the prospect of having to go through the whole process again, of stopping the ball rolling. Like a cartoon character that has just ran off a cliff I am afraid that if I stop my feet from running and look down I will plunge into an abyss.

I don’t have enough faith in us to say let’s scrap this and start with another transitional government. I feel exhausted.

SO,

If the vote were tomorrow I would vote YES and hope that the next elected National Assembly won’t have as much of a religious majority as the current one. I have opted for the ‘optimistic idiot’ option again; I know I will be disappointed.



Our favorite Iraqi Communista and Moonbat who wants to go back in time to bear Che Guevara's child:

Ladybird
Says Vote "NO!

Be a patriot and vote “NO”
Before you go to vote tomorrow, put this in your mind:

1- Every country on earth wrote their constitution after independence including the US itself.
2- Do you vote “yes” for constitutions that seize women rights?
3- Do you vote “yes” for a constitution that blessed by the scarecrow Sistani, and give religious clerics the might?.
4- Do you vote “yes” and occupiers are killing your brothers and sisters, insulting your neighbors and friends?.
5- Do you vote “yes” while most of Iraq is without Electricity and water?
6- Do you vote “yes” and half of Iraq’s cities are been destroyed?


I didn't know half of the Iraqi Cities had been destroyed? Evidentally Ladybird has Satellite Imaging there in the Netherlands and has surveyed all of Iraq. And I think those "Occupiers"
are the ones responsible for a Constitutional Vote
occurring in the First Place, Ladysweetie.

Miss Jr. Jihadi Najma's parents (Dr. Truth Teller & Mom) turned the Charter down:

My parents voted against too.


Sooni votes Yes and has nice pictures of the Iraqis voting:

As a secular living in Iraq I don't agree with too many religion (Islamic) based articles imbedded in the constitution that will lead it away from human rights and for this reason I wanted to say NO. But on the other hand the constitution is a very important step in the political process and a big slam for terrorism and dictatorship everywhere.

Few days ago I would have said NO but now after the agreement of shifting all "disputed among things" to the new Assembly which we wish will be more balanced and represents all Iraqis since most of Sunni Arabs are willing to participate in the coming elections, though the seculars may not have any seats in the new Assembly (because they are still afraid of nominating themselves that they might get killed) I switch to YES.


Faiza Jarrar is rambling on about Iraqi Constitutions. She's not in Iraq, Bloody Shock there, huh. Any ways she wants better leaders,
than the present Iraqi Politicians, before the Jarrars head back to Iraq.

Translation: Let's get back the system of graft we had going under Saddam, so we Jarrars can return and make a nice profit again in Iraq.

Hammorabi Sam is all for the Constitution

Historic Day in Iraq

Voting by Yes or No for the constitution is in progress now in all parts of Iraq. The number of voters exceeded the expected limits especially in areas like Mosel which had low turn out in the last election. Voting stations received large numbers in the Sunni areas including Ramadi, Falluja and Diyala.

No major problems until now and the voters are free to cast their votes.

This is the first time for the Iraqis to vote for their own constitution. It is indeed the first time in the Middle East especially the Arab countries.

We expect a big YES for the constitution possibly around 80%. This YES is a big bullet in the head of the terrorism.

This is a historic day and the political process moving forward in spite of the efforts of all of the evils to disable or delay it.


But if his beloved "Scarecrow" Sistani had said
No to it, would Sam still be so enthused?


Omar Says Yes

Just said my YES...Probably the worst thing today is the intense heat which was a little over 100f but that didn't stop the crowds from walking in the sun to the voting stations, I personally had to walk nearly 4 miles in total but it's definitely worth the effort. The presence of Iraqi army and police units is heavier than it was in January elections and I also noticed that no multinational forces were on the streets and the only sign for their presence was the helicopters that patrolled the skies. The turnout in our district looks quiet good and actually going to the voting office was a good opportunity to meet some friends I haven't seen in months. I met one friend on the way and when I asked him what would his vote be he said that he hasn't decided yet "if I voted yes I would be approving some articles that I don't agree with and if I voted no we would go back to where we started from…" he said and that was really refreshing because this guy who used to believe in conspiracy theories and stuff like "what America wants is what's going to happen" now feels that his vote can make a difference.

Honorary Iraqi Medya says No

Conclusion : Let not mix Sugar and Shit together .

Iraq has never been a country and will never be a country, everybody knows these two nation (Kurds and Arabs) cant not live together , they have nothing in common with each other . one wants to live in the century of 21th and enjoy the life and the other wants to live in 7th century and mourn all the time like morons.

As I said the new Iraq will be a liquid , which consist of sugar and shit .let not mix Shit and Sugar together , because we will loose both of them .
If a sugar be mixed with shit , it wont be useable again , and you cant mix it with tea next time .[please think about my sentence it is not just a childish swearing …it is full of meaning]
I hope this Iraq fail and it never be made , Kurds are already busy with building their lands and it is safe enough to continue without this stupid law …if Iraqi law is this , let it never be established , we can wait another year or even 10 year or 100 year until a suitable law be written .
Until that time we can continue building our homeland.


The Guy Spinning the Roulette Wheel ponders Constitutional Discrepancies.


Fay as an Iraqi Expat can't vote, but she symbolicly embraced the New Constitution:

Since I can't physically vote. I cast my imaginary vote on my blog. I vote "YES" because Iraq needs to move forward. Easy enough for everyone to understand whey I voted "YES."


Akba
or Okba or Akbar
, I can never figure out which name he is, tells Fay, he wants the sucker to go
down in defeat, faster than Cubs in the Playoffs:

hi Fay, hope you are well.
regarding constitution; sorry i vote 'No',
I think we can do much better and we should not accept a half way document just because we are afraid of the alternative.

I think we have waited for such a long time for a real iraqi constitution that we can afford to wait a few months more for a constitution written by all sections and constituants of iraqi society and not only by the present governing few.


Very Fine Young Iraqi Blogger and Najma's Cousin Sunshine from Mosul is too young to vote, but happy with the voting process:

The Referendum day ....
Hello friends.
Today was the big day , the referendum day.. That was really good day , my mom , dad , grandpa , grandma , my grandparents who live in Baghdad all my relatives who are older then 18 went & voted, I wish I was above 18 , to vote …
I kept looking through my window seeing the women , men , girls & boys walking together.
But every one has different opinion even in my family , some agreed with the new constitution & some disagreed , today I knew what the democracy mean.
I saw Nineveh TV , all the programs were about the constitution & the referendum. The people opinions were also dissimilar , I thought in the beginning that few people only will contribute in the referendum . but I didn't anticipate that huge number of contributors .
Although I can't vote , but I have my OWN opinion , I can share it with my family ...
May Iraq be free one day , & today when all the Iraqis went & voted .
That shows how Iraqis want to live in a peaceful country , & how they don't want for the terrorism to win , & how they are looking to re-build Iraq & have a forerunner country


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Little Boy with a Purple Finger

Sooni's blog from Baghdad has photographs from voting stations today.

I cannot believe that Karl Rove has succeeded in brainwashing this little Iraqi boy to believe in democracy!

*

I'm very happy today as I watch the spirit of democracy shining on Iraqi faces!

*

Friday, October 14, 2005

Juan (Ferret-Face) Cole Questions the Authenticity of the Zawahiri Letter


"Mr. Whiskers" cheering on the terrorists

UPDATE: October 15th

In the face of cold hard facts from actual Iraqis that Cole did not have a clue what he was talking about, he has made an unprecedented admission that, well, he was 100% wrong about his reason #1 for alleging that the Zawahiri letter is fake. In typical Cole fashion, he doesn't mention Omar (or "the dentists", as he prefers to call him and his brothers, in typical snide and inaccurate Cole fashion).

Since point #2 is not the least bit fact-based, he apparently did not feel compelled to admit that, since Zarqawi's group is called al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, it is ludicrous to suggest that there would be hostility between Zarqawi and al-Qaeda.

Also today, Cole continued to outdo himself with a brand-new, even more fatuous reason for why the Zarqawi letter is a fake: because Zawahiri questioned "whether a non-Iraqi should be leading the insurgency". Why is that a problem? Because (according to Cole):

1) Al Qaeda does not think in terms of nationality but of the umma or Muslim community.

2) It reads to [Cole] like an attempt to undermine Zarqawi. And it is an insult.

Gasp! No! really?

These reasons are an outrage to logic, because:

a) A major point of the letter is the issue of Iraqi nationality, its value to the insurgency, and the danger of the terrorists separating themselves from the normal Iraqi citizens; even the "turncoat deviants", the Iraqi Shi'a Arabs.

b) As I pointed-out here, the letter is obviously insulting to Zarqawi on many levels (Zawahiri is clearly aware throughout the letter that he is in danger of stepping over the line), but the priggish Zawahiri can't help attempting to show Zarqawi how much smarter he is. Yes, it undermines Zarqawi: now that the letter is public, Zarqawi can't do anything without appearing to ignore this "wise leader" or acting as his toady. And that, among a laundry list of other reasons, is why Cole's credulous reference to al-Qaeda's denial of the letter's authenticity is positively trivial.


UPDATE: October 14th

Omar from Iraq The Model chimes in regarding Jually Cole's point #1:

CMAR II,
That greeting is widely used by Sunni clerics in Iraq, actually the Sheat NEVER mention the "companions of the messenger".
Cole knows nil.

Gosh. What more is there to say?



Dr. Weasel doubts the Zawahiri letter was penned by the famous serial-killer. His reasons are the following:

1) The greeting in the letter "Praise and blessings be upon the Messenger of God, his family, his Companions, and all who follow him" are only used by Shiites generally and the Sunnis who live in Pakistan. Zawahiri is originally from Egypt.

Hmm...interesting point. Where is Zawahiri most likely living now? Yes, yes, you in the back of the room smoking that joint.

Waziristan in the border region of Pakistan near Afghanistan, or possibly the Pakistani disputed region of Kashmir?

Excellent! Essentially, the same region where he's been living for the last 20 years. And what religion are the Taliban, for whom al-Qaeda was the armed force? You! The one wearing the football helmet who came here on the short bus.

Sunni Muslim and ethnically Pashtun of Pakistan?

Yes! Good job going for the extra-points. So someone tell me why our rat-toothed professor is so amazed that Zawahiri used a greeting that is common among his long-time (and current) protectors.
Anyone? Anyone?

[chirp chirp chirp]

...

It seems expected to me that Zawahiri, who has relied on the material support of Pakistani Sunni heretics for two decades, is not as theologically correct as he ought to be. It suits me fine if there are some straight-jacketed Quran-thumpers in Iraq who are dismayed to learn that.

2) Wormtail says: "The letter then says how much Zawahiri misses meeting with Zarqawi. Zarqawi was not part of al-Qaeda when he was in Afghanistan. He had a rivalry with it. And when he went back to Jordan he did not allow the Jordanian and German chapters of his Tawhid wa Jihad group to send money to Bin Laden. If Zawahiri was going to bring up old times, he would have had to find a way to get past this troubled history"

You have got to be kidding me, Nicodemus. Zarqawi was in Afghanistan from 1999 heading a group that was in friendly competition with al-Qaeda for recruits. After 9-11 and the fall of the Taliban, he was wounded fighting along side or, just as likely, in a merged resistance with...you guessed it: al-Qaeda. Then he was admitted into Iraq where he received medical treatment in a state hospital under the loving eye of Saddam's secret police. Then his little group marched to the border of the No-Fly-Zone where they assumed immediate control of a terrorist group which suddenly had nothing really better to do than attempt assassinations against Kurdish leaders who were otherwise beyond the reach of Saddam's police.

Today, Zarqawi's group calls itself Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia. He seems to have long ago gotten over any "troubled-history".

Jually Cole = Al-Qaeda Stooge



via Miss Marbrouk...

"The Arab League denied Tuesday that [its] Secretary-General Amr Mousa solicited a meeting with ousted President Saddam Hussein during his upcoming visit to Iraq. The director of Mousa's office Hisham Youssef told reporters in Cairo that reports suggesting the secretary general asked to meet Saddam 'are totally untrue.' Iraqi officials said last week that Mousa requested a meeting with Saddam in order to seek his mediation to help curb violence that has been sweeping Iraq since the U.S.-British occupation in April 2003."

After that they will meet with Chuck Berry for help in curbing the recent popularity of Rock-n-Roll music.



Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (formally G in Baghdad) reports on the targeting of journalists in Iraq. (hattip Fayouz)

A mixture of guilt, responsibility and ambition keeps driving Iraqi journalists to push the limits a bit further every time. The intoxication you get from reporting the truths after so many decades of lies is indescribable. You feel you can tell the world what is really happening, but you also feel that you are safe because of the way you look, because of your scruffy beard or your moustache. But far from being immune, the Iraqis are the ones getting killed.

The story launches with Ghaith hearing about the death of a colleague in Basra. I'm sure Dr. Juan Cole will soon be attributing this to an honor killing.


Amarji, the Syrian blogger vents about the Ghazi Kanaan* "suicide":

Patriotism! What a meaningless word this is! What a foul concept! In the name of patriotism we will soon be asked to rally behind a dead regime that can only lead us to the slaughterhouse. And in the name of patriotism we will. Yes, we will all begin to slaughter each other soon, so that a dead regime can "live on." But the bloodlust of that vampire motherland of ours can never be satisfied. Once the slaughter begins it will not stop. But the regime is already dead. The people are already dead. Zombies will be slaughtering each other soon for the sake of a Vampire Queen...

* Syrian Interior Minister who allegedly committed suicide three weeks after being questioned by the U.N. about his possible involvement in the assassination of Rafik Al Hariri in Lebanon. Many M.E bloggers are accusing the Syrian government of assassinating him to cover its involvement.



Congratulations to all Iraqis who will vote today (sun coming up in Iraq soon) on your (potential) Constitution.

Whether the outcome is "Yes" or "No" is really not significant. There are reasons to be happy about either outcome. I wish I could be Iraqi for just one day and vote twice: "Yes" and "No". Either way is a "No" vote to the terrorists and rejectionists.


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