Monday, June 26, 2006

On the Proposed Amnesty

First of all, I don't think it makes any sense. IED makers and planters kill more Iraqis than Americans, just like the rest of the "resistance". They kill children. They kill motorists. They lack fire discipline and a certain degree of conscience. It is a fallacious belief that there exist Iraqis who make bombs destined only American stryker vehicles and none for Shi'a mosques; and that those making bombs don't collaborate with those recruiting human bombs for Iraqi neighborhoods.

Secondly, I don't think it will have the desired effect: ending the insurgency. Because the amnesty is general, there is no reason to believe a large percentage of (or even most of) those amnestied will not go back to their former behavior. None of the Iraqi politicians suggesting this plan are suggesting that maybe they ought to ask the killers they are releasing whether they will go out and continue their work. That would be a good question because the framework of this amnesty (releasing those who murdered and maimed non-Iraqis) carries the implication that killing "foreigners" might not be such a bad thing anyway. So why would they stop? Yet without those "foreigners" the New Iraq cannot hope to succeed. This plan is not a plan. It is a hope. It is a hope against hope.

Unfortunately, I believe releasing these monsters onto Iraq will have the same beneficial effect that Saddam's general amnesty before the war did: cutting loose the worst elements on Iraqi society...only this time, with an implied justification of their criminal behavior.

This is a politician's solution. Frequently, politicians have to come up with solutions even when there is no political consensus for how to do it. In this case, the Sunni Arab parties want people released who have participated in the insurgency. But the Shi'a Arab parties are against releasing people who have targeted them and deliberately spoiled the country over the last 3 years. So what do you do? A politician splits the difference:

They will release Iraqis who have only killed non-Iraqis. Non-Iraqis don't vote in Iraq, so there is no political problem in releasing their killers. So the politicians can pretend to release "benign" insurgents (in effect, only releasing those with powerful enough connections to "prove" they haven't harmed Iraqis), while keeping in prison those who have harmed Iraqis with the political voice of the vote.

Sometimes splitting the difference can lead to a solution that does more good than harm. Usually, it either makes no change or makes things worse. I believe this plan to be the latter.

Rationalizations for the General Amnesty

Some point out that such amnesties are always granted at the end of a war. They will point out hat the Confederate forces in the American Civil War were granted such a general amnesty after the American Civil War, and also to the Germans forces after World War One and World War Two. However, I will point out, that such a general amnesty was granted to Iraqi forces fighting for the Saddam regime in April 2003. Guess what? Many still did not lay down their arms. They did not lay down their arms after the handover in the summer of 2004, nor after the elections of 2005 in January, October, or December. Yet, perhaps now that the magical Maliki government is installed, all that will change. I'm afraid I don't believe it, but then I don't have bombs going off on my street to help allay my doubts. But, once again, that shows that is a plan motivated by desperation rather than reason.

Also, the insurgency doesn't have generals or national leaders that tell them to lay down their arms and go home.

Some will argue that "Reconciliation Plans" are always implemented after the end of genocidal, malignant regimes, and/or bloody no-holds-barred civil war. But in those cases (South Africa is a good example), amnesty was granted to all, regardless of their crimes, after admitting to them. This is not that sort of plan. Iraqis are not ready for reconciliation. If they were, they would grant amnesty everyone who participated in the insurgency ~ even those who killed children and beheaded policemen. But, apparently, a reconciliation plan like that would be politically untenable. So instead, the politicians are offering up justice for American soldiers, foreign diplomats and journalists, NGO workers, Filipino sanitation contractors as a sacrifice to the gods of desperate hope.

But What If It Worked?

But let's set all that aside. Let's --for the sake of argument-- presume that this phony, sad, and morally repugnant plan of forgiving those who kill American soldiers ~currently only in Iraq because the duly elected Iraqi government wants them there~ and others in Iraq to do good by the Iraqi people....lets presume it will have the practical desired effect. Let's pretend that it will make things better (if only marginally) and not worse. There are still two major problems with it.

ONE. Since this war began, I have argued strenuously against those who say the Iraqi people should be grateful for what the US has given and lost in liberating them from Saddam. I have declared that Americans and Iraqis are partners in the New Iraqi Experiment. I have said (as I stated here at in the comments at 24 Steps To Liberty) that America deposed Saddam, spent billions to stablized Iraq, and gave up the best of our children for American security. The virulence of Saddam, of Arab Nationalism, of political Islamic extremism, and the unlimited cash that oil gave to the Middle East's worst tyrants and exporters of hate, made the continued oppression of the region an imminent threat to American civilization. All this was brought home on 9-11.

The Iraqis, meanwhile, have endured great grief and misery in attempting to secure a free, liberal nation in between Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia (as well as socio-political throw-backs like Jordan and Turkey).

This plan would end the American-Iraqi partnership. If this plan is implemented, then the relationship between America and Iraqi will cease to be that of partner and become one of parent and child. Partners have no need to be grateful of each other, but that gratitude is often enough freely given to each other. A child, on the other hand, is not grateful because it is expected that the parent will give all for his child as the child only takes. The parent goes without supper so the kids can eat their fill. The parent slaves at work so the children can have the best. This plan calls for the Iraqis to consume America's (and the rest of the world's) right to justice for the murder of its people, while the Iraqis give up nothing in this regard.

TWO. This plan will further undermine American support for Iraq at a time when it is still desperately needed. I might be convinced to give up justice for my fellow citizens for a marginal improvement in Iraq, but many will not. If you think this won't be an issue in the American elections in November, then you don't know anything at all. Democrats who have been rooting for Iraq's failure from the beginning have already been gleefully denouncing this plan.

This is a draft, I will add the links to applicable bloggers and news articles later today.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Tribe or Party Revisited

For Westerners, one of the most confounding aspects we face when trying to analyze and evaluate events in Iraq is the fact that its society is still primarily tribal in organization. Zeyad, you will recall, has written a multi-part series on tribes in Iraqi history (see my blog entry "Tribe or Party" for a good roundup on the subject).

As Iraqis work to create a civil society in which the ultimate source of one's loyalties is contested daily, the subject of tribal organization and tribal values has returned again and sits directly in the crossroads of the future of those people who reside within the political boundaries of the land called Iraq.

Steven Pressfield takes a look at the issue in a recent article, Tribalism is the real enemy in Iraq.

The influence of tribal values and the power wielded by sheikhs will not go away, nor should they. While I have been consistently critical of Riverbend's slanted views on events in Iraq, she has nonetheless written a number of informative blog entries, one of them being one called Sheihks and Tribes, where she writes that Iraqis "can trace their families back for hundreds of years and the need to ‘belong’ to a specific family or tribe and have a sheikh doesn’t hinder education, modernization, democracy or culture. Arabs and Kurds in the region have strong tribal ties and it is considered an honor to have a strong family backing- even if you don’t care about tribal law or have strayed far from family influence."

I imagine that the question of tribe OR party is in fact a false dichotomy. If Iraqis succeed in creating a functioning representative democracy, they will need to create something new where both one's tribal allegiances and political choices are each respected and given free play.


QUESTION: What does Jeffrey -- the Psycho Sicko American -- wear when he blogs?



Monday, June 19, 2006

There are murderers and then there are murderers

Jeffrey's last post dealt with this article from dealing with the massive hurt done to Al-Qaeda In Iraq due to the loss of Zarqawi's address book. It's all very good news, but one paragraph in the article got me thinkin':

The damage done by the post- Zarqawi raids has spurred the Sunni Arab amnesty negotiations. These have been stalled for months over the issue of how many Sunni Arabs, with "blood on their hands", should get amnesty. Letting the killers walk is a very contentious issue. There are thousands of Sunni Arabs involved here. The latest government proposal is to give amnesty to most of the Sunni Arabs who have just killed foreigners (mainly Americans). Of course, this offer was placed on the table without any prior consultations with the Americans. Naturally, such a deal would be impossible to sell back in the United States. But the Iraqis believe they could get away with it if it brought forth a general surrender of the Sunni Arab anti-government forces. The Iraqis, after all, are more concerned with Iraqi politics, than with what happens in the United States. Iraqi leaders believe that the U.S. has no choice by to continue supporting Iraqi pacification efforts. However, the spectacle of amnestied Sunni Arabs bragging to Arab, European and American reporters about how they killed Americans, might have interesting repercussions.

Yeah...interesting. Of course "foreigners" would presumably also include those who killed Phillipino janitors and French NGO workers. By this standard, I guess Zarqawi himself could not have been convicted for bombing the UN office in Baghdad. The annoying thing is that it would be unacceptable to amnesty murderers of Shi'a Iraqis but not those of Americans in Iraq at the behest of the Shi'a Iraqi dominated government. But whatever.

It got me thinking about this Daily Star commentary by Rayyan al-Shawaf:

The Deep Hypocrisy in Nitpicking Arab Massacres

...Massacres of Shiites occur almost daily in Iraq. The death and carnage caused by the huge bombs strategically placed near Shiite mosques and in bustling marketplaces of Shiite-majority areas do receive coverage in both the Western and Arab media. Yet unless the bomb destroys a Shiite shrine, making reference to Shiites unavoidable, the Arab media by and large deliberately leave out the identity of the victims. This is symptomatic of a larger cultural problem: the majority Sunni Arab world's reluctance to identify and extirpate anti-Shiite calumny in its midst.

This is nothing new. Few in the Arab world paid much attention to Saddam Hussein's crimes against Shiites and Kurds, even when they reached genocidal proportions.
The Lebanese have long been familiar with this sort of duplicity, which in their country manifests itself in the selective commemoration of Civil War-era massacres. For years, convention has dictated that the only crimes afforded official recognition should be those committed by, or involving, Israel. The most notorious of these was the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinians in September 1982. But this approach is selective.

To begin with, massacres committed by Palestinian militias (Damour, Chekka, and others) have been all but forgotten; the Lebanese Christian victims of these outrages are alone in commemorating them....Even those massacres in which Palestinians fell victim to Christian militias (Karantina, Tell al-Zaatar) have been deliberately ignored in favor of focusing all attention on Sabra and Shatila. As if that weren't hypocritical enough, the principal Lebanese role in the slaughter has been officially overlooked, while the involvement of the Israelis, who were surely facilitators, has been made to appear central.

Palestinian suffering at the hands of other Lebanese groups has similarly been relegated to obscurity.
What accounts for such willful blindness? Politics. It is politically incorrect to blame powerful Lebanese political parties and figures for their crimes. It is "traitorous" to blame Palestinians, who are the victims of Zionism, for anything. The argument is, Why antagonize this or that community? Political expediency invariably trumps human rights...

Now, look, I realize that the inequitable appreciation of the deaths of those outside one's own group is ubiquitous among all of humanity. Some Iraqis have complained about the widespread mourning over the death of journalist Steven Vincent and Jill Carroll, saying it was over-the-top considering the relative lack of attention granted to the many Iraqi journalists, like Fatah al-Sheikh, abducted and murdered in Iraq.

However, this is something different. This describes the deliberate and wide-spread distortion of a story so that it condemns someone involved peripherally or too a lesser degree (Americans, Israelis) and hides the central involvement of someone else (Sunnis, Arabs, Lebanese, Iraqis). This sort of managed history is the engine that powers the A.P.U. ... the massive delta between how Arabs and everyone else views the world.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Zarqawi's Little Black Book

BAGHDAD (AP) The contents of Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi's address book found at the site of the safe house that was attacked last week have started to reveal more about the last days of the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, authorities announced today.

"We were surprised to find the number to a private escort service that operated out of Baghdad," said Lt. Bruce Killem.

The military authorities acknowledged that Zarqawi's sexual preference had been in question for some time.

"We were uncertain about Zarqawi's sexual identity, especially after seeing him wearing white New Balance sneakers in the last video aired on Al Jazeera," explained Lt. Killem.



You want the REAL DOPE?


Strategy Page on Zarqawi's Little Black Book.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Index To My June 12th Post

Haditha: Massacre? or just another tragedy instigated by insurgent activity?

Bloggers v the Anti Iraq Media

Where is Hibhib?

How Well Does Dr. Juan Cole Speak Persian?

Until very recently, I managed long posts by bookmarking the topics and then providing an index to them at the top of the post: ala here

Unfortunately, Blogger no longer permits using HTML tags in that way. So this is an experiment in an alternate way of doing the same thing. I and Mister Ghost frequently have very long posts that can be difficult to navigate and link to for something specific.

Do you like? Is this over-kill? Useless? Stupid?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Haditha, Zarqawi, and the Anti-Iraqi Media

(h/t Mudville Gazette)
It is still too early to insist that Rep. John Murtha and the rejectionist bloggers put away those bloody shirts they've been waving, but some serious discrepancies have arisen in the case against the Marines in Haditha.

You know that famous video tape and the interview that Time magazine founded it's big Haditha story on? Well, maybe its more questionable than Time let on. The War of Words Daily Dispatch says TIME is quietly redacting the most important sources of their story but don't expect to see the correction on their cover while your paying for groceries:

  • TIME initially reported the video everyone has seen on the news came from a journalism student who then then gave it the Hammurabi Human Rights Group.
  • TIME reported that Hammurabi had ties to Human Rights Watch, a well-known agency.
  • ...TIME reported that “one of the most damning pieces of evidence investigators have in their possession, John Sifton of Human Rights Watch told Time’s Tim McGirk, is a photo, taken by a Marine with his cell phone that shows Iraqis kneeling — and thus posing no threat —before they were shot.”

TIME now says:

TIME [says it] regrets the error.”

And now lets hear from the accused Marines....The Washington Post reports:

"A sergeant who led a squad of Marines during the incident in Haditha, Iraq, that left as many as 24 civilians dead said his unit did not intentionally target any civilians, followed military rules of engagement and never tried to cover up the shootings, his attorney said. Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, 26, told his attorney that several civilians were killed Nov. 19 when his squad went after insurgents who were firing at them from inside a house. The Marine said there was no vengeful massacre, but he described a house-to-house hunt that went tragically awry in the middle of a chaotic battlefield."

The story is too long to do it justice with a summary. Check it out.

(h/t Rubin)

Sweetness & Light has been carefully monitoring this story for a while. Here is a good State of the Scandal report.

American Thinker asks "Is McGirk [author of TIME's Haditha story] the new Mary Mapes?"

[Tim] McGirk seems hardly a neutral reporter. He spent the first Thanksgiving after 9/11 in Afghanistan dining with the Taliban and concluding of this celebratory meal:

Our missing colleagues finally arrive, and I leave thinking that maybe this evening wasn’t very different from the original Thanksgiving: people from two warring cultures sharing a meal together and realizing, briefly, that we’re not so different after all.

Right, Tim.

Bloggers on the Anti-Iraq Media

IraqPundit keeps an eye on Juan Cole's contortions who has expressed doubts that Zarqawi ever existed but was certain that if he did exist, he didn't have any association with Al-Qaeda.

And now, back to The Juan Cole Show. Cole and his media celebrity have provided us all with a richly entertaining spectacle, and I for one am grateful...As recently as last fall, Cole was uncertain that there was a Zarqawi...In the wake of the news that Zarqawi had been killed, something that everybody on all sides agreed was accurate, Cole seem to have decided that previous to his death, Zarqawi must have existed after all. To mark this epiphany, the professor wrote this week that it didn't matter.

There is no evidence of operational links between his Salafi Jihadis in Iraq and the real al-Qaeda"

....Yeah, yeah. And I don't expect Cole's steady blast of nonsense to subside any time soon, either.

Meanwhile Black Iris is thrashing....

You know what I hate about Aljazeera? Its constant anti-Jordanian sentiment. In a recent article entitled “Jordan Detains Islamist Deputies” it had the following to say about Zarqawi:

Jordan brands al-Zarqawi as a terrorist and says he is the mastermind behind the triple hotel bombings that killed 60 civilians last November.

First of all, he is a terrorist with or without Jordanian “branding”. Second of all Jordan didn’t say he masterminded the bombings ZARQAWI SAID that he masterminded the attacks!

To Martin Patience who wrote this article on the BBC with the most absurd title I’ve read in a long time. Interviewing one Sheik who calls Zarqawi a hero”, a Salafi sheik no less, and then placing “City of Martyrs Salutes Zarqawi” as the title of the article is such an absurd and misleading statement. [If] you conducted interviews with every person in Salt to get their opinion I think you’d find many would disagree with you saying that they salute Zarqawi. Gimmie a break.

…and anyone else this may concern.

Zarqawi was a terrorist, simple as that. I don’t know what else I can say. I’m thinking of making diagrams and flash cards to spell it out for the people who just don’t get it. If you are mourning him or calling him a martyr then you have lost your mind. To put “martyr” and “Zarqawi” in the same sentence is something I find offensive as a Muslim first and a Jordanian second. It is offensive to the lives of the hundreds of people he slaughtered in cold blood, people who prayed in mosques, people who were getting treatments in hospitals, people who were celebrating weddings and people attending funerals. These were all his victims and there’s no dancing around it. ...And don’t tell me “he was there to fight/stand up to Americans”…the overwhelming majority of those he targeted and killed were Arabs, Iraqis, Muslims who had absolutely nothing to do with the occupation. And don’t tell me “he didn’t do those things, it’s an American conspiracy”…the mofo (proudly) claimed responsibility for all those actions! It is offensive to label him as a martyr. It is offensive to my religion and it is offensive to the families of everyone he brutally slaughtered. ...It is an insult and it is a crime and it is treasonous. And I wouldn’t mind locking up people who thought otherwise.

And I don’t care about Hamas calling him a martyr. I care when IAF deputies in Jordan go to his funeral and call him a “Mujahid”, someone fighting for the “Islamic” cause. Those deputies should be removed from their seats. I would try them for treason if I could.

Update has reprinted yesterday's post by Mohammed of Iraq the Model as he vented his ire at the non-Iraqi Arabs and Muslims mourning Zarqawi's death (h/t Jeffrey):

Hamas's reaction to the death of Zarqawi caused the contempt of so many Iraqis. The printed and watched Iraqi media lashed out vigorously on Hamas, politicians and ordinary people on the streets are just equally angered by some Arabic official and media reactions which spoke of the criminal as if he were a hero. It is totally unimaginable why someone would describe the head chopping, children murdering terrorist as a hero. It's disgusting and infuriating beyond words.

...To say I was angry is the least I can say to describe how I felt reading the comments from Arabs (in Arabic) on a BBC forum. There was no surprise that all Iraqi commentators were pleased that we got rid of that vicious terrorists but on the other hand there was probably 90% of non-Iraqi Arab commentators who mourned him as a martyr.

...if you are sane, come celebrate the moment with us, but if not, get prepared to mourn more demons.

Where is Hibhib?

Where exactly was Zarqawi's gateway to the 72 beavers (not girls...I mean real beavers) that will eternally gnaw on his insignificant johnson? Here are some Google Earth screen captures:









Can Dr. Juan Cole Speak Persian?

Columnist Christopher Hitchens calls Zarqawi's death "A Good Day's Work".

And while we're on that subject, remember the Hitchens v. Cole smack-down?

It started when columnist Christopher Hitchens questioned whether Dr. Juan Cole could speak Persian after Cole claimed that Iranian President Ahmedinejad never said "Israel should be wiped of the map".

Well, rather belatedly IMO, the NYT has weighed in on the question.

[Note: you'll have to register - for free - to read it at the NYT site, or read it at this alternate site.]

On the other hand, I was truly surprised that the NYT would actually devote ink to discrediting the mad doctor from Ann Arbor but that is exactly what they did.

If ...Mr. Cole [is] right, not one word of the quotation — Israel should be
wiped off the map — is accurate.

But translators in Tehran who work for the president's office and the foreign ministry disagree... all official translations of Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement, including a description of it on his Web site (, refer to wiping Israel away. Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran's most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say "wipe off" or "wipe away" is more accurate than "vanish" because the Persian verb is active and transitive.

The second translation issue concerns the word "map." Khomeini's words were abstract: "Sahneh roozgar." Sahneh means scene or stage, and roozgar means time. The phrase was widely interpreted as "map," and for years, no one objected. In October, when Mr. Ahmadinejad quoted Khomeini, he actually misquoted him, saying not "Sahneh roozgar" but "Safheh roozgar," meaning pages of time or history. No one noticed the change, and news agencies used the word "map" again.

Ahmad Zeidabadi, a professor of political science in Tehran whose specialty is Iran-Israel relations, explained: "It seems that in the early days of the revolution the word 'map' was used because it appeared to be the best meaningful translation for what he said. The words 'sahneh roozgar' are metaphorical and do not refer to nything specific. Maybe it was interpreted as 'book of countries,' and the closest thing to that was a map. Since then, we have often heard 'Israel bayad az naghshe jographya mahv gardad' — Israel must be wiped off the geographical map. Hard-liners have used it in their speeches."
So did Iran's president call for Israel to be wiped off the map? It certainly seems so.

And so with a roundhouse to the chin, Jualter Cole goes down, and the match belongs to the happily drunken Hitchens.

Perhaps this public display of clumsiness in Persian is part of the reason Cole was denied that professorship at Yale.

Oh! By the way...the strangest mention of the NYT article at Cole's site.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Iraqi And Jordanian Blogospheres On The Death Of Zarqawi


Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi likely was born in Zarka, Jordan circa October 1966, and met his final resting place in Hibhib, Iraq on June 8 2006. Since he graced both nations with his malevolent presence, in this post, we look at the reaction of the Iraqi and Jordanian Bloggers to the death of infamous Zarqawi...


As you would expect, Sam from Hammorabi took the news of Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi's earthly demise with good cheer and cast him and his fellow terrorist travellers on a journey through hell:

Zarqawi without doubts went into the bottom of the Hell with blood of many innocent children, women and men in his dirty hands...Zarqawi and his aides simply went to Hell and this is the worst fate for any one like them.

Sam even outlined the crimes committed by Zarqawi for us: Zarqawi who is Jordanian from Palestinian origin was responsible for thousands of crimes against the Iraqis and the MNF as well as against humanity. He appeared recently in a video challenging the American and Iraqi forces. He beheaded by his dirty hands many Iraqis and foreigners.

Our friend Fay says: Al-Zarqawi is dead. Good riddance. Who's their next leader in Iraq?

Hmm. Interesting comment. Al Qaeda is like the mythological Hydra. You cut one head off and two more appear, but with the top leadership being so decimated in the bombing that wiped out Zarqaqwi and his consorts, it may take a bit of time for
them to regroup in Iraq.

Zan commenting at Fay's wonders if Shia Theocracy will replace Zark's Wahabbist tendencies and notes the perfidy of the Jordanians:

...Honestly, Iraq is full of Zarqawis….one down…Thousands to go….besides, zarqawi’s death might increase the influence of Muqtada.. ..the void of Sunni theocracy is going to be filled by Shiite theocracy. Particularly troubling is the reaction of Jordanians; they liked Zarqawi and some of them said that they liked him until he bombed Amman, which means that had he not bombed Amman, they would have kept condoning him. It seems that Jordanians have no problem having their zarqawi fight westerners, as long as the fighting and all of its mess and human casualties are kept outside Amman. Jordanians have such hate for America and yet few of them wondered what Amman would be without American aid.

Ishta from Iraqi Screen is pretty blase over the passing of Zarqawi:

It seems that the Iraqis learned from the previous events passed by Iraq after 2003 war, not to react directly after hearing any big news even if it is the killing of Zerqawi.

People are more aware now than before that the killing of one person does not mean the end of their countless problems, does not mean, they can go to their work safely, their kids can go to school without the fear of kidnapping, their young sons won't be detained and tortured just because they are Sunni, their sons and daughters won't be shot dead just because they are Sunni or Shiite.

The endless list of problems won't be nullified with the departure of Zerqawi, he was one partner in a big game, and in fact the US administration did not give the Iraqis the chance to breathe, after few hours, it declared that Abu Al-Masri will succeed Zerqawi and warned of more drastic attacks.

Hala S has a very poignant post at Madly In Love With Iraq. At first she is commenting on her mother being forced to wear a head scarf for the first time in her life, an old woman, newly hijabbed, repressed by the scourge of recent extremism in the country, but she leaves that thought incomplete and moves on to the good new of Zarqawi's extinguishment:

...I am happy, very happy indeed.

You all know why. Zarqawi is finished.

Things might not improve or change instantly, but this will definitely have a positive effect on Iraqis. It will bring back a long lost confidence; not in the government but in themselves and the future. The tables are turning at last.

I chose to celebrate with my colleagues at work. They were the ones who've seen my ups and downs. They are the ones whom I spend most of my time with.

I took them over to their favourite pub and bought them drinks.

My line manager threw a very nice speech; it did bring tears to my eyes, something that rarely happens.

It never occurred to me before, but it seems that they all know I am madly in love with Iraq!

The best political analyst in the Iraqi Blogosphere
Nibras Kazimi
calls the Zarqawi termination as "nothing short of a miracle" and "redemptive" for Iraq:

Well, it is nothing short of a miracle. The one thing that could have happened to halt—even if ever so briefly—Iraq’s descent into darkness did indeed happen: Zarqawi was killed. And to sweeten the deal, mysterious forces conspired to keep his face intact even after registering what two 500 lb. bombs can do. Not only that, but Zarqawi lived to see himself surrounded and manhandled by “Crusaders” and Iraqi soldiers.

This happy news came at the worst of times for Iraqis, and I personally have faith in the redemptive power of hope. I think some powerful forces have decided that Iraq will work itself out after all. Bombs will go off, and violence will continue, but the most terrible part of the storm has passed, I believe. I look forward to the future.

Let's let Alaa from the Mesopptamian - hat tip Louise the best essayist in the Iraqi Blogosphere tell us how he feels:

An arch zombie has been blown to smithereens. You know, I am the sort of guy who gets distressed at the sight of blood and cannot bear the sight of even a dead animal, believe it or not. But you know, I was shocked at my own feelings of pleasure on beholding the photo of the dead face of Zarqawi. I would never have thought that possible. I have never felt this way my whole life. Yet the atrocities and outrages that these pseudo humans, these misanthropes, have perpetrated have engendered such anger, such sorrow, such rage that not even the most peaceful of souls can control their hatred of these criminals. My only regret was that the death was fast and sudden, and I felt pain that the true martyr of our country our beloved Ussama Al-Jadaan could not witness this day which he had predicted and played a big role in bringing about.

The Neurotic Iraqi Wife wishes Zarqawi
a fond farewell:

I refuse to watch the news cuz I have OD'd on Zarqawi's death....All I can say is good riddance and hope he and his followers burn in hell...I wander, are all the martyrs that have been murdered on his bloody hands smiling right now through the windows of heaven??? They better be...I also hope that God is beginning to smile on us too...I really hope so...Its a little boost to Iraq's morale, and I pray many operations like this will take place so we can have an Iraq thats free from low life roaches that feed on Innocent blood....

Riverbend is babbling like a brook about Zarkawi:

How do I feel? To hell with Zarqawi (or Zayrkawi as Bush calls him). He was an American creation- he came along with them- they don't need him anymore, apparently. His influence was greatly exaggerated but he was the justification for every single family they killed through military strikes and troops. It was WMD at first, then it was Saddam, then it was Zarqawi. Who will it be now? Who will be the new excuse for killing and detaining Iraqis? Or is it that an excuse is no longer needed- they have freedom to do what they want. The slaughter in Haditha months ago proved that. "They don't need him anymore," our elderly neighbor waved the news away like he was shooing flies, "They have fifty Zarqawis in government."

Zeyad blogging at The Guardian - Hat Tip Outlaw Mike provides a multilayered look at the multifaceted symbol he calls Zarqawi.


Omar, besides providing a look at the town of Hibhib, where Zarqawi was eliminated, gives some information on two of Zarqawi's cohorts that
expired with him:

Al-Maliki said that among the 7 killed with Zarqawi were two women who were responsible for collecting intelligence for the al-Qaeda HQ cell.

Omar also did a Pajama Media Audio Interview - Hat Tip CMAR on Zarqawi.

For the first time in a very long while, Baghdad Treasure seems to have broken out of
his doldrums and is genuinely happy about an event
in Iraq:

Today is a great day in Iraq. The most brutal criminal and terrorist in Iraq is killed. It's
been a long time since we haven't heard good news...I have to say that I haven't been happy like this for a long time. When I met my other colleagues back in the office, I waved the victory sign, which I also haven't done since a long time ago.

I mean, he's even very happy: "Are you happy?" an American colleague of mine asked me. "I am very happy," I replied.

B, sees this as the first step of a long road, but the journey has to start sometime: I know that attacks will increase. I know more people are going to die. I know mistakes are going to be continued.
I know everything will not be fixed soon like in the fairy tales. But I am happy that this man is killed. I believe his death is the real first step: the thousand-miles road starts with one step.

I'm glad for B, he's been so down over the last months, a man who seemed to have given up on any hope of a bright future in his native land. Where's there's hope now, there's a chance.

Iraqi Pundit relates the story of a well-to-do man from Baghdad, who was asked, with all the dangers he faced, why was he remaining in Iraq? The man's response was, "Eventually, it will improve. It has to." And as Iraqi Pundit notes,
Iraq: ...improved today. Zarqawi is dead, Iraqi women are ululating in the shy, face-covering manner of my country, and Iraqi men are boisterously firing celebratory shots in the air.

Zappy over at The City Called Hell
summarises the sudden exit of Zarqawi succintly:

The BASTARD is DEAD!!!!!!

Prime Minister Announces the Death of Zarqawi!!!
999 left to go, at least its a begining, i have never been more happier than when they caught the Rat in the hole!

Eye Raki, an Expatriate Iraqi in London says good riddance to Zarqawi and describes the celebratory behavior in Iraq:

It still hasnt sunk in, this is probably one of the best days in Iraq's history after the capture of Saddam Hussain... Ahmad Fadhil al-Khalayleh aka Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, has finally been sent to hell.

The only down side to his death is that it was too quick...It should have been a slow painful death.

Eye Raki has photos of the celebrating going on in his hometown of Najaf, and notes Iraqi women are doing the halhoola, and ulululating a plenty.

While Truth About Iraqis is hellbent on the alleged Haditha Massacre, he has a lot of information about Zarqawi's demise -- not all of it accurate -- and speculates on the effects it will have on further terrorist intrusions in to the country:

Foreign terrorism in Iraq - or at least a
part of it - can now be buried. I doubt other Arab infilitrators seeking to divide Shia and Sunni brothers will remain.

Hunted down and killed or will flee.

Last week, Zarqawi released a tape condemning the Shia of Iraq. Four hours of regurgitated self-righteous crap.

Al Tarrar at Baghdad Connect either calling it quits or happy that Zaqawi has called
it quits, posts a Bug Bunny Warner Brothers' poster with the Wascally Wabbit's favorite meme: That's All Folks!. It certainly wasn't all that good for Zarqawi.

New Iraqi Female blogger Thought Riot at the appropriately named Thought Riot seems
non-plussed. She, like Ladybird, didn't believe Zarqawi existed:

For some reason, I never believed he existed,
I have seen a couple photographs and all of that, but in the other hand, nothing is easier for a government than to frame some people. And to all governments he's been an ideal scapegoat when it comes to justifying failures.

She sees his recently announced non-existent mortality, a boon for both the Iraqi and American governments:

The first thing that occured to me at hearing the news was "A much needed victory, huh?". It is indeed a much needed victory for a Prime Minister who's status wasn't as he would have liked it to be. Also a much more needed victory for the Coalition Forces that haven't been achieving much since capturing Saddam Hussein...

Hell, she's even quoting Hitler:

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it" Adolf Hitler.

Fatima at Thoughts From Baghdad, who was born and raised in the U.S. before moving back to Baghdad, says most Iraqis are joyous but wary with death of Zarqawi:

I can safely say that most Iraqis are happy, even ecstatic, with this news, but skeptical. Zarqawi was not a lone worker. He had a following, and they can continue their work without him. Iraqis will remain wary in their daily life, and aware that anything can happen. In fact, I would not be surprised if his followers decided to prove a point tomorrow and in the coming days, with some major bombings.

Fatima is angry with Zarqawi for targeting Iraqis -- doesn't sound she would be too angry if he was just targeting her fellow Americans -- and making Islam look bad:

Zarqawi and his operatives added to this mess. Perhaps they meant to fight the occupation, but their fight did not discriminate between Iraqi and non-Iraqi, occupier and occupied. Their roadside bombs, car bombs, mortars, etc killed more Iraqis than they did Americans. Their kidnappings and public beheadings hurt the image of Islam in the West

Then Fatima takes a major league leap in to the Arab Parallel Universe:

I think Zarqawi thought he meant well, but he did it in all the wrong ways.

Yeah, I guess he took a wrong turn at the first beheading or so... This woman grew up in the United States folks. What can you say.

Well, speaking of a wrong turn, Ladybird is in Beiruit, enagaged in a journalistic
enterprise with a TV crew, and she interviewed thirty respondents about the Zarqawi affair, and surprisingly -- well not surprisingly, this is Ladybird after all, and where was she, in the Hezbollah District? -- only three had a pro-Occupation (as Ladybird calls it) viewpoint.
The rest, right straight at you from the A.P.U.:

The whole day I was with TV team covering the news of the death of Zarqawi, by asking people's opinions.
The orders came from above that the opinions must be "pro-occupation" (speaking about the freedom of speech).

We just asked pedestrians on the streets, from 30 opinions of different fraction of the Lebanese society only three opinions were pro-occupation"
and the rest were something like this:

"They are the Americans who create Zarqawi, and
now they don't need this myth anymore". "As long as the occupation exists then there will be many other Zarqawis".

Best opinion I heard today was: "The Americans announce the death of Zarqawi because they wanted
to show support for Iraq's new government, but Zarqawism is not dead they left the option open to use another name or names".


Jordanian blogger Eman from Aqua Cool ponders the effects of the death of Zarqawi for the Iraqi people:

The question remains, will this really result in witnessing less terrorism? Or will it fuel more acts of terrorism in Iraq? Will there be a new “Zarqawi”?
One can’t but wait and pray this will mean less suffering for our dear innocent Iraqi brothers and sisters, because apparently, they’re the only ones paying the price for this whole war.

And they didn't pay a price before the war? Ask the Kurds Eman, about paying a price.
Haitham Sabbah of Sabbah's blog has mixed feelings about Zarqawi's expiration date being reached: One pig down...In my opinion, it means NOTHING! Yes, his killing is worth mentioning, but how many Zarqawi is still alive? Now we are celebrating his death (hopefully his family in Jordan won’t mourn him), but Iraq is still occupied.

Well, Iraq is no longer occupied by Zarqawi.

Oleander from Oleander nails Al jazeera for their double standard:

No news about Al Qaueda or Zarqawi would be complete without a mention of a Al Jazeera, I was surprised to not find a picture of Zarqawi's body on Al Jazeera's website, although they are notorious for their lack of censorship. While writing this post the picture was shown but under an article about how publishing the picture is an American violation to the Geneva Convention, ah give me a freaking break!

The famous Natasha of Mental Mayhem takes on the skeptics who thought Zarqawi was a US creation:

So Zarqawi is dead. Good riddance. To all the skeptics out there, it seems that Zarqawi wasn't a "US invention" or a "creation by Jordanian intelligence" after all! What will the conspiracy theorists say now? "We need proof!" "We want to see the corpse." [There's now pictorial evidence] Frankly, I would have preferred seeing him captured and then put to justice so that everyone could see how sinister this man was and that he really existed, inflicting terror upon millions and millions of people.

Hareega of Hareega, has a humorous post about Ten Reasons why Zarqawi cannot watch the World Cup. And Number 10 is

Good reason: he's D-E-A-D.

Can the Onion be far behind for Hareega?

Amino of Chronicles of a Utopian Writer believes we need to fight terrorism through peace and solving the problme of disenfranchised impoverished youth. Those are Utopian Ideals after all, but one could argue that there's appears to be little correlation between wealth and terrorism. You do not see many poor Christian, Buddhist, or Hindu terrorists now do we?

Black Iris yearned for more of a Jordanian sense of justice in the disposal of Zarqawi:

As a terrorist who attacked our country and caused massive damage to our neighbours to the east I personally feel that a US air strike was not the
way I wanted him to go. I really wanted to see the guy captured and brought to Amman and executed. If anything, it would’ve brought about a greater sense of justice. And I think that’s what I feel is missing from this guy’s death today…a sense of justice.

Jad's Thoughts celebrates with fireworks over Zarqawi's disposal.

Fadi Hadad of Fatshino sees what he calls the Z-ideology remaining while the man is gone:

Zarqawi was not just an individual..he was a by-product of many Zarqawis and a producer of even Zarqawier Zarqawis.. The problem is that he was one..they are many.. He was identified..but they
are anonymous.. many of them might not have beards and they might not be living in Iraq or Afaghanistan but they are definitely somewhere, intoxocating other people with the same rotten dogmas. those are the ones of whom we should be aware.

Issam from Shiffaa sees Zarqawi's passing as being bad news for the Iraqis, as a new leader could emerge, who might concentrate his actions solely on Iraq:

The death of Zarqawi is bad news to the Iraqis. A new jihadist leader will surely succeed Al Zarqawi. Most probably, he will be an Iraqi, making him better able to unite together the causes of of jihadism and nationalism. And unlike Zarqawi, who also actively plotted attacks outside Iraq particularly into the Jordanian territories, a new leader may focus his struggle on targets within Iraq. All these scenarios might develop to potential nightmares for Iraqis longing to have a peaceful life. On the other hand, and even as someone might think that his death will disturb Al Qaida's operations in Iraq, one might argue that his impact might well be minimal. Unfortunately, the Iraqi insurgency proved itself to be highly decentralized. And so the loss of any individual leader might mean nothing to fanatic members ready to strike with or without their commander's knowledge or approval.

Zarqawi's death won't see the end of terrorism in Iraq or around the world, but it is a fresh start in the right direction...

Thursday, June 08, 2006


IF SO, this is the best news for Iraqis and for all of us.

The American troops called him Z-man, this stinky creature was one of the ugliest Iraqis and the rest of the world had to deal with. He was not a man, he was worst than any small brain animal, he was a deadly microbe. Let's hope we can finally get the champagne out and celebrate the wonderful news!

Iraq PM says Zarqawi killed: TV
Jun 8, 2006

Al-Qaeda's Iraq chief al-Zarqawi killedAssociated Press
BAGHDAD — For the Globe and Mail, Jun 8, 2006

Iraqi PM: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi Killed
Forbes -
Associated Press By PATRICK QUINN , Jun 8, 2006

Al-Zarqawi killed, says Iraqi PM
Times Online and agencies in Baghdad, Jun 8, 2006

Iraqi PM: Al-Zarqawi killed in US air raid
Irish Examiner, Jun 8, 2006

Zarqawi killed in Iraq air raid
June 8, 2006

For all the hurt he caused, may he burn in hell with his other pigs and the 72 dry raisins!


Friday, June 02, 2006

Tools of Oppression?

While taking a look at a recent article by Rami Khoury, Iraq Pundit offers this summary of the state of Arab journalism:
You want to know one of the major reasons that the Arab world is so far behind everybody else politically? Because the region's journalists, like so many other professionals there, long ago let themselves be co-opted by backward regimes. There are certainly independent-minded liberal Arab journalists, and my hat's off to their courage and integrity. But by and large, Arab journalism has been a tool of oppression, of maintaining the status quo. Co-opted writers have spent whole careers spewing out whatever baloney has been useful to a given regime, or writing in support of the region's discredited and dead-end politics. What the Arab media lacks in nationalistic self-pity, it makes up for in paranoid conspiracy mongering.


Salam Pax continues to work on his video projects. In his latest blog entry, he talks about the sense of fear that has taken hold of most Baghdadis. He did locate, however, one area where people went about their daily business without fear of suicide-bombers, the Shia district of Kadhimiya:
I saw the future of Iraq, or at least Baghdad. Inside the barricade and past the checkpoint was a piece of the old Baghdad. Shops full of people, all relaxed and smiling. Everybody wants to talk and tell me how their lives are and I even got invited to have tea and accepted the invitation without thinking that this man saw my camera and he is just delaying me until the kidnappers arrive.

You know what was different? Kadhimiya is set up these days like a fortress. Entrances are tightly controlled, no unknown cars get in and they basically had their own secret police there; when I lingered too long with my camera in front of the shrine I was quickly called inside and a security guard demanded IDs and wanted to look through the film, I thanked heavens again for the NUJ card.

So people I give you the future of Baghdad. Districts will become tightly controlled fortresses that are ethnically/religiously homogeneous. Outsiders are only let in after being inspected and checked. I really want to go back to Kadhimiya but only after I get my fake Shia ID.

After another one of his extended operational pauses (heh heh), Zeyad returns with a two-fisted, sarcastic blog entry on the direction that the homegrown fundamentalists seem to be taking the country:
Why don’t they just blow up the city and erect tents instead? It would make life much easier. We could go to school or work riding on camels. We could sit at the mosque all day, stroking and scratching our filthy beards and waiving flies away, while our women recline in their harems.

In short, they are trying to take us back to the 7th century, so we can experience the simple life of the prophet and his pious companions. We should abandon everything and anything that was not available at the time of the prophet in order to be true Muslims.

Yet the followers of this simplistic, backwards ideology have no problem with using hi-tech explosives, IEDs, machine guns and RPGs. According to their sick creed, it is not against Islam to detonate a car bomb at a bustling market or to shoot a kid twice in the head because he had gel on his hair. No, that is okay in Islam.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin chronicles yet another case of journalistic malfeasance from the MSM:



ANOTHER UPDATE: Ambassador Fayrouz has just posted an interview she had done with a blogger from Bahrain: Interviewing Bahraini Blogger E.S.
Q: American invasion of Iraq isn't popular in the Middle East. To be more specific, it damaged its image in the Middle East. What could America do to repair its image from a Middle Easterner's point of view?

A: It will be very hard for that to happen. Anything good America does at this point will be most likely dismissed as a conspiracy by many. If they help us through things such as education, people will think America is trying to enforce their political ideologies and values upon us, and if they don't help through things such as aid or health care when needed, America is going to be criticized for not getting involved.

It may help if America goes back to being an isolationalist instead of having their presidential administration become too involved in our domestic affairs, this is precisely what gives people reason to believe that America is to blame for our misfortunes.


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