Sunday, December 31, 2006

Iraqi Bloggers on Saddam's Execution

With Saddam now safely reunited with his boyfriend in Hell, I thought I'd take a look at what the Iraqi Bloggers are saying about the execution. Have they posted about it? Do they view it as a good thing?

So, here's what I've found so far from the Iraqi blogs linked to from IBC. In some cases their vie of the execution is obvious or stated specifically; in other cases I took a guess.

Out of 43 blogs listed:

This is a survey of their recent posts. It's very possible that they had earlier posts on the subject that I didn't uncover, and likely they've addressed it in comments and so on.

So, if you have anything to add, subtract, multiply, or divide... please do!

** Updated 1/1/2007 **

Fayrouz, Faiza, HNK, and 24 Steps to Liberty have new posts. Fayrouz's post comes across as pretty even to me, so I added "neutral" as a category.

In the comments, CMAR II says "bad" for Khalid is not so tough a call...

** Updated 1/5/2007 **

Sooni has a new post on the hanging to supplement his previous one on the verdict.




Omar and Mohammed, ITM

Post: 12/30/2006

Execution was: good

Quote: "On this day as we celebrate justice we shall not forget to pray for blessings for the souls of the dictator's victims and we shall not forget to thank our brothers in America and the rest of the coalition nations who helped us and are still helping us in our struggle to build the new free and democratic Iraq."




Zeyad

Post: 12/30/2006 - permalink does not work

Execution was: conflicted

Quote: "I hope the execution of the tyrant brings relief to the families of his victims.

There are still many dark days ahead in Iraq."

My Comments:
Zeyad has official and unofficial video and a translation of his last words. I think he leans "good", but I'm calling it "conflicted" for now.



Iraq Pundit
Post: 12/29/2006

Execution was: good

Quote: "Atwan is a Palestinian, and Saddam championed Palestinians even as he trod on Iraqis' necks. Indeed, the enthusiasm for Saddam of people like Atwan is one of the reasons that many Iraqis became ambivalent about the Palestinian cause; they felt that their own lives under Saddam had become hostage to that issue.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, some (though not all) people are volunteering to put the noose around Saddam's neck themselves."

My Comments:
IP's post is from the day before, and he is critiqueing an article by Abdel Bari Atwan in the Londaon-based Al Quds Al Arabi paper.


Hammorabi Sam
Post: 12/30/2006

Execution was: good

Quote: "Most important is that the end of this tyrant dictator must be taken as a lesson by all those who are alike Saddam."




Ambassador Fayrouz

Post: 1/1/2007

Execution was: neutral

Quote: "
I didn't blog earlier because there's nothing to add other than he lived and died to divide Iraqis."



Baghdad Treasure

Post:
nothing yet




24 Steps to Liberty

Post:
1/1/2007

Execution was: good

Quote: "
Iraqis will always remember how, just a few seconds before he was hanged, he laughed when some men in the room chanted “Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada.” Even in his last moments, the tyrant pissed off the oppressed! What a life we lived under Hussein’s rule and what a life we are living now!"



Iraqi Mojo
Post: 12/29/2006

Execution was: good

Quote: "As some Iraqis like to say, tah hadhek Abu Uday (your luck has fallen, Abu Uday)! "

My Comments:
Lots of good pics of happy Iraqis.



Konfused Kollege Kid
Post: 12/30/2006

Execution was: conflicted

Quote: "I don't know of a precise word for my feelings - Little if at all joy, unbelieving numbness and extreme disappointment. I've always wanted Saddam to be killed, but the guy had a way of making you feel sorry for him."

My Comments:
I would have guesed "good", but he says "mixed feelings" so his opinion wins.



Sooni
Post: 11/5/2006

Execution was: good

Quote: "Finally, we folded the book of tyranny in Iraq. It was not surprising to hear the death penalty, Saddam killed more than anyone can imagine with his wars and the countless atrocities against his own people, but it was surprising to see a good bunch of whiners grieving upon the tyrant."

My Comments:
An old post about the verdict, but it's still on top.

** Update 12/31 **

Execution was: "
right thing done the wrong way"

Quote: "
It is ironic how good things turn to be bad in Iraq. Justice served and Saddam got what he deserved. Like many Iraqis remembering his days, I believe the execution is the least he deserves, but let us see how the right thing was done!"



Anarki-13
Post: nothing yet



Attawie
Post: nothing yet



Caesar of Pentra
Post: nothing yet



Morbid Smile
Post: nothing yet



Morbid Smile's Photos
Post: nothing yet



Akba, Iraq Rising
Post: nothing yet



Alaa, the Mesopotamian
Post: 12/29/2006

Execution was: good

Quote: "Anyway, I am too excited to talk more, and it is very late and I, like almost all Iraqis at this hour, cannot sleep and are all awaiting the awesome announcement at this eve of the Eid Al-Adha."




Into the Sun
Post: nothing yet



Salam Pax
Post: nothing yet



Ali, Free Iraqi

Post: nothing yet



Kurdo
Post: nothing yet



Faiza
Post: 12/31/2006 in Arabic, Google Translation Here

Execution was: bad

Quote: (Google translation)
"
أرى دائرة من العنف والحقد والانتقام والظلم والغباء والكذب, علست صدام حسين , وهي نفسها سوف تأكل كل خصومه الحمقى, لانهم اشد ظلما وجهلا وحماقة .........I see a cycle of violence and revenge and hatred, injustice and stupidity, lying, Aalst Saddam Hussein, which itself will erode all the mindless hostility, to be the most unjust and ignorance and stupidity ...
صدام حسين أخطأ احيانا وأصاب أحيانا...Saddam Hussein sometimes missed and hit sometimes ...
صدام حسين له اعداء, وله محبون ..Saddam Hussein has enemies, and has loving.
لكن هؤلاء الاغبياء لم نر منهم سوى الشر والاعمال القبيحة........But these idiots, we have not seen them only evil and the ugly ... "




Khalid
Post: 12/30/2006

Execution was: bad

Quote: "You know that I always opposed Saddam and was always against him. Nevertheless, I was upset today.

Saddam was a criminal dictator, and he deserves to be hanged, but still, what happened isn't right."

My Comments:
Tough call. Maybe "conflicted", but he listed several points to make it "bad".



Raed
Post: 12/30/2006

Execution was: bad

Quote: "Iraqis don't miss Saddam, but they miss their national government that was inherited by the Baath regime and was destroyed under this occupation.

Saddam's life or death is irrelevant to the current Iraqi situation. Iraqis are fighting to hold their country together and get it back from the foreign occupiers. Saddam's recent trial and imminent execution are nothing more than evidence of how foreign interventions to change political regimes will destroy entire countries and split entire nations. The current situation in Iraq is a good indicator for how Iran and Syria, or other countries, would look if the U.S. administration went ahead and interfered and changed their political regimes."




Riverbend
Post: 12/29/2006


Execution was: bad

Quote: "Why make things worse by insisting on Saddam's execution now? Who gains if they hang Saddam? Iran, naturally, but who else? There is a real fear that this execution will be the final blow that will shatter Iraq. Some Sunni and Shia tribes have threatened to arm their members against the Americans if Saddam is executed. Iraqis in general are watching closely to see what happens next, and quietly preparing for the worst."




Asterism
Post: 12/30/2006

Execution was: he posted a roundup

My Comments:
asterism does a roundup of his own of Iraqi bloggers from the Iraqi Blogodrome Google group



Iraqi Roulette
Post: nothing yet



Hassan, Average Iraqi
Post: nothing yet



Sami
Post: 12/30/2006

Execution was: conflicted

Quote: "May all those who died or have suffered under the hands of Saddam and his stooges rest in peace. Your memories sadly will be only remembered by your families and those Iraqis in the same boat as you but thanks to politics the whole world will never really understand the tyrant Saddam Hussein really was.

Now its turn to hope that the same fate bestows Moqtada Al Sadr and Islamic extremism in Iraq is defeated the way Ba'athism has been"

My Comments:
This would clearly be "good" but he is disappointed in the politization of it by Dawa in his view.



Najma
Post: 12/30/2006

Execution was: bad

Quote: "Saddam's death won't lead to anything good, as did his arrest, and trial.. As I've said before, he was a dectator, but now, to me, he was not but a leader who made things work!

Never have we had better times after the war than the worst before.. truly."

My Comments:
She is most upset about the execution happening on the start of Eid.



Nabil
Post: 12/30/2006

Execution was: conflicted

Quote: "I think I'm happy to see this despot recieving a fear verdict and being executed for the crimes he had done to the iraqi people, and for his aggressive behaviour towards the poor people." … "Finally, I still don't know whether I'm happy or Sad..but to say the truth I'm Sad, because I think that Iraq will never ever have a president that knows how to deal with the bad groups of the iraqi people like Saddam."

My Comments:
More Eid reservations



Ibn Al Rafidain
Post: nothing yet



Husayn
Post: nothing yet



Beth Nahrain
Post: 11/15/2006

Execution was: good

Quote: "SADDAM’S DAYS IN THIS WORLD ARE NUMBERED, AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS REASON ENOUGH TO CELEBRATE AND REJOICE"

My Comments:
She's posting about the verdict, but it is still on top.



Abu Khaleel
Post: nothing yet



Rose
Post: nothing yet



Dr."Truth Teller"
Post: nothing yet



HNK
Post: 1/1/2007

Execution was: bad

Quote: "
I was wrong when I said that Saddam don't mean to me anything.
Now I feel guilty because now I believe that he is a MAN ( a brave man) if you just saw the video that someone took in his execution, you will see no fear from death. You will see a look in his face, a look of someone who is ready to challenge, who believe that he was right . He was smiling. I don't think that I will smile if I was in his shoes.

Anyway, from now, I won't say anything bad about Saddam because I don't know whether he was right or wrong . But I know that the people who came after Saddam is Evil and worse than devil and Saddam was better than them......"




Baghdad Girl: Cat Blogger
Post: 12/30/2006

Execution was: bad

Quote: "Couldn’t they wait for a few days till the Eid ends, I know that Saddam has done some bad things and I even don’t like him that much but he was the president of Iraq for 35 years, the man who could make life in Iraq possible and he shouldn't be treated like this."

My Comments:
Eid…



Sunshine
Post: nothing yet



Sunshine's Mom: Mama
Post: nothing yet



Baghdad Artist
Post: nothing yet



The Talisman Gate
Post: 12/29/2006

Execution was: good

Quote: "To all those who worked for this day and didn’t get a chance to witness it,

To all those who hoped for this day and didn’t get a chance to share it,

To all the victims of this horrible tyrant and his terrible thugs—may they face judgment too,

To all the good people of the world who understand the evil that was the Saddam regime and wish the Iraqi people well today,

You are all in my thoughts as I await the news of Saddam’s hanging."

My Comments:
His post on 12/30/2006 touches on the uniqueness of Saddam's trial and execution. Excellent updates on 12/31/2006 to that.



Friday, December 29, 2006

From Palace to Spiderhole to Hangman's Noose

SADDAM HUSSEIN IS DEAD!

Eternal Unrest in Hell for Saddam, Uday, and Qusay Hussein!

Lift a glass with me tonight as Saddam Hussein joins his murderous spawn Uday and Qusay to roast in Hell for eternity!

Lift a glass with me in the hope of a future Iraq without tyranny!

Lift a glass for Samir, the Iraqi-American who pulled Saddam Hussein from his spiderhole!

This is a GREAT EVENING for all of you loyal fans of Iraqi Bloggers Central who have been engaged with me and the IBC crew over the last almost three years.

Thanks to all of you for enduring through the many rough patches over the last four years. There will still be hard days ahead, but let us celebrate tonight the death of a dictator.

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And take a BIG SWIG of whatever you're drinking and SPIT IT IN THE FACE of Raed Jarrar, whose "NATIONAL LEADER" has just died.

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Beelzebub strides to the podium, eyes the expectant denizens, and grins.

"We got him! He's OURS now!"

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My War

Or: How I Went From Being a Political Agnostic to Being a Boot-Licking Neocon Shill

For my first post here on IBC, I thought it might be interesting to review my own experience with the war on Iraq. These days it seems objectiveness is entirely in the eye of the beholder, so I’ll just be up front about how I’ve come to view the war as I do.

I may as well start in 2000, not that this was the beginning, but because I have to start somewhere. I was discussing who to vote for in the Presidential Election with a friend of mine. I said that if Bush was elected, there would be a war. It was (mostly) a joke, but he was not doing well in discussing issues of foreign policy. On the other hand, I couldn’t vote for Al Gore. He wanted to be another John Muir. He’s no John Muir. To begin with John Muir never invented the internet. I ended up voting for an extremely obscure, thirteenth-party candidate from a party that sounded kinda cool and whose platform might work in a perfect world even if it smelled just a little bit like bong water.

On September 11, the war came to us, and it shocked me as much as it shocked many of us. Maybe like most people I thought the first plane was a horrible accident, but by the second… then the third… then the fourth it was quite clear what was happening.

I don’t remember when Bush gave his speech from the wreckage of the WTC*. I do remember watching it live. Bush was stumbling, mumbling a bit, at a loss for words. Then those New York firemen called “we can’t hear you!” from the back, just as they would say to anyone speaking before them. Bush took a long time to respond. Then he finally came up with the “World will hear you… and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon” quote. It was the right thing to say, and invading Afghanistan was the right thing to do for all but the most ardent America-haters out there.

As the run-up to war began for Iraq, I was glued to the news. I was hoping some sort of solution would materialize that would make military action unnecessary. Still, I was a detached observer to this all- interested from a historical perspective, concerned from a humanist perspective, worried about all the people on both sides- and those who would be caught in the middle- but still just an observer.

On January 11, 2003, I was in the stands of the Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, AZ for a supercross race. Like every event I had been to, a color guard marched onto the field. I knew from my time in the Marine Corps Reserves (’91 to ’97) that the Marines in the color guard were the active-duty Inspector Instructor staff from my old unit, possibly supplemented by a few Reservists who volunteered for the duty in exchange for free tickets. But after the color guard came out, a few dozen Marines in desert cammies came out and unfurled a huge American flag over the field, and then the National Anthem was sung. Afterwards, I could barely hear the garbled announcer over the cheers of the crowd, but I heard him say that these Marines were part of the unit- my unit- that had been activated for service in the Persian Gulf. I did some quick math in my head. I got out in ’97… most of my friends got out in the next few years… even the “lifers” I knew had gotten out… a Reserve contract is six years… So, it was possible that some of the Marines who were just joining the unit as I left were being activated now for service. Did I know any of them? Did I train any of them?

That was the point that the war seemed “imminent” to me, and that it became real. Since then, I have family, friends, and friends’ family who have gone and come back or are there now. It’s definitely real.

I don’t think I supported the invasion at first, until it happened, at least. I knew Saddam was done, there was no doubt about that. Even South Park had picked up on him, portraying him as Satan's boyfriend (Saddam wore the pants). Still, I was hoping he would take the last minute exile deal he was offered. As troops rolled in I shelved my misgivings and wished for a quick success, for us and for the Iraqis. The invasion ended quickly, and the Iraqis seemed pretty happy with Saddam ousted. My anxiety ebbed a bit.

As the insurgency picked up steam, and was joined by domestic and international critics of US policy who seemed to delight in difficulties in Iraq, my anxiety returned. I started to wonder again:

1) was the invasion justified?

2) is Iraq going to be OK?

3) is it “worth it”?

I began to take a particular interest in the opinions of “average” people, how they were coping and so on. For example, I found the BBC’s “Have Your Say” section to be very interesting. By the by I found the Iraq message board at abcnews.com. I followed this pretty closely, just reading & seeing what other people thought. After the election of 2004, where Bush won (and this time with my vote- not that it meant much in my bright red state), the “lefty” posters there were so bitter they began to romanticize the insurgents and terrorists, and would regularly cheer the killing of American soldiers in Iraq. So, in late November 2004 I signed up and began posting there. My posting name “RhusLancia” comes from a conscious effort to choose a name with the most uninteresting back-story ever. This is not so easy to do, once you start to think about it. My first post was in response to someone justifying terrorism, and I replied you don’t express legitimate gripes by blowing up innocent men, women, and children. That's a bit of a pet peeve I have.

I posted quite a bit there over the next few years (almost 1200 times as of today, not counting dozens that the mods deleted). Along the way, I had a number of level-headed debates with antiwar, anti-US, and anti what-have-yous. This helped me discover how I felt about the war, and why. I also threw a few barbs at people who deserved it. Lately, the board has been so heavily moderated that actual discussions are rare and it’s been left to endless calls for Bush’s impeachment and so on. Yawn.

Somehow I found my first Iraqi blog, which was Sam @ Hammorabi’s. It was fascinating to read his views on the day to day of life in a war zone. Eventually I found my way over here, and ran through most of the Iraqi blogs on the blogroll. My favorites, and the ones I regularly comment on, are Baghdad Treasure and 24 Steps to Liberty. I also like Iraq the Model, Iraqi Konfused Kid, and Healing Iraq. Another new one that’s topping my charts is Iraqi Mojo. Just as Jeffrey said, the Iraqi vs Iraqi debates are rare and informative. I’ve learned a lot about the history and inner struggles of Iraq from the debates in the comments there. I comment there a bit, but I usually don’t invade & occupy their discussions as they have them.

By the way, according to the Christian Science Monitor’s Neocon quiz, I’m a “realist”, not a neocon. I was perfectly OK with this until the Iraq Study Group released their report. "Realist" should not equal "Surrender Monkey".

So there you have it. I am still an observer to this war. My answers to the three questions so far? 1) yes 2) I don’t know 3) It depends on #2!

I’ll try my best to add something meaningful to IBC. I’m hoping to find some blogs from Iraqi soldiers and police (does anybody know of any?) since that’s a perspective I haven’t seen yet in the blogosphere. I’m also thinking about getting some Arabic & English translation software to see what the Iraqis are saying on Arabic blogs.


* OK, I looked it up to get the quote right. The speech was Sept. 14.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

IraqSlogger Gets Slogged!

Omar over at ITM has posted a critique of an article written by Amer Mohsen, one of the IraqSlogger staff. In a long, detailed blog entry, Omar analyzes and evaluates Mohsen's understanding of the current state of newspaper journalism in Iraq. After a lengthy catalogue of points of disagreement with Mohsen's article, Omar concludes:
If the Slogger team wants to offer analysis or become a better alternative for whatever other sources of Iraq news, they ought to try better than this. Because if they keep writing like this, their site will soon be regarded as just one new waste of bandwidth, the same way that flipping channels looking for the whole image can be a waste of time.
Omar, along with his brothers, belongs to the first wave of Iraqi bloggers and still lives in Iraq. Therefore, one has to take to his criticism seriously. At the same time, I still enjoy Eason Jordan's daily summaries of the articles on Iraq by the American newspapers.

I have to wonder how Zeyad -- currently in the employ of Eason Jordan and a colleague of Amer Mohsen -- would respond if asked to give his opinion of Mohsen's article. Now THAT would be an interesting case of triangulation from which we all could learn something.

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From all of us here at Iraqi Bloggers Central:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Facts in Your Face

The US has by far the largest GDP in the world at around 13 trillion. We generate a lot of wealth because we're very productive, we invest in our businesses and technology, we have a very good education system, and we've had a stable government for a long, long time.

We have NEVER needed Iraq's oil for the simple reason that even some of our smallest-producing STATES generate more wealth than the country of Iraq.

Take a look at these two tables:

List of countries by GDP.

List of US States by GDP.

First you will note that the STATE of California at 1.5 trillion GDP comes in right behind the country of Italy at 1.7 trillion GDP.

To put that another way, if California were a separate country it would be listed in the 8th position of rankings of world GDP. Texas and New York, by the way, would be ranked 10th and 11th as countries with the largest GDPs in the world.

Iraq has a GDP of around 94 billion, which is closest to the GDP of our state of Utah (33rd in US ranking).

Think about that.

The entire country of Iraq has a GDP similar to that of the 33rd-ranking state of Utah.

Saddam Hussein was removed because, after 9/11, we decided that he was a danger that we could no longer let aid attacks on the US. The idea that we needed Iraq's oil is simply preposterous.

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Let me put this another way.

One of my sisters and her husband work for two Fortune 500 companies as executives. My sister works for a mid-sized oil company whose yearly revenue is around 20 billion per year; my brother-in-law works for a major credit-card company with a revenue also around 20 billion.

So, together, they work for just TWO US companies that generate around HALF of all of Iraq's yearly GDP.

The US has the most dynamic economy in the world. The invasion of Iraq was never about enriching Americans -- Iraq exports oil and dates, the former we can simply buy and the latter are currently not in great demand here -- but about our security, which I view personally as someone who watched, through my living-room window, the smoke rising from the collapsed towers of the World Trade Center.

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For comparison, my home state of IOWA has around three million residents and generates $114 billion in GSP. Iowa's wealth comes from agriculture (soybeans and pigs), industry, and the service sector.

Iowa
population: 3 million
GSP: 114 billion

Iraq
population: 27 million
GDP: 94 billion

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Muqty Now Sits on a Couch!

As most of you know, I shut down Iraqi Bloggers Central back in August, 2004, for almost three months when Muqtada Al-Sadr, after causing the deaths of many Iraqi citizens, was allowed to waltz out of Najaf. Nothing angered me more than to see such a fat-arsed, slime-toothed, Farsi-lisping thug walk away without having to accept any responsibility for his actions. On August 26, 2004, in a blog entry entitled The Arab Parallel Universe Triumphs Again, I wrote:
The Multinational Forces are getting screwed over once again by Iraqi leaders as you and I sit here at our keyboards.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's very simple. If Al-Sadr walks, this weblog closes down.
He walked. Just as he had walked away from the indictment for the murder of Al-Khoie. The next day I wrote my last blog entry -- End of the Road -- until December of that same year, three months later. In that blog entry I discussed both the original goals for Iraqi Bloggers Central and my recommendations for those who wanted to join the Iraqi blogosphere, which makes for interesting reading now two and a half years later.


Iraq Pundit, without question one of the best commentators in the Iraqi blogosphere, takes on Newsweek's recent article on Muqtada Al-Sadr, in an issue that featured the Iraqi Chubby-Cheeker on the cover. Iraq Pundit notes that Newsweek focused on Muqty's rise from sitting on PILLOWS to sitting on a COUCH:
Newsweek's crackerjack journalists are nevertheless able to demonstrate Moktada's prestige and transformation. Get a load of this:

"He used to greet visitors at his Najaf office sitting on pillows on the floor. Now he has a couch set. His concerns are high-minded: he speaks of fuel shortages and cabinet politics. In the past, Sadr was shrugged off as a rabble-rouser and a nuisance."

See, he has a couch set. That's got to blow everybody away. But my favorite piece of reporting is that bit about Moktada's "high-minded" concerns. You know, every now and then Moktada actually says something in public that reveals just how "high-minded" he is. I've tried to cover this beat, so many of you already know that Al Sadr views Iraqi soccer as a Zionist plot to subvert the nation's youth. You also know Moktada's theory of U.S. intervention in Iraq: that it has nothing to do with democracy or oil or even neocons, but is entirely about the imminent return of the occulted Twelfth Imam. The Pentagon has amassed a huge file on him, says Moktada, and will meet his return with force. Most recently, the nuanced Moktada accused U.S. forces of "cooperating and synchronizing" with Al Qaeda and the Baathist insurgents at the expense of Iraq's Shiites. Thank you, Newsweek!
The Iraqi blogosphere has gotten larger since 2004, adding such needed commentary as Iraq Pundit's. And even in the last few months we have seen new bloggers like Iraqi MOJO begin writing, adding another voice to our debates.

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For the old gang -- Fay, Diane, Madtom, Mister Ghost, Louise, Dilnareen, leap_frog, Michael Cosyns, Kat, Andrea, Eli, Bridget, Paul Edwards, Vrangel, and John from the Netherlands, , (Raed and Khalid even stop by) -- you might want to re-read the comments pages from the August 27, 2004, entry called End of the Road and the August 26, 2004, entry called The Arab Parallel Universe Triumphs Again. It was really nice to re-read all of your comments.

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