Friday, April 24, 2009

Top 10 Best Iraqi Bloggers of All Time

This is a list of my favorite Iraqi bloggers of all time. These are the bloggers that (at this time) I would want to exist if there could have only been 10 since 2002. Some of these are no longer posting, yet I still go back and re-read their posts. If I had compiled this list 3 years ago, it would have been different. Some bloggers who I once considered indispensable have, frankly, began phoning it in. I mean, you know exactly what they will say before they say it. Some of them began phoning it in from a very scary place (Hammorabi & Ladybird).

This is list is not based on readership. It is based on the sustained quality and reliability of the posts. With the exception of #1, the ordering of these bloggers is a *little* random. You should consider a blogger within three slots of each other to be of comparable esteem.

Put your own top 10 list in the comments. Mine is an English-language only list, but I'd welcome a list of Arabic-language Iraqi blogs.

1) Ali Fadhil (Free Iraqi)

I recommend that a reader of Iraqi blogs read every post in this defunct blog before proceeding to the rest. It will help you tell the difference between "shit and Shinola".
Ali is the brother of the Iraq the Model boys and a former contributor there. He's a pediatrician. An ethnic Sunni Arab who married into a Shi'a family.

At ITM, Ali was the first Iraqi blogger to call out Riverbend for "lying", and the first to indirectly identify Juan Cole's deficiencies regarding the history of Iraq.

The ignorant spread a rumor that he quit ITM because he disagreed with his brothers' political positions on Iraq. The truth is what he stated here:
I did not quit because of any distrust of America's plans in Iraq, I was not treated badly by any American, I have no problem with any right-wing blog and I never had any problem in dealing with extreme left blogs.
Ali would later explain that he was frustrated with the lack of fruitful discourse that Iraqi blogs had accomplished up to that point between right-wing and left-wingers, between "pro-American" and "anti-imperialists". Judge for yourself if he succeeded.

2) Hayder Al-Khoei (Eye Raki)

It is not often you get to read a blog by a "player"...someone in a position to know more about what is really going on than the average dentist (no offense intended toward plethora of Iraqi dentists who have run really great blogs.)

Hayder is the grandson of Ayatollah Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei, the predecessor of Sistani. His uncle was assassinated by Saddam. And the day after Saddam fell, a well-armed Sadrist mob assaulted and assassinated his father at the Imam Ali shrine (see Hayder's post on this). It is believed they were operating directly under Muqtada Al-Sadr's orders. Ironically, this is the very shrine where the Sadrists held up in August 2004 declaring that destroying them there would be a desecration.Hayder is as close to an expert blogger you are likely to find on issues relating to Najaf. When Sadr temporarily returned to Najaf in 2007, Hayder was blogging on it while the rest of the national media was clueless.

3) Salam Pax (Where Is Raed?), (Shut Up You Big Fat Whiner), (The Bagdad Blogger), (Salam on Twitter)

Granted, for a long time Salam has not posted as often as we would want and for long periods his posts did not have the solid content we wanted. But this is a "life-time" acheivement slot. When Salam Pax nails it, he hits it out of the park.

His original site is useful on many levels and defective too. It is useful because it he is the only Iraqi blogger posting on the Saddam days. Also, it was where other Iraqi bloggers made their first appearance: Raed Jarrar, Ghaith Abdul Ahad (G in Baghdad), Riverbend.

It is defective for it's lacunas. At one point in 2002, Salam Pax got nervous about Saddam's secret police closing in on him and entirely erased his blog entries. Then years later, Raed Jarrar (who was a co-blogger with Salam) carefully edited his best and most revealing posts for fear they would prevent him getting a visa to the United States which that Boot-licker of Imperialists was desperate to gain.

I've never understood why Salam felt the need to start whole new blogs rather than just rebranding his old ones.

Lately he's been strolling down memory lane at his current blog: examining the period before, during, and after the invasion of 2003. I'd say that is a significant bell-weather that the days of strife are wrapping up in Iraq. And of course he is leading the pack of Iraqi bloggers in his use of Twitter.

4) Omar and Mohammed (Iraq The Model)

For a long time, these guys were THE breath of fresh air among Iraqi bloggers posting from Iraq. Although Arabs, they did not feel the need to bow to A.P.U.* They never portrayed themselves or their fellow Iraqis as victims. Their posts are practical. They don't shake their fist at the U.S. to gain credibility. Consequently, they haven't posted things that they have to (or ought to) apologize for later. And no other blogger has trudged on after receiving so many arrows in their backs from other Iraqi bloggers.
Note: The term "Arab Parallel Universe" was coined by Jeffrey and defined by the Egyptian, Sandmonkey, here.

For example, when the Lancet Report came out just prior to the U.S. 2006 mid-term elections, they were the only Iraqi bloggers at the time recognize that how and why the report's authors were inflating the deaths of Iraqis for benefit of a FOREIGN political conflict (the American elections):
They shamelessly made an auction of our blood, and it didn’t make a difference if the blood was shed by a bomb or a bullet or a heart attack because the bigger the count the more useful it becomes to attack this or that policy in a political race and the more useful it becomes in cheerleading for murderous tyrannical regimes.
Abbas of Catharsis (at the time, he was Konfused Kid) fished for disparaging opinions of the ITM guys from other Iraqi bloggers. If you don't know it, this is the favorite method of those without the FACTS to support their opinions: rather than debate the issue, you attempt to manufacture an environment of contempt toward the opposition. Most the his responses were quite hostile:
"...traitor...holocaust denier...nonsense...anti-rational dialogue the Baathist apologist that they so despise...shameful...they are dying for an asylum in USA..." (this blog has been closed)
Abbas called them:
"...just an inbred propaganda machine, if this is not crossing the line, then I don't know what example of the mentality that currently prevails the Green Zone, nervous Iraqis who just want to make a few bucks by catering to an audience and telling them what they want to hear."
When the study was found to be a farce, not one of these bloggers --including Abbas-- apologized (surprise!).

When an Iraqi blogger claims to call it like he sees it without concern for what others think, just know that these guys are the standard (the model if you will) for that kind of ballsy posting.

5) Nibras Kazimi (Talisman Gate) and IraqPundit

These guys are sooo informative, so dead-on, and so linked in my heart that for me they are like a single blog, because I love them for the same reasons. I have called IraqPundit my twin by another mother. He always seems to be thinking what I was thinking and then has the temerity to explain it better. If these guys have spoken on a subject and you haven't read their post, then you are under-informed. Incidentally, these were the only bloggers contacted by Abbas (Konfused Kid) who recognized from the outset that the Lancet Study was bogus.

6) Sami (Skies)
An Iraqi psychiatrist. It's really not my "kind" of blog. So why can I not look away??

7) Iraq Blog Count
This blog is posted by Abbas Hawazin from Catharsis, Salam Adil from Asterism, and that lying weasel Khalid Jarrar. Salam's blog made #9 on this list. Abbas can be a jerk, but I can't help but like him. Khalid is a lying sack. But they all do a very good job of keeping on top of new Iraqi blogs, including those in Arabic.

8) Iraq Mojo

This blog has the most productive comment section right now. I only wish Mojo would do more commentary the way he used to.

9) Salam Adil (Asterism)
I'm listing this blog solely for it's occasional round-ups of Iraqi blogs on selected issues, which is dependably comprehensive

10) Alaa (The Mesopotamian)
He doesn't post much anymore, but when he shoots he kills.

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