Tuesday, December 07, 2004
This site has gone completely crazy. The template was corrupted and I lost the comments, and nothing seems to work right. I still have important things to tell you. Therefore if I cannot repair the site I shall have to find a new one.
I hope this message gets through.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Sunday, November 14, 2004
As additional note to the previous post, I would like to add the following very hurried remarks, due to the urgency of the situation.
Effective control of the capital and its approaches, especially to the south will facilitate all other tasks and should create manageable situation for the vital part of the country from the capital Baghdad to the shores of the Arabian Gulf. Reconstruction efforts can then proceed in reasonable safety in the Southern part even before achieving full stability elsewhere; which besides can be an example for other regions of the fruits of stability and peace. I strongly believe that the correct strategy for future action should be based on this premise.
After appeasement of Fallujah it is absolutely imperative to turn attention to the southern approaches to Baghdad. Armed bands have effectively severed the road leading south through the triangle of Latifiya-Iskandariya-Yousifiya. This is a belt separating the south from Baghdad. The demography of this belt is characterized by tribes who had very close links to the defunct regime. Awful crimes are being perpetrated on these roads. People are being murdered simply for having the wrong names. It is a deliberate attempt to ignite a sectarian war. In fact a sectarian war has already been declared, unfortunately, by elements of certain tribal and sectarian affiliation. Some southern Shiaa tribes are already calling for armed committees to combat the armed bands who are killing people on the road. There are reports that the bandits are moving to cut the other road that bypasses Latifiya, which means severing the capital completely. This is a serious situation, and urgent measures are required before a general conflagration of a sectarian nature takes place on the southern approaches to Baghdad and in Baghdad itself, which can isolate the Capital and complicate things beyond control for the Iraqi Government and the MNF.
I repeat this is more important than any other thing, and should be addressed without delay before it gets out of control. Securing the capital is more important than anything that might happen to the provinces. Securing Baghdad is at least 80% of securing the country as a whole.
URGENT, URGENT, URGENT; I hope this message reaches some right places. Protect the roads- lift the siege on the capital. It does not require nearly as much resources as the Fallujah operation; but if the matter is left without swift remedy, it might escalate into something very serious and ugly indeed.
AASH AL IRAQ
YOUR OTHER BROTHER
Friday, November 12, 2004
Due to urgency of the situation I find myself obliged to increase this blogging effort as a kind of contribution to "thinking" about the appropriate courses of action, and to stimulate constructive debate. I would like to state briefly some personal thoughts and ideas of mine that I feel are relevant to the present situation.
The article quoted in the previous posts specifies certain areas and “logistic trails” for the current insurgency in Iraq. Most of these locations belong to regions mainly inhabited by Sunnis. Now I would like to explain my own position regarding this sectarian issue. I don’t mind mentioning some personal details that might be of interest in this connection. My own family background, like so many other city folks in Iraq is a mixed one from the point of view of sectarian affiliation. For instance, my mother comes from a Sunni family while my father is a Shiite by birth. Similarly my wife also is a Sunni. I have always told my children not to pay much attention to this question, and even left them the freedom to practice religious rites when they do, in whatever style they like, and since they spend most of their time with their maternal grandparents, they do that mostly in the Sunni fashion, influenced by them. I would say that this attitude is fairly typical amongst the liberal Baghdadis of real Baghdadi vintage. Bigotry and bias mainly reside in rural areas. So it is with dismay and sadness that I watch this sectarian divide being deepened and inflamed at these awful times. The degenerate practices of the Saddam regime contributed a great deal to the spread of this sectarian antagonism.
It would be wrong and disastrous to portray the current struggle as a fight against the Sunnis of Iraq, but rather for rescuing them from the evil influence and grip of extremists and dangerous elements whose danger is more damaging to the Sunnis themselves before anybody else. And I must say that some of the excess enthusiasm of Shiaa groups, especially the religious ones, might contribute in arousing fear and suspicion amongst the Sunnis in general. It is necessary to allay these concerns while pursuing a firm policy against the terrorists and saboteurs. No effort should be spared to contact and negotiate with the sensible leaders and dignitaries of that community, if necessary through secret and discrete channels, to reassure them and prepare the ground for reconciliation and a political solution in the near future as soon as the “insurgency” is effectively suppressed. What is worth mentioning is that the moderates are always the majority essentially, but it is usually an unarmed and peaceful majority, so they are naturally weaker and easy prey for the armed and violent minority. This must be taken into consideration and measures to strengthen the moderate’s hand should be considered. All this should go hand in hand with an iron fisted approach to quelling the armed and terrorist revolt.
"Alaa,This link: http://belmontclub.blogspot.com/has a great deal of analysis of the current battle and future plans for gutting the insurgency ……..
Thanks Bridget, the articles you are referring to are indeed very interesting. It is a fact that the so-called “insurgency” is not simply some isolated actions by angry men, but a secret army with a certain degree of organization and logistical support. Geographically it is situated in certain provincial “Sunni” areas which are listed in the article you refer to. What is going on now is a real continuation of the military campaign as the enemy has fallen back and regrouped rather than accepting defeat and getting involved in the political process.
I would venture to say that the leadership and main backbone of this “insurgency” consists of members of the deposed regime, i.e. Baathists, especially those belonging to the various military and security organizations of the regime. Some of these men have adopted new religious garbs, perhaps not entirely as pretense, but a kind of psychological conversion trying to find a moral base after the collapse of the old Baathist ideology. However, to say that Baathism had an “ideology” is to give it an unmerited distinction. It was such a hotchpotch of ideas and words which you could hardly make any sense of. Many of these modern secular movements with sparkling poetic names ( Baath means resurrection in Arabic) degenerated into very thin and poor disguises to some much older and traditional prejudices and divisions. This regrouped secret baathist army controls and makes use of religious groups and foreign volunteers, as well as considerable local and foreign funds and resources. Politically, one of their main objectives is to polarize all the Sunni population on their side, using all means possible, mainly, intimidation and inviting retaliation from the authorities which could hurt uncommitted people and then use that to inflame passions and anger. Therefore, regarding the battle of falluja, it is essential that the Iraqi and MNF forces provide escape routes and safe areas for the civilians caught in the cross fire.
But again I refer you to a post which I have made longtime ago about the rural problem in Mesopotamia. I still believe that the main problem stems from this unruly and backward peasantry, in all regions and not only in Sunni areas, with reactionary mentality stuffed with the prejudices and hatreds of centuries of religious and ethnic strife and division, and ever ready and eager for any opportunity for mob behavior, looting and thieving (Farhood, as it is called in local jargon). The Saddam regime itself was nothing but an expression and predominance of these provincial forces. It takes an iron fist and ruthlessness to restore law and order and the governance of the city, i.e. civilization.
Quoting from one of the articles referred to above:
“Allawie has also crossed his Rubicon and so, perhaps, has CENTCOM.”
Let us hope that the forces of civilization, both Iraqi and Western have the willpower and stomach to finish the daunting task properly.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
You have surely heard of the kidnapping of the relatives of Dr. Alawi, his cousin, aged more than seventy years old, the cousin’s wife and his daughter in law. The daughter in law is said to be pregnant. Immediately afterward, an internet site announces that they will be beheaded if some impossible demands which can be summarized as total surrender to these miserable Dead Enders.
Can you imagine this; beheading a pregnant young woman whose only fault is being a relative of the Prime Minister. Now you know the kind of people who are terrorizing the majority of the Iraqi people and have been terrorizing them by the same methods for decades. We, Iraqis are not surprised, because we have seen countless examples of worst brutality over many years. It is Allah’s wisdom that the baseness of these creatures be exposed to the whole of humanity in this most scandalous fashion. Erstwhile, crimes used to be committed in the dark, unseen and unobserved by the rest of mankind. Now you see, and there is no doubt and no disputable claims and no uncertainty.
Now, Dr. Ayad Alawi, is a wealthy man, a highly qualified and successful physician, and could live quite comfortably in London a very decent and even affluent life, where he is holding a British passport and can enjoy all the benefits and amenities as any other British citizen. However, he chooses to serve his country and sacrifices his safety, security and the blood of his family; his brother had been assassinated before by the same Saddamist thugs during the rule of the defunct regime. This is Dr. Alawi, this is the patriot who is paying by the blood of loved ones, for his love and dedication to his country. Office, in these terrible times is no luxury, no sought after prize; it is a dangerous and excruciating responsibility.
If these criminals make good their threat and slay these innocents and the young pregnant woman, and Dr. Alawi is not likely to pay the slightest attention to their demands; then, although they won’t realize it of course, they will be slaying for good the slightest glimmer of hope for their rehabilitation and restoration to the human race. And they and anybody who sympathizes or apologizes for them shall be condemned by God and decent humanity until judgment day.
It is this kind of enemy that the young men and women of the MNF and the new Iraqi Army are facing. Can anybody even with an atom of decency doubt the justice and righteousness of their cause?
Monday, November 08, 2004
The killers who are loose in Dialla province this morning have murdered policemen in cold blood and distributed leaflets warning the population to stay away from government offices and schools; imagine this: schools! So what do they want: to stop life altogether? Their spite is driving them berserk. They want to murder everybody and everything. What do they mean: schools? That is very significant in understanding the psychology of these creatures, who by the way are the very same people of the old security forces of Saddam; the perpetrators of the mass graves.
I want to draw the attention of all the people of the world to the mentality of these, our home grown monsters. What they mean by “schools” is a direct threat against children, Iraqi children; because, children are the dearest things in the world; because if one can withstand all sorts of tortures and even death, still the thought of harm to one’s children is something unbearable. That, they know very well and therefore they want to use it and it is typical of these animals. That’s how they used to twist our arms before, for so many years, and they are at it again. It is not fear of death that used keep us subjugated. In fact we learnt something terrible and very real. Death is not the worst thing that could happen to you; it is not even in the “top league” of “worst things”. And they have hurt children before, and have tortured children before, and killed children before. The spite, hatred and cruelty of this race is something beyond the comprehension of normal human beings. And it is clear that the existence of the normal Iraqi human being and these is mutually exclusive. It is either “them or us”, as you say.
For the valiant soldiers doing battle in Falujah today: like the medieval knights, you have engraved on your shields severed heads of kidnapped victims, murdered children, the hundreds of thousands of the dwellers of mass graves. You are the instruments of the Lord’s retribution. Have no mercy on this vermin, they do not deserve any.
God bless you and protect you for you are doing his work.
Of course the terrorists have to be dealt with in this way. They are heartless murderers and their hatred of the people is attested for by their behavior during the past and by their actions after the fall of their regime; the beheadings, the cold blooded murder of policemen and children etc. etc. Anybody who thinks that a soft approach can succeed with these zombies does not know anything. The only problem is how to protect your back when you are attacking. They are hitting hard in other areas. The notion that you can put poor policemen in normal police stations or have them standing in the streets as in normal times is quite irresponsible and very cruel to these poor youth, when these callous gangs are out to murder and hunt them like lame ducks. The police must be heavily armed and heavily defended. Police stations have to be guarded as military garrisons, since they are the target of large scale attacks, especially in the hotspots, including Baghdad. To continue exposing the IP to these daily pogroms will soon lead to the disintegration of this force. The Government and the MNF must listen and act before it is too late.
As we have said the terrorists will try to launch a terror campaign in Baghdad. This is already happening. Emergency measures must be put in place in the capital immediately, otherwise this could spiral out of control and distract from the action in Falluja. They have just launched most blatant atrocities against churches, a hospital and several other targets. They are roaming the streets in cars. Measures should have been in place to considering that this was expected.
Ziad is posting again. With each posting from him my appreciation and respect for this upright man rises one notch up. You see, Ziad is a Sunni by birth, but a free and upright person by mind and education. This gives the lie to the idea that the problem in Iraq is solely due to the strife between religious sects and ethnic groups. The problem and divide is between intelligent cultured people and the ignorant. And Ziad is a fine example of a cultured person whose strength of character and conviction is stronger than all the pressures of sectarianism and fanaticism. The same applies to many fine men in Iraq today, and it is our hope that sooner and later the waters will calm and the true bond of “Iraqiness” will triumph over the ignorance and foolishness of extremists and peasants of all sorts, Sunni, Shiaa etc. etc.
Ziad is my favorite blogger and he has been my inspiration for starting this blog. I wish to send him all my heart felt greetings and best wishes from this humble forum.
"This poem was written after a successful battle that was fought despite warnings from astrologists, who predicted that the time wasn't auspicious for it.A bad translation of some more of it:
The sword is truer in tidings than the books,On its egde lies the border between gravity and sport.
Blades in their whiteness, not pages in their blacknessArray to sweep away uncertainty and doubt.
Knowledge is in the fire of spears,Shining between two hosts, not in the seven spheres.etc.
Michael, US "
Thanks Michael, this is a better translation. Are you a scholar of the Arabic language? It would be interesting if you could post more translation of the poem. I hope you appreciate the symbolism of remembering this particular poet in these days.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
I have just been watching “Al Jazeera” Television, although it is something very distasteful to me. They are at it again. When will people realize that this terrorist organ is a real menace and an enemy propaganda mouthpiece? There is no longer even pretence at neutrality and factual reporting. When will the American government take action, considering that this station is sponsored and financed by the Qatari regime which is supposed to be on very good terms with the U.S.?
Al Jazeera has been actively engaged in hostile propaganda and has played an important role in inflaming the situation and jeopardizing American and allied soldiers, not to mention the Iraqis. It has become the official agent and mouthpiece of all the terrorist groups and the means of delivering speeches and statements from the likes of UBL and all manner of masked men, be-headers and hostage takers. Is this not a time of War? Were not the Iraqi T.V. stations taken off the air during the battle against Saddam? Why are these any different? I am telling you that despite being banned in Iraq they are still obsessed with biased and inflammatory coverage of the situation. Enough is enough and something drastic must be done.
It is generally accepted that the greatest Arab poet ever was “Al-Muttanabi”, an Iraqi who lived in the middle ages and had a very turbulent life that ended with his murder somewhere near the actual city of Kut today ( if my memory doesn’t fail me).
This is one of his most famous verses:
السيف اصدق انباءا من الكتب------------ في حده الحد بين الجد واللعب
It is very difficult to attempt translating such high language nevertheless I shall attempt it:
"The Sword is more telling (educational, informative)than Words
Its edge (blade) is the divide(separator, sharp edge, border) between seriousness and play"
The translation does not do justice to the power of this verse which has the power of the descending sword.
This man paid his life for a poem composed cursing the leader of a band of brigands (very similar type to the terrorists of today)
"Could someone please post the link to the Zarqawi that is in English. I am unable to find on Alaa's blog.Thank You
I am putting the link permanently on my side bar, as I believe this is an all important ducument for understanding the enemy and his plan which he is actually implementing on the ground. However, the translation is not very good and in many instances even wrong. I don't have time to correct the full translation. Nevertheless the general sense is there.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
The ink has not dried (figuratively speaking) on my previous post in which I predicted that the insurgents will attempt to strike and escalate terrorist action in other places, that we have today the horrible terrorist actions in Samara particularly and elsewhere. Coordinated well planned brutal assault with 4 suicide car bombs targeting police and ordinary people in Samara, cold blooded slaying of 12 civilians in Latifiya, not to mentions the attacks in Ramadi and elsewhere. It is clear why the terrorists should target Samara in particular. Because Samara was a success, and because the citizen of Samara, mostly Sunnis were happy to be rid of the terrorists, so they had to be punished.
It is now amply clear, that the time has long passed for “negotiating” with the enemy. The Saddamist-Sectarian-Foreign Extremist enemy has opted for bloody conflict, murder, and intimidation long time ago. The talk about negotiation and a peaceful solution is almost demoralizing when we are confronted everyday with beheadings, kidnappings, cowardly murders and car bombs targeting children and people in the streets. For instance, a small peasant town, called Latifya (part of the so-called Triangle of Death South of Baghdad), has been the centre of the most appalling crimes and attacks against completely innocent travelers who happen to pass nearby, not to mention that is certain that it is the very place where the American and British hostages were incarcerated and beheaded. It is now established that the British Engineer escaped in the fields near this town before he was recaptured and murdered. Now, despite repeated claims by the government that arrests and raids were made in this area, we still see continuation of the atrocities from gangs based in this town and its environs. The situation has become so bad that illegal check points manned by terrorists are set up here and there asking people for “identity” papers and according to religious sect or more importantly whether they happen to be police or ING, kidnapping or outright execution may be perpetrated against them.
It is not enough just to dispatch some eight hundred British soldiers to the area, notwithstanding how good they may be. The town must be surrounded, without previous warning and reliable Iraqi forces (the ING have proved to be more reliable than the IP) should go into the town and thorough house to house searches carried out and afterwards the town should be permanently held by these security forces.
Also it is most important to make information public about whatever terrorists are actually caught. The policy that has been followed since the fall of the regime of keeping the public almost completely in the dark about the identity of the perpetrators of terrorist acts, is almost a cover up of the crimes and encouragement for the criminals. Repeated calls for public exposure of the criminals have been very strangely ignored both by the CPA before and by the Government now. Also this policy helps the enemy to spread his propaganda and slander against the very forces of liberation and freedom. For instance, you always hear the accusations trying to put the blame for particularly atrocious acts on the Allied Forces, the Zionists etc. etc. For instance, Zarqawi is an invention by the CIA, and so is his famous letter, and beheadings, car bombings etc. are actually engineered by the Americans or the Zionists and so on. This kind of talk is very widespread, and you remember how an individual used to be always at hand when car bombings started, to claim in front of the Media that he had seen an American helicopter fire a rocket or something of the sort. We have yet to see one public exposure of any group or individuals connected with terrorist acts, despite claims to have caught many.
Friends and allies: this is War and a very serious and dangerous one too. Do not underestimate the enemy. In Iraq you have at least 80% of the population on your side and desirous of change and success in creating the new society. Anybody who tells you otherwise is simply a liar. Wars are terrible and cruel but what must be done must be done. Remember what it took to defeat Nazism, Fascism and Japanese Militarism- the flattening of most of Europe and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, horrible as that may have been. Yet both Europe and Japan recovered and eventually enjoyed tremendous prosperity and peace, and the outcome of the horrors of war was entirely in the interest of all the “conquered” peoples. Why was that? Very simple! The right side won the war. The right side must win this war too, for the sake of our future generations and world peace.
Friday, November 05, 2004
It seems that tempestuous events don’t allow much time for leisurely “thinking” and careful contemplation. And since impending action seems inevitable, I feel that it is my duty in this humble forum to express thoughts, fears and ideas. Nobody who knows my blog should have any doubts about my position regarding the overall objectives, and therefore anything I say comes from care that no mistakes should jeopardize the goals that we all are anxious to achieve; namely the pacification of the country and creating the conditions that will enable the elections to be held in satisfactory manner. In other words, it is peace and tranquility and to be able to get back to normal life and reconstruction that we are longing for, and not vengeance.
It does not please any Iraqi to see any city or town in our country suffering the kind of fate that seems to await unfortunate places like Falujah and Ramadi; but whose fault is it really? Were not the people in the town given every chance to reform their ways and stop sabotaging their own country, only to have the place hijacked by extremists who turned the place into a safe haven for killers, kidnappers, be-headers and suicide bombers exported to Baghdad and elsewhere? Extremists turned the place into a Taliban like hell where ordinary people were subjected to the most ignominious and cruel treatment, and I refer you to the few reports that came out from inside the town, and also to the letter from Dave (link on the side bar) where he reports incredibly, that some of the residents are asking the American forces to bomb their own houses which have been occupied by terrorists.
But enough of that kind of talk! What is important now is a careful assessment and solutions, real solutions that will lead to real improvement.
It is a fact that most of the inhabitants of the town have left their homes and sought refuge outside it. Many hope that the matter is settled as quickly as possible, so that they can go back and live their lives, although they may not publicly admit that. Sure the insurgents and terrorists are going to be wiped out if they are foolish enough to stay inside. The important thing is, however, that in the aftermath of the action real aid and massive support should be ready in time to help the returnees and show them who their real friends are. And it must never be forgotten that in the final analysis it is a political problem and if military action is necessary its successful outcome can only be assured if a political solution is found after breaking the back of terrorism and insurgency.
Also it must be understood that the insurgents have many cells and other basis and they will try to retaliate with stepped up terrorism especially against soft targets in Baghdad. Therefore emergency measures must be in place including curfews, close surveillance, restriction of movements, and security clamp down on known hotspots particularly in the capital and its environs before and during the planned military action. The Allied leadership must understand finally that the security of the Iraqi People, State and Infrastructure is the real key to producing the environment that will help with the security of their own soldiers and personnel. It should also be finally realized that providing security is something different from military action and much more difficult. This was the problem right from the start. The American and allied forces are superb as fighting forces against visible enemies, but when it comes to maintaining security and civil order; well, we have all seen what happened!
All what we are hoping is that the political and military leadership in the U.S. and other allied countries as well as the field commanders and the Iraqi government learn from the lessons of the past and rectify the mistakes and do it right this time; especially now that the mandate of the American people has been clearly given to finish this job; and finish it well.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
I would like to thank all my friends for the kind words of encouragement and support on the occasion of the 1st anniversary of this site. It is mainly this encouragement and support which give me the ammunition and energy to continue writing.
But as I told you: let’s get down to business.
The “negotiating” team from Falujah has written a letter to the government stating the terms and conditions for solving the crisis from their point of view. It is an arrogant letter demanding more or less surrender and reinstatement of the apparatus of the Saddam regime under thinly disguised pretexts and carefully crafted sentences. These conditions were described by Kassem Dawood the minister of Security affairs as “laughable”. It is noteworthy that this minister himself is a Sunni.
It is important to tell you that apart from the Saddamists, their religious extremist allies do not properly belong to any established Sunni sect. So it is a common mistake, even by many ill-informed Iraqis and Moslems, to imagine that the branch of Salafi Wahabists who advocate and practice violence, are Sunnis. In fact they are against all established denominations of the Islamic religion. The origin of this creed is a small breakaway fringe group that migrated to the Arabian Peninsula long time ago and remained a small obscure sect until the advent of “Muhammad Abdul Wahab”(and hence Wahabism), and his puritanical preaching, in what is now called Saudi Arabia, more than two centuries ago. The founders of the present Saudi dynasty used this movement first to expand their power and eventually gain political control of the Arabian Peninsula. Later on the Saudis themselves clashed with the movement and brutally suppressed the so called "Ikhwan" rebellion in the 19th century. Nevertheless Wahabism remains the official creed of the present regime in S.A. and some other Sheikdoms and small states in the Peninsula. This is not to say however, that all Wahabists are terrorists and extremists. Mostly it is just another of these religious sects and people tend to inherit these labels from their ancestors. The rise of the current dangerous terrorism in its present form, in the name of Islam, is quite a recent phenomenon, and as I have said in a previous post, has a lot to do with the cold war and its aftermath; and can be precisely traced to the events in Afghanistan and Iran in the seventies and eighties of the last century.
Well, the above is just some background information for my friends to help them better understand the “terrain” of the looming battle so to speak. The point that I am really trying to make is that these fringe groups see in Iraq today a golden opportunity to hijack the general Sunni population and convert them to their ways, something which they have always dreamt of and which is deeply imbedded in their historical subconscious, considering that it was exactly this Iraq that was the center of theological speculation and conflicts in the heyday of Islamic culture and civilization; and the place from which they had to escape in ignominious flight way back in the middle ages. And again I remind you of that famous “Zarqawi” letter; a document which I can never forget, that really sheds light on all the events that have taken place ever since these groups started their activity after the liberation; and a document that really merits careful study and analysis by specialists both historical and military strategists. Sadly, the macabre plot laid out in that fateful letter is being implemented to the letter, and successfully too, as we have to admit with heavy heart.
This preamble is just an introduction to a series of posts which I hope to write successively as time permits to assist in exploring the battlefield as it were, and perhaps assist in “thinking” about the right strategy to deal with the present alarming situation. For this is a battle which neither we nor you can afford to lose, or to allow dragging for too long without decisive conclusion.
But before I end this post I must make one urgent warning. It would be one of those serious mistakes, in my opinion, to rush into battle in Fallujah without protecting and thoroughly securing the rear in Baghdad and surrounding area.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Congratulations to all American people and to our Iraqi people for this great outcome of the American Elections. This was a great statement by the American people; a statement showing the quality and backbone of this people and affirming their worth and qualification as world leaders. Now that this matter has been settled in satisfactory manner, in my humble opinion; we should emphasize that this is no time for division and rancor. Senator Kerry has acted in very dignified manner when he did not allow the matter to drag, and has shown his patriotism and sense of responsibility and awareness that the interests of the country at these times require national unity and putting this election campaign behind our backs to concentrate on the momentous tasks ahead. Yes at times of war and conflict, the unity of the nation and putting higher interests above partisan considerations is the mark of a great people.
All those who have been following my blog from the start should know how I feel towards El Bush, the Avenger, the Lion-Heart and I cannot hide my happiness for this outcome, purely from a personal feeling of gratitude for what he has done for us, despite all the pain and hardships that we suffered and still do. But the objective is so great and so important that all sacrifices and difficulties pale when contemplating the benefits and goals that are hoped for.
And now that we have this campaign behind us, it is time to roll up our shirt sleeves and attend to the urgent business ahead. We are liberated from electoral worries and can start talking business. So for the near future I plan to tell you some of my ideas in plain and frank terms in the hope of stimulating a serious debate about how to win this war and achieve the desired objectives.
Meanwhile I don’t want to spoil this sublime moment; and raise my hand in military salute to honor our great Allied American people and their fighting men and women, who have demonstrated their true fiber and true worth through civilized democratic choice.
Hail the People’s Republic of the United States of America. It is you who have the right to use such a title and no one else.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Al Salaam Alaykum,
Friends, tears came twice to these old eyes yesterday; once in sadness, and once in happiness. The first was because of a sad event. Sheikh Zayid Bin Sultan Al Nahayan the ruler and founder of the United Arab Emirates passed away. Now this man is one of the very few Arab leaders who really had the affection and appreciation of the Iraqi people. He led his barren land which has no rivers, no mountains and hardly any assets apart from some oil, and not much of it, to be one of the most prosperous and advanced countries in the middle east. His wisdom, mildness and kindness helped to create a real gem on the shore of the Arabian Gulf. God rest the soul of this friend of the Iraqi people and great benefactor to his people. Inna Lillah Wa Inna Ileihi Rajioun.
The second time they were tears of emotion and happiness. As I saw the American people turn out in record numbers, to say their word. And it seems to be the word of defiance and courage. Despite all the propaganda and the feverish campaign, the American people have proved something very important, although the final conclusion still seems to be not official, but every indication is that this is only a matter of little time. This is a most significant and far reaching event. It was most gratifying to see the discomfiture and hardly disguised rancor of Al Jazeera commentators as the results started to take a definite direction. I believe that this outcome and the record turn out have largely for their motivation the considerations that we have in common and which I mentioned in my previous posts.
I shall withhold my real comments on the subject until the final outcome is established officially. It is worth mentioning something, though. One of the Arab networks was interviewing some American Arabs. One lady, who was probably of Syrian or Palestinian descent, was saying that most of the Arab Americans were going to vote for the Democratic candidate as kind of anti-Bush gesture. However, she added something very interesting. She said that however, amongst these, most of the Americans of Iraqi origin, were voting for President Bush. Now did you know that there is a considerable number of these, estimates range from half million to more than one million. I have the pleasure to know that our Iraqi compatriots in the U.S. may have made some real contribution towards the happy outcome we are awaiting with confidence “Inshallah”.
Monday, November 01, 2004
So tomorrow is the big day. For us the Iraqis, naturally, there has never been an American election of greater interest and importance. Well, I think that I have made my own views quite clear, and I still think the same. I have nothing personally against either the Democrats or Senator Kerry. I am not sufficiently well informed about the internal political situation in the U.S., so my own sentiments are naturally influenced by the situation in our country and the future course of the War on Terror and the conflict that is ongoing here. I am convinced that all pro-democracy forces in Iraq as well as all those defying murder and terror and bravely going on with their lives despite the nightmare; All these have quite a definite idea: It is better and more prudent that President Bush is re-elected. However, this is something which the American voter will soon decide. So whatever is the outcome, we wish the U.S. people well and hope that they decide wisely.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
And folks, just consider all those outside the U.S. What do they want?
I mean the absolute unanimity of choice of every enemy and hater of the U.S.; the Terrorists, the Salafis, the International rivals, the Envious etc. etc.
Then consider your real friends and allies, those who have stood with you and shed blood with you, and are willing to die for the common cause, whom do they want? Do you have any doubt about their preference?
My apology to the half of America who may disagree; and I address them with respect and fondness, but with pain in the heart. Do you really want to give satisfaction to the be-headers, kidnappers and child murderers; and the perpetrators of 9/11? Do you want to hear their savage shouts of victory? This is no reflection on the merit of your man. He may indeed be a paragon of virtue, but that does not change one little bit anything about the situation.
The most important factor in this struggle at the present time after the Will of God is your choice, your steadfastness and your resolve. Give the enemy the slap in the face and the great disappointment he deserves. You are the leaders; and all the lovers of freedom and enlightenment everywhere will take heart and charge with you with redoubled zeal, as they see your courage and defiance at the helm.
Go for it America, your friends are holding their breath and waiting, in anticipation, and yes, with anxiousness, and so are your enemies.
Just another thought regarding the American elections in so far as our Iraqi business is concerned:
If you think that President Bush has done a good job and is the better man to lead the war on terror, then no more needs to be said.
If you think the President did a bad job and made mistakes and got us all in a mess, then he must not be let off and must stay to clear the mess. Letting him off now will release him from his responsibility to finish the job and tidy up.
If you replace him now with the Senator, then both men will have ready excuses for any future failure. The one will be able to say that he was not allowed to finish his work and the other can say that it was not his fault anyway, because the other made such mistakes as to make any remedy impossible.
Here is an open and shut case. Folks, think logically, and you will find that there is only one answer and one choice, dictated with mathematical precision by simple logic.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
This piece of news:
“An Iraqi insurgent group, meanwhile, said on a Web site it had taken 11 Iraqi National Guard soldiers hostage.
They were seized on a highway between Baghdad and Hillah, according to the Internet posting by the militant group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army. The posting included the names of all 11.”
The location mentioned above is also roughly in the area mentioned in my previous post. It is a big mistake that this region is not properly controlled. It seems to me that the military strategy requires drastic revision. This pocket of Latifiya-Yousifiya-Iskandarya, which by the way is connected by a back road to the Falujah area, must be under careful surveillance as a matter of urgency. I know this area very well as I have done much work there. In this particular triangle which is situated just to the south of Baghdad, were concentrated the installations of “War Industrialization”, of Sadam. The previous regime has taken care to populate this region with the “right kind” of demography. For instance, the ammunition and explosive manufacturing complexes of “Al Qaqaa” which is connected with another complex called “Hittin”, which in turn leads to the industrial complex of “Iskandariya Mechanical Industries”, form a vast expanse of manufacturing compounds. From the vicinity of Al-Qaqaa complex there is a road which crosses the river nearby where a strategic bridge was built by “The Military Industrialization Corps” in the late eighties. Crossing that bridge there is a highway which passes through an area called “Jurf Al Sakhar”, where a major project of Petrochemical Industry and a refinery had been planned since long time. In the eighties of the last century the last project was actually a joint venture with a consortium led by “Bechtel”, with American financing, and the work was actually started in the eighties and early nineties, but of course could not continue.
The highway continues to lead to an area called “Amiriyah” which is on the outskirts of Fallujah, and where many of other war industry complexes are located, such as the famous “Saddam Establishment” for the manufacture of artillery and related hardware, built by the Yugoslavs in the seventies. Many other factories were planned and actually started in this area, many of which have much to do with the WMD programs. This entire region is a sparsely populated wilderness, (apart from an ultra modern housing town in Amiriyah, and the housing compounds of Iskandariya) with tribal peasant communities here and there, with the military installations mentioned above largely in ruins, but nevertheless providing excellent hiding places for any subterranean groups, not to mention the important stocks of explosives and other hardware which were extensively looted and hidden by the ex-regime bandits and their ilk in these regions, no doubt with the collusion of many of the local peasants, to whom many of the bandits are related tribally. Thus the latest revelation of the disappearance of about 350 tons of high explosives from Al Qaqaa site does not surprise me or any Iraqi in the least, and I am sure this is but a small sample of the stuff actually in the hands of the peasants and bandits around there and elsewhere in the country. People don’t seem to realize the enormity of the quantities of weaponry and ammunition of all kinds that existed before the fall of the regime. Saddam had at one time a standing army of 2 millions and sufficient armament and ammunition for these as well as the numerous security organizations. Where do you think all this material has gone?
Before building the bridge abovementioned the other side of the river (i.e. the location of the Petrochemical project), was an incredible wilderness. Some of my colleagues swear that they had seen a kind of leopard or tiger when they started work on some civil works there. Reptiles and lizards of all kinds dart rapidly in front of you as walk, this I have witnessed personally many times. I have seen many foxes and I am sure many kinds of wild life used to abound there. Rather pretty palm groves form a kind of narrow band on each side of the river.
Thus armed groups of terrorists and insurgents can move about freely and in small groups throughout this rather large area, and have no problem in finding shelter from a population, either intimidated or actually sympathetic, not to mention the lucrative business of kidnappings and ransoms which is developing into a major industry in these parts, in addition to financial support which is pouring generously from many sources. To pin them down and track them requires considerable effort and skill. Nevertheless, to control these parts is more important in my opinion than even the problem of Fallujah. Another rather similar area is situated near the Iranian border in the east in the Governorate of Diala, where constant harassment by the subversives is going on, including the latest massacre of the poor army recruits. In my humble opinion, neutralizing and controlling these regions should precede any push towards the urban concentrations of the West.
Monday, October 25, 2004
My old friend Lee C. wrote:
“I fail to see the logic of turning against the Interim Government.Why are the Iraqi people not turning on the "foreign fighters", the Jihadi, Sadr and his gang, the Ba'athi remnants and rest of the insurgency?”
Well, Lee, I am not saying that it is logical; however the popular mood is very much incensed because of frustration in the face of the apparent inability of the Government to stem the tide of terrorism that is plaguing our country.
Of course, the worst thing that could happen is the kind of sectarian conflict that seems to be the aim of the terrorist groups. If you remember there was this famous letter of Zarqawi, which I have written about at the time. That letter, which I am convinced of its authenticity was very clear and more or less outlined a complete plan of action. One of the main objectives explicitly stated in that letter was this objective of precipitating a sectarian civil war in Iraq. If you study carefully the pattern of violence and terrorism you will clearly see that there is a definite sectarian orientation to these acts, and most of the victims are from certain religious and ethnic groups (Shiaa, Kurds, Christians – together the vast majority). However to be fair, the Sunni areas have also suffered numerous attacks, the latest of which was the attack on the National Guards posts in Al Baghdadi town in the West of Iraq. Also the victims in the frequent attacks in Mosul and elsewhere were not Shiaa people. We must however, struggle, with all our might to combat this sectarianism, for it is a vile plot to destroy the country.
The people are incensed for many reasons some of which are:
- During the disturbance in Najaf, the Government and the MNF took very decisive action and we all saw the consequences. Similarly, the problem in Sadr City was dealt with resolutely. However, no such firmness is seen in regard to the situation in locations such as Latifiya, Diala and the like.
- Latifiya, is a small town, much smaller than Najaf. This place has become the haven for the most hardened criminal gangs. There is a stretch of highway no longer than 10 km which goes by this town. This road has seen repeated murders, kidnappings, and harassment of quite innocent travelers, mostly in fact in one point on this road. The bandits simply commit these acts and go home in time for dinner and comfortable beds. It is established for instance, that the incarceration and beheading of the American and British Engineers took place in that very town. They have even attacked funeral processions of people taking their dead to nearby Karbala, as is the custom with Shiaa people. The murder of the policemen returning from Jordan took place at precisely the same point on that road. Even my relative who was kidnapped lately was attacked in the same place. The Government claimed several times that it has chastised this area and arrested many individuals, yet the atrocities continue to be perpetrated, in even greater frequency and scale. So people are wondering why is it that the Government and the MNF is so ineffective in this area, when they were so determined in the case of Najaf and Sadr City. Also the fact that one of the important persons responsible for national security in the Government happens to be of the same tribe as the main population of the town is not lost on people.
- The above is only one example of several such similar areas. Some areas of Baghdad are also known to be haven for terrorists.
- It is well known, that the policy of Dr. Ayad Allawi, is to try to rehabilitate some of the elements of the previous regime. Although I personally support this policy, yet there are obvious dangers here. The people suspect that infiltration and covert collaboration with the terrorists is taking place from within the new security formations as has been demonstrated in the latest atrocity of the massacre of the unarmed young volunteers near Mandili. The assailants knew exactly about the movement of these poor guys and were waiting in ambush. They were sent unarmed on a desolate road and at night, completely without any protection. Those responsible in the training camp must be investigated, at least for criminal negligence.
- Why should the soldiers, mainly from the Southern parts, be brought to this dangerous location for training? Wouldn’t it have been safer to train them nearer home in much more secure areas?
- We have yet to see a single public prosecution of any of the perpetrators of these atrocities, although, both the American and Iraqi authorities claim that they have captured many. This is most peculiar and highly suspicious.
- Sadr and his followers are open, public and frank opposition, and every one of their leaders is working in broad daylight. They are not some dark figures working underground and using terrorist car bombings and suicide attacks. This fact must be stated, in fairness, regardless whether we like that movement or not. Therefore it is not correct to class them with the terrorists of Fallujah and Latifiyah etc.
Above are some of the points that are troubling people. For my part I sincerely hope that the Government acts quickly to dispel these misgivings and regain the trust and support of the people which is beginning to wane.
"I must point out that there is a campaign underway to try (among other things) to give comfort to the Iraqi Police and Armed Forces that has not been getting ANY attention for some time now.if you feel that you have something to contribute, or would spare the time to write so much as a short "thank you" to these brave souls, EMAIL ME or go to World Inquiry (also linked on the right of this web page) and drop a line with commments, ideas or contructive feedback. the IP cannot afford to be "summertime patriots" and neither should you.regards-Chris
Chris from NH Email Homepage 10.25.04 - 11:17 am # "
Chris deserves appreciation for his efforts and deserves support. All our friends are requested to support him in any way they can.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Regarding the escalation of terrorist acts against the Iraqi Army and Security forces, especially the massacre of 50 unarmed youth; the situation is really dangerous. The mood of the people is quite near to boiling point, and they might turn even against the Interim Goverment. Zarqawi and his likes have stated long ago their foul intent to ignite a sectarian civil war. I fear that he has gone a long way towards achieving this. Urgent action is required before a terrible conflagration takes place. If that happens, heavens forbid, the situation will become entirely untennable and uncontrolable.
Shall talk more about it when I have time.
Friday, October 22, 2004
So the Afghan people came to vote, traveling from far away villages on donkeys, on foot, by whatever means of transport available, braving intimidation, defying the terrorists. They came in their thousands, and waited outside polling stations for hours and hours patiently. Women came; old men came; young men came. The women suspended their household work, taking turns to look after the children. I am not inventing all this, all the reporters mentioned this. We saw it on T.V. screens. The poor people came, clad in their simple attires, their poverty itself a great medal of honor and decency. I tell you, I have seldom witnessed such an awesome sight; I have seldom been touched more profoundly by an event. This was the vote of the people, the truth of the people, and the judgment and Word of the people.
Now those who have eyes can see, but the blindness of the heart is blacker than the blindness of the eye. And all those who shed crocodile tears over the “invasion” of an Islamic land, and raised such a din of noise about the injustice perpetrated against “fellow Muslims”, and all that; all those, do they learn from the “message” of the silent lines of thousands of Afghans waiting at polling stations. Can they get it through their sculls? The people have spoken, loud and clear, they have spoken; the silent majority has spoken at last when given the slightest chance. So Karzai, the American puppet; the stooge; the agent appointed by the CIA etc. etc., Karzai gets the overwhelming vote of the Afghan people! What say you, oh pundits and wizards who have talked so much and pontificated so much, you who claimed to know all there is to know about these people, and told us so often of how wrong it was to interfere, how wrong it was to rid them of the Taliban and Al Qaeda etc. etc. Do you have some little decency left in you to eat your words? I guess not. And are all those millions of Afghans not pious Muslims? - But they are; and a thousand times more so than all the terrorists and murderers, the beheaders of the innocent, the kidnappers, the killers of children. The simple millions of the Afghan people understand true religion a million times better than you, and have voted for hope and the future, and are happy to “collaborate” with the “crusading” Americans and their friends. What more justification for the “Great Campaign” do you want? Allah ( Subhanhu Wataala) shall reward America and her allies for the great charitable act that has freed these people from a most terrible tyranny and horror. That was a good deed, no matter what motivation lay behind it. And one day, sooner or later, the “Message” will come also, loud and clear, from the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
The American people should realize the full responsibilities and importance of their nation. No one can deny, even those who despise the U.S.A. that this country has an importance and influence transcending by far its borders and encompassing the entire world. This is particularly true at this point in time of the history of human civilization. Indeed the United States of America has reached now a height of power and influence unprecedented hitherto. This is the outcome of all the struggles and violence of the twentieth century which saw the rise of this Great Mega Power after the defeat of many including German Nazism, Fascism of all kinds, and the Communist Empire. The first half of the twentieth century saw this shift of power away from the old European powers to the Emerging Giant in the New World. This shift was not a smooth and easy one, but indeed accompanied by the most violent and bloody struggles and upheavals. There were ups and downs, and sometimes even temporary defeats (for instance Vietnam), but the sum total of the inexorable historical process was the resounding triumph and prevalence of the American Super Power. Very few people could have foreseen this even as late as the eighties of the last century. And of course not all the battles were won by weapons and armies. For instance, the Soviet empire collapsed as a result of the failure of its system and inability to compete with a superior rival; a moral, economic, and political superiority; not to mention a relentless “Cold War” waged for nearly half a century.
But the logic and “dialectic” of historical evolution does seem to conform to the old “Hegelian” concept of thesis and antithesis. That is to say historical forces will inevitably tend towards the emergence of New Poles (not to be confused with the Polish people) and New rival powers. And it is not difficult to guess the powers and countries who are candidates for this new polarization. I believe, this is already happening in front of our eyes. However, “Religious fanaticism”, or if you like this pseudo-Islamic extremism, represented by, for instance, Al-Qaeda or similar groups, do not qualify as serious candidates or serious rivals for the predicted new polarization of the twenty first century. As I see it, this “War on Terror”, important as it may be, is nothing but mop up operations of some the side effects and consequences of the “Cold War”.
You may wonder: why the above preamble? And what bearing does it have on the present situation? Well, I shall answer you very briefly and concisely.
Any concept that there is possibility of a wide alliance that will support U.S. efforts and be amicable to its goals and national interests is a false hope which profoundly misinterprets the logic of historical realism. The battle lines are clearly drawn, and ally, foe, and opportunistic bystander are all quite well defined, and any notion that these can be appreciably changed by diplomacy or otherwise is an illusion.
Monday, October 18, 2004
I wish to express appreciation for the great comments I get from you.
Nevertheless I think perhaps I have not succeeded to convey the sense of real urgency and opportunity in my last post. You see, the situation is such that a great development has taken place. What I am referring to is precisely where we are now vis-à-vis the so-called “Sadrist current” or the movement led by Muqtada Al-Sadr. Now my friends have to broaden their minds and try to understand a complex phenomenon, which if dealt with properly could be put to real use and may well be a powerful instrument of change to the better. The “Sadrist” movement is something quite different from the other “insurrectionst” groups, especially those in the so-called “triangle”. I think my brother “Ziad” of Healing Iraq, has analyzed the situation well in one of his posts about a month ago. What happened in Najaf, Karbala and Now in Sadr City ( Formerly Saddam City and before that Thowrah City), essentially is the failure of the disturbance in the face of determined action by the Government and MNF, to be sure, but not just that. The fact is that the “Sadrists” have failed to arouse the Masses of the Shiaa people despite all their miseries and the terrible hardships that they are enduring in their daily life. They lacked popular base and popular support, and after all the painful events that took place it seems that the leaders of this movement have come to realize this and have been forced to submit to the pulse of Shiaa street.
Now I wish to emphasize one word that seems to have gone unnoticed in my previous post. I said that the real “antidote” to the terrorists, Saddamists et al, are these very same poor Shiaa masses, even those who have raised arms in the face of the authorities in the latest confrontations. Now, for instance, Thowrah City has two million inhabitants who are entirely reclaimable and could be a formidable force confronting the terrorists if they can be rescued and reformed, and that can be done only through employment and active involvement and recruitment in a revitalized and politically targeted and focused economic campaign. I mean, if say 1 billion dollars of the many billions that have been spent in this war is immediately directed and focused to this area, and entrusted to honest hands, and if this sum is “deployed’ with urgency to engage all able bodied men in projects to clean up the area and restore basic services and support small business; I can guarantee that this will be more effective than much military activity in changing the strategic balance in Baghdad. The emboldening of the Saddamists and terrorists has much to do with the apathy and disgruntlement of this tough class of hardened plebeians, who should be the ones most to gain by the liberation and removal of the previous regime. Quite frankly, our middle class is much less qualified to confront the terrorists and murderers than these tough working classes. I know the government is thinking along the same lines, and that considerable sums have already been allocated, but I am writing these lines in the hope that our American friends on the ground should be aware of the importance of the matter and that they might oversee and watch the process carefully, which should be considered as part and parcel of the military campaign.
As I have said long ago, it should be realized, that Baghdad is the key to stability in the country which explains why most of the effort of the enemy is concentrated on this city. But Baghdad has an overwhelming majority (especially if you count Sadr City) who are intrinsically and fundamentally the real “enemies” of this enemy. Any opportunity to reclaim and mobilize this majority should be pounced upon, and that could be a decisive factor in this campaign. If this is clearly understood, great results can be achieved; and you must trust me on this, for we know the situation here on the ground better than anybody else.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
You know for quite some time after that glorious day of the fall of the Idol, very large portions of the country were absolutely quiet, waiting, expecting. The support for the liberation was tangible and quite real in many places of the country. For a brief couple of months, people waived at the U.S. and allied soldiers, and these walked freely about, and a kind of fraternization was really beginning. Then things started to go wrong. Those friends who have been following my blog should know that I have never said that the performance of the Americans and allies was flawless. But I have always resisted the temptation to dwell on mistakes; because the enemies of Iraq do that for quite destructive and vicious reasons; to discourage and demoralize and spread pessimism and despair. Yet mistakes were made, big mistakes. But that is not the point that I wish to make today. What I really want to say is that an opportunity was missed to launch a real campaign of economic improvement, especially in those parts of the country most oppressed and neglected by the deposed regime, especially in the Shiite South. After so many years of depravation, the people were hungry for everything. Very simple things would have made quite an impression. To be fair, much was attempted but the tangible results on the ground made very little actual impression. I could expand on this and give many details and examples and the kind of things that would have been more effective etc. etc., but this is not the point that I want to make.
What I want to say today is that with the latest events in Sadr City and the present quieting of much of the South, another opportunity presents itself. An important economic effort should be launched without delay to really make a difference this time in these areas. Small and medium Projects and schemes with local labor intensive strategy should be rushed into implementation. There are regions where the security situation permits this right now. Complicated and large long term projects may be necessary but what is needed right now is some real tangible short term results that at last might show the populace some definite improvements in their situation. We say better late than never. The strategic planning for the aftermath of the war was not particularly effective, it must be admitted. It is time to rethink and grasp any opportunity to rectify past mistakes. These impoverished masses who were the real victims of the defunct regime are the real antidote to the Terrorists and the Baathi’s, despite all their squalor and ignorance. It is high time that they are served properly that they see the benefit and feel the change. And results if achieved substantially on this front will reverberate throughout the country and make many in the more restive parts rethink their attitude.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Actually, the American elections are rather more crucial for us at the moment than our own . That is not to belittle the importance of the latter, but taking a really hard look at the present situation, one cannot escape this conclusion. This statement may annoy a lot of people, but we are not particularly concerned about sensitivities at the moment. The thing is that we have to admit that despite the fact that most emphatically, the majority of the Iraqi people are for the new Iraq, and that the “insurrectionists” do not represent but a small minority, nevertheless the balance of forces on the ground would be seriously upset were it not for the support of the American and allied forces and nations. This small minority is dangerous, desperate, ruthless and absolutely prepared to commit any kind of atrocity to further their aims and vent their spleen, as has been clearly demonstrated almost everyday. They are well financed and connected with parties and interests beyond the border who consider it a matter of life and death to thwart all U.S. efforts and abort this attempt at creating a democratic state in the area. There are even larger international forces at work behind the regional players. So with all these foes it cannot be expected that the fledgling new Iraqi state and the largely peaceful and unarmed people can withstand the assault on their own in the present stage of development. It is a foregone conclusion that any abandonment or retreat would result in the most catastrophic consequences both for the Iraqi people as well as within the context of the wider global war on terrorism. Having said that, it is also important, to ease the burden on the Multi National Forces and keep them as much as possible out of harms way and stop the losses altogether. This can be done by transferring as much of the routine tasks to the Iraqis while keeping the MNF in secure bases from which they can be deployed for strategic tasks. For us, they are a most valuable asset and must be shielded and used only with the utmost care and parsimony. I believe it is possible to devise such a strategy and that it can be implemented.
Now, do we have a right, as Iraqis to express our opinion about the U.S. elections, which are of course an entirely internal affair for the American people? Or are they?
It seems to me, that since this matter is going to have a direct impact on our lives and very existence and since the U.S. government and people have seen fit to intervene and initiate this profound revolution in our country; it would not be extravagant nor incorrect for us even to demand to take part in those elections, rhetorically speaking of course.
So, I have been, personally very attentive to the debates and positions of both candidates, and I have some thoughts which I would like to share with you, my American friends. To start with, Senator Kerry may be a very good man and quite patriotic. Also we have to respect the almost 50% of the American people who lean towards the democrats. I don’t know much about domestic issues in the States so naturally, as might be expected, the position of any Iraqi would be mainly influenced by the issue that most concerns him. Thus, regardless of all the arguments of both candidates the main problem is that President Bush now represents a symbol of defiance against the terrorists and it is a fact, that all the enemies of America, with the terrorists foremost, are hoping for him to be deposed in the upcoming elections. That is not to say that they like the democrats, but that they will take such an outcome as retreat by the American people, and will consequently be greatly encouraged to intensify their assault. The outcome here on the ground in Iraq seems to be almost obvious. In case President Bush loses the election there would be a massive upsurge of violence, in the belief, rightly or wrongly, by the enemy, that the new leadership is more likely to “cut and run” to use the phrase frequently used by some of my readers. And they would try to inflict as heavy casualties as possible on the American forces to bring about a retreat and withdrawal. It is crucial for them to remove this insurmountable obstacle which stands in their way. They fully realize that with continued American and allies’ commitment, they have no hope of achieving anything.
On the other hand if President Bush is reelected, this will prove to them that the American people are not intimidated despite all their brutality, and that their cause is quite futile. Yes there is little doubt that an election victory by President Bush would be a severe blow and a great disappointment for all the terrorists in the World and all the enemies of America. I believe that such an outcome would result in despair and demoralization of the “insurgent elements” here in Iraq, and would lead to the pro-democracy forces gaining the upper hand eventually. Note that we are not saying that President Bush is perfect, nor even that he is better than the Senator, just that the present situation is such that a change of leadership at this crucial point is going to send an entirely wrong message to all the enemies. Unfortunately, it seems to me that many in the U.S. don’t quite appreciate how high the stakes are. The challenge is mortal, and you and we are locked in a War, a National Emergency; and in such circumstances partisan considerations must be of secondary importance. If you lose this war, you are no more, and you will have to withdraw within you boundaries cringing and waiting for terror to strike you in your homeland, afraid to move around, afraid to travel, afraid to do business abroad. You will have to see all your friends abroad annihilated and intimidated and nobody will have any confidence or trust in you anymore. And you will have to watch from far with bitterness the forces of darkness and evil taking over in many parts of this earth, with feelings of impotence and inability to do anything about it. In other words you would lose all credibility, and the fiends of terror and obscurantism would go triumphantly dancing the macabre dance of mayhem and death, and darkness would descend and obliterate the light and the hope. You think I am exaggerating, you think I am being paranoid? I just pray that destiny would not prove all these things; I pray that these horrors will not come to pass. And all this for what? For failing to confront few thousands ex-baathists and demented religious fanatics and some common criminals, concentrated in some rural areas of a country of the size of just one of your states; and that for a nation that has defeated Natzism, Imperial Japan and the Soviet Empire!
Well if Senator Kerry is such a good man, and he may well be, then it would be prudent to wait just another four years to elect him, after the job is done. And if this is interference in your national affairs by a foreigner, I am not going to give you any apology for it.
Friday, October 15, 2004
I am glad Ziad ( Healing Iraq) is back. I was getting worried about him. The incident of the murder of the lady pharmacist and the doctor is well known and has shocked people around here. These killers come from the murderous Latifiya, Yusifiya, Mahmoudiya triangle - very well known haven of criminals and thugs of the Baathist regime and various assortments of their fellow travelers, and the center from which much of the kidnapping, murders and beheadings are launched, and precisely where the American and British victims were kept and murdered lately; a security force which is really in control would not have much difficulty in finding the perpetrators in this location, which is not particularly heavily populated. The government is trying to tackle this area. Unfortunately, the defenseless people are still very vulnerable and the murderers are more or less free to terrorize at their will. As I have said before, repeatedly, there is still not the kind of security grip which could tip the balance of intimidation the other way round. Somehow I feel that massive military action is not sufficient alone to tackle the situation, although admittedly, it may be unavoidable at times. I am sure the government is trying its best, though, and is struggling in very difficult circumstances. What is needed is not just simple police but a kind of rapid intervention groups able to deal with kidnappers and terrorists on the spot; also permanent security presence and grip in residential areas both in urban as well as provincial regions; easier said than done, admittedly though. And so in the final analysis, it is clear that the growth and strengthening of Iraqi security forces will be the key to a real change in the situation eventually, and until that happens the support of the MNF is essential to avert real disaster.
Monday, October 11, 2004
A positive development, definitely, that which is happening in Sadr City, or Thowrah City. The first day seems promising and weapons are being surrendered seriously, we are keeping our fingers crossed, as it is said “chez vous”. There is little doubt that the majority of people everywhere, including trouble spots are longing for peace. I have not been in Sadr City lately, but it is said, that the entrance of I.P. and ING was met with “ululation” (remember the word?) from women and general satisfaction. And in all honesty, something has to be said about the so-called “Sadrist Current”. Well, despite all their transgressions and crimes, these people are not the “hardcore” terrorists who are the real danger in Iraq. Anyway let’s hope that these latest developments result in a real appeasement of this important front, and more importantly unify at least all the Shiaa people towards the future political process. And in the final analysis the real solution to the whole problem has to be political, although we must appreciate the effect of American fire power that seems to have certain tranquilizing and sobering effect upon agitated souls.
However we have some worry that the patient may relapse in the absence appropriate doses of the “sedatives” abovementioned.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
A most important development in the media sphere is this new T.V. channel called “Al-Fayhaa” that started recently transmitting from Dubai, U.A.E.; despite its humble financing and capabilities. It is able to beam only 3 hours per day each afternoon with repeats in the evening. Despite that, its popularity is skyrocketing. This station has hardly any programming ability, relying mainly on receiving calls from the public and some voice reports from inside Iraq, where they don’t even have the ability to use cameras or produce serious reports from the ground; so it is more like a televised radio station rather than a proper T.V. channel. The significant thing is the absolute freedom of the callers to say whatever they wish without the slightest attempt by the anchormen to edit or interfere, and also each caller is given ample time to express his views however humble or poorly expressed. In some way it is like the internet, a space of unedited freedom for the ordinary people to express themselves. This is quite revolutionary, since the internet is still out of reach of most people in Iraq.
And you will be astonished of what you hear, tremendous stuff. Secrets and the inner reality of the situation in Iraq are exposed through the witness of people on the ground- ordinary people. A pity that they don’t have English speaking programming, it would create a real stir in the Western world, more than our blogs, I think. It is fast becoming the forum for ordinary Iraqi people of all kinds who may not have access to the internet; the majority, I suppose. Nowadays I find myself riveted to the T.V. screen throughout the three hours evening repeat of the afternoon transmission to the exclusion of all other activities.
In short this modest amateurish effort by a group of Iraqi patriots, with financing from small Iraqi businessmen abroad is infinitely more important than all the other media that have come into being after the liberation.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
I have read your excellent posting "Listen America". I would like to ask my local paper to run it as a "Guest Opinion" editorial. Would you object to your posting being used in this manner. I hope that you will give permission to my local Newspaper to use the article if they are brave enough to do so. Many people in my area need to see the sorts of things you have written.Thank you very much for your Weblog and I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.Best regards and wishes,Mikael
Thanks alot, not only I do not object, but I shall be grateful for your efforts to spread the message as widely as possible.
The truth about how the majority of Iraqis feel will become apparent sooner or later. Just look at what is happening in Afghanistan. How many insults and slanders were levelled against Karazai, but now just you wait and see the results of the first free elections in their history. Hats off to the great honorable Afghan people. I was touched to tears by the sight of the tremendous crowds lining up for the vote despite all the threats and hardships.
Friday, October 08, 2004
Just a footnote to the last post. Do you know where this debate in this Arab Network was taking place? - right in your front yard, from one of the U.S. cities, and the arab commentators in question were all U.S. citizen, holders of U.S. passports, and ofcourse, of palestinian or syrian origin. Just thought you might be interested to know.
Kenneth Bigley has been beheaded - Another innocent victim whose sole sin was that he came to our country to build and reconstruct; another atrocity; another monstrosity. And there are those who call these monsters “resistance fighters” or even just “insurgents”. And I have seen his poor old Mum pleading, fainting and suffering. What callous hearts are these? - Before him the American engineers and so many others. And so you see what we are up against, what we have been up against for the last five decades.
One Iraqi T.V. channel interviewed the young mother of two little girls who were murdered in the suicide bombing atrocity in Al-Amil district. The girls were to start school the next day. Their school things were prepared and leaning against the wall. It is something that truly breaks the heart. It is remarkable that the incident received little attention in the world media. This was a deliberate attack against children, not accidental, not collateral, but a premeditated deliberate murder of children. More that thirty children were dismembered and butchered by two suicide cars and the terrorists were most certainly non-Iraqis who came from abroad. Can you imagine the barbarism, can you comprehend the cruelty. But for me the most unbearable sight was those school bags leaning against the wall lovingly prepared by a young mother in fond anticipation of the start of the school year only to have her two beloved young ones brought home bloodied corpses. And what was the crime of the children? – crowding around the soldiers to receive candy!
Now as I am writing these lines, I am watching a debate in one of the Arab channels with usual slanders and twisting of the facts, shedding crocodile tears about the Iraqi people and how cruel and unjust are the Americans etc. etc. We have had enough of these Arabs. Such bigotry and evil have seldom been known in human history: To hell and damnation all of them together with their “insurgent’ brothers from whatever color and nationality they may be. And we are not forgetting the terrible atrocity against tourists in Taba, Sinai, either.
I have been listening to the report about the WMD’s by Mr. David Kay. Now, all of you in the West must know that as far as we, the Iraqis, are concerned, we care very little that stocks of WMD’s existed or not at the time of liberation. For us Saddam and his regime were in themselves, the most lethal WMD that cost our people hundreds of thousands of victims not to mention the destruction of the economy and the very fabric of society in our afflicted country. That regime was a dead end for our people and with its continuation there was no hope whatsoever for the future. Mr. David Kay did mention something about this, and he should know, since he spent so much time in Iraq and has intimate knowledge of the situation. Saddamism is a cancer that we have yet to recover from. Western intervention lead by the U.S.A. was a God send to us, despite all the pain and misery that accompanied the operation and the repercussions that continue to rock the process of recuperation and rebirth of the nation. The U.S. soldiers are bravely standing in the thick of the turmoil and contributing with their blood and sweat not to mention the treasure of their land, towards curing us from the remaining ulcers of the disease after having performed the main surgery which no one else even dared even to think of.
Perhaps, the interests of our people were not the main consideration that led to that action; nevertheless, that does not change anything about the importance and implications for the people of Iraq of this tremendous historical act. Yes there is pain, chaos and loss; yet on the other hand, there is possibility of hope, and a clearly discernible “light at the end of tunnel”, to use this worn out phrase.
Were we better off during Saddam’s time? - A question to which many outsiders are very keen to know our answer. Well, in many respects the streets are much more insecure, yet the security that existed in Saddam’s days was like someone quietly waiting for certain death; like a cancer stricken individual carrying the disease in his guts with no hope or attempt at cure. Yes, the pain and torture may be much more terrible when the surgeon has operated and the disease is tackled; but at least there is hope of recovery and healing, and the prospect of life saving. And this is not allegory, nor a parable; this is coming from someone whose house has been standing in the midst of bombs and explosions for so long now, protected by none but the mercy and grace of the Lord; from someone who has suffered robbery, kidnapping and constant daily danger.
And here we are, trying to organize elections, trying to control the security situation, trying to restart the reconstruction, able to talk, able to think, able to watch satellite T.V., use the internet, the mobile etc. – in short everything that we have been forbidden to do before. And without the slightest hesitation, we hail with Love and Gratitude our giant U.S. friend and his allies, standing with us shoulder to shoulder, braving the elements, braving death, calumny and hatred, shedding blood; to help us heal, to help us reach the shores of safety. And make no mistake, the campaign is winning and will achieve its objectives. Make no mistake; you have already created an allied nation in the very heart of the M.E. despite all appearances, which will produce all the long term benefits and consequences so many times reiterated by President Bush, to the ridicule and insults of the profoundly mistaken, of the profoundly hating.
America, stay the course - God, Decency, Honor, Hope and everything that is virtuous and right is on your side, beside the majority of the Iraqi people. America do not waiver, for you have never waged a more noble and just campaign in your entire history. America, we are winning, God’s willing, and Victory is coming sooner than many might think.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Now that OPERATION IRAQ FREEDOM II has to be launched against essentially the same enemy regrouped and refinanced and thouroughly convinced that terrorism and "nihilism" is the way to confront civilization, The Mesopotamian is still around, unflinching and undying friend of liberation, freedom and enlightenment. Will be back with some more thoughts.
Regards to all my friends.
Friday, September 24, 2004
It seems to me that conventional armies and armaments are not designed for this kind of war against terrorism. For example, the tank may be effective when confronting enemy tanks and forces in well defined combat scenarios, in which case the range, fire power, accuracy and all the other specifications can be relevant and effective. However, when roaming the narrow alleys of "Sadr City" or the back streets of "Najaf", the tank is a vulnerable liability and an easy target for even the most pathetic R.P.G. wielding individual. Its massive fire power itself can be a disadvantage and rather like a surgeon trying to perform heart surgery with a Viking Axe. Many such examples and comparisons can be made to illustrate this fact.
What I am trying to say is that a fundamental and serious rethinking is required, of the military strategy and the kind of weapons and means necessary to deal with the kind of situation that we have here. I am not talking here about the complex totality of the problem, that is to say the sociological, economic, and political aspects, but purely the military side of the problem.
Long time ago I have stated my views regarding the kind of measures required to deal with the security problems. It is a strategy based on information, identification and denying the enemy freedom of movement; painstaking “inventorying” of the population and vehicles and the establishment of permanent security centers overseeing all the locations, especially in the troubled areas. Many protested then, that this kind of thinking is dangerous from the point of view of civil liberties and the democratization process. I don’t deny such problems, but the alternative of allowing the cities to fall to the terrorists and their dirty tactics is by far the more serious threat to civil life and the reconstruction of humans and country alike. The Government has decreed right at the start, that emergency measures may be declared when necessary, and if the present situation does not constitute one of these contingencies, I don’t know when will that be ?
Massive military action with tanks, aircraft, and the like may be necessary at times, but consolidating the situation and the establishment of permanent security structures to control the appeased areas are of paramount importance, otherwise you will see the infestation reappearing as soon as the forces withdraw. Najaf is one example where this has been done rather successfully, so far at least. The success in Najaf, is due also to the fact that the rebels lacked popularity, and that the police and local forces had some real basis of local support. But it must not be forgotten that the firm action of the American forces and close cooperation with the local forces were the really decisive factor, not to mention the timely intervention of the moderate religious leadership to provide the proper face saving exit for the rebels. The examples of the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala should be looked at very carefully, as these areas have become some of the most secured regions in the country. The success should be followed up with energetic economic and reconstruction efforts to consolidate these important gains.
We must not, however bury our heads in the sand and indulge ourselves in wishful thinking and rosy talk. The situation is serious, but in my humble opinion winnable. We shall win if we know how to use our brains right. There have been mistakes in the past as I have repeatedly said before, but there is no point on dwelling on these. The important thing is to learn from these mistakes, however regrettable they may be. For example, and since the enemy has the declared strategy of bringing the fight to Baghdad, which is the real key to this country; the Emergency Law may be declared in the Baghdad region for say, one month for a start. Curfews and restrictions may be put in place in certain well known areas; vehicles have to obtain new permits, information compiled about inhabitants, new identity papers for individuals, entries and exits from the capital properly controlled, etc. etc. At the same time, these “no-go” zones must be ended once and for all, by all means necessary. They must be secured after being taken, even if that requires extra tough measures. I am personally certain that much of the planning and logistical support for terrorist acts is being hatched in these places. It is a fact, though, that many in those areas are rather helpless and intimidated and essentially hostages to the gangs of terrorists and criminals of all kinds.
Another very important point: much criticism has been leveled against the ex-CPA for having disbanded the Army and Police. However, I must say that it is the abrupt and rather careless manner in which that was done, rather than the principle itself that is at fault. In the rush to build up the new Iraqi army and security forces, it is very important to remember that reliability is more important than numbers. Today only, one of the members of the “Association of Muslim Scholars” is calling openly, upon the National Guards and Police Forces to rebel against the Government. This man should be immediately arrested, regardless of turban and beard.
Well, these are some thoughts for all they are worth, and I look forward to hearing your views about them.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Where do we stand? Where are we going? What is to be done? So many questions! So many answers! How do you fathom the human heart? How can you understand cruelty? The beheading of an innocent human being in cold blood! The kidnap and brutalization of humanitarian workers such as the Italian girls, how can one reconcile oneself with all that? How can you understand the evil of others? The hatred and wrath; the suicide attacker; the lust for death and blood! In short; how can the psyche readjust and erect defenses to simply cope with such pain and ugliness, without descending into a paralyzing gloom and stifling anger, rage and disgust.
Only yesterday, the car bomb exploded quite near to our house. The house shook, a door lock was broken, so close was the explosion. They are roaming the streets and attacking at a fearful rate. Imagine two or three car bombing per day; this is too much. This is not just terrorism; it is a frenzy of hate and mass murder. One is surrounded by fear from all sides; fear seems to pervade the atmosphere; the air itself seems so thick with it; you smell it, you breath it, you live with it constantly. These are masters of terror. For as long as I remember we have been living in this atmosphere. It is not just now but in the old days of the regime also. Fear has been the weapon and method of these people. Of course the ones who are doing this now are the same, the same old operatives; past masters at intimidation and terrorism. One of the important principles of their art is to vary the methods of torture, so that people don’t get too accustomed to only one type and perhaps by this lose some of the poignancy of the feeling of fear.
By deposing Saddam, we were all hopeful that the days of fear would be over. But cruelly, it was not to be so. We are being treated with new forms of torture, and new kinds of horror. It was not just Saddam, but whole tribes and hordes of sick vampires. Saddam was removed and captured but the hordes and tribes are still there, let loose and now without even a Saddam to control them. They are running wild, unchecked and uncontrollable. God have mercy upon us. At these times the vision of the early Christians thrown to the lions comes to mind; the defenseless men, women and children clinging to each other while the Romans (in this case the Arabs), watched with sadistic pleasure the grisly spectacle from their comfortable seats in the amphitheatre. But the Christian faith was not defeated; soon afterwards it was triumphant all over the Western World. Triumph seemed to issue from the torn flesh and open wounds of the children of the early Christian Martyrs brutalized by the beasts of the cruel,decadent, expiring, pagan civilization. Although the lions did tear and devour, yet it was pagan Rome that died and Christianity that lived and conquered the world. Faith proved to be the more potent weapon.
And so it shall be here, so it shall be here, God’s willing, and in God we trust.