Saturday, January 17, 2004

In the Name of God the Merciful the Compassionate

Hi Friends

My trip has been delayed to tomorrow morning, and I cannot resist dropping a final hurried word to you before leaving.

These are critical times and I think much will happen the next few weeks. But take courage brave America, the courage that comes from conviction that you are in the right; that your cause is noble and just. Despite all the fog and deliberate confusing of the issues, you must know that the Majority of the people still believe in you at heart. You have taken on formidable tasks. You must rise up to the challenge, and you can and we are with you. Never mind the noise; the barking of enraged canids deprived of their spoils; the scheming of old “Belles” of yesterday who cannot understand that their days are gone; the brutality of misled peasants who know not what they are doing; never mind all that and more, as long as you are on the right path.

Time and the years will show how important these times are. Most people cannot see. A new dawn is coming, that will change the destinies of many peoples, not least the American and Allied peoples.

Our interests and yours are identical and will be for a very long time to come. As for some neighboring Arabs, they are showing stupidity again. Instead of being slaves to ancient and obsolete slogans and ideas, and instead of sending misguided suicide youth to murder our people and sabotage our life, they should be doing their damn best to help and encourage the U.S. and Allies. So many times have they clamored for the active engagement of the U.S. to solve regional problems, and now when the U.S. has finally engaged and in grand style, they find nothing better to do than trying with all their miserable might to slander, thwart and discourage the effort.

And finally, a special salute to Dear President Bush, the man who dared. The task will be accomplished (Wallow Kariha Al Karihon = Despite the Hatred of the Hateful). This “Taming of the Shrew” will end as in the play. This I am convinced of.

But now; I really do have to go do some packing, farwell for real this time.



Friday, January 16, 2004


It is interesting that you remind us of the role of the Jewish Iraqi community concerning the Maqaams and the Chalghis; It is absolutely true. This link is indeed interesting .




Thank you for the art link.



Hi Everybody,

It is important to remind you that my post yesterday does not pretend to cover all the aspects of the security issue, much more can be said but that should be considered as merely some thoughts and comments that may be interesting to some.

Also, I should emphasize that I believe that economic and political considerations are the more important ones. I do have something to say about that, but after my return, Inshallah.

Here is an interesting Comment by Brian H:

“rule of the gunslinger is random tyranny. And many people will choose central tyranny over that.

Brian H | Email | “

I must emphasize, however, that I am not advocating “central tyranny”, heaven forbids; merely the reestablishment of an effective security system (and records), under the watchful supervision and guidance of the civilized world. I may even suggest that there should be some safeguards and safekeeping of the records thus collected.

Meanwhile, I bid you farewell for about three weeks and look forward to come back to you again, God’s willing. I have enjoyed your company and thank you for your interest.



Thursday, January 15, 2004


In the name of God the Compassionate the Merciful

Hi Friends,

Despite very busy schedule and travel plans I have to get some of this off my chest. I don’t have much time, so I shall summarize as much as possible. I am actually delaying some urgent last minute work to write this.

It is now almost nine months since the fall of the regime, and the baby should be about ready for delivery right now, like somebody has remarked. We don’t have to dwell on the negative side of things, including mistakes, which may have contributed to the present rather unsatisfactory situation, only if understanding these mistakes can help in finding solutions and avoiding further errors.

The remedy to the present situation requires a comprehensive multi-pronged counteroffensive approach. There are these main aspects of this: The Security and Military approach; the Economic approach; the Political approach; and last but not least the Educational and Information approach. It is necessary to have a strategic plan coordinating effort in all these areas, like an orchestra conductor directing the musicians to produce harmony and successful performance. I have no alternative but to deal with each of these concerns separately and then try to see how they can be coordinated.

Security and Military Considerations:

The present strategy of the Coalition is not something that can be belittled and has produced some quite considerable results. It is based on gathering intelligence and trying to locate, capture or eliminate enemy operatives; and countering with punitive military style counterinsurgency operations, designed to pressurize and intimidate local support or tolerance or simply indifference towards subversive elements. This is of course right and necessary. However, there is still lack of comprehensive security grip on the situation. It would be nice if security can be achieved without any measures interfering with the privacy and freedom of movement of people, but I am afraid in the present circumstances this is quite impossible. People (many of whom unemployed and armed) still wonder about without any real system of identification, and the same applies to vehicles and all kind of movement. There is still no effective local security apparatus and no effective neighborhood level surveillance and control in the cities. Very succinctly put, we need the urgent introduction of new identity (forgery proof) cards; and also registration of all vehicles; comprehensive records of all inhabitants with background checks and analysis and effective, widely deployed and permanent security apparatus. That is not to propose a form of Police State or “draconian measures”, as some have suggested previously when I put forth similar ideas, but merely to implement very normal measures, that are in place in many countries including the U.S.A. As the previous regime’s meticulous records about everybody and everything were lost and destroyed there is practically nothing of significance at the moment to replace them. Any new security force has to start from scratch. I must say, however, that it is likely that some of the records have been hidden somewhere by elements of the previous regime, who, by the way, may be very susceptible to material incentives.

Some time ago I had to go to Jordan and for this purpose I boarded one of the buses which used to belong to the State run transport company, and now is operated and run by God knows who. It was a bit of a fiasco. As soon as the bus left Baghdad to take the Motorway going west the driver informed us that he had to look for gasoline and therefore left the highway and went through Fallujah, Saglawia, Ramadi and all the by- now famous trouble spots looking for the fuel, which had to be bought from the black market, which consisted of tankers stopping some distance from the filling stations selling the stuff at exorbitant prices. Throughout the trip there was not a single check point right up to the Jordanian border. We saw several convoys of the American army going up and down the Main motorway as well as in the aforementioned towns. While stopping at one of rest stations on the main highway, in the heartland of the western region, a pickup truck drew up with about half a dozen characters with faces covered in the traditional manner by Ghutrah’s (the kind of checkered head scarf which should be familiar to westerners by now), they sort of toured the car park surveying everybody and carefully observing the cars parked, probably to decide which ones are worth robbing later. There were no policemen or any form of law enforcement to be found anywhere near, although this was one of the main rest stations for travelers on this main highway. On my way back from Jordan, the same situation; although we were stopped on the highway by an American check point who searched the cars for weapons but did not ask for any form of identification and used sign language to communicate with the travelers. What struck me from this trip is how easy it was to move about, and do whatever you want, in these areas, and especially if you were one of the locals. The CPA has spent much effort and resources in trying to create The I.P., but still this force has not yet achieved the level of strength sufficient to be really effective, especially in those regions, which may be considered, more or less hostile; not to mention the fact that the I.P. are under frequent attack designed to intimidate and prevent the consolidation and strengthening of this vital force. The fact is that the Coalition forces remain the basic law enforcement authority and they can only control their bases and the vicinity, and can only act if they encounter something during patrols; and in any case their number is simply not sufficient for this kind of policing work. People can move about, communicate and do pretty well what they want with ease and relatively risk free. In fact, the level of the insurgency is quite remarkably low-key considering such easy environment.

The simple understanding of the division of the country into hostile and non-hostile zones, from the standpoint of the Coalition, based on sectarian and ethnic divisions is not far from the reality on the ground, unfortunately. Consequently, the situation is quite variable depending on region and location. Those who talk of the “Iraqi People” and what they should or should not do, must always remember this heterogeneity of the population. Also, there is a world of difference between big-city people like the Baghdadis and Basrawis etc., and the provincials. This has always been the case and has plagued Mesopotamian history from time immemorial. The land between the two rivers is essentially a huge oasis in the middle of the desert, and its history has been characterized by the struggle between city cultures versus desert nomadism. The oasis-cities and the desert were always in constant conflict, ebbs and flows, both physically and culturally. Bright periods in our history correspond to epochs when the City is predominant, and conversely dark ages descend when desertification and the peasant mentality creep on the city both physically and culturally. The Saddam era clearly belongs to the latter, and now America is acting as catalyst and agent to bring a new chapter of history belonging to the former. The late Iraqi sociologist and historian Ali Alwardi, has best explained this dichotomy of the character of the Iraqi or Mesopotamian people; his work should be a must reading for Allied strategists, if you want my opinion.

As I have said in previous posts, the campaign should start in Baghdad, the capital. Here is a practical proposal:

It can be announced that in order to improve security and provide the population of Baghdad with new identity cards as well as organizing lists to aid in future elections and the like, special committees are going to make house to house calls in all parts of the Capital. The purpose of these calls would be to issue the papers on the spot. Additionally and to help the people and save them trouble all vehicles will be inspected on the spot and new registration and identification will be performed during the same visits. Special combined Iraqi groups may then be formed and since the population has been previously notified, and ordered to keep all necessary documents and vehicles at hand, neighborhoods can then be cordoned off, but in random order without prior notification, with the help and protection of the Coalition forces, and day long curfews imposed area by area (on different days). The committees will have been previously drilled and trained for the work. Their task will be to perform thorough arms search and data collection and recording about people and vehicles and of course issue of temporary identity papers and car registration. The process should be conducted with the utmost propriety and politeness but at the same time thoroughly and resolutely. Where the CPA can assist is in the creation of a comprehensive database bringing into effect the advantage of technological superiority. This will be the real starting point of the new security system. Meanwhile Entries and Exits of the Capital should be effectively controlled and put under strict surveillance. The importance of these new identification means will become apparent to the population when they will be required for vital everyday transactions, and when it will become possible to monitor vehicles in accordance with the new markings.

Now this would really pose a problem for the terrorists and saboteurs.

I have unfortunately to leave you again at this point, as time is no longer available to me. In future installments we shall have to discuss the more important economic, political and cultural matters, in which reside the real solutions, in the final analysis.


Tuesday, January 13, 2004


This is a welcome diversion for me. The story of Maqaam is very involved and ancient. It is indeed a genre. The Iraqi Maqam is probably the basis of Arab music, and basically represent middle eastern musical scales, and has close links with Iranian and central Asian scales. I am not a musician, though my boys are a little bit. The Maqaam is very classical and some say it dates to the Abbassi times, i.e. about one thousand years ago. The Pesteh is supposed to be some kind of light song, which the singer of the Maqaam used to lighten the atmosphere with in the interludes between the various Maqams. They say in the old days (19th century for example), the singer (we say recite, actually and not sing) of the Maqam had to go through all the main Maqams in one night. These are divided into Chapters and sub Chapters and are very complicated indeed. The Ubothiya is kind of traditional country music, but also influenced by the Maqaam. Both the Maqam and Ubothiya are quite rigidly structured and have to be done in some very formal manner. This is a big subject and there are many books and research about these things. Spannish Flamingo, undoubtedly has roots influenced by the Arabic Maqams.



Sunday, January 11, 2004


I cannot thank you enough for directing me to the Iraqi Music links. It was quite a discovery. I put up the link as you can see. All yesterday and today I was busy downloading the rare classical trophies. Thank you thank you thank you.

By the way, the original of most of these ancient recordings were kept in the archives of the main Iraqi broadcasting station and were completely destroyed in April, together with the libraries, manuscript archives, art galleries, museums etc. etc. These were probably the most tragic losses of the war.


Hi Friends,

It was quite interesting to read your latest comments; almost each one merits a separate response but as the Iraqi proverb says:“ the eyes sees but the arm is too short”, meaning that the task is beyond me. I also apologize to all the friends who sent me E Mails; I don’t know when I will be able to find time for that.

Some people reproach me imagining that I meant that the responsibility is only with the American and allied people. But that was not what I meant. The post was dedicated to the situation of the Western ingredient of this project. I avoided discussing the role of our people on purpose because that is the main thing and from now on we shall be mainly concerned with that, as it is the decisive factor in this affair. In fact I wanted to get that subject over with as a kind of preamble to the real discussion of what is to be done later.

Unfortunately, I shall be off this coming Saturday (Inshallah) for at least twenty days, during which time I shall not be able to post. It is very painful to me for I feel I have something important and urgent to say. So If I find time, I shall at least summarize briefly what I have in mind. I don’t know if that is going to be useful, though.

Meanwhile, my warm regards to you all.



Friday, January 09, 2004

In the name of God the Compassionate the Merciful

Hi Everybody,

I have missed you the last few days but I have been mercilessly hard at work with some excruciating chores connected with some new engineering projects. Soon I shall be traveling abroad for quite a while (Inshalla), but hope to be still able to post to you.

Before I start Part III that I promised you we must pose to ask the following crucial question: Why should the U.S. and Allies go to all this trouble to implement this plan in our country, and is it worth it really? Apart from the obvious justifications of removing tyrants and bringing justice, democracy and prosperity to people and such like arguments, all highly laudable and morally attractive, are these essentially beneficial side products to more compelling and vital motivations compelling the American and allied nations to go to these extraordinary lengths to ensure the successful conclusion of this campaign? Let us ponder about that a little.

Well, first things first; the main declared objective is War against Terrorism. What is terrorism, though? Mustn’t we clearly understand this disease, this nefarious animal against which we are waging such a costly and bloody fight and with which we are engaged in mortal combat? This is a highly charged subject of course, and as usual, I am inviting debate, and by no means pretending that I have the definitive answers.

If some extraterrestrial intelligent being was learning English and had already been taught the basic vocabulary, how would he interpret the word “terrorism”, when encountered the first time? I suppose, the first thing he does is to look it up in a dictionary: “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion”; ”violence (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands”; these are just two definitions from Merriam -Webster dictionary and scores of similar explanations undoubtedly abound in other lexicons. Well, according to these kinds of definitions, too many actions would qualify besides the generally assumed ones. Any kind of coercive act to achieve some political end would qualify, including military action by states. Clearly this would be very confusing to our extraterrestrial in trying to understand human history on this earth and in trying to decide right from wrong and evil from good, especially as the practice in question is evidently to be considered evil. This, of course, recalls the famous words of the great Jonathan Swift about “the worst vermin that earth has ever suffered to crawl upon its surface” (or words to that effect from Gulliver’s Travels). But I must admit that this kind of idle philosophizing is hardly appropriate in the present circumstances, and beg to be forgiven for this little diversion to take a little break, as it were, from the depressing reality. But, to see the other side of things and to be able to put oneself in other peoples shoes (or sandals as the case may be), is an important virtue, and can play a part in resolving conflicts. But if those others don’t even wear sandals and go barefooted, that may be a bit of a problem.

If we put aside moral and emotional considerations, however, and for practical reasons, it is not difficult to define the particular variety of Terrorism that is posing a problem in our time. This is a method of struggle used by organized groups who are unable to face the military might of the dominant powers in more conventional ways. It is targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, in order to disrupt and threaten the very basis of peaceful existence of societies. And since the technological advances of the modern age have made normal living dependant on complex technical structures, this has resulted in much higher vulnerability and thus increased the risks to such an extent, that tremendous dangers can be posed by relatively small groups bent on destruction and caring little about the continuation of human existence itself. Technology has also made available relatively simple and easily acquirable means to these groups, which can cause tremendous damage, and destruction to the delicate and complex systems of modern civilized societies, as has been demonstrated and brought home by the events of 9/11.

This danger cannot be overestimated, and the present American administration and her allies are quite justly alarmed and cannot be blamed for the energetic and drastic emergency measures, which they are taking. What is open to debate, however, is not so much the need for such action, but rather the efficacy and most appropriate ways to deal with this menace and the means to eliminate not only the actual manifestations of the disease but the very causes and breeding grounds of the epidemic. This we shall have to discuss later. What is important to say now, is that any retreat or turning back and bending in the face of the terrorist counter offensive, before final cure and the eradication of the plague is completed, is quite suicidal, and will not bring any peace and security, but rather aggravate the problem and bring it closer to home ground, not to mention the abandon and terrible fate of the majority of life-loving peoples who are now dependent on the success of the endeavor. Also it is not so much a problem of the existence of WMD’s in this place or that, but rather the clean up of the cesspools and breeding grounds of the microbes, and giving people hope and some taste of a better life which may lead to the drying up and the healing of the very open wounds and sores which are the heart of the problem. So you see, this is the first consideration why the U.S. and her allies must persevere in this project: a matter of life and death.

Secondly, if you study the history of human civilization in general and carefully ponder, you will discover, that it has always been about this flux and reflux of transnational movement of forces and ideas and the ever-existing tendency towards multinational empires. Indeed the individual small national state is a relatively modern invention and seems to be at odds with the very logic and movement of history; it is an unstable concept and events seem to prove this all the time, look at the development of the European Union for example. Throughout history, long periods of stability were only achieved under large empires, notwithstanding their shortcomings – The Ancient Empires, the Greeks, the Romans, the Moslems, the Ottomans, the British Empire etc. etc.

In particular, the nation states that came to existence in the so-called “Third World” in the twentieth century have come to a sorry state by the onset of the Twenty First. It is not necessary to explain how this is so; it is too evident to everyone. The Western Powers are not entirely innocent concerning this degeneration, for pursuing narrow minded nationalistic policies with disregard and disdain for the interests of local people. President Bush has on several occasions come close to admitting this, very much to his credit. There seems to be two main tendencies in the West, regarding this situation. The first, which seems to be prevailing in Europe, is a kind of insular “let them rot and create our Fortress Europe to protect our shores against their immigrant invasion”. The Second, led by the U.S.A and her allies, is this latest proactive intervention and change of the situation by direct means. This daring second approach is quite revolutionary thinking and the test case is primarily in Iraq. It is to be expected that there will be fierce resistance from several sources. There are of course the local complications connected with the ethnic and sectarian make up in this country, but perseverance and patience should overcome all difficulties in the end. Regional and international forces are no doubt also involved in sabotaging this effort for various reasons and agendas. I am not going to discuss this here; what is important to state is that if the U.S. and Allies manage to pull this through, the rewards will be tremendous both for the American and local peoples. The entire region and the whole of the “Third World” are watching very intently. The forces of reaction and darkness are trembling and doing their damn best to thwart the effort.

The entire region will succumb and fall into the basket like a ripe fruit once the dust settles and the benefits begin to materialize and they will, have no doubt. The main thing is that this neo-imperialism is quite different from the old. Rather than aiming at subjugating and enslaving people it aims at freeing and raising their standard so that they may be eligible to join the family of civilized people. The tables are indeed turned (eloquent Lisa); almost every meaning is reversed. We should not be afraid of names. Occupation is liberation; Imperialism is benevolent; Resistance is sabotage and directed against the people and their livelihood and has no clear objective and no future; The Right is revolutionary and the Left is reactionary; The Conservatives of yesterday are the optimists who believe in the ability of eastern people for freedom and democracy and the Liberals and Leftists of yesterday are pessimistic and skeptical and even racist about it; and we could go on and on citing this remarkable reversal of things.

The USA and Allies have two choices with not third to them: ignominious retreat and ensuing isolationism leaving the world at the mercy of the forces of darkness and reaction; or glorious triumph that would indeed inaugurate the American century of enlightenment and hope, and free the long suffering peoples of the “twilight zone” and bring enormous benefits both cultural and economic to everybody. The choice is yours, Oh, democratic people of America and the West.



Saturday, January 03, 2004

Hi Friends,

You have to give me a little more time to think about Part III. It is for me a very important statement, and I think some of the conclusions you might find a little unexpected. I am really hard pressed for time to work on this. Maybe some day I will tell you a little about my professional work. This work takes me abroad quite often as I do jobs for some neighboring countries especially in the Gulf region.

I regret to a certain friend, that although I am very much against any kind of censorship of free debate, but I cannot bear insults against most of my regular visitors and friends whom I value highly. So albeit that his comments don’t bother me particularly and are not always without some points, but we have to keep the comments section more readable and manageable. I apologize to him and thank him for the tremendous time he spent with us, but it has to be goodbye.



Friday, January 02, 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I recall that Alaa told us this, "It is time to continue our analysis of the situation, having freed myself today specifically for this purpose, despite many plans and commitments."
And, from 19 December 2003, "[L]abels and classifications can mean different things in different places. We should not be slaves to these. What do we care, here in Iraq, about who, in the US, is Republican and who is Democrat; who is Conservative and who is Liberal? We care only about their position regarding our business. Isn't that the most natural thing?"

I believe we have let our comments run rather far afield. I have been more guilty of this than most. Alaa is still making an effort to educate me, in spite of good evidence that I'm often too stubborn to listen.
A belated New Year's resolution. Write less; read more, and when I write, write things that happen to be relevant to the situation in Iraq.


Thursday, January 01, 2004


In the name of God the Compassionate the Merciful

Dear Friends,

This is the first day of the New Year. We have extended our greetings to you all yesterday and repeat it again: Happy New Year Our Iraqi people, our G.C., Friends everywhere, Coalition Women and Men on the ground here, and oh, last but not least Mr. Bremmer, Army Commanders, all Officials of the Coalition doing a difficult, risky and noble job and their Colleagues.

The hardhearted and cruel criminals gave us nice New Year presents yesterday. Disaster almost struck my family; my eldest son and the youngest barely escaped one of the blasts that occurred near a restaurant 6 pm local time yesterday. I thank God the Almighty for their safety.

It is time to continue our analysis of the situation, having freed myself today specifically for this purpose, despite many plans and commitments:

3-As I have said before, the sabotage and terrorism have moved to the big cities largely due to the success of the Coalition in the provinces. The remaining trouble spots now are largely limited to the following: Baghdad Greater Area, Mosul (to a much lesser extent), Baaquba, Kirkuk and some nearby areas, attacks in other places are infiltration from other areas. This is a kind of success for the firm measures taken by the Coalition forces in the provincial “triangle” regions. The subversive elements and cells are probably now under pressure from the locals in these places to stop their activity for fear of the kind of retaliation that we have seen lately by the Coalition, but this doesn’t mean that elements based in these areas are not going to Baghdad and elsewhere to make trouble, in other words, exporting terrorism elsewhere in Iraq. This proves the position that I have always maintained of the need for firmness in dealing with the situation, and not much firmness either, as can be seen from the quick results obtained. And at the same time, it seems that contacts with the elders and local dignitaries are intensified and are beginning to bear fruit. This is very much in line with what I have been advocating. It is now necessary to consider the steps to be taken in the cities and particularly Baghdad, which leads to the next point.

4- Baghdad is a vast “horizontal” urban jungle. The population is estimated to be about 5 million, which is about a little less than a quarter of the population of the whole country. Horizontal means that most people live in houses rather than apartments and apartment blocks, which are very few in the city relatively. This again is another disadvantage for urban guerilla type insurgents; because it is much easier to isolate and cut off particular neighborhoods if they were clearly defined low-rise buildings’ locations on the ground. It is also interesting to note that most of the bombs go off precisely in those few locations where there are in fact, some multistory buildings and apartment blocks. The urban terrorist relies on stealth and anonymity, like harmful insects, serpents and such like vermin. Take away this ability to move about anonymously and the hiding places and you will have removed their means of survival. It is important also to understand how the city is structured demographically.

Up to the time of WWI and the British Occupation of Iraq; Baghdad, Mosul, Basrah and the other main cities were walled medieval looking places with open courtyard houses and buildings in close-nit neighborhoods with very narrow alleys and pathways. The old quarters of Venice in Italy for instance, look remarkably similar; many of you may have visited that place. Some of these alleys were so narrow that you could touch the walls on either side with outstretched arms, not the place to be in if one is claustrophobic. Some of these places survive to this day in some parts of the city. The main reason for this kind of architecture was both environmental (remarkably cool in Summer), but mainly for security reasons. Very narrow alleyways are difficult for mounted horsemen to go through, and as the long history of the city is full of episodes of attacks, sieges, invasion, plunder and mayhem by all sorts of external enemies, not to mention internecine strife; this has left its mark on the way of life and architecture of the place. Also those neighborhoods were clearly divided along sectarian and ethnic lines, which largely remain to our day in the older parts of the city. Outside the walled enclaves, especially in Baghdad, and right down to the south of the country, on either side of the two great rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, and between them, there were tremendous jungles of palm tree groves of very exuberant cultivated vegetation of fruit trees and all kind of produce, the date palms provided shade from the sun for shorter trees. It was not very long ago that fruits and vegetables and such like were so abundant that they cost almost nothing. As recent as my own childhood I remember clearly that most of these groves ( Basateen as we call them – Plural of Bustan ), were not fenced at all and anybody could go in and pick any fruits from the trees and no one would object.

The city started to expand throughout the twentieth century and new neighborhoods came to existence, most of this expansion was at the expense of the cultivated areas of palm groves and Basateen. This movement of urbanization accelerated particularly after the fall of the Monarchy in 1958. With the establishment of the Iraqi state after WWI many people came to Baghdad as government employees, and also a great influx of peasants, particularly from the South flocked to the city. These Southerners built mud houses around the city and at first brought their animals and way of life to the outskirts, providing the city folk with farm produce, and also cheap labor for all sorts of unskilled and menial jobs. General Kassem (1958 – 1963), banned mud houses around Baghdad and built what was called Althowra City (later renamed Saddam City) for housing these people. This led to the growth of a vast expanse of mostly slum like neighborhoods that is now part of the city of Baghdad where it is estimated that more than two million people live. It is now renamed Sadr City after the fall of the Baathists.

In addition, from the fifties of the last century onward, many new residential neighborhoods were built. It became customary for the government to distribute land to civil servants and employees of all kinds and with the help of bank loans and other subsidies many new residential areas sprang up. So that now we have neighborhoods named after professional labels of all kinds; there is the Teachers Quarters, the Engineers Quarters, the Army Officers Quarters, The Doctors Quarters, The University Quarters etc. etc.; quite a long list. These new parts of city have no particular ethnic or sectarian character and are quite mixed. However they tend to be differentiated by class and social level. In the eighties and nineties Saddam did allocate quite a lot of land to favorites of the regime mostly belonging to the clans close to him. So there are well known areas of Baghdad populated by regime-affiliated people. I should emphasize that the new areas of Baghdad exceed by far the old quaters of the city both in surface area as well as population number.

This long introduction is necessary to understand how to deal with this city from a security point of view, in the present situation. But this has to wait for the next post as I am getting tired and also to give you a break from too much talk.