Saturday, January 27, 2007


A quick word; what everybody should realize is that “the new strategy” and the “new security plan” are essentially defensive or rather counteroffensive in nature. The fact is that the “SODs” have actually staged a deliberate and elaborately planned offensive to capture Baghdad, through attrition, atrocious terrorism, ethnic cleansing, paralyzing civil life, targeting professionals, laborers, shopkeepers and shops, etc. and in general aiming to destroy the city and turn it to a “burnt earth”. This SOD offensive intensified particularly after the destruction of the Samara shrines. This was a deliberate move to officially inaugurate the sectarian civil war. They succeeded in finally provoking retaliation by the Shiite groups, and the terrible aftermath has reduced the city to a situation that is fundamentally different from pre-Samara times. The situation was not normal before, true, but still, the shops were open, and doctors still worked in their clinics, and people lived in mixed areas as sectarian cleansing was not on the scale that took place later. Today Baghdad is a city half fallen. The western part of the city, under Sod control more or less, is almost dead. East of the river still has some life, but is constantly assailed by car bombs and the like.

So, this “New Plan”, is a last ditch effort to counterattack. Failure spells disaster. The Sods are waging a preemptive terror campaign at the moment, trying to abort the plan before it starts. We don’t know if too much talk about the plan with the enemy dealing blow after blow is particularly useful. Everybody is waiting and something concrete must happen soon; otherwise God only knows where we are heading.

In any case, both President Bush and the Iraqi Government, have staked their credibility on this plan, and thus are under great pressure to show some real results soon. Baghdad must be brought back to life, by hook or crook; what must be done must be done. Thus any idea that this is an escalation of the war is totally ignorant of the situation on the ground. This is a life and death counteroffensive to rescue an extremely serious situation. Firmness, even ruthlessness in carrying out the New Plan is justified by the right of self defense and self preservation. The enemy is not showing any mercy and thus deserves none. Preemption is justified in the face of genocide. Necessary measures should be taken without hesitation, no matter how drastic or harsh, including relocation of entire areas if necessary. One can go on indefinitely about possible methods and tactics. Let us hope that, this time, the Americans and the Government, can act decisively without committing too many blunders and more importantly with coordination and unison.
Good Night

One of the most important methods used by enemy, the Sods, is disguise using police or other military and official uniforms and false identities. Almost all the mass kidnappings and other similar acts were executed using this device. Recently they went further. They disguised themselves as some kind of American force or foreign diplomatic convoy, and attacked the heart of Karbala at the provincial government building, as a security meeting was taking place. The incident was first reported by the governor office, as an attack by U.S. forces on the building, and then there was silence, presumably as they realized what really took place. The whole thing is still surrounded by mysterious reticence.


Later report described the incident in more specific details:

This highlights what I have always insisted upon; i.e. the necessity of finding an answer to this tactic which has been one of the main methods of the “Sods” in particular; I mean the method of disguise. This is a Sod method, and nobody else’s. Now as we have seen above they are refining and developing the method to impersonate the American forces themselves. Just consider the expense, planning and timing of this operation, and you get an idea of the strength and financing of these groups. And these are neither the Iranians nor the Mehdi Army; this I can tell you for sure. In fact, the destination where they fled to is very telling; it is a stronghold of the Sods, in the tribal and farmland areas of the North of Babil province, part of the “Sunni” belt surrounding Baghdad.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Quite honestly, I don’t see any thing particularly James-Bondish or exuberant about the suggestions that I have made regarding using technology to help the security situation. I mean what is difficult about establishing intelligent data bases for the population of neighborhoods; even children have become experts with computers and data bases. As for systems to monitor movements of travelers, vehicles etc., I am sure that an abundance of such software is abundant everywhere, and particularly in the U.S.

Richard B. has written in the comments section several times describing practical and very interesting technical solutions to many of the problems that we are facing. As for biometric identification and such, isn’t this technology very common nowadays and used even in the most humble of offices, not to mention passports, airports etc. etc.

Explosive detection technology exists, and we even heard that some equipment is already in place in Iraq. And I don’t even think that the cost of such things is as high as we are led to believe. I mean when the War is costing the staggering figures that you all know, what would be the significance of some expenditure on computers, some gadgets for identity detection etc. etc. ?

Some people talk again about Iraqis taking responsibly, forgetting that this is precisely the Iraqi demand and that the Government has been insisting on this question. They forget that the new strategy and the new security plan was originally proposed by the Iraqis themselves and accepted by the President. Of course American help is very important but the plan essentially envisaged a supporting role for the American forces by guarding the periphery of Baghdad, while Iraqi forces carries out the work inside the city. Since it is also a demand of the American people, why not let the Iraqis do what they are claiming they can do without too much interference? In fact they should be charged with the responsibility quite definitely and visibly in a way that the excuse of not having enough authority cannot be used by anybody again. Besides, Maliki-bashing is not very useful at this particular juncture, because that is all what we have right now, unless one wants to dismantle the entire political process and undo the work that has been done with blood, sweat and treasure. And to be sure, that is precisely what enemy is longing for; to dismantle the political process and cancel the idea of democracy altogether. That is their real objective whether secret terrorists, or political figures hypocritically joining the political process only to subvert it, with one keen eye on the public and official mood in U.S., adapting their tactics precisely according to the signals that are coming from there. They are counting on the disarray and confusion, and adapting their methods, including escalation and de-escalation of terrorist acts accordingly. President Bush understands the situation and the stakes, but even he can be sometimes influenced by domestic pressures. However, we must express appreciation of his perseverance and endurance.

And what’s all this about Iran and taking on Iran. It is not as though we have managed over here even to control one miserable city, to start thinking of embarking on a perilous course against the colossus of Iranian quick sands. It is alright to make some noises, but I am sure the U.S. leadership fully understands that there are very few real options available. Compared to other options, the best, easiest and only practical course available to thwart the Iranian regime is to succeed in Iraq. Besides, it is wrong to turn this matter into an assault on the Iranian nation, and not on the theocratic regime. This is precisely what that regime wants, and it explains the polemics of this ridiculous new president, Ahmadi Najad, who according to my youngest son looks more like a plumber than a president. As for their alleged role in Iraq, I think it is wildly exaggerated by those, in Iraq and in the region, who are playing on American phobias to serve their own particular agendas. It is wrong to confuse the issues before cleaning up the act in Iraq. In fact, the Iranian regime would rather have a confrontation at this particular time when the American situation is such as it is in Iraq. And as I have said before, the relations between the Shiaas, (and the Kurds, for that matter) and the Iranians are reciprocally proportional to the state of their relations with the Americans.

So let’s cut the nonsense and concentrate on the tasks ahead, and try to do everything possible to achieve success, with the available resources, which is possible; for the cost of failure is unthinkable even from the purely selfish view point of the interests of the U.S. alone. Need we explain these consequences in a kind of “idiots guide to woe and disaster”? I have too much respect for my friends here on this blog to even think of it.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007


To comment on the planned security plan to be implemented shortly requires extensive treatment. I have been writing a lot of drafts but it requires a lot of time that I don’t have at the moment. So very briefly I would like to stress few points that I consider important and urgent amongst other things.

I have always been convinced that one of the best ways to benefit from the Americans and the MNF is the technical aid that they can bring into the equation. Our friend Richard has, on several occasions, presented concrete proposals and technical ideas that seem to me very worthy and serious information.

What is needed, in my opinion, is not just military action with guns and planes, but most of all a kind of informatics and technical blitz.

1- To combat the weapon of the car bomb – identification and careful control of all vehicles, and explosive remote detection technology.
2- To combat the individual terrorist – high tech and biometric identification and control of the population inside Baghdad to start with. This includes the “inventorying idea” that I proposed long ago.
3- To combat terrorists disguising as police, army and even lately as American forces; which is a very serious problem:
a- High tech. identification technology for genuine members of the security forces.
b- A special highly reliable and special secret service, whose task is to monitor and vet members of the security forces themselves; including mobile inspection teams to intensively check on forces deployed on the ground, and inspect military and police check points regularly to discover fake ones.
c- Mobile and rapid reaction forces, preferably air born to intervene and respond to guerilla attacks.
d- Improved communication and reporting of incidents, leading to rapid reaction and tracking of culprits. The forces on the ground should be held responsible for failures and severely accountable.

4- Lock down of the city of Baghdad at carefully studied points. The question as to where Baghdad boundaries actually are, is a crucial matter and requires very careful strategic consideration. For instance, should Abu Graib, be within or outside the protected periphery? This hotbed area is one of the havens of terrorism and the source of much of the action that afflicts central Baghdad. Likewise are the areas nearer to the center in West Baghdad. The objective is to work towards the goal of “Green Zone Baghdad” that I have proposed long time ago.
5- Recognition of the main threat and avoidance of engaging in secondary efforts that can only distract from the main objectives and open up unnecessary fronts that only serve to increase the risk to the troops and divert their attention. This point, I mention specifically concerning Shiite areas and the so-called Sadrists. These are not the main threat, and could be dealt with politically. Of course they must be controlled, but I believe the task is more political and social than military there.
6- Respect of the lives and property of ordinary citizen, and adoption of the principle of courteous and respectful approach to searches and information gathering. Avoid breaking of furniture and the various acts of vandalism, not to mention downright theft, that have been so common.
7- To distinguish community and tribal leaders in each area and convoke them before embarking on action in any neighborhood. Saddam was very effective using this method, holding these leaders responsible for what happens in their communities, recompensing them generously when cooperative otherwise punishing them severely when things go wrong.
8- Recognition that there are virtually closed neighborhoods completely under “insurgent” control (the Sods) where they can rig their car bombs, suicide men, I.E.D’s etc. etc. with complete impunity, especially after the thorough ethnic and sectarian cleansing that is almost completed by now. These areas comprise many parts of West Baghdad, Adhamiya, and in the entirety of the farmland belt around Baghdad etc. Unless there is preparedness and determination to go into these areas clean them and hold them, there is little chance of success.

These are just a few points purely on the military technical side, which does not mean that we underestimate the other more important political, sociological and economic factors, but these require volumes of research which is not within my capability at the present. But still the points above are of urgency in the immediate short term.

I throw the subject to full debate, hoping to learn more from the comments of my friends.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Paul Edwards,

Of course, any literate Muslim knows about the Mu’tazilah, mostly by name only. I must admit that I myself, took very little interest in the subject until lately for reasons rather similar to the ones that drove you. You probably know that this particular sect has suffered terrible atrocities in first few centuries of Islam and beyond. To this day; the “Orthodox” Muslim establishment (especially on the Sunni side, and more particularly the Wahabis and their like) considers this school heretical and blasphemous. Unfortunately philosophical and intellectual debate is characterized by violence and terrible persecution in our history.

And in fact, if you study the Mu’tazilah carefully, you will easily discover that they were neither atheistic nor disrespectful of the basic fundamentals of religion. They were just uncompromising rationalists, and were very typically incredibly careless about their personal safety in expressing their views in times that the general public could hardly understand or appreciate such opinions. This thought was almost forgotten and considered part of the archaic heritage of the era of theological and philosophical speculation that flourished in the early centuries of Islam, but in recent times interest in this school has seen a revival by some intellectuals and seekers of truth.

One of our friends reminds us of Sufism, i.e. the mystic schools of Islam, and that is certainly another huge subject of interest. One similarity between the two is the common fate of most of their prominent figures, that is persecution and execution often by dismembering and crucifixion. Like Al-Hallaj, the founder of Islamic Sufism; Ghailan Al-Dimashqi ( of Damascus, Syria ), continued to preach while on the cross with amputated legs and arms, until the Caliph sent his executioners to cut his tongue off. The Caliph councilors had told him: “Sire, you have cut off his arms and legs, and left his tongue that is more harmful than a thousand arms and legs”. No wonder the kings and rulers loathed the Mu’tazilah; one of their main tenets was the religious duty to rise against any unjust ruler.

For those who are interested to know more about the subject, Wikipedia does indeed have a nice introduction'tazili ; someday when I might have more leisure we could be spending a lot of time debating these subjects that are much more interesting to me personally than the mess of the Iraqi situation.



Friday, January 19, 2007


Well, I am tempted to say it. It may sound vain and distasteful. But, really, this new strategy, haven’t I suggested something of the sort three years ago? It would have been much easier then, but as they say, better late than never.

On the personal level, we have suffered some terrible things at the outset of this New Year. The oldest of my cousins, who is almost a couple of decades older than me, met his death by a terrible accident involving American troops. This is a problem that has occurred so often that really requires reconsideration of the way that M.N. forces are deployed. This was particularly painful as this man was one of the most harmless and peaceful of all, a man who has never hurt anybody, a man with a large family and a man who has born the full brunt of the lean years of these last couple of decades. He had to venture out in his old car in one of these dangerous neighborhoods of Baghdad to do some shopping for his family. In his whole life he never drove his car faster than an exasperating crawling speed. He always created a traffic jam behind him. As he became quite old, his sight and hearing became very weak. We don’t know what happened exactly, he must have panicked; he must have misunderstood something. All we know is that he was shot by American troops. I don’t bear any grudge against these guys. They are placed in a terrible situation. They feel threatened and can hardly distinguish a terrorist from an innocent wayfarer. This is a problem that requires solution, but the solution is easier said than done. This is the terror and terrible difficulty of urban warfare. And it is precisely this that the terrorists are counting upon.

Another incident involved a dear old friend of ours, the family dentist, a brave man, who went everyday to work in his dental clinic, ignoring all the dangers and stubbornly going on with his usual daily routine as though there was nothing happening outside. The street where his clinic is situated is a well known location in Baghdad for the private medical community. Some of the best known medical practitioners used to work there, and the place used to be bustling with patients and people, especially in the afternoons and early evening. Nowadays, it has become almost deserted after doctors, dentists and pharmacists became favorite targets for kidnappings, extortion and murder. This man just kept on going. We were always worried about him and wondered about his courage and tried to talk him into more caution; he just smiled and shrugged off our concerns. Well, at last they got him. They broke into his house, took him away together with his three cars parked in the garage. After few days, we heard that they are demanding a big sum, and most likely it is going to be paid, and even then there is no guarantee for his safety as has been the case so often. In such cases the ordinary citizen has no one to turn to. Police protection for ordinary people is something of the past, a historical memory, you might say. Well, here it is; the sad situation that we have to admit and tell the world.

Another recent incident; a young man, a friend of my son, was shot in the head in our up-town neighborhood; for no sin other than being a Sunni. Our neighborhood which used to be so pleasant and peaceful before has become within the red zone, and people are deserting their erstwhile elegant homes.

The cancer is spreading, and the ordinary decent and peaceful people just can’t continue their existence. Baghdad is being taken over by ruthless gangs and blind terror. The accursed Zarqawi plan has worked. It is not difficult to make mischief, and there is nothing for the Sadamo-Ladinists to be proud about. For history’s sake, if we have to consider chronology, the destruction of the holy shrines at Samara marked the start of a new phase, the start of a steeper descent into sectarian strife and civil disintegration. Of-course it is mainly a deliberate plan of the "Sods" (a short name that I coin and will use henceforth for this motley collection of Saddamists, Al-Qaeda types, and other “insurgent groups”. It is the point when the Shiites, especially in Baghdad, started to retaliate, ignoring the advice and admonitions of the moderate religious leaders such as Al-Sistani. And it is usually the innocent and the weak who suffer, of both sides.

So much precious time has been lost. I don’t mind saying it. I, personally in this blog have sounded the alarm long time ago. Safeguard Baghdad, I said. Protect the ordinary people I said. Safety of the ordinary people is the key to the safety of the troops and the general security situation, I said. But tragically, so much precious time was lost. I tell you, it would have been easier then and much more difficult now. I don’t say that nothing was done. A lot was done, and it must be admitted that you cannot safeguard the capital without some degree of control of the provinces, and a lot of work was done in the provinces. The situation in the Anbar, for instance, is drastically different today than it was before, and in a positive way. This was due mainly to the struggles of the American forces, after so many trials and tribulations. At long last the Americans are beginning to understand better the psychology and the nature of the people there. And indeed, the situation in Baghdad, in a way is the result of successes there and the influx of “Sods” into the capital after having been driven out of the Anbar.

Yet there is this new American strategy, and the new security plan. We have to admit that for the ordinary people of Baghdad such announcements have lost much of their credibility due to successive failure of previously much trumpeted similar attempts. Nevertheless, deep down, there is a faint hope that something different might be achieved this time. And, you know, nothing succeeds like success. Any kind of appreciable change in the dismal situation will have a huge uplifting effect. If security in Baghdad can be restored to some bearable level, and if basic services, i.e. electricity, water, garbage collection etc. can be improved to something less absurd than the present levels; then this will have a tremendous effect completely out of proportion with the actual size of the achievement. For you know for someone who is drowning, anything that can keep him afloat will produce a surge of hope. And this surge of hope can have beneficial ripple effect. Well, hope is the stuff of life. Life without hope is not possible. So let us hope and keep our fingers crossed. And at least President Bush is still there, fighting and persistent and knowing well the stakes and not shirking responsibility. Let us hope that the famous saying of Churchill ones again proves right: “The Americans always end up doing the right thing after committing all the mistakes” (or something to this effect)

Wa Al-Salam Alaykum