Thursday, November 27, 2008



Today another important milestone in the post Saddam era has been established. I was one of those who felt quite uncomfortable and impatient at the painful protracted negotiations and bargaining for concluding the so called “security agreement” between the U.S.A. and Iraq. Yet as things turned out, perhaps there are positive aspects about the way that it was done. The fact that the overwhelming majority that voted for the agreement included important factions across sectarian and factional lines is a positive development. Another important condition that was established as a condition for ratifying the agreement was that a general referendum is to be held in the middle of next year to give the people a chance to have their say. If the result of this referendum is rejection, then the government is obliged to use the clause that actually exists in the agreement concerning termination. Some may not like this, yet in the event of approval through a general referendum, this would be quite a resounding vindication of the American action in Iraq, and a slap in the face of all the slanderers and detractors. What will say all those who whined and raised that deafening noise about the unjust and cruel violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and the invasion etc. etc., when the Iraqi people through a general referendum say yes to what is essentially an approval of a strategic alliance and continued American presence, whether military or in other forms. That would indeed be a verdict that could only be disputed by someone far gone in delusion, prejudice and error. That would be the final judgment and justification for the liberating act carried out by the Americans and the real final “thank you" of the Iraqi people, even more remarkable considering all the pain, blood, mayhem and sufferings.

And you know what? I have one of those gut feelings about the outcome of such a referendum; so do all those M.P.’s who voted for the agreement. So indeed, now, I feel that this was a courageous and right decision by the parliament. The enemies are going to try their best to sabotage and disrupt during the coming months; primarily to avoid such a result. It is important to ensure the success of the transition, and above all the transparency and integrity of the proposed referendum and all electoral events.

And if you remember, I was one of those who believed in the wisdom of withdrawing the American forces to secure and safe bases outside population centers; to take the American foot soldier out of the streets and alleyways. Someone called it withdrawing inside. It must be understood clearly by everyone, that American presence in Iraq is indispensible and that it is the main safeguard against fragmentation and descent into chaos. On the other hand, things are indeed moving forward and Mesopotamia has a natural tendency towards civilized life, believe it or not. You only have to study the history of this land to realize this. Only, the midwife who helped deliver this enfant democracy must remain nearby to safeguard the newborn until it is strong enough. This withdrawal from the streets is a main feature of the agreement and it is to be accomplished by July 2009. This is correct in my opinion and will place the responsibility squarely on the Iraqi government and security forces to finally establish their full control in cities and everywhere without relying on direct American support. Meanwhile the American forces will be near enough in case something goes terribly wrong. I do not underestimate the dangers and difficulties; however I feel the general directions of the agreement are in line with my own thinking. All those who have been following my blog in previous years could see that.

Today was a good day, and I hope and pray for the poor old country that the sufferings and sacrifices of both the American and Iraqi people might eventually bear fruit and that the “project” that excited us so will succeed in the end.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Hi everybody,

You know, it is a fact that intense suffering and being in a situation where right and wrong are clearly defined seem to be an incentive for self expression and creative thought. For example Russian literature reached its pinnacle during the 19th century under the regime of the Tsars, when tyranny was coupled with certain freedoms for thinkers and writers. Although the Tsars were despotic they did not try to sponsor the kind of cheap propagandist culture that characterized the situation under the Soviet regime. In a kind of a way, something of this nature happened after the fall of Saddam.

Now that my situation has changed dramatically, I find the urge to write much weakened. The urgency and desperation of yesterday, living under mortal danger and terrible insecurity, have given way to the cares and problems of western existence, and the insecurity has become of quite different nature. One is not afraid anymore of being bombed, kidnapped, tortured etc., however there is instead another kind of insecurity, connected with the financial situation and the requirements for leading a decent life. Ironically, this was not really a major concern in my previous existence. Indeed my previous savings and resources in the M.E. continue to support my present existence and that of the family, though this is just starting to change slightly and hopefully our ability to earn our keep in Canada will improve with time. Of course my principle of trying to avoid any kind of assistance from the state makes it a little difficult, but it is something that is very profound in my way of thinking. So the most I have allowed the members of the family is to seek and accept student loans. It is an emotional notion of mine to repay the Canadian state for the honor that they have bestowed on me by accepting my candidacy for citizenship, which is really a high honor that a state can bestow on a stranger. If I cannot contribute much, at least I hope my children will do. Well, they are each talented each one in his own way, and it is my dream to see one or more of them rending really distinguished service. Even the wife is now studying and working everyday of the week trying to finally settle into a decent kind of productive life. Although I loath touching personal subjects, I just wanted to explain to my faithful friends, who have been following this blog the reason for drying up all this time.

I prepared some posts about the financial crisis, but then I myself did not find them very convincing, so they were not posted. I must admit that I did have one of these premonitions that something awful was going to happen and have alluded to that in my last post months ago. Unfortunately my fears may have been too alarmist and I actually refrained from publishing them eventually. There are some nagging doubts about the very fundamental nature of the capitalist system that really bother me. The old Marxists did predict the inherent instability of the system and cyclic nature of crises of increasing severity that seem to be a structural characteristic of this system. But you know, it is always easier to criticize and analyze something real and existing, but it is quite another matter to find solutions. And of-course the experiments of socialism and communism that plagued the previous century were all dismal failures and ended with monumental failure and collapse. Socialism through state control and the weapon of prohibitions and restrictions was thoroughly defeated by human nature itself; stifled all individual initiative and ended by spreading misery, deprivation, and all kind of nefarious influences in societies. Central planning proved to be disastrous and deprived society of the most basic necessities, besides producing commodities of low quality, due to lack of competition and incentive.

Despite that, unfortunately, all the “socialist” experiments purporting to be application of Marxism have not been really and strictly Marxist according the precepts of Marx himself, that old Jewish German academician and bookworm who spent the best part of his life poring over volumes in the British Museum. Now, this guy whether you hate him or otherwise, cannot be dismissed easily. One aspect of his theory and analysis of the capitalist system especially in regard to recurrent crises has been proven very vividly from the 19th century to the present time. Many terms were invented to avoid the brutal Marxist terminology regarding these cyclic crises; depression, recession, then the delicate business cycle etc.

When communism and the soviet block collapsed, some put forth the notion of the “end of history”, and the final triumph of the capitalist western system. Indeed everybody began eagerly embracing Market Economy (another of these genteel expressions to replace the brutal term: Capitalism). Now almost all important countries have gone that way and Russia and China, the two most important erstwhile communist powers have become more or less embroiled in the Globalized international market system; and this was considered the end of history and the final triumph of capitalism. Surely things should run smoothly now, it was thought, and the ideological struggle has come to a triumphant conclusion for one side. But in fact, this was the beginning of real trouble for the system rather than otherwise. And you know, Marx actually always considered socialism as a phase that would come when capitalism has reached its fullest development. And in fact, many Marxists knew that the revolutions in the underdeveloped countries contradicted real Marxist theory, and hence such terminology as “continuous revolution”, “permanent revolution” and the Leninist Dictatorship of the Proletariat were all attempts to circumvent the obvious contradiction and departure from true Marxist thinking.

Now I am not an economist and would not presume to understand the complexities of capitalism nor the Marxist critique of the system. However, in my ordinary man’s thinking I believe I understand the process in very simple terms. I could state it in simple ways. The essence of the analysis is that capital accumulation which tends to increase independently of the productive forces that actually produce the wealth produces a situation that capital seeks to grow through investment that would in turn increase the capital. For this to work, there must always be growth. But growth, by its very nature cannot go on indefinitely. That is almost a physical universal law. A man can grow to manhood and then declines, a tree will not grow indefinitely, the resources of the earth themselves are finite and cannot be exploited without limit. So there comes a time when the ability of the people to consume products reaches a limit. The consumers are given credit in order to be able to consume, but this credit is with interest and things work fine as long there is again growth that could repay the credit with profit. Although, as I said I am no economist, but it seems to me amply clear that this process has to come to a crisis when the general consumer is no longer able to repay his loans and the whole complex financial structure comes to this moment of truth. It is logical, overproduction, through the impulse to invest with diminishing purchasing power of the consumer. In short an economic system based on constant growth rather than equilibrium, is inherently unstable.

What is the solution though? Certainly, not through the kind of state control and restrictions imposed on individual initiative, freedom and enterprise that we have seen in the horrors of “socialist” experiments in the 20th century. I do not have the answer, but perhaps some creative new “synthesis” might emerge ironically in accordance to the classical Marxist-Hegelian dialectical logic.
Wa Al-Salam Alaykum, or should I say now Have a nice day.
P.S. It is election night and it seems that Obama is going to win. I think poor McCain has been really unlucky, with the financial crisis coming at this particular time. I personally believe that this crisis has nothing to do with the policies of any american administration but as I tried to explain above is inherent in the system and will happen cyclically regadless of what goverments do. Goverment action may delay, cushion or inluence in some limited way these events but they will never be able to prevent them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hi everybody,

It's been long since I blogged the last time. It is time I said hello to my friends again. Standby for a post that will follow.

Best wishes to all

Thursday, April 10, 2008



I was watching the Interrogation of General David Petraeus and the ambassador. What struck me most was the attitude and words from some of the Democratic senators. It seemed as though the enemy for these ladies and gentlemen was not Al-Qaeda, the terrorists or people like that. All the venom and harsh words were directed against the Iraqi government and poor Al-Maliki, these seemed to be the more hated foes for them. Not long ago we used to hear complaints that the Iraqi government was Shiite dominated and unwilling to take action against Shiite Militias and such groups as the Mahdi Army. Well when Al-Maliki at last moved decisively against such groups, it seems that the move did not please much these critics. Although in Iraq itself almost all the political blocks excluding the so called Sadrist Current, expressed their total support for the move against the outlaws, and indeed a marked improvement of the political atmosphere between the factions has clearly taken place. Indeed the position of these Democrats strangely sounded almost similar to that of the usual chorus of America-haters who habitually bark out their prejudices and deliberate falsifications in various quarters in the Middle East in such media outlets as Al-Jazeera and the like.

One cannot but side with the actions of the Iraqi Government, although quite frankly, I think personally, that the genuine Sadrists should not be completely routed out. This would upset the "ecological balance" so to speak. I mean we must not forget that there are other beasts in the jungle that would probably create more dangerous threats if their natural enemies were totally annihilated. Nevertheless, the situation in Basrah was unbearable, and nobody can deny that. The city was overrun by a motley collection of all sorts of criminal gangs. Oil smuggling on an alarming scale, kidnappings, killings of prominent people – doctors, university lectures, lawyers etc., not to mention the horrific murders and mutilations of women sometimes with their children; all these horrors had become the sad reality of daily life in the unfortunate city. The government was bitterly blamed for not doing much to rescue this vital and only port city in Iraq. Indeed the action by Al-Maliki was long overdue and urgently needed. And in fact the Iraqi security forces did well and acted firmly and managed to restore some control in the city, although the problems have not been completely solved. In fact they achieved more concrete results than anything the British forces had ever managed during their presence in Basra.

The solution of the Iraqi situation cannot be helped by trying to find scapegoats and excuses to run away and escape. The formulae expounded by the Democrats amount to nothing but defeat and escapism. The problem is that this is a situation where defeat is fatal. If anybody thinks that the U.S. can run away this time, and sits safely and happily in tranquil isolation between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, is in grave error. Solutions can be found to reduce casualties and expenses, but the strategic involvement of the U.S. in Iraq is a necessary and sufficient condition to avert a disaster the scale of which boggles the mind. A disaster that is infinitely more serious and dangerous than the aftermath of the Vietnam defeat. Because the Vietnamese had a clear objective, i.e. to unify their country and once that this objective had been achieved, they had no more business with the U.S. and the West. In the case of Iraq, the objectives and purposes of the enemy are fundamentally different, as has been expounded “maintes fois” by people of the like of Al-Zawahiri et. al.; so many times have we heard Al-Qaeda leaders affirm that they consider Iraq the central front in their International Jihad campaign, and as being the more appropriate battle ground, being in the heart of the Arab world and so near to the holy lands apropos to which they share the sick visions of certain of their western (and non-western) counterparts of Armageddon’s and Apocalypses and all such kinds of nonsense and legend. And to hear such laughable arguments as transferring the fight to Afghanistan and Pakistan after abandoning Iraq; as though Al-Qaeda et. al. lack transport to come flocking back to the abandoned grounds which they consider infinitely more strategic and interesting from their point of view.

Well, as colorful and aesthetically interesting as Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton may be, it is highly risky to experiment with one of the most important and highly sensitive political positions in the world as that of the Presidency of the United States of America, at this particular juncture in history. Only it is clear that greater attention must be paid to the problems of the American people. It is scandalous that people are driven out from their homes for lack of means in a country that is the acknowledged sole Super Power and leader of the whole world. There are some real hardships and difficulties for the ordinary people of America that must be addressed. If the political establishment cannot appreciate this situation they are in grave danger. Indeed the huge vote for such improbable candidates (with all due respect) is the kind of message by the people that should ring the danger bells that the American system needs some urgent corrections.

Friday, March 21, 2008



Perhaps one of the most difficult things in life is to be a kind of stickler for the truth; to have a kind of allergy against the slightest strain or trace of falsehood or inconsistency in any set of beliefs, morals, political movements, or generally in situations that one faces during a lifetime. This makes life difficult and makes it difficult to belong to any particular label, because sadly, during a long life time search, I have yet to discover a creed that is entirely free of inconsistency or falsehood. Besides, it certainly doesn’t help one in making friends.

Although the bitter struggle for survival does not really allow time for such luxuries as blogging, nevertheless it is difficult to remain silent too long. There are so many thoughts in one’s mind that I would love to share with my friends. I would like to talk about subjects other than the situation in Iraq: religion, life in the West, personal reminiscences etc., however events back home are always so pressing, so urgent, so volatile and critical that they force themselves and leave little place for other issues. Then I remembered an old advice that a friend has made way back when I started blogging. Blogging is not about writing treatises or professional articles in MSM style. It is rather spontaneous outpourings of thoughts and ideas that do not have to be polished or elegant, just sincere and straight. So I shall adopt this style and simply jot down some notes and thoughts about a variety of subjects that have been occupying my mind.

- The electoral presidential campaign for the “primaries” in the U.S. has certainly captured the attention of many around the world, myself included. This time the nature of the candidates and the issues have certainly elements of suspense and drama that makes very good soap opera. To add to the suspense, there is the close race between the two democratic candidates, both of whom, besides, are very interesting in themselves for the obvious reasons. I find myself fascinated and following up this story with a kind of interest that would have been unthinkable on previous similar occasions.

Naturally, being an Iraqi, the position of candidates concerning Iraq is the primary factor influencing my preferences and judgment in their regard. On the other hand considering my new situation as a resident in North America and on my way to becoming a citizen thereof, I am beginning to become more aware of the problems of this continent. I don’t suppose that I need to remind my readers that Canadians are also North Americans, and that their values, economic system and general culture are not as different as many people on both sides of the border seem to think. A new arrival from a really different culture, like myself, is probably more able to appreciate this point than older residents.

Well, I must admit that I didn’t take this guy Obama very seriously in the beginning. I regarded him as a kind of curiosity, not just for being considered “black” but also because he was a very special kind of black. To start with, he is not your ordinary Afro-American, i.e. descendant of the black slaves who were brought from Africa to work in the plantations. He is the product of short lived marriage between an African belonging to the elite of an African nation and a liberal white woman. He is thoroughly bourgeois and middle class in birth as well as upbringing. His childhood and upbringing was entirely in a “white” milieu. He had a privileged education and achieved impressive accomplishments both in his academic and subsequent professional career. In short, he never actually experienced any of the hardships and grievances that are so much popularized in the life of ordinary poor Afro-Americans. So why is he considered black, just because the color of his skin, which is by the way a logical blend of pure black and white? In fact, Barack Obama is neither white nor black; he doesn’t really belong to either. When he talks about unity, it is something more than just electoral rhetoric. He is expressing a profound personal psychological necessity. He is seeking internal peace and reconciliation between his own chromosomes and conflicting childhood and subsequent manhood experiences. He seems have spent little time with either his mother or father and so he has something in common with the great orphans in history. Remember, Jesus was an orphan; Mohammad was an orphan as well so many other monumental figures in history. But still my interest in this personality was rather just curiosity until I heard his speech about race. It was a revelation; I was simply spellbound. I finally realized that we have here someone out of the ordinary. It was refreshing to hear a politician talking in this sort or language; eloquent, sensitive, and yes, sincere. The earnestness and sincerity came through. There was not much of the slogan mongering and platitudes so customary in the discourse of politicians. I realized finally that here was a formidable challenge to the political establishment in the U.S.A. both democratic and republican. I don’t know whether Obama is going to get the nomination or the presidency; what I am sure of though, is that he has already made his fame and will remain an important number in U.S. politics in the future; the “Audacity of Hope” indeed. I say all this despite the fact that his position on Iraq is diametrically opposite and contrary to my own, and if he does become president and deals with the problem in the way that he says, it would spell disaster for both the Iraqis and the Americans; yes friends, for the Americans as well. How is that so? Well, that’s a long story that deserves a special post.

- There so much talk about reconciliation and the failure of the Iraqi government and political groups to achieve progress on this front. There is no doubt that this question is of paramount importance for the future of the country, stability, and the cause of democracy. However, there are realities on the ground that are overlooked either deliberately by those who are in the know, or simply through ignorance and shallowness that characterizes much of American political handling of the Iraqi situation especially in certain quarters.

How many of you know that the problems of reconciliation at the present time are not mainly to do with differences between Sunni and Shiite; but are more influenced by rivalries between factions within each camp. For instance there is keen rivalry between the Anbar Awakening Council and the “Islamic Party” the main participant in the “National Accord Front”. This rivalry is quite overt, and has reached such pitch, that the leaders of the Anbar have expressed their hostility in no uncertain terms. It went so far that the Anbaris once said that they were going to treat the Islamic Party in the same way that they dealt with Al-Qaeda, and that this Party and their front did not represent them and had no actual presence on the Ground which is largely a true assessment, especially in regard to the Anbar province. The Accord Front is trying to counterattack through their political connections in Baghdad and is trying to gain maximum concessions as a condition for their return to the government. They are vexed with Al-Maliki mainly because the latter has close relations with the Anbaris, so do the Americans for that matter. They fear that the Government and the Americans might lean towards their rivals at their expense, an apprehension that is quite justified, as the latter are given most of the credit for having driven out Al-Qaeda et. al. from the Anbar. It is this same movement that President Bush has described in his latest speech as the first large scale Arab uprising against AlQaeda.

In the Shiite camp, there is the rivalry between the Sadrists and the other Shiite parties. No wonder that both the Sadrists and the National Accord both boycotted the latest reconciliation conference held in Baghdad.
Well that is all for today.

Friday, February 01, 2008



Another sad day: the Al-Gazle pet market and another pet market have been hit today, see this. This particular place has been attacked several times before and still it happens. It is heartbreaking really. The people who frequent these traditional and very lovable places are usually amongst the poorest and are mostly young animal loving hobbyists. This kind of savagery and brutality defies reason and fills the heart with pain and despondency. But that is exactly the aim of the cruel and inhuman enemy. They want to saw despair and doom and haven’t yet learnt the futility of their crimes; their hatred and lust for blood is only equaled by their stupidity. What can be the justification for killing these most innocent of civilians engaged in these most innocent kinds of activities? Worst still, they say that two mentally retarded women were used in the suicide attack, in which case most likely these poor creatures probably had no idea of what is being done to them. Can anybody imagine such cruelty, it boggles the mind. It is said that Al-Qaeda et al are increasingly using children and women for their dastardly homicidal attacks.

The so-called human rights groups never seem to be unduly perturbed by such things. We seldom read or hear a word from them about such horrors. They are mostly concerned with the rights of imprisoned terrorists and apprehended criminals who perpetrate such acts. Is this unfair to them? I would like to hear from anybody to prove to me otherwise.

And what about the hypocritical Media? Al Jazeera, for instance downplays such incidents, they can no longer insinuate that it is the Americans or the Jews or something like that, so they prefer just to downplay the thing. But you still find those who throw their accusations left and right against anybody but the real culprits whom everybody knows by the way, but it is the culture of lying that has become the very basis of the thinking and feeling of some people. To keep lying and lying to yourself and others until you end up finally by believing your own lies. This reminds me of a folkloric story about the famous “Juha” who himself started a false rumor that something dramatic was happening the other side of the town, then when he saw people rushing towards the place, started himself running with them. Another satellite station called Al-Rafidain that is hosted by the Egyptians in Cairo openly extols the heroic acts of the “Resistance” (the very terrorist acts such as these), although, now and then, they hypocritically issue some denunciation of particularly heinous acts such those of today always trying their best to lay the blame on someone else other than the obvious culprits. This station is run by the so-called “Council of Muslim Ulama” headed by Harith Al-Dhari, who openly supports Al-Qaeda and has always refused to condemn them. This individual and his group are receiving open support and financing from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and others. This group and this individual have been denunciated even by the Sunnis in Iraq, such as the denouncement of the head of the “Sunni Wakf”, the Anbar Salvation Council and others; yet still they receive support financial and otherwise from Arab regimes who claim to care for the Sunnis in Iraq and to be against terrorism. These are the very regimes, by the way, who are said to be moderates and friends of the U.S. Egypt, for instance, is receiving enormous annual financial aid from the American taxpayer money second only to that given to Israel, yet it has no compunction about hosting an MSM outlet that glorifies the murder of U.S. servicemen day and night, without even so much as a protest from the American government. Perhaps it is this weak-kneed American attitude that has contributed to the aggravation of the terrorist phenomenon.

In any case, such crimes are not going to delay the ignominious and inevitable end of the criminals of Al-Qaeda et al at the hands of the heroic Iraqi people and their friends.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Hi everybody,

The past year has certainly been extraordinary even by comparison with the action packed years preceding it. During the course of the year there was a remarkable upturn of the situation that I shall attempt to discuss in this post.

The early months of the year saw the country at the nadir point since the overthrow of Saddam when in contrast the “insurgency” seemed to be at the zenith of its strength. It was converging on Baghdad and the city was virtually paralyzed. Sectarian atrocities and killings were taking place in horrifying magnitude. Shops and businesses were closed in many parts of the city. People could not venture out of their houses even for the most basic needs. My oldest cousin was murdered for no other sin than trying to do some shopping in the first day of 2007. It was said that he was shot by a passing U.S. army patrol, or was it some security firm personnel, as he was fumbling with his aging car engine that broke down on the way. I have learnt since to mistrust such claims, as the truth is the first victim in this war. About one month later the eldest son of this same cousin was stopped by some terrorists, dragged out of his car in front of his wife and three children. They found him few days later with his body horribly disfigured and his eyes gouged out. Luckily and by the grace of God my own immediate family escaped unhurt, although we lost materially. However, we suffered uprooting and banishment and had it not been for the kindness of the Canadians I don’t know where we could have found stable refuge. Almost every Iraqi family, especially of the middle classes in the cities and particularly in Baghdad was touched one way or another by such similar atrocities and woes.

Then, President Bush and the Iraqi government announced their plan of counterattack. This was Codenamed “Operation Law Enforcement” by the Iraqis, and the “Surge” by the Americans. And at long last we had an American General with some competence and sense, i.e. General Petraeous. This General realized the importance of the movement that started in the Anbar , this so-called “Awakening Movement” or the “Salvation Council”, and gave some support to this movement while previously the Americans always tried to check and prevent the citizen from acting. The rest is now almost history - It worked. I was not in Baghdad last year, but all the news I hear from our friends and relatives still living there confirm that the situation has changed and that the city has began to recover. It is still, of-course far from being a normal place, but by comparison with the situation at the beginning of 2007 the change is such that not even the enemies can deny.

Al Qaeda et al have not been completely defeated but they were forced to retreat and withdraw from many important places, notably in the Anbar and many parts of Greater Baghdad area. Also they suffered very heavy casualties. Indeed the numbers of their dead and captured attest to the size and seriousness of this phantom terrorist army that has infested our poor Iraq. Some credited this success to the American “Surge”, others to the Iraqi security forces, and many more to the role of the “Awakening Movement” and the actions taken by the many citizen groups that sprang up everywhere following the successes in the Anbar. In my humble opinion though, it is a combination of all these factors and improved coordination between them that produced this encouraging result. In particular, Petraeous has done well and demonstrated ability, experience and above all better sensitivity and understanding of local characteristics. He is by far the best American general we had and it will be a big mistake to take him out of Iraq before we are really out of danger.

But as I said, the war is not yet won. The beast is seriously wounded but is still able to bite and scratch. Nowadays, he is desperately trying to counterattack. While earlier he had reached the point where he actually controlled whole districts, and more dangerously entire neighborhoods of the capital, he is now forced to revert to pure terrorist tactics mainly suicide attacks, assassinations and the like. Even his ability to launch mortars and rockets has been visibly impaired. More damaging though, is that the terrorists have been forced to migrate northwards, and they are now concentrating and infesting Mosul and its environs, the second city in Iraq where they have perpetrated very painful atrocities recently including the crime of blowing up a whole residential block with 20 tons of explosives and the murder of the chief of police as he went to inspect the site of the disaster. The Government has just announced that they are sending forces to Mosul for the “final crucial battle” against Al-Qaeda. It remains to be seen how this battle unfolds and whether; indeed we shall see the end of Al-Qaeda in Iraq as a large organized army.

Thus, the war is still in full swing and the enemy is on the retreat, and everybody realizes that they are working against the clock, i.e. quite frankly before the term of President Bush is over. The situation is full of promise as well as fraught with danger. Proper and wise management has never been more important. The gains and successes are by no means irreversible. The role of the U.S. is still pivotal and it will be a great pity if defeatism and shortsighted selfish politicizing results in withdrawal and retreat just at the moment when there seems to be some real chances and the enemy is on the run.