Friday, March 31, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Tonight I had dinner with Sayyid Sadr, that of course isn't Moqtada Sadr, but his cousin's cousin (I think) Sayyid Hussain Sadr who has come to London for a few days. This guy reminds me a lot of Adel Abdul Mehdi, his political ideas are all over the place, one days he says something, then the next he says something totally different and contradicts himself. While Sayyid Hussain Sadr hasn't gone from extreme left to extreme right like Adel Abdul Mehdi, or was that extreme right (Ba'ath Party) to extreme left (Communist Party), he does seem to move around a lot. In the first Iraqi elections he was with Iyad Allawi but decided to ditch him just before the second elections.
I remember so well just a few weeks after Baghdad fell in April 2003 he went to Iraq under American protection and was publicly thanking them for removing the despot Saddam Hussain, he was almost shouting, saying things like "We are in debt to the Americans" and "We thank the Americans for removing the evil tyrant Saddam Hussain". Of course there isn't anything wrong with that he said, but only a few months later, he was on TV again shouting anti-US slogans and praising his relative Moqtada Sadr, he went on and on and on about how wonderful this little kid is, that's Moqtada, and how he has saved Iraq and how brave he is to be fighting the Americans e.t.c He was praising Moqtada with the same amount of passion he was praising the Americans only a few months ago.
Okay i lied, i didn't actually have dinner with him, but I was invited to a friends house and accidentally bumped into him, being a typical Iraqi, i arrived just as the dinner was being served, he is a massive guy. Well compared to Iyad Allawi and Jalal Talabani he is tiny, but still he is a big man. He was going on and on about the political process in Iraq, saying we are in the "third stage" of something, i wasn't really paying attention because believe it or not, there was DAHEEN (Iraqis would know what im talking about, non-Iraqis you HAVE to try it, its beautiful and has a heavenly taste), I was eating as much of it as I could before it gets rinsed by everybody else, because with desserts like Daheen, everyone is scared it will be finished by everybody else which is why everyone eats alot more than they should. I did however pay attention when he was talking about Ibrahim Ja'afary, as i already knew, no body wants this guy to be PM, except the Da'wa Party and Moqtada Sadr's men, which isn't exactly a few people. According to him, the United Iraqi Alliance would be split if they insist on insisting Ja'fary take the PM position.
The interesting part came as he was speaking about Sayyid Sistani, saying that the Americans (who, due to Ibrahim Ja'fary's close relationship with Iran, do not want to see in the PM post) have given him 10 potential candidates to see which one he "prefers". Now don't get me wrong, Sayyid Sistani is my spiritual leader, but what kind of democracy is this!? People in Washington should decide who Iraq's PM should be!? One man sitting in his house in Najaf should decide who Iraq's PM should be!? Although Sayyid Sistani and the American's have been in contact (indirectly and through mediators) numerous times, i hope that this time he either gives them no reply, or a reply saying "Iraq's PM post should be decided by Iraqis, not you, and not me".
Something that Sayyid Sistani "prefers" is not healthy for democracy. The last time Sayyid Sistani "preferred" an Iraqi list, it got millions of votes from people who voted simply because Sayyid Sistani said so.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
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United We Prevail
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I had alot of problems with the other videos and anthem post, so i deleted them and decided to make two seperate posts, one for the anthem, and another for the videos.
Here is the Iraqi National Anthem, Mawtani, "My homeland". Its written by the Palestinian poet Ibrahim Hefeth Touqan, and it was adopted in 2004. This is the anthem that was played when Iraq went to the Olympics in Athens and just missed out on a Bronze model in the football tournament. Enjoy.
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Here is the English translation:
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
I just got off the phone with a friend in Najaf, the first part of the convo wasnt news to me, Moqtada Sadr's house had been attacked a few days ago, thats the good news, with mortar rounds and a few of his personal bodyguards were injured. However, he wasn't in his house (in 'Hannana') at the time. Thats the bad news.
It could have been anyone who was behind the attack on Moqtada's house, the Americans, Sunni terrorists trying to start a Shia vs Shia war between Moqtada and SCIRI, or even the Badr Brigade themselves. He was telling me how Najaf's streets are now crawling with members of the Jayshul Mehdi militia, they are like insects, but they multiply like rabbits, they are everywhere. From Hannana upwards to the cemetry (Wadi As Salam, the Valley of Peace) north of the Holy Shrine, they are controlling all the streets and have set checkpoints all over the place. Its wierd how the Iraqi Police suddenly 'vanish' when his men take control of the streets, oh wait a minute, maybe the Police are his men.
I don't think they are going to do anything stupid, but the last time his men were controlling the city, they practically destroyed it. The sooner these idiots leave the better. To the people who tried to kill Moqtada, unlucky and better luck next time.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
The "mosque" is run by Da'wa party supporters, they were showing the prayer hall and it had a picture of Moqtada Sadr's father and also a banner which read "The Da'wa Party is an honourable party".
The US have said that it was an attack on a terrorist cell which has kidnapped Iraqi civilians and that it was mainly the Iraqi soldiers who were involved...Hazim Al A'araji (Moqtada Sadr spokesperson) has said that the American soldiers entered the mosque, tied up the Iraqi's and shot them. They are probably both lying.
Iraqi officials say the fighting took place after the American's tried to arrest an Iraqi (yes, im sure the Americans always send in the Iraqi Special Forces to arrest people!), and that all the dead are either Jayshul Mehdi militia men or members of the Da'wa Party (Tandheem Iraq...an off-shoot of the main Da'wa party). There are so many different accounts of what happened tonight, American sources, Iraqi sources, Sadr supporters, residents e.t.c. I wish i knew the truth.
Bullet cases on the floor of the Hussayniya
Bodies on the floor
More bodies...more chaos
Friday, March 24, 2006
The other day I was watching the "Min Al-Iraq" ('From Iraq') programme on the Al-Arabiya channel. The guest was Sheikh Khalaf Al-Ilayan (the guy on the left on the placard these Iraqi's are holding). He is a Sunni Arab and senior member of the Iraqi Accordance Front (44 seats in the Iraqi parliament). As the presenter of the show was saying "But the Shia in Iraq are the majority of the country" Sheikh Khalaf shot back at him as if he had just insulted his mother, "WHO said the Shia are the majority of Iraq!?" with a look on his face saying 'Dont you dare say anything this blasphemous again' and ending the awkward 2 seconds of silence by adding "NO, the Shia are not the majority in Iraq".
I honestly do not hate these guys, they arnt even worth it, but I just truly feel sorry for them. They are supposed to be "educated" and yet on international TV, they come up with BS like that. I mean whats wrong with them!? Is it really painful for them to see an Iraq where the Shia Arab are the majority!? The Shia Arab have always been the majority of Iraq, why cant they understand!?
Iraq is for IRAQI's I know, It doesn't matter if you are a Shia, Sunni, Jew, Yazidi, Turkamani, Assyrian, Chaldean, Arab, Kurd e.t.c But what do these people gain by publicly saying something stupid like Khalaf Al-Ilayan.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Well, according to our former Prime Minister it is. In a recent statement to the BBC, Dr Iyad Allawi has claimed that Iraq is already in the middle of a civil war. I have to admit, he makes an excellent point by saying "We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more - if this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is". That is undebatable, dozens of Iraqi's are being killed every day, and if Iraq is officially (whatever that means) in a state of 'civil war' then I cant even imagine what Iraq will be like or how many innocent lives will be taken. However, im always optimistic, and if the government can just control the Shia terrorist death squads operating in Iraq, then I am sure much of the killing is going to be one sided. In which case, Iraq cant go into a civil war, because the Shia will do the same thing they have been doing for over 1000 years...nothing.
Iyad Allawi then goes on to say that Iraq "will not only fall apart but sectarianism will spread throughout the region, and even Europe and the US will not be spared the violence that results." Well I think he needs to be reminded that there are no death squads in Europe or the US and that the security situation over there is at least 5.37 trillion times better than the security we have in Iraq. But like I said, he does make a good point. Saying Iraq will "fall apart" in a civil war is an understatement, it might even spread to nearby countries in the region, but I doubt Sunni's and Shia's will be at each others throats in Europe and America.
The Shia death squads need to be destroyed, and the Sunni terrorists need to be put where they belong...Abu Ghraib. Otherwise Iraq will be getting closer and closer to a 'civil war'. If that does happen, all we can do is pray.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
As you all know, its the third anniversary of the U.S-led coalition that invaded Iraq in March 2003, they swept across Iraq from the South and North and Baghdad fell after 21 days...In 3 weeks only the American led forces toppled the Saddam Hussian regime.
A lot of people are talking about the negative aspects of the war, the amount of innocent lives taken, the infostructure that was destroyed, lack of security, water, electricity and fuel crisis, the terrorists killing innocent people on a daily basis, occupation forces still in Iraq with no sign of permanently leaving, the ever increasing threat of civil war, foreign countries meddling in Iraq's affairs (Iran Syria and co.), militias in Iraq doing what ever the hell they want with no checks and balances to put them in place, the government which cant protect itself yet alone its people, the corrupt politicians who can think of nothing except for their seats and their pockets. The list goes on and on. Infact Iraqi's for three years have been saying to themselves "things cannot get worse" and yet, unfortunately, daily they are proven wrong. However surely there are some good things to talk about.
It really isn't hard to look at the bright side, I know I may seem a hypocrite because I am not living in Iraq under the conditions that the Iraqi's have to put up with, but surely there are good things to talk about.
How about the thousands upon thousands of building projects, the schools, hospitals, oil facilities e.t.c being built in Iraq!? How about the independent media we know have in Iraq!? How about the Iraqi Army which has been built from scratch whose soldiers do not get beaten up or executed by their superior officers for speaking when they are not spoken to!? How about this army that is protecting Iraq's holy shrines instead of destroying them!? How about the constitution that was written by all Iraq's ethnic groups and minorities!? How about the fact that it was the Iraqi people who voted for that constitution!? How about the free democratic elections that were held twice so far!? Forget all those things, and pretend none of it even happened.
What about the fact that Uday's and Qusay's bodies, instead of raping and murdering random Iraqi's, are so deformed that their parts had to waxed together to make them look human and who are now sleeping six feet under!? How about the fact that their evil father is now behind bars and cannot even take a piss without being watched!? How about the fact that the Ba'ath party is know banned in Iraq!? How about the fact that there are no longer mass graves being dug in Iraq and filled with hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children!?
How about the fact that you can now openly insult any of Iraq's leaders (with the exception of Moqtada maybe) without having your tongue cut off!? Or seeing your wife raped infront of you and your baby having his head smashed against the wall while you watch his brains spill on the floor!? How about the fact that men are no longer being thrown feet first into giant mince meat machines only so that the sick people watching can hear them scream untill they die!?
I know Iraq is a special country, and I know there are many dedicated Iraqi's in Iraq who want to move their country forward, but can I just remind everyone that it has only been 3 years since the fall of Saddam Hussain. Why do people expect so much so fast from a country whose people had to suffer 3 decades of unimaginable terror!?
It took Great Britain 500 years to agree on a constitution (that isn't even written) and to unite. Over 600,000 American's died during 5 years of bloody war fighting for freedom and for their constitution. How long did it take Germany to recover after Hitler and his Nazi party!? How long did in take for Japan to recover after WWII!? How long has it been since Baghdad fell!? 3 years...Only 3 years. It will take atleast a generation of time before we can finally have peace in Iraq.
Friday, March 17, 2006
'Operation Swarmer' is the largest air assault launched since the US invasion of Iraq, over 1,500 Iraqi and US soldiers are taking part in this operation, the target...terrorist strong-holds near Sammara in the Salahudin province.
In a statement the U.S have said that the purpose of this operation is to "clear a suspected insurgent operating area northeast of Samarra." They have attacked terrorists in the towns of Jillam, Mamlaha, Banat Al Hassan and Bukaddou so far. The first day has been quite successful, Iraqi and US troops seized weapons cashes, containing artillery shells, IED-bomb making material, military uniforms and explosives. There are also reports that 40 terrorists have been captured.
The attack comes one day after the swearin in of the parliament and is also on the eve of the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq which toppled Saddam Hussain.
I pray for the safety of these soldiers and pray that Allah gives the brave Iraqi soldiers the strength to carry out this operation and I hope they kill as many terrorists possible. Iraq does not need more captured terrorists, it needs more dead ones.
US troops land in support of Operation Swarmer
Iraqi soldiers of 4th Iraqi Army Division exit a Chinook
Helicopter prepares to land
Iraqi soldiers secure a village north-east of Sammara
Thursday, March 16, 2006
It may come as a shock to many, but its true. For the first time since the 1979 "Islamic" Revolution in Iran, the regime has officially suggested dialogue with the U.S.A. Ali Larijani, Head of the Supreme National Security Council and is also the chief nuclear negotiator, announced the news during a closed-door session of parliament.
It will be the first time they openly talk to each other, of course there have been many secret discussions between the two, the last one was in May 2003 in Switzerland.
Talks will of course be specifically about Iraq, and not Iran's nuclear problems. This decision by Iran comes after Sayyid Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim demanded "the leadership in Iran to open a clear dialogue with America about Iraq."
Iran is accused by both the United States and Iraq of sending fighters and weapons into Iraq. After the fierce battle between Jayshul Mehdi and the Iraqi/US armies in Najaf, I saw for myself the weapons cache seized by the Iraqi army, RPG's, AK-47's, hand grenades and even bombs...ALL of them Iranian government issued. There is only one way those weapons could have ended up in Iraq. The Americans have to get to the bottom of this once and for all.
The White House has said in a report that America "may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran."
The Iranians are going to "appoint a negotiating team very soon" and the U.S is ready to talk to them...Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to get very interesting.
Iraq's new parliament has been sworn in today in Baghdad, they all stood up and pledged to "preserve the independence and the sovereignty of Iraq and to take care of the interests of its people.". That may seem like great news, but we still dont have a new government. It doesnt look like we will untill atleast another month of heated discussions. Thats not all, this first session of parliament only lasted 30 minutes.
There was no surprise when the arguments started only 10 seconds (a new world record?) after they all took the pledge...Humam Hammoudi (Head of the committee that drafted our constitution) stood up and protested about the wording of the pledge they had all just taken, which he said had been changed...two words of it had been changed. After a fresh set of arguments, the judicial officials decided that the pledge was "acceptable".
Hajim al-Hassani who was the previous speaker said: "the road ahead of us is still long and needs serious work…the priority is forming a national unity government."
The session was then then adjourned "untill further notice" because they still cant even decide on the permanent speaker for the legislature.
Not that it matters, but the politicians met up in the Green Zone, under tight security, behind manned machine guns, thick concrete walls, and yet they are still searched before they enter the building. They cant even trust themselves.
Friday, March 10, 2006
What is going on in Iraq at the moment!? The Shia have threatened to delay the opening session of Parliament which has to be set by the President, Jalal Talabani. The order which was set for Saturday has to be signed by the President and the two Vice-Presidents (pictured). One of the Vice Presidents is Adel Abdul Mehdi, a Shia from the SCIRI party. He is refusing to sign the order.
Of course everybody knows why he has refused, it is because the President has demanded that Ibrahim Ja'fary should not become the Premier of Iraq and that Ayad Allawi should take one of the top cabinet posts, two things which the UIA do not want to see happen.
I voted in the Iraqi elections on the 14th of December 2005. It is now the 10th of March 2006 and my country still doesn't have a new government. They are fighting over the seats like children fighting over seats in a musical chairs game. People are dying infront of their very eyes, the country is in a crisis, and the only thing they seem to think about is their seats. There is an Iraqi joke that says "You cannot have three Iraqi's on the same table to all agree on the same thing", the sad part is that this isn't a joke. This is what is happening in Iraq right now. They cannot come to compromise, they cannot give and take, every party and every group wants everything for themselves.
When will they grow up!?
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq hanged 13 insurgents Thursday, marking the first time militants have been executed in the country since the U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein nearly three years ago, the government said.
The Cabinet announcement listed the name of only one of those hanged, Shukair Farid, a former policeman in the northern city of Mosul, who allegedly confessed that he had worked with Syrian foreign fighters to enlist fellow Iraqis to carry out assassinations against police and civilians.
"The competent authorities have today carried out the death sentences of 13 terrorists," the Cabinet said.It said Farid had "confessed that foreign fighters recruited him to spread the fear through killings and abductions.
Although i am delighted to hear about the terrorists which have been executed by the Iraqi government i feel this is not enough, from what they are telling us, they have thousands of terrorists locked up in jails, why dont they execute 100 every month? Another thing i feel they should do is hang these people in public. Hang them somewhere where everyone will see. Ofcourse this wont stop the flow of terrorists coming into Iraq, because they want death, but it will make the Iraqi people feel that their government is atleast doing something.
Forget about civil war, the Iraqi people have one enemy at the moment. The terrorists. Not each other. Everyone should be fighting them, and the government should start executing more and more of these animals in Baghdad.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
So everyone now is talking about the chance that Iraq will go into a civil war. Things are not looking good in Iraq at the moment, and that is one hell of a understatement. The Shia have been provoked numerous times in Iraq and someone is trying to get them to fight the Sunni’s. The Shia have been slaughtered in Iraq for over 1000 years and they have never fought back, the only time the Shia picked up their weapons and fought the government was in 1991, where they successfully took over 15 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. They were mercilessly and brutally suppressed by Saddam’s Republican Guard.
This time however, the bloodshed could be a lot worse than in 1991. In 1991 it was the Shia and Kurds against the Saddam Hussein government. No one was fighting against “Sunni’s”. If there is civil war in Iraq you will have the Sunni’s fighting the Shia, the Shia fighting the Sunni’s, and maybe even Shia fighting Shia.
Whoever did destroy the holy shrine in Sammara got exactly what they wanted, almost immediate response from the Shia and dozens of Sunni mosques were burnt and attacked, some imams were murdered and since that day there have been many tit-for-tat killings.
This of course isn’t civil war (well it isn’t yet), because as soon as the explosions happened in Sammara, Ayatullah Sistani issued a fatwa which ordered the Shia not to attack Sunni mosques. One representative of Moqtada Sadr did however call for the Shia to take revenge against “those following the wrong sect of Islam”, now if he meant the Wahhabi’s, then sure, it is every Iraqi’s duty to fight the terrorists, but I am not sure how many young poor and uneducated youths in Iraq took that statement as the green light to attack Sunni mosques.
For there to be civil war in Iraq, one of two things has to happen. Either Ayatullah Sistani keeps quite when the Shia retaliate, or the Shia need to openly defy Ayatullah Sistani’s plea for calm in the country.
Also you cannot ask an Iraqi Sunni to start fighting his Shia neighbour who he has known for 40 years, the same way you cannot ask a Shia man to declare war on Sunni’s when there have been so many mixed marriages, so many Iraqi families have both Shia and Sunni members. The biggest Iraqi tribe, the Shammar tribe, has both Shia and Sunni members. So for there to be a civil war in Iraq, brother would have to kill brother, families will be split and Iraq’s two rivers would be flowing with blood.
I hope and pray that there will not be a civil war in Iraq, but sometimes I think to myself that 20 years of civil war is the only thing that can knock some sense into the Iraqi’s. They will have to start killing each other until they get tired, and when they get tired of killing each other, maybe they can realize that the only way of going forward is by helping one another and working together to move the country forward. Lebanon all over again.