Iraqi Bloggers Roundup

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

To pretend that the past two weeks have been anything but bad and ugly in Iraq is to profoundly ignore reality. Putting aside the media’s fixation on things that blow up or draw blood in the most gruesome of ways, the level of violence has obviously increased dramatically as the American elections draw nearer, and, it appears, no one is in control in Iraq.

Many have speculated the crescendo of atrocity is a deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of that election, but we really won’t know if that is true or if it isn’t until after November 2nd and even then, the proof will be hard to discern, as it is difficult to imagine that the violence will simply stop. After all, there are three competing groups, two of which appear to have found reason to form a “strange bedfellows” sort of alliance.

The group that desperately needs the support of Americans and their president, no matter which man it turns out to be, is, of course, the group upon which all hopes of democracy in Iraq rest. This group is represented by a growing number of bloggers whose sites many people the world over visit, and try to offer encouragement, each day. But the Islamists and the Arab Nationalists/
Ba’athists also, obviously, have well established and funded networks that are working together to prevent the hopes and aspirations of those Iraqis who long for democracy.

The most active Iraqi bloggers these past two weeks were also two of the longest standing – Sam, at Hammorabi, and the Fahdil brothers, at Iraq the Model. Sam can be counted upon to spread the news before the Western media knows what’s happening, with a graphic and sometimes humorous bite. The brothers, Ali, Omar and Mohammed never fail to provide the positive news that apparently no self-respecting MSM outlet thinks is newsworthy, especially when there is so much cannon fodder over which to salivate.

Included in the positive news were such gems as Omar’s receipt of a passport, and his utter delight as a free man, at being able to travel where and when he pleases, a right most of his readers, myself included, mindlessly take for granted. The Fahdil brothers also paint a picture of a commitment to a new and democratic Iraq. They find evidence of this, in reports of police arresting terrorists and their supporters and refusing lucrative bribes. They point to movements among Arabs and Muslims to reform their own societies and, within Iraq, especially, to a rekindling of long stifled and heavily controlled arts, such as poetry and painting.

Even as these positive stories are being told, one of the most outrageous acts of barbarism hit the newswires, with impeccable timing, one might note – the mass murder of 48 newly recruited members of the Iraqi army, traveling home from their training facility. The comments sections of the Iraqi bloggers continued to bristle with back and forth debate, sometimes bordering on the vicious; mostly about American politics on the eve of one of the most important presidential elections in modern history and, of course, on the seemingly endless spiral of violence in Iraq. There really were very few profoundly sage and moving comments. There were, however, strong and unfailing expressions of sympathy and support to their Iraqi friends.

I will end this week’s post with passages from two comments, one of which was in answer to the other. First, our new kid on the blogger’s block, Sami, has been both posting on his blog and actively participating in the comments pages. On October 26th, Sami plead the Iraqi case on Hammorabi’s blog:

“I am an Iraqi who was sooo happy to see the end of Saddam but talking to my family in Baghdad they give me bad news daily..... and they always complain and its natural to complain when the most safest and securest Iraqi in Iraq is the tyrant himself who gets 3 meals a day and sleeps comfortably in a cell without worrying about a bomb ........ it’s really tragic...... please help my people by supporting them even if they don’t suck up to Bush and Kerry....

we have been through so much and its only natural to be distrustful as our ultimate fears are we will be forgotten once again.

Thanks to all the kind posters in here who genuinely care about the Iraqi life rather than will Bush beat Kerry or not.......I don’t care who long as they financially and militarily support us to destroy the notion that sadly most Iraqis have that the west created Saddam and hence the conditions that are in Iraq where a small violent minority of Iraqis live on with his disturbing mentality.”

To which that stalwart and most gentle of anchors, Thinker, responded:

“Sami...Don't worry. We can take Allawi's criticism. People died and our people probably make security mistakes. WE are really grieving over the loss of these beautiful young men.

We are NOT perfect and we will make mistakes. Remember when you hear people arguing about our election....often...people here are so passionate because they really want to do right in Iraq and are worried about you.

The coalition has been pretty much attacked by the whole world and taken a lot of punishment for what they are trying to do. Like you, I wish Iraqis knew how much goodwill we feel for them.

Only the US could have done this because it seems we may be one of the world's few optimistic countries.”

Being an eternal optimist myself (who profoundly regrets she can’t vote in the American elections) I will also say that the world will not abandon Iraq. This is a pivotal event in history and surely there has never been a more important time for all of us to focus on what Ali, Omar and Mohammed see. Let THAT be the future of Iraq.

Louise - the Iraqi blog addict

Thursday, October 21, 2004

New-Found Freedom

For all the naysayers that think the US and multinational forces have brought only death and destruction to Iraq, Firas at Iraq & Iraqis would like to share this with you:

"From a free country I want to say by the name of all those who share my opinions, and I don’t think we are a minority, that we do feel our freedom and we intended to keep it whatever it cost and we do feel that the future will be better and the light of the sunrise which begun on the 9th of April 2003 will continue to shine all over Iraq and Iraqis and January is not far to prove what I am saying."

Omar at Iraq the Model is enjoying one of his new-found freedoms. For the first time in his life, he was allowed to leave the country:

"This may sound silly but It’s really something nice to be able to move freely, leave your country whenever you want and come back whenever you like and I can’t describe to you what I felt when I saw the word “EXIT” printed on one of the passport’s pages; I was sad for what we missed and at the same time optimistic and happy for what’s waiting for us in the future. Life seemed normal for me for the 1st time in my life. Soon after the war we could sense freedom immediately but this time we experienced it in a way that we haven’t before. It was an amazing feeling!
Despite all what’s Baghdad is going through, nothing can match the peace I felt when I walked down from the airplane in Baghdad's airport."

Despite what we see in the media and hear from Riverbend and the Jarrars, there are Iraqis enjoying the benefits of freedom. These brave souls understand the incredible sacrifices and determination it takes to keep it. These individuals are why we must be committed to seeing this through. After 35 years of oppression and tyranny, they deserve to live in a free, democratic society full of hope and promise for the future.

- Torch

Monday, October 18, 2004

Of Sam and Sami and the American Elections

There’s a new kid on the Iraqi bloggers’ block named Sami. Check out his informative postings at An Iraqi's Thoughts.

For some reason I took a shine to this young man, almost the minute I discovered his website. He’s about the right age to be a ‘baby brother figure’ to my two kids and could even be a role model for them. He attended university in the West - in my country, in fact, which may be why I connected - in a field of study that will be immensely useful to the future of his country.

He made his debut only a couple of weeks ago, and already I have learned so much from him. He emailed me his honours thesis on the Lebanese civil war, which he has promised to post on his site. The thesis contends that the Lebanese conflict has strong parallels to the current one in Iraq and I think his analysis is spot on.

He has also promised to translate occasional bits of information from Arabic language newspapers and postings on various Arabic-only blogs, a suggestion that came from several of his readers. (This young man understands the principles of good marketing!) An Iraqi's Thoughts is definitely worth bookmarking.

Elsewhere in the Iraqi blogging world, the comments have pretty much mired down to a mud-slinging contest between “Demons” and “Repugs”. Take JohnL's comment, for example:

"If I have to choose between a golden-tongued Senator with a history of defeatism and a tongue-tied President with a record of achievement, I'll definitely go with the latter, and I think most Americans will end up doing the same."

Many posters have offered the theory that Bush has been waiting until after the elections before letting the lions out of the cage. Alaa at The Mesopotamian made an impassioned and masterfully crafted plea to his American readers as voters, urging them to re-elect Bush. Responses from both sides of the political spectrum filled the comments page and left no doubt in my mind that it matters not whether the lions are loosed by Republicans or Democrats, as far as blog fans are concerned, mission one will be - post haste - get the job done! Kris, in Seattle, for example, stated emphatically that American voters will not allow their president, no matter who he is, to leave before Iraqis are ready. Not to slight you at all, Kris, but I remain skeptical that Kerry will heed that advice and I'd rather you didn't take the chance. In case I turn out to be wrong, do save my email address so you can send my words back at me and watch me eat them. Kris's comment is too long to quote here, but it's another that is certainly worth reading as I'm sure it represents the views of a large percentage of Democrat leaning Americans who are genuinely concerned about Iraq's welfare.

It’s also heartening to learn, via Sam at Hammorabi, that serious and productive discussions concerning forgiveness of Iraq’s odious debts are FINALLY happening! The United States has proposed a 90% - 95% writeoff of Iraqi debt and Japan has stated its agreement with that position. Should they follow through on that, it will be a well deserved slap in the face to the terrorists/extortionists who kidnapped three Japanese citizens earlier this year.

I was disappointed there wasn't more discussion about this part of Sam's posting in the comments. I'll forgive the neighbours as they are understandably a bit preoccupied at the moment, and for what it's worth, I'll offer my 2 cents to fill the gap. This rightoff of odious debts will be a monumental signal to the tyrants of the world and to the countries and people who prop them up. It's both bad business and bad Karma. Equally important, is the message to the tyrants: If you want foreign aide and investment, clean up your act.

While the world holds its breath, waiting for November's crucial election, other things are moving forward. Against the backdrop of yet another of Saddam Hussein’s mass graves, this one filled with the remains of pregnant women, their unborn babies and toddlers clutching toys, there is a very large community of nations taking care of issues and working to see that Iraqis WILL HAVE their freedom. If America, with George Bush at the helm, had not led the way, none of this would be happening, and for my part, I'd rather not see the momentum interrupted. In any case, whether he wins the election or not, the cowboy from Texas, speech impediment and all, will be my hero for the rest of my life.

Finally, my nomination for the best rant of the week goes to Kat from Missouri. Kat, speaking with her pajamas on, of course, gave a stellar performance in response to the Bush Lied Party's Information Minister. Well done Kat. May you live long and prosper.

Louise – the Iraqi blog addict

Thursday, October 14, 2004

“The value of an Enron share”

If you have been reading my thoughts on Iraqi bloggers comments pages, you may have seen me occasionally take an anti-war or anti-US poster to task, with, I’m not ashamed to say, a considerable degree of vehemence and snide language. They deserve it, after all.

There are several of them who post pretty much the same tired old rhetoric over and over and I, for one, am not entirely convinced that the anti-everything crowd is in fact anything more than a handful of people posting under a variety of aliases. If these posts are actually coming from more than a handful of people, they resemble the rent-a-leftie crowd that, totally on cue, rallies everytime there is a big street protest somewhere, pretending to speak for those without a voice. They are the modern day equivalent of Hitler Youth and, frankly, they are starting to scare me.

A couple of weeks ago I had an encounter with one Wadard, who claims to be Australian, and who (hopefully he will correct me if I’m wrong) also stated at one time that he is of Jewish ancestry. I mention his ancestry only because his position in “support” of oppressed peoples of the world is surprisingly unsupportive. It usually astonishes me when I hear someone, claiming to be of Jewish heritage, so blinded by his irrational hatred of the US, that he does not recognize the cries of genuinely oppressed people.

He is certainly not the only rent-a-leftie who endlessly rails against the United States, while turning a cold, blind eye and stone-deaf ear away from any discussion of the nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The only thing they seem to be able to do, and it is with bland cookie-cutter consistency, is bash the USA!!

Now, I’m not about to say that the United States is totally innocent of anything remotely resembling wrongdoing, especially during the Cold War. But as I pointed out to a kindred spirit of Wadard’s, named –c- (Yes, that was his/her name. When not posting with the ubiquitous and nefarious nom-de-plume “anonymous”, they opt for the cutesy, cutesy.), there are precious few nations in the world that have maintained perfectly, lily-white hands down through the ages.

But these folks apparently think the United States of American is the new nigger, the new kike, and they are entitled to slander and piss on every effort taken by my southern neighbours to do good in the world, in this case toppling a tyrant who had ranked year after year as the king of human rights abusers, second only to Adolf Hitler.

Another Iraqi blogger fan, a citizen of Belgium, had these strange new lefties perfectly pegged:

“They "care" about 15,000 dead Iraqis during OIF and its aftermath. Those deaths presumably having been inflicted by "whites". Yet they don't "care" at all for 1,000,000 dead when the deaths come from inter-Muslim conflicts….In other words, … an Arab life gains excessive value when it is "taken" by a white. On the other hand, the value of an Arab life goes down like an Enron share when it is taken by an Arab. Conclusion: Leftists are the real racists.”

If the Wadards of the world are the new automatons of mindless hatred, I am curious to know: Who is their Balder Von Schirack?

Louise – the Iraqi blog addict

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Muddy Waters of Faiza's Mind

When reading Faiza’s posts do you ever find yourself confused, befuddled, bewildered? Do her statements seem contradictory and illogical? Do you ever wonder how one person's mind could be so muddied and clouded? Her latest post is another fine example of her twisted, dangerous logic:

“As for the kidnapping gangs, killings, and beheadings on the internet…and the daily trapped cars…the killings of the new recruiters in the Iraqi Police and Army…these are a two-edged weapon… they prove Bush's inability to control the situation, if his enemies were behind them. And at the same time, he uses them to his advantage, a pretext to remain here and clean Iraq of terrorism.”

First, she has doubts as to who are the perpetrators of the kidnappings, killings, and beheadings. In her clouded mind, she can actually imagine George Bush to be involved in these terrorist acts. She also thinks that these horrendous deeds are an excuse to keep our forces there for some nefarious reasons. Of course we already know what those are- to steal the oil and support the Zionist entity (a.k.a. Israel) or in Faiza’s words:

“We get two birds by one stone….we confirm our existence in Iraq, with the ploy of fighting terrorism, and control the fate of all the states of the region. And protect America and its people, from terrorism and its people. (There are two more birds in the story: Iraqi Oil, the free treasure, and protecting the loved, pampered Israel)…ha, ha, ha…”

Yes, I’m still waiting for my 50 barrels of heavy crude. Were they sending that FedEx or UPS? And for those that may have suspected that Raed’s anti-semitism stemmed only from his Palestinian father’s teachings, you know better now.

Faiza finishes her lengthy piece of propaganda with this truly confusing and illogical statement:

“This gap between us and the American Media, is used by the Bush Administration, to tell colorful stories…
Come here, and listen to the true stories…
How do we remove the veil from your eyes, and show you the truth?? And there are thousands upon thousands of miles between us….and this is to the advantage of those who wouldn't want you to know the truth….
But you shall…sooner or later…”

So if the media is showing kidnappings, suicide bombs, beheadings, and civilian deaths and these are NOT the truth then what is the truth? Could the truth actually be what so many of the other Iraqi bloggers describe- a nation moving slowly, painfully but surely in the footsteps of freedom and democracy? Could it be rebuilding of schools, hospitals, businesses? Could it be the freedom to criticize the government, to express yourself in artistic endeavors, to assemble in women’s societies, to vote for your local and national leaders? We want the truth about this situation and Faiza claims to offer it, but she parrots the same stories and tragedies as the American media and then claims these to be false. Does this make sense to anyone? I’m so confused…


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Uncle Snidley

Uncle Sam? No, Snidley Whiplash!

As if she were planning to prove my point about rumours, Riverbend decided to spread a couple with her latest post Samarra Burning.

First her post has the usual complaints that the U.S. military never kills terrorists or thugs, only completely unarmed and innocent civilians. And they do it just for fun! No reason at all!

--To top it off, we have to watch American military spokespersons and our new Iraqi politicians justify the attacks and talk about 'insurgents' and 'terrorists' like they actually believe what they are saying... like hundreds of civilians aren't being massacred on a daily basis by the worlds most advanced military technology.

Samarra was a no-go area controlled by Salafi/Wahabbi fanatics. Numerous violent attacks against the MNF, the IP and the ING occurred there. If there were no terrorists there, River, who was carrying out the attacks? Gremlins? Jinn? Mossad?

Of course civilians were killed, many of them, which is why it's called "urban combat" and not "a tea party." Nobody likes it. Some decent guys like AYS and some sweet kids like Aunt Najma got killed in Samarra this week, and it makes me sick. But what was the alternative? Leave the Association of Muslim Scholars and their fanatic murdering thugs in charge of the city? That's not an option. It makes me angry though. Urban combat is a horrible thing and should be avoided if possible. This shouldn't have happened at all, because You Know Who should have put enough men with rifles into Iraq in the first place to secure the country. Whole cities should not have fallen into the hands of the Sunni extremist murderers. No one can tell me we had plenty of soldiers there when a city like Samarra becomes their possession for months. Many good citizens would now be alive if these murderers had not taken control of this city in the first place. It should never have happened. We were responsible, collectively, for their safety and we blew it. There is no excuse.

Back to Riverbend. She makes a deceptive complaint about precision attacks, deliberately confusing the targeted air attacks in Fallujah with the house-to-house fighting in Samarra and Sadr City:

--As if Allawi's gloating and Bush's inane debates aren't enough, we have to listen to people like Powell and Rumsfeld talk about "precision attacks". What exactly are precision attacks?! How can you be precise in a city like Samarra or in the slums of Sadir City on the outskirts of Baghdad? Many of the areas under attack are small, heavily populated, with shabby homes several decades old. In Sadir City, many of the houses are close together and the streets are narrow. Just how precise can you be with missiles and tanks? We got a first-hand view of America's "smart weapons". They were smart enough to kill over 10,000 Iraqis in the first few months of the occupation

Then Riverbend goes completely nuts. She's admitted in the past that she doesn't get out much and she watches and believes al-Jazeera. First she sagely comments on the murder of 35 Iraqi children who were at a party to get candy:

--I don't know who to be more angry with- the idiots and PR people who thought it would be a good idea to have children running around during a celebration involving troops or the parents for letting their children attend. I the people who arranged the explosions burn within the far-reaches of hell.

Isn't that nice? she blames the parents for taking the kids to a party. Now who thought a party like that would be targeted? Perhaps she'd like to tell that crying father in the photo at Hammorabi that he's stupid to try to let his kid have a little fun.

Next, Uncle Sam is Snidley Whiplash:

--One wonders who is behind the explosions and the car bombs. Bin Laden? Zarqawi? Possibly... but it's just too easy. It's too perfect. Bin Laden hit the WTC and Afghanistan was attacked. Iraq was occupied. At first, any explosion or attack on troops was quickly blamed on "loyalists" and "Baathists" and EVERYTHING was being coordinated by Saddam. As soon as he was caught, it became the work of "Islamic extremists" and Al-Qaida and Zarqawi suddenly made his debut. One wonders who it will be after it is discovered that Zarqawi has been dead for several months or that he never even existed. Whoever it is, you can bet his name will three syllables or less because that is Bush's limit.

So whoever planted those bombs should burn in hell, but we know who they are! It's Uncle Sam! It's CIA/Mossad! The same people who invented Al Qaeda, and UBL, and put Saddam in power, invented Zarqawi and planted those bombs! It's obvious!

What's obvious is that Riverbend has descended into the hallucinatory land of the conspiracy theorist, where nothing is what it seems and everything happens according to Uncle Snidley's plans. Anything that appears to be American incompetence or stupidity or misfortune is really part of a nefarious plot.

Lastly she drops this rumour:

--A week ago, four men were caught by Iraqi security in the area of A'adhamiya in Baghdad. No one covered this on television or on the internet, as far as I know- we heard it from a friend involved in the whole thing. The four men were caught trying to set up some explosives in a residential area by some of the residents themselves. One of the four men got away, one of them was killed on the spot and two were detained and interrogated. They turned out to be a part of Badir's Brigade (Faylaq Badir), the militia belonging to the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Should the culprits never have been caught, and should the explosives have gone off, would Zarqawi have been blamed? Of course.

Notice that she "heard it from a friend involved in the whole thing." Conveniently, it wasn't in the news anywhere. Does the friend have any proof other than his big mouth? Probably not. But this is what I talked about in the post about rumours: if Iraqis hear it through their grapevine, it MUST be true. Now I don't like SCIRI either and maybe they do plant bombs. I don't know this neighborhood A'adhamiya. Is it Sunni? If it is, how likely is a rumour about a Shi'ite political party to be true?

Lastly, let's explain to Riverbend:

--Why is it 'terrorism' when foreigners set off bombs in London or Washington or New York and it's a 'liberation' or 'operation' when foreigners bomb whole cities in Iraq? Are we that much less important?

Terrorism is when they deliberately kill civilians to sow fear, exact revenge, or satisfy hatred. Liberation is when bombs are dropped and men with rifles fight to drive terrorist thugs from their holes, like in Samarra. I hope that city will be free now. By the way apparently the ING
did great in Samarra. Look for that city to return to the rule of law, thanks to the IP, the ING and the Big Red One.


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Elections or no elections?

Two of the most interesting exchanges about Iraq this past week focused on the promised January elections. One was on the blog of our Egyptian friend, Big Pharaoh or GM and the other at ITM.

GM, who has consistently shown his support for the right of Iraqis and all Middle Easterners to enjoy democracy, posited his position and defended it. He argued for postponement, whereas ITM made the case for holding the elections on time, as promised. GM’s concern was that the security situation would make meaningful elections too difficult to pull off, and that they should be delayed.

I found the Pharaoh’s blog more interesting, because of the passionate response of his readers, who overwhelmingly disagreed. The debate continued over two successive postings and was even picked up on other Iraqi blogs. The reasons offered by the posters for why elections should proceed as planned, provide a little lesson in and of themselves about the history of the struggle of democracy and what democracy does to the will of a people.

I can't say that I disagree with any of the arguments offered, and since Haloscan comments have a short life, I’ve chosen to post highlights from the Pharaoh's readers here. They are worth recording for posterity. Some I have edited slightly to shorten them and/or correct typos and I have deliberately chosen to end the list with a quote from Finnpundit, as it contains a link which is a must read. Iraqi blog readers are geniuses when it comes to pointing to other websites with important supporting documentation, which broadens our understanding of the situation in Iraq. The fact that these illuminating responses were posted on an Egyptian blogger's site is also a powerful reminder that the world is watching - and learning - as Iraqis undertake their struggle for democracy:

Andromeda: "I realize it is tough swimming in a sea of anti-American propaganda every night and day, but there is absolutely no reason why elections cannot be held……Read up on the history of early democracies, and you will find that by today’s standards, these elections were far from perfect."

Jim Dearborn: "Elections are what is needed to stop the violence!!! There will continue to be insurgents and terrorists as long as people feel they have no say in their future. Waiting for peace before having elections is putting the cart before the horse. The only way to defeat terrorism is to give people a voice and a say in their future."

Kyla/California: "It always surprises me that people would assume that elections can't be held because of the terrorist…..We in this country held elections in the middle of a war for god sakes [referring to the American civil war]….. These elections must not be subverted by a few. PERIOD."

Al Superczynski: "Delay the elections for what reason? To wait until the terrorist thugs stop their attacks on Iraqi citizens? Golly gee, *that* would sure give terrorists a reason to opt for a peaceful solution...."

Iraqi: “The Iraqi election should go a head no matter whatever the enemy of Democracy say, and do to derail it ......surely would n't be perfect, still better than Saddam’s the 99.9% election !”

Andrea Baucero: “…if the elections were postponed, I think that the Iraqi interim government would lose much of its credibility”

Brian H.: “The Islamic parties will be humiliated and crushed. Every local election so far has left them with few or no representatives. And the elections are a declaration by, of, and for the Iraqi population of hope, courage, and independence.”

Shari: “It occurred to me that the insurgents may unintentionally influence the election in a positive way. You would think the more death and destruction the terrorists try to inflict on Iraqis in the name of Islam, the more likely Iraqis would be to vote in moderate candidates, avoiding those who firmly support Islamic law. Since the elected body will be in charge of getting the constitution written, the more moderate members the better."

Tina: “There MUST be elections, because in order for the government to be seen as legitimate worldwide, they must be backed by an elected Parliament.”

Iraqi: “The election should go a head, no matter whatever the obstacles there and would be put to derail it. Iraq becoming the battle ground for the Arab and Islamist defecency [?] to settle their score on the expense of the innocent Iraqi lives!…..The Arabs and Islamist destructions to Iraq will back fire on them sooner or later !”

Foobarista: “Deferring (or hopefully cancelling) elections is the strategic objective of the terrorists. If there are no elections, the terrorists can pose as "legitimate insurgents" and the "true" voice of the Iraqi people. Once legitimate elections have taken place, the terrorists are shown to be simply bandits and killers. Zarqawi himself said as much in a captured letter about a year ago. IMO, you are mistaking the chicken for the egg here: elections can and do often take place in hostile environments, and much of the hostility itself is due to overwhelming legitimacy that acceptable and fair elections confer on the government. So, elections _have_ to happen on schedule.”

Seow, Singapore: “My friends, you must understand that elections are not only for Iraq, but for France, Germany, Russia, China and any anti-war coalition. If you want the U.S. to stay, we must have a legitimate government to invite the U.S. to stay."

Don: “They are training an Iraqi army. In April there were only 5000, now there are 70,000. By November they will be ready for an offensive into the Sunni Triangle to take back Fallujah and the other cities. But why would that force fight? For the Americans? Very doubtful. For their own democratically-elected government (even if that government is not in place yet)? Much more likely I think. It's a matter of legitimacy of the Iraq government. For the US it's important that the US keeps its promises to the Iraqi people, and is seen to be doing so.”

squatch: "Elections are not meant to provide security nor are they meant to defeat the so-called resistance. They are symbolic, and meaningfully so……FREE PEOPLE have elections. Yes, the security situation in a small geographic area - yet dense in population - is poor…..Doesn't matter. FREE PEOPLE vote. Iraqis need to have a personal relationship with the idea of freedom. That is what is achieved through elections…..If you consider (as I am sure you’re able) the psychology of people who have been brutalized by their government for decades, casting a ballot to claim their voice in government - even in a situation that is much, much less than ideal - can only strengthen the average Iraqi citizen…….And right now, the average Iraqi citizen could use the strength.”

Finnpundit: "GM, the New York Times columnist David Brooks has an excellent article in today’s paper just on this topic. The El Salvadorean example is something worthwhile studying in the Arab World."

- Louise, the Iraqi blog addict -

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

M.I.A. or P.O.W.?

Recently, some of my favorite bloggers have been either unable or unwilling to blog. With some high-tech equipment (my computer) and extensive research (reading blog comments) I've been able to track down these missing bloggers and will now update you on their current status:

Salam Pax Shut up you fat whiner!
current status- M.I.A.

Rumor has it Salam is in Canada for the Vancouver International Film Festival 2004. He's there to present his documentary Baghdad Blogger/Salam Pax--Video Reports from Iraq. He's scheduled to attend the screenings of his film on October 6th and 7th. Here's an excerpt from the Festival summary:

"Salam Pax introduces us to something we have never seen before, namely, the new Iraq, where despite ongoing violence and occupation, Iraqi citizens are expressing themselves in ways impossible under Saddam Hussein. In this series of video-diary entries, the blogger who describes himself as an architect--but not a good one--invites us to keep watching as the new Iraq is born. His sharply edited video blogs are often provocative in their questions, and both humorous and sensitive in their observations. With an eye for amazing sights, he takes us along on his adventures to witness the transformations. What he sees has convinced him the war was totally worth it, even if the Americans have not delivered the "democracy, whisky and sex" a few Iraqis had hoped for."

If you're in Vancouver or willing to make the trip, you can purchase tickets to Wednesday's screening at 7:15 p.m. for $9 (Canadian I assume) or Thursday's at 1:40 p.m. for $7.

Friggin' lucky Canadians...


current status: M.I.A.

Zeyad's last post was on September 16. He hasn't officially been reported as missing and I'm going to agree with our commenter Kris in Seattle:
"If there were a problem, we would have heard about it from either AYS or one of the Fadhil bros. During one of his previous absences I emailed him and got a response that he is sometimes too busy to blog and at other times lacks motivation, and not to worry. As another commenter said, paraphrasing, what Zeyad lacks in quantity, he makes up for in quality. I agree - he's worth the wait."
I'm going to assume he's fine, just suffering from a little blog burn out.


current status: P.O.W.

Until recently, the last we'd heard from Sarmad was when he re-posted Al-Sadr's speech to the American people. He reemerged yesterday with this devastating news:

"Thank you all, and forgive me, for not posting or answering any one email, I was through very difficult situation, and the was so many troubles I been through.
I got many threats, if I keep writing they will kill me and my family.
it seems that things still for some people is same they use to be.
time stopped for them, and they cant under stand the time is rolling, and things will never be like it be.
but because this thing was not related only to me, but was related with other persons, and those was my family members, I preferred not to take things, in away that heart any one, and deal with the whole issue, as a serious thing, and this was not an easy job.
I hope I did the right thing, and I am sorry again.
But this thing was bigger than I can afford.
I hope things will be better for Iraq and Iraqis and the whole world."

Sarmad, I am so sorry that your beautiful gift of sharing your life, hopes and dreams with the world has brought you such grief and terror. You are in our hearts and thoughts daily. May your wonderful spirit and extraordinary soul find peace and happiness.

To the cowardly, low-life, scum-sucking, flea-infested, venomous degenerates that threatened Sarmad I would like to say that you are nothing more than a gangrenous, pus-filled, seeping boil upon society and I hope very soon that a well-trained, heavily-armed American soldier surgically and permanently removes you from existence. You don't deserve to lick the soil off the bottom of Sarmad's shoe.

-Oops, forgot to add that this post is by me, Torch.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The IBR Family is Growing...

Let's give a warm IBR welcome to our newest contributor littlewhy. Kick off your shoes, help yourself to the fridge, and make yourself at home.

As some of you may know, littlewhy is the owner of the blog Winter Soldier, which covers American foreign policy and the Middle East with an emphasis on Iraq. Check it out for thoughtful insights like this:

"So we've got a hard task ahead. I don't know how it will go. Some fools are saying the war is already lost; other fools claim all is well and there is nothing to be worried about. We can't give up and we can't insert our heads in the sand. There's nothing to do but suck it up and go forward. It's going to take a long time to rebuild a civil society, especially one that has been as badly traumatized as Iraq. So whenever an Iraqi says or does something that makes you want to say, "Why, you one should die trying to help you," stop yourself. Rememeber this analogy of the horribly abused young man. He's going to test your patience. What he needs from you is a little understanding, some toughness, a lot of help, and yes, a little love."

Rumours and Eyewitnesses

I value Iraqi blogs because there is so much information available there that can't be found anywhere else. Unfortunately, like any media, the blogs contain a good deal of stuff that can't be taken at face value. I've noticed that Iraqis tend to give great credit to information they've received off the grapevine. Rumours get printed as fact in a number of blogs. They also like to blog information they've found in one of Iraq's immense number of newspapers, or off the Arab TV channels. I think they've become so hungry for facts after decades of B.S. from officials, that they accept anything they hear down at the coffeehouse. (I realize this is in no way a failing unique to Iraqis.)

Whenever an Iraqi offers up personal anecdotes to which he was an eyewitness, however, then that becomes a posting that I cherish. Some of Salam Pax's best posts were from before the war, in which he would describe things he saw and conversations he had. The same is often true now of many blogs, especially the Pep Boys at Iraq the Model, and also AYS at Iraq at a Glance. A fine eyewitness post was put up this week by Ferid the Great. (Who needs to stop calling himself a loser.)

9th of April and my life is the single best post Ferid has written. A couple small excerpts about criminals and Baathists:

"Dyala at that time didn't fall yet, at the same time we've heard heavy gun shooting and voices of people shouting from the prison next to the house, this prison was holding all prisoners that transferred from Baghdad, and there charges was only politic since saddam freed all criminals from prisons few months before war"

Now, just imagine what would happen in America if we emptied out all the prisons and jails. There would be a huge spike in violent crime. Saddam knew he could just round these guys up again if he survived, and that they'd make Iraq ungovernable if he fell. Why wasn't this obvious to our dear neocon leaders? From the first looting the common criminals in Iraq having been having a field day. Why weren't we prepared to deal with this? Anyway, whenever you ask yourself why Iraq is so chaotic and violent, remember that the felons were released.

Now about Baathists:

"...that day I saw the opposite thing at there eyes there were sadness and bitterness, we all were watching TV at the moment when the Iraqis and US forces was trying to get down saddam statue, I've heard them mumbling that those are just spies work for America and trying to describe them as bunch of criminals, I tried to open my mouth at that moment, but I saw my father blinking his eye to me then looking at the photo of saddam that they have put at there house, then I realized every thing....the sad fact that in Iraq there is still some people who love saddam"

Yes, there are many people who must have loved Saddam or he could not have stayed in power. Sometimes I wonder if Bush and Co. realized this. Sometimes I think they looked at this guy and thought that no one except his thugs really wanted him in power. But how could they fail to imagine that he stayed in power because he had millions of supporters? Perhaps they didn't all love him, but they at least saw him as one of their own. Riverbend once put up a sickening post about the "sovereignty and dignity" that they enjoyed under Baba Saddam. How many millions must have believed the crap about the strong leader who defied the West and the Zionists? (Remember how many Iraqis are under the age of twenty or so: How hard is it to fool the young?) If they didn't believe that, how many at least among the Sunni Arabs saw him as their bulwark and provider? Given this, why was it a surprise when a violent insurgency slowly grew? I think this, along with the criminals, are two good examples of Bush's 'miscalculations' that he recently admitted to.


Speaking of rumours: A few days ago Iraq the Model had a post about six Syrian terrorists who were captured by a mob of enraged Iraqis. If true, this would be great news and prove something important about the 'insurgency.' However, their source seems to be New Sabah newspaper and nothing else. I've searched all over and I can't find an independent source for the story. Why hasn't anyone asked the Iraqi government about those six Syrian terrorists? Wouldn't they have a lot to say about them, being that they are good proof of foreign interference in Iraq? But instead, nothing. I'm not saying the story is definitely false. I'm only saying it's a good example of being too quick to give credit. If anyone can find proof this story is true, that would be great.


By now everyone knows that as part of their quest to become ever more popular with ordinary Iraqis, the Zarqawi group blew up 35 kids. Apparently, they were traitorously receiving candy from the American infidels, who were celebrating a new sewage treatment facility constructed as part of their evil plans to subjugate and plunder Iraq. What's been less reported in the media, but noted by Fayrouz, is that they heroically bombed a Catholic nun's shelter for handicapped kids. Allah must be pleased. Not.


Saturday, October 02, 2004

For Those Who May Have Thought Raed Still had an Ounce of Sanity...

Here's his latest post:

"How many of us heard about the children killed in falluja two days ago by an American attack?

How many of us heard about the Iraqi children killed in baghdad yesterday by an Iraqi attack?

So let me get this straight. The U.S. soldiers were giving sweets to the Iraqi children?

I can imagine the face of the dense pentagon war-reporter sitting in the morning meeting with his boss in Baghdad and proposing the idea:
dumb: SIR, hmmm, I mean, hmmmm, why don't we say that our troops were distributin' candy bars? Doesn't that give, hmmm, whatchamacallit, hmmm, a better public image, SIR?
dumber: Oh, yeah, whoa, what an idea son, you are really inspired.

So where did the troops bring the sweets from? Let me guess, they either bought it using their personal money from local markets in Baghdad to support the Iraqi economy and feed the Iraqi children (sheds a tear), or the children-friendly-soldiers in the pentagon decided to spend some of the one billion dollars a week for sending bubble gums and sweets for Iraqis directly from the land of freedom.

Well, I have another "evil" analysis...
Hmmm, don't you think that in a war zone like Iraq, with more than 85 attacks on occupation troops everyday, the fact that American soldiers were letting children gather around their dirty tanks and hum-vees, the same tanks that bombed and killed their relatives and friends, is a mere cheap plan for using children as human shields?

Who killed the children in falluja?
Who killed the children in Baghdad?"

Yeah, suuuure Raed. The American soldiers have decided to use the ever-popular, always good-image-producing, widely-accepted tactic of using children as human shields. What a great way to win the media's approval and win over lots of Iraqi hearts! Never mind the fact that it didn't prevent the terrorists from detonating their bombs. You know what those are don't you Raed? Bombs are the things that actually killed the children and left dozens of others injured.

Although in your warped mind, it's all the soldiers fault. Not just for being present, but for actually gathering the children around the tanks for nefarious purposes. Riiiiiight...that's much more logical than the soldiers trying to show their good intentions and cultural sensitivity by practicing an Iraqi tradition of handing out sweets to celebrate an event. I think you forgot to mention that it was all planned by President Bush to help boost his campaign. There's nothing like a slaughter of innocents to help further a cause. Chechen rebels seem to think it works. The massacre in Beslan was a noble act for independence wasn't it Raed? It would be despicable only if Americans were involved. After all, America is the REAL evil (all the Baathist schoolbooks told you so, didn't they?)

Friday, October 01, 2004

Fiday's Roundup

Sam at Hammorabi has some inside information on the terrorist that killed 34 children yesterday in Baghdad:

"…his dirty body was disintegrated and they found only part of his trouser. When they opened the pocket of the trouser they found several tablets of Viagra produced in Saudi Arabia and written on it (happy journey to paradise; don't forget your Viagra!)"

If there's any justice in this world, his 72 virgins will be a bunch of loony, non-shaving, non-bathing, peace activist whiners that can't shut up about how evil mankind is, or at leat maybe one of them will be Janeane Garofalo.


Nabil reports on another kind of terror from Iraq- the Iraqi youth football team!

"Today Iraq won against Yemen 2-0 and qualified to the next round, Iraq now is in the top of the group with 9 points and 7 goals and either South Korea or Thailand will qualify with Iraq as a second team. Iraq's next match is against Syria I think it will be easy match for Iraq."

Yeah, kicking butt and taking names! Olay, olay, olay Iraq!


Omar at Iraq the Model reports that some of the tribes in Iraq are ready to clean up Fallujah themselves:

From Al Sabah: Four tribes’ chiefs promised to declare a threat to the militants in Fallujah that they should turn themselves to the authorities peacefully or the tribes will fight them.

Rafidain net reported governmental sources saying that four tribes in Baghdad, Ramadi, Tikrit have promised to destroy the terrorism foci in the city of Fallujah after knowing that the American troops are preparing a major assault in the next couple of weeks.


On the lighter side, Najma has a new photo of Aya today on her one month birthday.

♪ Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Aya!
Happy Birthday to you! ♪

By the way, I am completely tone deaf so be glad there’s no audio.