Saturday, November 27, 2004

Good News

A series of good news have been heard about Iraq recently. First is that Paris Club is going to write off 80% of the Iraqi debts. Second is the declaration of the Iraqi election day, that’s on 30th January 2005 (though a group of political parties suggested to postpone it). Third is Sharm Al-Sheikh conference.

Three news which the majority of Iraqis did not pay much attention. Iraqi individuals are focusing on their everyday worries. Nothing positive and tangible on the ground is taking place. Threats, of different kinds, are spreading. People feel that their enemy is invisible. Menacing slogans are written on the walls. Death threats are made against students if they attend school or college. Threats are made against teachers, doctors, officials …etc. Some take it seriously; others consider it as a joke. A coalition consists of Saddamians, fundamentalists, baathists, Arab insurgents backed by forces work from abroad, considers the election as a challenge between them and the government.

The US administration worked hard for the past year to write off the Iraqi debts. President Bush appointed Mr. James Baker as a special envoy to the president to persuade other countries to relief Iraqi debts. Non of the Arab or Islamic countries did so. Though Iraqis are unable to notice such effort.

Iraqis are on the horn of a dilemma. Prolonged exposure to single sided media, education, culture which says USA is the enemy number one of the Arab and Islam world, makes it inconceivable for them that the Americans are in Iraq to help. On the other hand people don’t want another dictator.

In Sharm Al-Sheikh conference, representatives of Iraqi neighboring countries promised to be cooperative with the interim government. Which, I think, they won’t fulfill since Iraq represents, for them, the battlefield to hinder the American project to set out democracy in the region.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


It is Thanksgiving Day on Thursday. I don’t know whether certain greetings are used in such occasion, but let me wish the American people (Merry Thanksgiving) or as we, the Iraqis, say (Ayamkum Sa’eida) which means (wishing you happy days).

Is it the day on which the Americans cook a turkey? The turkey is called, here in Iraq, (Ali Sheesh) or (Fisei’fis). The more formal name is (Deek Roomee) which is well known in other Arab countries. (Deek) means (rooster) and (Roomee) is a formula of attributing something to the Romans. It seems that the first time this creature had been seen in Arabia through trading with the Roman Empire.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Security & Freedom

It is known in politics that there is no permanent friendship but mutual interests. I’ve been thinking what sort of interests may incite the US and UK administrations to keep on backing the ambitious Iraqis for better society. The answer came from Washington last week. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair held a press conference on November 12th.

Mr. Blair said
“ … we have to complete our mission in Iraq, make sure that Iraq is a stable and a democratic country. And I have no doubt at all that whatever the difficulties the terrorists and insurgents, supporters of Saddam Hussein may pose for us, that we will overcome those difficulties -- ourselves, the multinational force, together with the Iraqi government -- and ensure that Iraq can be that democratic, stable state that the vast majority of Iraqis, I know, will want to see…”
Nice words which raise hopes of a brighter future.

A question resided in my mind for long time till the early days of the invasion last year which says ( What makes the US and UK knock Saddam down?).

Saddam served their interests since the early days of his time in power. For example, he fought Iran for them. It is not a secret, Saddam said it clearly “We are fighting Iran on behalf of the civilized world”.
He made it justifiable for them to bring their forces to the region, which floats on oil, after he invaded Kuwait. Even in his last days, he offered them free Iraqi oil for keeping him in power.

Isn’t it better to put someone in power who can maintain their interests regardless the way he rules?

A pressman, in the conference, asked a question coincides with my query. He said
“ What if the Iraqis come up with somebody who's not friendly to the United States, is not a democrat, but it's peaceful, is this something you can live with?”

Mr. Bush answered
“…the Iraqis will have come up with somebody who is duly-elected. In other words, democracy will have spoken. And that person is going to have to listen to the people, not to the whims of a dictator, not to their own desires -- personal desires…”
I don’t know whether Mr. Bush knows the conception of Iraqis, and Arabs, of possessing power or not. It is the concept of the Sheikh who gains power and to grasp firmly, never let go till death.

Anyhow, one should have faith in change. This can be observed in Bush’s words
“…. I readily concede there are skeptics, people who say democracy is not possible in certain societies. But, remember, that was said right after World War II with Japan…”

US & UK represent, together, an influential factor in Mideast and in the world, so no one can plan for a country without taking this factor in his calculations. I’m saying so to put aside comments say (Iraqis have to decide their future), which I admire highly. One should be pragmatic and tries to understand the strategy of the influential factor.

Now let’s see what the new strategy in the region is. It is, according to Mr. Blair
“…there was a view in foreign policy that you dealt with countries on the basis of whatever attitude they had towards you, but really whatever they did within their own countries, that was up to them, and didn't really make a difference to your long-term relationship…” and “…it does mean that there's been a shift, and I think a shift quite dramatically, since 9/11 in the thinking that is informing our view of how we make progress…”
It seems that the events of 9/11 are paradoxical, (Should we thank Bin Laden for his crime?haha..)

A clear point is to be said by Mr. Blair
“…That's why in Iraq we decided when Saddam was removed, we didn't want another hard man coming in, another dictator…” .
It is a firm rule to be followed from now on, but is it a matter of morality. In politics there is no morality but there is interests. Interests is the pivot of politics. So, what kind of interests that makes Mr. Blair set this rule.
He added
“…The people want the freedom (referring to the Iraqis). What we recognized, I think, today, is that we're not going to have our security unless they get that freedom…”

He made it clear (our security=their freedom). Thank you Mr. Bush. Thank you Mr. Blair.

Friday, November 19, 2004


After about one century of mistrust of westerns in the Mideast, the coalition forces led by the US now have a great opportunity to change this opinion. People in Washington should speed up work in Iraq. Many Iraqi officials, specialists, workers...etc. who work together with the Americans here say that the Americans are very slow in dealing with urgent matters.

There is controversy about the real US intentions in Iraq. People, who say that the Americans are going to help us in building a better society, can not give concrete evidence. The slow way in work makes it easy for the pessimistic people to say, it is a matter of conspiracy to destroy Iraq. The only side that the Iraqis have seen till now of the invaders is fierce clashes to restore order, which is essential to start reconstruction.

Mistrust is a real problem for several historical events that took place through the past century. It starts with a promise made by British officials to Hussein ibn Ali (sheriff of Mecca1908-16), a grandfather of late king Hussein of Jordan, to establish one united Arab state, if he rebelled against the Ottomans. A promise which the British could not fulfill. Another dramatic event was establishing the state of Israel in 1948, and several others in between till today.

Now let’s focus on Iraq, in the year 1991 operation Desert Storm kicked Saddam out of Kuwait. A popular uprising, against Saddam, spread all over Iraq the very day on which president Bush, the father, declared the end of the military operations. The Iraqi people thought that the Americans would not stop at that point and they should help the uprising of March 1991. Leaving the Iraqis alone to be torn apart by Saddam still resides in their hearts.
Blockade sanctions imposed on Iraq for thirteen years did not have any effect on Saddam’s regime, but it had great one on the people of Iraq. The reason given for imposing these sanctions, which is WMD, came out to be false. As a result mistrust is strengthened.

Lot of Iraqi people feel that it is unsafe to line up with the American promised reformation, since they believe that the Americans, pulling out, may leave them alone facing the fundamentalists, insurgents, terrorists. Many comments on previous posts say (Iraqis should share the burden of making their future) which are right. Willing to make brighter future is not enough. I can confirm that Iraqis need lot of rehabilitation by showing and teaching them what means to use in facing the challenge.

Iraq The Model Blog

The first anniversary of creating Iraq The Model is celebrated by Mohammed, Ali, and Omar. I feel grateful to them for I had learned about the world of blogging through them. BBC Arabic published links to few of Iraqi blogs in last May which led me to this marvelous world.
Again these three bloggers, few weeks ago, referred to my blog resulting in lot of traffic and I want to thank them for that wishing them more success.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Media Fabrications

Arafat is a remarkable man. His death was useful for the current events in Iraq. It drew the Arabic media attention away from what’s happening in Fallujah. This media pours oil on the fire by spreading lot of fabricated news. Aljazeera satellite channel is one of these which has great role in increasing the Iraqis sufferings. As an example of that is the news which Aljazeera showed on the news bar, few days ago, about fierce fighting claiming that it had happened in my district in Baghdad. I did not read the news; I try to avoid watching Aljazeera since it causes lot of annoyance to me. A series of phone calls (which had just been repaired) to our house and the neighbors from relatives and friends in other districts, cities, abroad asking about our safety, drew our attention to the news. On ground nothing had happened of what Aljazeera said.
Another story, the chief editor of an Arabic newspaper located in London, widely read in Arab world, recounted an incident which happened to him with one of the editors in the newspaper. He said that a picture, shows an American soldier speaking to an Iraqi girl, was to be published with an article. A comment which says (An American soldier instructing an Iraqi girl) was to be under the picture. What happened, the junior editor changed it to (An American soldier hitting on an Iraqi girl). Such comment stimulates a very conservative religious society as the one in Iraq.
Now, what happened yesterday of showing an American soldier shooting an injured man in Fallujah will be the tambourine on which Aljazeera and Arabic media will play on for a long time.
The crimes of breaking into hospitals, snatching injured Iraqi policemen and soldiers, cutting them into pieces by the insurgents are not criticized by Aljazeera. I am not justifying the American soldier conduct but people should be objective.
Observing carefully the American performance in enforcing law shows the difference between them and us. Mistakes or crimes happen in any society but, in the US, they never stop pursuing the wrongdoer. It is an outcome of freedom. On the other hand we are ready to overlook lot of crimes that happen in Iraq.
The crimes committed by Saddam’s closest assistants against the Iraqi people, many are filmed, had never been spoken about. No one dared to raise a voice to demand a trail because of fear. And the same fear is used nowadays by the insurgents to keep mouths shut.
A society which can not enforce law should admit it and ask for help. I can say that the silenced Iraqi majority needs who can help to develop a better society.
I hope that the Americans would help the Iraqis to, at least, touch the concept of democracy. The transparency in dealing with what happened in Iraqi prisons was marvelous. It is a very dynamic system which looks always forward to achieve better life. And I believe that freedom, democracy and justice made the great American nation.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Eid El-Fitr (Less Bairam)

When Ramadan ends Muslims break their fasting. A three days festival (Eid El-fitr) is held to celebrate the occasion. The first day is today 13th of November in some of Muslims countries like Saudi Arabia and most of Arabian Gulf countries. In Iraq and Indonesia, it is tomorrow. Since Muslims start their months according to the appearance of the moon, they watch the horizon looking for the crescent at sunset of the 29th day of Ramadan. One may ask (What about a cloudy day?), and the answer is to keep on fasting for the 30th day of Ramadan. Yesterday, it wasn’t clear sky in Iraq, so we completed thirty days of fasting.

An Islamic ritual at the end of Ramadan is to pay little amount of money by every Muslim who has sufficient income. This amount is called (Zakah El-Fitr). It should be paid, by those who like to, on the last day of Ramadan. It is one kind of the social insurance in Islam. This (Zakah El-Fitr) is to be paid to poor people so that they can celebrate (Eid El-fitr).
The amount differs from one year to another. This year it is about $1 for each person. That is to pay $1 for each member of the family by the paterfamilias. One may pay it directly to poor people whom he/she knows. Otherwise is to give it to a trustee.

People visit and greet each other in Eid. In Iraq the most common greetings is (Ayamkum Sa’eida) which means (wishing you happy days).
A friend of mine insists to change this greeting to (wishing you normal days). Of course he jokes about our abnormal days since 1990. He explains that we live under the line of normal days, so we should achieve the normal life and then to think about happiness.

Finally (Ayamkum Sa’eida) to all readers of this post and to the whole world.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


What happens now here in Iraq makes me wonder "Did the US administration do their homework right before invading Iraq?" I heard, long ago, that more than 3000 scientists and researchers are affiliated with the Pentagon. They work normally at their academic positions but they introduce ideas and researches to the Pentagon. Hadn't any of them worked on a social study about the Iraqi society?

The Iraqi society is still influenced by the nomadic way of life. Bedouins or nomads are the main inhabitants of the desert. Desert represents around one third of the area of Iraq. An Iraqi sociologist (Dr. Ali Wardi) wrote many books about the influence of nomadic traditions on the Iraqi society. According to Dr. Wardi, Iraq received several migrations, through its history, from the desert of Arabia. The latest of these migrations was in the 19th century. So you can find in Iraq, cities of thousand years old or more, but their population is a mixture of the descendants of the old and recent migrants. Other towns are of around (100) years old. In such towns the dominating cultural way of life is a mixture between the nomadic one and a distorted conception of Islam.

Fallujah, where skirmishes are taking place, is one of the newest such towns. So their way of thinking, as most of us Iraqis, is still dominated by the nomadic traditions. One of these traditions is never to refuse receiving a guest which, maybe, has great role in offering harbor for strangers. A group of Saddam’s henchmen, who can be described as (legally expired), made use of this hospitality and resorted to Fallujah. In the current events, they are making use of enthusiastic young men through religious and patriotic slogans. These henchmen are(legally expired) because they represented the executive tools of torture and mass graves implements. Most of them are well known by the people who suffered from them. I assume that even if these persons step forward and announce their repentance asking for forgiveness, there is a number of their victims won’t forgive. The only available choice for them, according to their side of view, is to fight till death which they are going to face either way.

I can not stop being worried about innocent people in Fallujah. They are between the anvil of the insurgents and the hammer of the US troops. Though, most of Fallujah inhabitants have fled away to the countryside and nearby towns, still it is unpleasant situation for any human being. May God’s mercy be with them.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Feelings are universal (1)

A comment by Debra Burlingame, on a previous post entitled (Thank you Jeff), about her brother whom she lost on September 11. He was the pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon. This comment recalls to my mind the feeling of that day. I keep on asking my self what if I was on one of these airplanes. What have I done to be dragged to death by crazy persons? I felt deep empathy for the innocent people who had been killed in that brutish crime. I pray to God that His mercy be upon her brother’s soul and every innocent person who died because of cruel acts.

I can not understand how any person has the guts to harm anybody. The images of people who suffer stick in my mind, reminding me of the brutality of man. During the events of Fallujah in last April, two pictures put me close to tears.
The first is of a three years old boy called 'WALEED' who had been seriously injured in his head. What adds passion to the situation was the death of his mother by the American shelling of Fallujah. His cries for his mother broke my heart. It is an image that I'll never forget.
The second picture is of an old American man. He is the father of a young man who had been killed in the events of September 11th. He was speaking on TV, on the same day on which I saw WALEED, about the hearing took place in the congress that day. There was a baseball cap in his hand, which the interviewer asked him about. "It's my son's university cap which he used to wear…." He replied and couldn't complete his words because he wasn't capable to hold back his tears. I felt deep compassion for him, and I was so close to tears. Pain is universal. Feelings are universal. Humanity is universal. But, would it help?

There is more to be said…

Sunday, November 07, 2004


It is great to discover that there are many people who read what you are writing. Some make encouraging comments, others post useful notes. It is wonderful to interact with people from all over the globe.

Nowadays, it is Ramadan in Iraq and the Muslim world. The first day of Ramadan, which is a month, was on Friday the 15th of October. Fasting according to Islam includes not to eat or drink or smoke from sunrise till sunset, not to have sexual intercourse with the husband/wife in the same period of the day, to try to do good deeds as much as one can do, to practice good habits…etc. In general, Ramadan is a month for focusing on training oneself soul to get closer to God by being a better person.
Ramadan has its cultural traditions and folklore activities. One of the famous folklore games is (Al-Mih’haibis). It is a game which needs nothing more than a finger ring and two teams of unlimited members. Each team tries to regain the ring which is hidden in one of the closed hands of the whole members of the opponent team. One member of the team who seeks for the ring goes through the players of the team which has the ring. Every player in the team with the ring should raise his hands in front of him so that the seeker, and his team, can see them clearly. The seeker should be of good ability to control the opponents psychologically and has predictability about where might the ring be hidden. He keeps on opening hand after another by pointing to each and saying his prediction. He has the right to consult his team players about their predictions. If he points to a certain hand and announce a wrong gesture then the one who has the ring shouts (Bat). When the shout is heard that means the ring is going to remain with the same team for another round and another point to be added to their score. Here a short break is made to sing traditional songs praising the victory of the team. Such game is played at night after breaking fast. There are famous ring seekers in every city and town. In Baghdad, for example, one may find these famous seekers in the old parts of the city. The old part of Baghdad consists of alleys, and till now great games are held between the alleys teams.
The trophy of the game is a big tray or more of (Baklawa). It is a kind of sweets well known in the Mideast countries. These trays of baklawa are to be eaten by the two teams when the game is over.

Playing (Al-Mih’haibis), nowadays, is less than in the past years because of the current circumstances in Iraq.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Salute to the US people

GWB is chosen for a second term as a president by the AMERICAN PEOPLE. As an Iraqi, I want to say thank you to (Al-Hurra) satellite TV. It covered the whole event and managed to show us, Iraqis and Arabs, a new horizon in life. Though occupation is something abhorrent, but there are some benefits. One of these is to be free in receiving a wide range of information. Showing the election to the Iraqis may have a positive effect on them. To learn from other people is a great experience. I think what we need here in Iraq, as people, is more than just watching and admiring what the others doing. We have to learn how to be interactive with other nations. I believe that we need an (educational rehabilitation) after what we had gone through for the past four decades.

Salute to the American people for adoring freedom and justice.