Saturday, December 31, 2005

ABC News Poll (I)

An ABC News poll in Iraq, conducted with Time magazine, the BBC, NHK and Der Spiegel by Oxford Research International includes some remarkable results. It was released early this month. The poll is compared to two previous ones; the first conducted by ABC News released on February 28 2004 and the other is a survey conducted by Oxford Research International for Oxford University on June 14 2004.

The poll consists of several questions which I find some of them interesting. These questions are:

- Compared to the time before the war in Spring 2003, are things overall in your life much better now, somewhat better, about the same, somewhat worse or much worse?

The percentage of those (who think that things are better) goes down five numbers, in comparison with Feb 2004 poll, to 51%. On the other hand, the percentage of those (who think that things are worse) goes up ten numbers to 29%.

- What is your expectation for how things will be for Iraq as a country overall a year from now? Will they be much better, somewhat better, about the same, somewhat worse or much worse?

Those who expect things to get better one year from now represent 69%, while those who expect them to get worse represent 11%.

- I would like to ask you about today’s conditions in the village/neighborhood where you live. How would you rate the following using very good, quite good, quite bad or very bad?

The highest rate goes for the item (Your freedom of speech). Those who say it is good represent 78%, while who say it is bad represent 19%. Another two questions ask:

- Compared to the time before the war in Spring 2003, would you say (item) is much better now, somewhat better, about the same, somewhat worse or much worse?

- What is your expectation for (item) a year from now, do you expect it to be much better, somewhat better, about the same, somewhat worse or much worse?

The (item) refers to (Your freedom of speech) which scores 47% better & 25% worse for the first question, 76% better & 3% worse for the second question.

Well, I don’t think that much freedom of speech is available, since arms still the best way to settle arguments, not immediately, but through assassins. Organized crime is forming its structures in the Iraqi society. A person could spread a rumor about his rival being a member of one of the militias, the IP, the Iraqi army, a political party, a humanitarian organization, an insurgency group…etc. Such rumor is enough to cause the rival death. For example, a dentist had been killed by a bunch of assassins. They broke into the dentist’s killing him and fleeing within minutes. Later, they were caught and the investigation revealed that this bunch had killed more than fifty persons. On asking them about the reason for killing the dentist, they said that they had been “told” that the dentist was a member of (Badr Corps) militia, and they had been paid to kill him.

Another example is the anonymity of BBC Arabic radio correspondents in Iraq. After the invasion of Iraq, BBC established a very active bureau in Baghdad with a studio for live programs. Their correspondents covered many Iraqi cities. They used their names at the end of reports they prepared. But later, I noticed that their main introducer of live programs, Dr. Saffa As’Salih, disappeared for few months and resumed his good work, and again he disappeared. The BBC Baghdad bureau shrank from doing their work with the same activity they started with. Dr. As’Salih reappeared as the BBC correspondent in Sudan with no one to replace him in Baghdad. No more live programs is broadcast from Baghdad.
The BBC correspondent in Basra, Isam Al-Ainachee, had his father killed. He also disappeared and reappeared as the BBC correspondent in Qatar. Now, when the BBC Arabic put their correspondents in Baghdad on air or broadcast their reports, no names are mentioned to keep them anonymous. So, a report is ended with (BBC Baghdad bureau) and the presenters, at the main studios in London, never address Baghdad correspondent by his/her name.

And look at my blog; I’m using a nom de plume to avoid annoyance, though some of my close friends, whom I trust, know about it. I feel I’m freer to address people outside Iraq than inside.

A question asked at the end of the poll could be related to the matter of (Your freedom of speech), it says:

- Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you have to be very careful in dealing with people?

An 85% goes for (have to be very careful in dealing with people). It is so dangerous to express one’s thoughts, especially about the current events, to other people. For example, one can not speak publicly at Al-Sadr district or Najaf city about Ayad Alawee or Communists. Alawee went to Najaf days before the recent election and he could barely escape an attempt to kill him by an angry crowed. One can not ask for the protection of security forces since they have the same loyalty of the locals. Ayad Al- Izee, a leader in the Iraqi Islamic Party, had been killed before the election at the same province, Anbar, at which his political party has the vast majority of champions. He was attending an electoral conference in which he said something which a group of persons didn’t like, so they just killed him.

To avoid turning this post to a tedious one, I’ll make it in two parts. So, it is to be continued…

Wishing you a happy NEW YEAR.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Many Thanks

I think I have to say something about the comments you made on the previous post.

Thanks Jan for wishing my people & me luck.
What Jan says about “meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq”, or any other state, should no longer be accepted, since human rights do not differ from one part of the globe to another. I believe that human beings must support each other without looking at race, ethnic, sex, color…etc to improve the culture of respecting mankind.
Many thanks to G Money & Eric.
What AGA said blew my mind; believe me I’m just an ordinary Iraqi citizen who adores his homeland. Thanks for the nice words.
I think that I should thank Mr. Bush for his nice words, he said on receiving out-of-country
Iraqi voters Thursday in the Oval Office of the White House, addressing the Iraqi people. The man is able to see my inside feelings of joy and relief on saying:
“I was struck by how joyous they were to be able to vote for a government -- a permanent government under a new constitution.”

Moreover, he shares joy with us:
“And there's a lot of -- lot of joy, as far as I'm concerned, in seeing the Iraqi people accomplish this major milestone in the march to democracy.”

President Bush said:
“I want to congratulate the Iraqi citizens for being courageous and in defying the terrorists and refusing to be cowed into not voting. I believe freedom is universal. I believe the Iraqi citizen cares just as much about freedom and living a free life as the American citizen does.”

Well, thank you Mr. President for these nice words; allow me to say without the help of the US people and their brave men & women in uniform, nothing of this would have been achieved.

It is great relief to hear Mr. Bush making it clear:
“I've assured these good Iraqi citizens that the United States will stay with them and complete this -- complete this job. They've expressed concern about listening to the commentary that we'll leave before the job is done -- they don't have to worry. We're doing the right thing. And we've got partners in peace with the Iraqi citizens.”

Frankly, the Americans left a deep scar in every Iraqi's heart when they withdrew from Iraq in 1991. Many Iraqis, till now, believe that the Americans may pull out without any forewarning, leaving them to face their destiny with terrorists & Saddamists. Personally, on listening to Mr. Bush’s speeches, I’m accumulating trust in US day after another.
For example he
said, addressing troops at Osan Air Base in Osan, Korea on November 19, 2005:
“The terrorists are mistaken; America will never run. We will stand and fight, and we will win the war on terror”…”We will never back down, and we will never give in, and we'll never accept anything less than complete victory.”

In his series of speeches outlining strategy for victory in Iraq, he
said at United States Naval Academy Annapolis, Maryland on November 30, 2005:
“America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your Commander-in-Chief”…”America will not abandon Iraq. We will not turn that country over to the terrorists and put the American people at risk. Iraq will be a free nation and a strong ally in the Middle East.”

Another speech is at Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington, D.C. addressing the Council on Foreign Relations on December 7, 2005:

“Our goal is victory -- and victory will be achieved when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy”…“And now the terrorists think they can make America run in Iraq, and that is not going to happen so long as I'm the Commander-in-Chief.”

Finally, Mr. Bush said on receiving the Iraqi voters:
“I want to thank you all again for coming. May God bless your citizens. May God bless a free Iraq. I appreciate you being here.”
And may God bless America, Amen. Thank you Mr. President, people of the United States, US troops and every individual of the Multi-National Force for helping Iraq. I pray to God to protect these men & women.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Different issues are crowding in my mind. The most important one, for now, is the parliamentary election to take place tomorrow. It is the most significant milestone to reach in the long march of achieving peaceful democratic New Iraq. Though the picture of the future seems to be dim, but frankly I get lot of encouragement from what Mr. Bush said in his
speech at World Affairs Council on December 12:
“The eight years from the end of the Revolutionary War to the election of a constitutional government were a time of disorder and upheaval. There were uprisings, with mobs attacking courthouses and government buildings. There was a planned military coup that was defused only by the personal intervention of General Washington.”

This wonderful man, as I view him from abroad, is helping the Iraqi people to recover their real identity. He is trying to raise the Iraqi's spirits by sharing his nation’s experiences with them and to show that man history is similar. I’m looking at the past (approximately) three years and the political liveliness spreading in the Iraqi society since invading Iraq which was a dream before that. I believe that the year 2005 will represent a significant one in the history of Iraq or as Mr. Bush says:
“…the year 2005 will be recorded as a turning point in the history of Iraq, the history of the Middle East, and the history of freedom.”

Still, the whole process needs to be supervised by a rational power to prevent it from backsliding; that power is the US. As an example of it:
“We encouraged Iraq's leaders to reach out to Sunni leaders, and bring them into the governing process.”
“Recently, U.S. and Iraqi troops have discovered prisons in Iraq where mostly Sunni men were held, some of whom have appeared to have been beaten and tortured. This conduct is unacceptable…"
“Slowly but surely, with the help of our coalition, Iraqis are replacing the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law, and ensuring equal justice for all their citizens.”

Mr. Bush, as a man of insight, is aware of it and he succeeds in pointing to what tasks are waiting ahead:
“…ensuring Iraqi security, forming an inclusive Iraqi government, encouraging Iraqi reconciliation, and maintaining Iraqi democracy in a tough neighborhood.”

In which I find the last one is the most important, since democracy can improve or correct what goes wrong.

The president is reading my mind. I’m an ordinary Iraqi citizen who suffered not much as other Iraqis, but I look forward to decent peaceful way of life for me, for other people and for the coming generations. US is playing the main role in making my dreams become true:
“… 160,000 of America's finest are putting their lives on the line so Iraqis can succeed. The American and Iraqi people share the same interests and the same enemies -- and by helping democracy succeed in Iraq, we bring greater security to our citizens here at home.”.... “Yet Iraqis are showing they have the patience and the courage to make democracy work-- and Americans have the patience and courage to help them succeed.”

Such words and deeds on ground makes people, in the Mideast, regain confidence and trust in brotherhood that crosses borders & seas to embrace all mankind. We’ve been taught for decades not to trust non-Muslims, non-Arabs, non-Iraqis, non-one’s sect, non-one’s family and none but one’s self.

But let me tell you that election culture has just started to take root in the Iraqi society and needs to be looked after.

Another issue I wanted to write about is an ABC NEWS POLL but I’ll postpone it for now, though Mr. Bush mentioned something similar by saying
“Democracy is only going to succeed if people say, my life is going to be better.”

The poll says that more than six in 10 Iraqis feel very safe in their own neighborhoods, up sharply from 40 percent in a June 2004 survey.

Back to human rights violations. Another
case revealed, on Sunday December 11, when U.S. and Iraqi officials said they had discovered at least 12 cases of what an Iraq official called "severe torture" at a prison run by the Interior Ministry's special police commandos.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Human Rights Violation

A bunker in Al-Jadriya district in Baghdad is apparently used as a detention place by Interior Ministry. The Iraqi minister of interior, Bayan Jabr, claimed that using such buildings, like the bunker, because the country lacked adequate prisons. He claimed at a news conference that the detainees were some of the most dangerous criminal terrorists of various Arab nationalities. It is a pretext which takes different names to repress opponents and to tame people to accept such practices violating human rights.

What raises concerns is that disclosure of this bunker, and what takes place in it, came from the American troops. Jabr said that Gen. Casey visited him at his office to tell him about an information leak that torture acts are used in investigation by the Iraqi officers.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari said that he had been informed about the bunker by Undersecretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed bin Hili. In both statements a third side intervened to make the Iraqi government take on its responsibility to protect its own people. The Iraqi society, like the Mideast ones, does not perceive how tolerating human rights violation may rebound on its members. The civil community institutions run by Iraqis still do not understand their role in enhancing the standards of life in Iraq; and if there is any, there are lots of bedouin-tribal and religious traditions which hinder their work.

I believe that letting go of the Iraqis to meet human rights standards, will cause lot of chaos. Any Iraqi sectarian, political or religious party takes control of power oppresses its opponents. Later, the concept of opponents extends to include the whole people. For that, I'm totally convinced the international community must keep a close eye on the Iraqi government to protect the Iraqi people.

As an example is the promise made by Prime Minister Jafari to announce the results of an investigation he ordered in the case, of the bunker, within two weeks, but nothing is declared. For that I'd like to ask you, if you can, to write or email this post to any person or group which could put pressure on the Iraqi government to enforce human rights. As the 57th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approaches, try to participate in backing human rights by telling someone to keep pressure on the Iraqi government.

The urge made by the
High Commissioner for Human Rights should be backed. It seems that the MNF have to stay in Iraq for some time to help in creating new collective mentality which respects human beings.

As a person belongs to the middle class, I can say that it is a class which has no means to seize power, at least in Iraq, since the Iraqi society glorifies guns and submits to any party which is militarily powerful. What we need for some time is a non-Iraqi rational, civilized, democratic power to support formation of new culture which respects man, helping this culture to take root in Iraq. The middle class has been crushed by Saddam regime and it is very essential to help it to grow again.