Friday, June 30, 2006


First of all, it is football (soccer) that keeps me away from the PC. It is so nice to have some thing as entertainment in the mid of all the chaos we, here in Iraq, live daily which makes it impossible to change one's routine. The FIFA World Cup competition is taking place nowadays in Germany. It occupies, for me, the time between 5:00 PM and 1:00 AM. It keeps my attention away from bloodshed news.

I cannot say that I read all what Mr. Tony Blair says, but I follow some of his speeches. Reading some, I can say that he is a man of vision who tries to keep on the track of what he says. Comparing many western leaders to those of Arab world, one may discover the contrast between men who keep their word & those who don't. A very recent example is President Ali Abdullah Salih of Yemen who has been saying for the last ten months that he wouldn't nominate for presidency, but he changed his mind and he will run for presidency though he has been in the post for more than quarter a century.

I wish we, Arabs, had leaders like the forefathers in the states or philosophers like those of Europe who introduced lot of ideas which served humanity and had a great role in fighting against cruel governments. The concept of "state" in the Arab world was and still vague. It is a combination of the authority of the tribe & religion which represents a parental system.

One of Mr. Blair speeches was at
Georgetown University on 26 May 2006
. He presents a global vision for a world which can not escape globalization. The man tries to call people all over the planet to be practical and think collectively about the future:

"…we must fashion an international community that both embodies, and acts in pursuit of global values: liberty, democracy, tolerance, justice."

He can perceive what peoples of the Mideast yearn for:
"Yet in every country of the region there are people, probably the majority, who are desperate for change."
He describes the new political system in Iraq:
"This is a child of democracy struggling to be born. They and we, the international community, are the midwives."

"I believe success in Iraq has an importance far beyond the borders of Iraq."

So it is very essential to succeed in Iraq and:
"An arbitrary timetable ie without conditions being right, would be seen for what it would be: weakness."
Still the question why the peoples of this region can not trust what western leaders say. Mr. Blair puts a finger on the most important issue. That is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which:
"Under its cover, global terrorism recruits. Because of its darkness, moderate Muslim opinion is put on the defensive. And shut out is any enlightened sensible view of what we in the West really stand for and believe in."

It seems that Mr. Blair propagates a new concept which I may call "Global Contract" in accordance with the "Social Contract" (Le Contract Social):
"Today, after all the turmoil and disagreement of the past few years, there is a real opportunity to bring us together. We all of us face the common security threat of global terrorism; we all of us depend on a healthy global financial system; all of us, at least in time, will feel the consequences of the poverty of millions living in a world of plenty; we all of us know that secure and clean energy is a common priority. All of us have an interest in stability and a fear of chaos. That's the impact of interdependence."
"What's the obstacle? It is that in creating more effective multilateral institutions, individual nations yield up some of their own independence. This is a hard thing to swallow. Let me be blunt. Powerful nations want more effective multilateral institutions - when they think those institutions will do their will. What they fear is effective multilateral institutions that do their own will."

"The Governments of the world do not all believe in freedom. But the people of the world do."

Back to Iraq, people here are not so sure that the coalition will finish its work before pulling out. A great propagandist effort is made by reactionary forces to seed and foster suspicion in the collective mentality of the Muslim & Arab peoples. Mr. Bush
phrased it in a good statement:
"…they have made it clear that it's just a matter of time for countries like Great Britain and the United States to leave. In other words, if they make life miserable enough, we'll leave."

Words like these of Mr. Blair:
"I'm more than ever convinced that what is important for them in Iraq is to know that we will stand firm with them in defeating these forces of reaction."

Do not reach Iraqis' minds. It is a case which Shmeem Rassam, an Iraqi-American lady, described to President Bush as the ‘big gap that crosses that ocean’.
Mr. Blair said in a Joint Press Availability with Mr. Bush on May 25, 2006:
"there are still issues to do with the capability of the Iraqi forces, but all the time they are building up, both in number and in capability, and we've got to support that all the way through."
I may add that building up must include mentality of the individuals in the Iraqi forces, since the concept of 'coup d'état' dominates every Iraqi person. This domination is either fearful for moderate people or attractive for opportunists. The history of modern Iraq is still present in minds. After 38 years of semi-democratic political system in Iraq, a bloody military coup took place on July 14, 1958 toppling the Royal Family. A coup which opened the door wide for thugs, gangsters, and criminals to think seriously about seizing power by making use of the military forces.

Moreover, it is this idea which resides in every Arab's mind and taken for granted that says "The enemy No. 1 and the most dangerous one is the US" (recall Khomeini's description of the US as the greatest Satan). An Iraqi army officer told me a story which might depict the mentality of the new Iraqi army individuals. The man says that he was a member of a committee of three Iraqi officers which held meetings with the American side. It was his first time to meet with the Americans. At the end of the first meeting he shook hands with the American representatives exchanging courtesies with them. On leaving the meeting room, one of his Iraqi colleagues said to him "How dare you show courtesy to the Americans?" He continued:
"Frankly, I was really terrified when I heard these words. I thought that this man is going to pass my name to the terrorists (such person called in Iraq "Alaas"). Afterward, we went to the self-service restaurant in the American military camp we were in. Sitting on the table, my two colleagues started to chat about the similarity between this restaurant and one in another American camp who they had worked in for a time. I understood that the American side had showed lot of courtesy toward them. The Americans had even allotted them additional monthly payments. They managed to build new houses and bought new cars. My relation was so formal with the one who made the remark about being polite with the Americans. On hearing their conversation, I couldn't hold my self from saying to him 'Are you an asshole?' He was totally astonished and I continued 'Since you have such strong ties with the Americans, why did you condemn my polite behavior with them?' He tried to change the atmosphere into a humorous one, but it was not easy for me to cool down."

I go with what Mr. Blair said:
"…now this directly-elected Iraqi government has said they want us to stay until the job is done."
But I don't know what Mr. Blair means by 'until the job is done'. The military existence might be lowered, but the job won't be done (as I view the matter) without cultural and educational rehabilitation of the Iraqi society. It is a job which needs guardians. Guardians like Mr. Blair whom was described by Mr. Bush:
"…the amazing thing about dealing with Prime Minister Blair is never once has he said to me on the phone, we better change our tactics because of the political opinion polls. And I appreciate that steadfast leadership. And I appreciate somebody who has got a vision, a shared vision, for how to not only protect ourselves in the war on terror, but how to make the world a better place."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Human rights (III)

A clamor for the truth about what happened in Haditha is growing louder. First, I want to draw your attention to the number of parties slaying the Iraqis. But the best among them is the MNF. What I mean by 'the best' is the transparency of the American system. The American press plays an excellent role in tracing and revealing faults of different institutions in the society, keeps pressure to extract the truth. The world outside Haditha would never learn about what happened there if the American press didn't reveal it. Still, the same Iraqis who made use of the western media to publish the incident of Haditha, ironically, are the same people who kidnap and kill western journalists.

About four weeks ago one of my acquaintances and his son were killed by Americans. The man was in his early sixties and the son was in his early twenties. It was a raid on their home around 4:30 AM. The man was a retired and his interest was in hunting and barbecuing. His son was studying engineer at University of Technology. The man led a life of some kind of luxury since his wife works in Oman making good income. One of their two sons lives with his mother in Oman and they have three daughters. The eldest daughter is a senior dentistry student. According to her story, the American soldiers broke into the house after heavy knocking on the doors with shouts ordering them to open the door. The girl's storey says:

"It was completely dark (because of power shortage in Iraq) and we were asleep. The noise awoke us in alarm. My father hurried to open the door. As soon as he passed by the window he was shot in the abdomen and fell on the ground, which made my brother to follow him distracted between helping my father and opening the door. They gave him no time to decide and they shot my brother too. The doors blasted and a bunch of flashlights rushed into the house. I could not see faces or any sign that might reveal who were those men. My father and brother were bleeding and I asked the invaders to take them to hospital. One of them, I think he was the leader, asked me with complete frigidity 'Where did you learn to speak English?' I was in complete anger trying to make these rude men help my father and brother. The leader put a gum in his mouth and said to me 'We have our own doctor with us and he will help them'.

The soldiers dragged me and my two sisters out of the house to the street. The neighbors were helpless since laser dots were very clear in the darkness inside their houses. We heard several shots in our house then the soldiers brought out two bodies in sacks. They detained my cousin who were sleeping over the roof of the house (sleeping over roofs in summer is an old Iraqi custom). The home was turned upside down, our IDs, my collage papers, a computer, photos…and many other personal things were taken."

Hours later the man's relatives went to the police station in the district, in which there is a coordination office to organize work between Iraqi and American forces. They asked for the bodies and the astonishing answer was "There wasn't such activity in the district by the Americans" which left them in a state of confusion.

As a result they launched a campaign to look for the bodies in hospitals & morgues. Family representatives were assigned at police stations. After three days they found the bodies at a hospital. A shot in the forehead was clear on both bodies, which raised questions about killing them in cold blood. On asking the hospital about where from the bodies were received, the answer was from a police station. And the police station said that they had received the bodies from the Americans who said that they had found these two anonymous bodies in the countryside of Al-Dijail (a town 60Km. north to Baghdad).

In such milieu many people are ready to tell you different stories and rumors, among which one feels confused and unable to find answers to irrefutable details. So in the ceremony of condolence one could find many people who volunteer to tell you incredible stories which can not be verified, since the storey of the other side (the Americans) is unknown. Someone asked 'Were the raiders accompanied by Humvees and helicopters?' and the answer was 'NO', another question 'Had they used wheeled armored vehicles?' and the answer 'YES', then this 'someone' said 'These are the American death squads established by Ambassadors Bremer & Negroponte!!'

The whole event made me feel dizzy and left me with many unanswered questions. What about the cousin who had been detained? Were there any traces which led to him? Did his uncle's family know any thing about his activities? Assuming that he was wanted, why did the raiders kill the other two? And if the other two persons were wanted, what caused the raiders to kill them after injuring them? The more reasonable conclusion was to detain them and make use of the information they had.

I feel that there are obscured parties trying to cause lot of confusion, and confusion leads to suspicion & ineffective communication.