Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Allawi's CIA links not a problem for Iraqis

'Mr. Allawi is known for his decade of work in trying to topple Mr. Hussein, but he is a former Baathist himself, with suggestions among those who regard him with suspicion that he once engaged in thuggish work on the party’s behalf. That tough-guy past, even his former association with the Central Intelligence Agency, seems to warm the hearts of many Iraqis who miss Mr. Hussein’s iron-fisted ways. “That Allawi worked for the C.I.A. may be a problem for Americans,” an Iraqi journalist said in conversation recently, “but it is not a problem for Iraqis.” '

Allawi's party spokesperson denounces criminal Baathists

I received this in an email today:

"The spokesperson for Al-Iraqiah coalition, Member of Parliament Maysoon Aldamluji, has insisted that the Baa'th Party as an ideology or a practice which applies policies of marginalization, despotism and oppression will not play any part in the political system. Adding that Al-Iraqiah has always stood against such practices and will continue to do so as it seeks to build a democratic Iraq away from such policies wherever they may arise.

As for Baa'thists as members, strict accountability should be applied to all those who committed crimes, as for the majority who did not, it is essential that they integrate into society and the political system.

The spokesperson also dismissed the allegations to the contrary as rumors and part of a campaign of distortion against Al-Iraqiah and its leadership which is known to have fought the Baa'th Party for many decades."

-Al-Iraqiah Bloc
March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's still unclear who will form the next govt

"Iraq's highest court recently clarified an ambiguous part of the constitution, ruling that either the largest electoral bloc or the largest merger of one or more groups after the election would form the government. Any political group will need the majority -- 163 seats -- of the next parliament to approve their cabinet and top executives.

Also Monday, in a sign of the violence Iraqis fear will overtake the nation as political battles ensue, two car bombs ripped through the holy southern city of Karbala. At least five people were killed and 64 wounded in the attacks, said Salim Kadhim, the spokesman of the health department in the province. The simultaneous blasts targeted an emergency service center and the education department, officials said."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saudis see "The Awakening of Moderation in Iraq"

"Although U.S. officials have hailed the elections as an example of nonsectarianism to be emulated throughout the region, the Iraqi campaign and vote have been closely watched by neighboring governments seeking influence. Even as senior Iraqi political figures traveled to Shiite Iran for what Iraqi officials said were probably consultations on the formation of a new government, Sunni-dominated countries such as Saudi Arabia were describing Allawi's narrow victory as a possible curb on Iranian influence in the region. A banner headline in Ashraq al-Awsat, an influential Saudi newspaper, read, "The Awakening of Moderation in Iraq," the Associated Press reported."

Allawi got many votes from secular Shia

"Allawi’s performance among Shia voters was the biggest surprise. Even though his slate had a distinctly Sunni flavor, the majority proportion of Shias who had voted for him in the 2005 election seem to have cast their votes for his candidates again. Allawi picked up 12 seats in predominately Shia provinces, and as many as eight seats from the Shia vote in Baghdad. These were probably voters who were fed up with the Shia Islamist parties, and who had decided to bandwagon with a secular slate that seemed best poised to challenge the Islamist stranglehold on power.

But it would be a mistake to assume that the Shia secular vote all went to Allawi; anecdotal evidence suggests that a very large proportion of that vote went to Maliki, who had successfully recast himself in the Shia public imagination as a secular candidate, even though he heads an Islamist party."

-Nibras Kazimi

Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/03/iraqi_election_resul.php#ixzz0jR7KcB44

Friday, March 26, 2010

Allawi Wins

"Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's bloc has won the most seats in Iraq's parliamentary elections.

His coalition had two seats more than that of incumbent PM Nouri Maliki, officials said, in what was seen as a surprise result in the 7 March poll."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Old Baghdad

Some great decades-old images of Baghdad and a nice song. Thanks Dad! It's dated 1930 and some of the cars in the beginning of the video look that old, but the cars in the end look like 50s-era models.

Will the Iraqi Shia accept Allawi as PM?

Back in 2005 I remember some people asking me if I really support Allawi after I expressed some support for him in a comment. "He's a Baathist," they said. But he's not a Saddamist and he's a Shia, I say, and that makes him unlikely to allow the mass murder of Shia (like Saddamists did and would again if given the opportunity). Allawi is also secular and pro-American, and that's cool with me.

Furthermore, I am looking forward to an Iraqi PM who can lead effectively and intelligently. I want to see an Iraqi PM take those magic wands out of the hands of ISF and give them the most high tech and validated equipment. Nouri al Maliki has proven to be weak in that area.

In the meantime, the greatest worry may be that if Allawi's bloc gets cut out of power, the Sunni Arabs, who boycotted the last election, could return to the insurgency. Al-Maliki already has accused Allawi of harboring former Baathists, the party of Saddam Hussein, in his coalition.

Saddam, a Sunni, ruthlessly repressed Shiites during his rule. Shiite clerics are signaling that they never would accept a government led by Allawi.

This does not bode well for a peaceful resolution of Iraq's political divisions, and that, in turn, could complicate the U.S. withdrawal.

I hope that Iraqis do not return to sectarian violence, no matter who wins this election.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Did CIA help Allawi?

'Sami Askari, a member of Maliki's inner circle and his State of Law election slate, described the electoral commission as a U.N. puppet. He also accused the CIA and elements of the State Department of working to bring Allawi, who has ties to the U.S. intelligence community, back to power.

"The Americans told me six months ago that the CIA and State Department are working on bringing back Allawi," Askari said. "Within State of Law, many believe this."

Askari referred repeatedly to a plot to bring down Maliki's coalition and install Allawi's slate, which includes figures associated with the late dictator Saddam Hussein's Sunni Arab-dominated regime. Askari said if there was no recount, many Shiites would refuse to support a central government that they feared heralded the resurrection of Hussein's Baath Party, which tormented the Shiite majority for 35 years before being toppled in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.'

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mass grave found in southern Iraq

"Iraq's Human Rights Ministry says a Saddam Hussein-era mass grave dating to his 1991 suppression of a Shiite revolt has been unearthed in the south.

Ministry's spokesman Kamil Ameen says government teams working on an irrigation project found the grave in an agricultural area in Maysan province.

Ameen told The Associated Press Tuesday that about 20 bodies were unearthed. The irrigation project has been put on hold until the excavation is complete.

Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppling Saddam's regime, mass graves have been found across Iraq.

Following Saddam's defeat in the first Gulf War, Iraq's Shiites revolted in the south, but were brutally suppressed. Hundreds of thousands are believed to have been killed."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Saddam's Reign of Terror

According to Part 6, an estimated 300,000 bodies were found in mass graves.

Iraq's culture of the qundara

Anthony Shadid wrote an interesting article in which he discusses the culture of the qundara (shoe) in Iraq. It is sad how easily some Iraqis resort to violence.

A friend once called it the culture of the “kundara,” the word here for shoe.

“When anyone is against you, when anyone has differences with me, I will put a kundara in his mouth, I will shove a kundara down his throat, I will hit him with a kundara,” he said in 2006, long before the spectacle of President Bush’s visit to Baghdad.

“We live in a kundara culture,” he said.

The roots of political violence run deep in Iraq, long a turbulent frontier between Romans and Persians, Ottomans and Safavids and, now, Americans and Iranians.

The Lebanese American journalist did not mention the role of the Arabs in the history of sectarian conflict in Iraq, even though thousands of "mujahideen" from Morocco to Salt to KSA volunteered to become suicide bombers in Iraq and ended up killing mostly Iraqis. Nevertheless Shadid wrote a brutally honest article:

In late-night musings, some here will find a metaphor for it in the rivers. For Egypt, with its reputation for humor and revelry, the Nile was that country’s good fortune, surging waters bringing farms to the desert. The Tigris, an artist once told me, destroyed when it flooded, reckless and unpredictable as it was. It left hard personalities in its wake, delivering Iraqis their well-deserved reputation for toughness.

Others are quick to volunteer the words of al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, the medieval governor of Iraq, who infamously called his subjects “people of discord and hypocrisy.” “I see heads before me that are ripe and ready for the plucking,” he told them, “and I am the one to pluck them, and I see blood glistening between the turban and the beards.”

People of discord and hypocrisy? Sounds like the Arabs in general. Are there bigger hypocrites than the people who inhabit the heart of the Arabian peninsula? I doubt it. I have written much about Arab hypocrisy on my blog, and yes many Iraqis are hypocrites too. Shadid goes on to quote Joost Hiltermann, who said correctly that Iraq's culture of political violence was inculcated by Saddam's regime:

The medieval governor had a modern incarnation in Saddam Hussein, whose lieutenants once executed a scholarly dissident by driving nails into his forehead. But even Mr. Hussein’s tyranny, with its traumatic legacy, goes only so far in capturing the reflexive pivot to violence.

Before he took power, politics were still existential. In 1963, when the Baath Party overthrew Abdel-Karim Qassem, who himself toppled the monarchy, Baathists sought to eradicate his Communist allies, killing and torturing thousands in a three-day frenzy whose legacy, even now, colors sentiments between Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs. After Mr. Hussein’s fall, the country still reeled from the aftermath of war with Iran in the 1980s, when more than a million Iraqi men bore arms and 600,000 others served in militias. In all, a tenth of Iraq’s population became soldiers, schooled in violence.

In vastly asymmetrical ways, Mr. Hussein’s opponents in exile practiced a style of politics the dictator himself honed — the insularity and secrecy of a clandestine movement — and the dissident leaders brought it with them when they returned after the American invasion.

Time has to pass, the optimists say. But even the hopeful will lament that generosity is sparse across a landscape haunted by its traumas and still demarcated by their legacies.

“There is a desire for open politics,” said Joost Hiltermann, a director at the International Crisis Group. “But there is a tendency to intolerance that is deeply ingrained by the former regime and by the reality of opponents fighting that regime.”

“It’s very much the political culture inculcated by the former regime,” he added.

Iraq Pundit did not like Shadid's article, but he concedes there is some truth to it. He points out there is political corruption and violence in every country. It is a good point. Iraq Pundit:

It's hard for me to see western analysis as anything but the western reporters and other experts looking down their noses at Iraqis. If they had respect for Iraqi people, they would not focus on the anger of some who are justifiably angry at the violence of recent years. Of course one can and should mention that violence. But there is so much more to Iraq than some murderous thugs kidnapping and killing civilians.

Even in America corruption exists in high levels of government. Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is a good example. But I think it's ok to admit that Iraq is in general much worse on the scale of corruption and political violence.

Iraq's culture of the qundara is the primary reason I did not write about my father's run for Parliament in this year's election. My father returned from Iraq over the weekend. His party did not receive enough votes to win a single seat in Parliament. He is naturally disappointed.

I thought about the possible consequences of publicly endorsing my dad. Most readers of my blog are not Iraqi anyway, and I would guess that at least half of the Iraqis who read my blog disagree with my opinions. A commenter who calls himself "Saddam Hussein" has encouraged another (Jordanian American) commenter to go to my house and "kick my ass". These are the kind of idiots who contribute to the culture of the qundara. These are the kind of people who killed Mithal al Alusi's sons and continue to attack government employees, including Iraqi judges. These are the kind of people who would attack my father just because he is my father. So in the end I decided that posting about my father's campaign would not have helped him and I thought it may even hurt him.

My dad is disappointed in his loss, but he wishes the best for Iraq. Yesterday I talked with my dad and we agreed that a win for Allawi would hopefully appease the Baathists, at least, and hopefully there will be less violence and less shoe-throwing so that Iraq can return to normalcy and economic growth.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

They call for recount only when they're behind

"Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki endorsed the mounting calls for a recount of Iraq’s parliamentary election, as the latest results on Sunday showed his main competitor with a slight lead.

President Jalal Talabani, using more direct language, also called for a recount on Sunday.

The appeals by Iraq’s two highest government officials added to a rash of complaints related to how the March 7 election was conducted and how the votes were tallied. Each of the four leading political coalitions in the election has either alleged widespread fraud or called for a recount in what has materialized as an exceedingly close race between Mr. Maliki and Ayad Allawi, a former prime minister."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Some Iraqi Shia Love Ahmed Chalabi

'Mr. Chalabi has been accused of opportunism in forging his alliance with Shiite extremists, but he said that was not his intent. “Sectarian politics gets votes in Iraq,” he said. “But sectarian government fails in Iraq.”

THE de-Baathification controversy, which caused an uproar both in the West and among Sunnis, was actually, say some Western diplomats now, a masterstroke by Mr. Chalabi. It cemented his alliance with Shiites, tapping into their still bubbling reservoir of resentment here toward the indignities of living under Mr. Hussein.

“He’s a hero, Chalabi, because he uprooted the Baathists,” said Ahmed Khalaf, 33, who works in a grocery store in Sadr City, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad. “Any Baathists he found, he tore them out of the government.”

Another Sadr City resident, Abu Ahmed Hassan, 50, called Mr. Chalabi “beloved.” He said, “The Americans hate him, the Jordanians arrested him. So he must be good.”

Iraq Electoral Commission rejects fraud allegations

"Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) on Friday dismissed allegations of election fraud from a member of the European Parliament. After the March 7 parliamentary elections, head of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq, Struan Stevenson, reported that he had received a "flood" of complaints about election fraud."

Saudi court upholds death sentence for "sorcery"

'Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to stop the execution of a Lebanese man sentenced to death for "sorcery."

In a statement released Thursday, the international rights group condemned the verdict and demanded the immediate release of Ali Hussain Sibat, former host of a popular call-in show that aired on Sheherazade, a Beirut based satellite TV channel.

According to his lawyer, Sibat, who is 48 and has five children, would predict the future on his show and give out advice to his audience.

... According to Arab News, an English language Saudi daily newspaper, after the most recent verdict was issued, the judges in Medina issued a statement expressing that Sibat deserved to be executed for having continually practiced black magic on his show, adding that this sentence would deter others from practicing sorcery. Arab News reports that the case will now return to the appeals court in Mecca.'

Corruption still plagues Iraq

Richard Engel is an excellent journalist, but his latest blog post seems to be incomplete in places and he claims that Iraq's political parties are sectarian and unpopular. If they are unpopular, why did so many Iraqis vote for them?

The third war (2004-2006): The Sunni insurgency. Sunnis favored under Saddam’s government were increasingly ostracized and isolated – basically punished by Shiite political parties. Iran’s influence grew dramatically. Al-Qaida militants moved in to western Iraq to incite [sectarian violence?] and help fellow Sunni Arabs fight the U.S.-backed Shiite government.

The fourth war (2006-2007): The Shiites hit back. Al-Qaida-led Sunni insurgents carried out so many atrocities that Shiite militias, some backed by the government, started to fight back. A civil war erupted and bodies piled up in hospital morgues. Neighborhoods were ethnically cleansed. Two to three thousand Iraqis were killed every month. Between 2 and 3 million Iraqis fled their homes, many left the country.

The fifth war (2007-2008): The American "surge." The U.S. military changed its strategy and added extra troops. The United States stopped the civil war.

The sixth war (2008-today): The war of corruption. Iraq’s political parties used the relative stability created by the surge to enrich and empower themselves, stealing from government projects big and small. Iraq is now considered one of the most corrupt nations on earth. The political parties, still mostly based on sectarian lines, are unpopular among most Iraqis.


Life for regular Iraqis

I am often asked about the lives of average Iraqis. Have conditions improved? It depends on what you use as a starting point.

Are Iraqis happier, richer and freer than they were under Saddam Hussein? Undoubtedly they are.

Are they better off today than two years ago when Sunnis and Shiite death squads were slitting throats in the street? Certainly, the answer is yes.

But do Iraqis have a stable government that people in Baghdad believe will bring them out of what has been a dark and tumultuous period? Not yet.

I like Engel's honesty. He acknowledges that Iraqis are happier, richer, and freer than they were under Saddam, but he also emphasizes the corruption and incompetence of the current government. I also appreciate his acknowledgment that Sunni insurgents committed many atrocities before Shiite militias hit back. This is something that Arabs and America-hating leftists are unwilling to do.

Are smaller parties being cheated?

'The leader of the Ahrar Freedom Party in Iraq today called for a nationwide recount of the results in the recent General Election held on 7 March.

Ayad Jamal Aldin said, "We have sound evidence of nationwide corruption in the election results presently being declared across Iraq. A large number of smaller parties are being deliberately squeezed out of the election result. Thousands of votes are being stolen and transferred to the larger parties, within the Malaki, Allawi and Hakim camps.

"Our Ahrar Party was polling fourth in a large number of governorates and regions across Iraq and we have evidence that our, and other parties', votes are being excluded and not declared in the results so far.

"We have no confidence in the fairness and honesty of the election counting process. We call for international observers, including the United Nations and US Vice President Joe Biden to intervene and support an independently monitored recount of all the votes cast on 7th March. The people of Iraq are being cheated out of a fair election result. No one has anything to fear from a fairly conducted recount but if the present election results are allowed to go unchallenged, Iraq will descend again into conflict rather than benefiting from a free and fair electoral process."

Rice regrets not working closely with Iraqi tribes

"I would many times over liberate Iraq again from Saddam Hussein," Rice said. "I think he was a danger to the Middle East."

However, she suggested the U.S. government failed to understand "how broken Iraq was as a society" and should have focused its rebuilding efforts outside of Baghdad, the capital.

"We tried to rebuild Iraq from Baghdad out, and we really should have rebuilt Iraq from outside Baghdad in," she said.

"We should have worked with the tribes, worked in the provinces," she said, adding that smaller projects should have been favored over big ones.

"That's something that in retrospect that we finally got right" several years after the 2003 invasion. "And it's one reason I think Iraq has a chance."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

As the resistance continues...

...killing Iraqis, some people believe the resistance is still killing US soldiers.

"Eight people died in two bombings five minutes apart on the main street of an Iraqi town south of Baghdad on Tuesday, nine days after an election Iraqis hoped would bring more stability and less sectarian conflict."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunni Arabs worried about Iranian influence

As Arab Americans pretend to care about whether the US bombs Iran, the 'Sunni-led Arab countries, particularly in the Gulf where there are significant and marginalized Shi'ite minorities, worry about the repercussions of Iranian influence in Iraq. They are concerned that the Shi'ite majority is trying to deprive Iraq's once dominant Sunnis of their fair share of power.

They fear meddling by Shi'ite non-Arab Iran in Iraq, an Arab country with a Shi'ite Muslim majority, could incite their own Shi'ite populations and that sectarian instability in Iraq could spill over.

"The big worry for us is that such a divided and sectarian Iraq is easily penetrated by regional powers and here of course Iran comes as the biggest and meddling regional power," said Emirati analyst Abdul-Khaleq Abdullah.

"That really does not settle very nicely with the GCC, the smaller Gulf countries," he added, referring to a bloc of six Gulf Arab states, including top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.'

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Iraqi women miss secularism

This article by Dahr Jamail, an Arab American who did not care about Iraq until Saddam was overthrown, is typical of the Sunni Arab mentality that views secularism in Iraq as something that Saddam invented:

Under Saddam Hussein, women in government got a year's maternity leave; that is now cut to six months. Under the Personal Status Law in force since Jul. 14, 1958, when Iraqis overthrew the British-installed monarchy, Iraqi women had most of the rights that Western women do.

Now they have Article 2 of the Constitution: "Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation." Sub-head A says "No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam." Under this Article the interpretation of women's rights is left to religious leaders – and many of them are under Iranian influence.

The title of the article is "Women Miss Saddam". Is that really true? Or do Iraqi women simply miss secularism, which existed in Iraq before Saddam made himself President?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

3arab jarab never held real elections

"In other words, Iraq's critical political transition is so far going as well as could be expected, both for the country and for the Obama administration. The very uncertainty of the outcome is shaming the regimes of all the other Arab states, which have never held such competitive elections. If the fierce competition among rival blocs can be confined to the vote count and the negotiations to form a new ruling coalition -- and does not escalate into sectarian violence -- Iraq will cross a major threshold."

Angry Arab thinks Nir Rosen is wrong

Professor As'ad Abu Khalil, one of the many Arab Americans who pretend to care about Iraqis and know what is best for Iraq wrote:

This is the conclusion of the Economist's article on Iraq: "America’s influence is ebbing noticeably as its troops withdraw. Despite spending $800 billion on Iraq over the past seven years, its plan for the country has still not worked."

And this is Nir Rosen's conclusion: " Seven years after the disastrous American invasion, the greatest irony in Iraq is that, in a way, the neoconservative dream of creating a moderate ally in the region to counterbalance Iran and Saudi Arabia may finally be coming to fruition."

Nir is wrong of course. Wait until US troops leave the country: you will see how many who are in power will be running out of the country for their lives in opening restaurants in foreign capitals.

Nir defended himself by sending an email to the Lebanese American professor who pretends to care about Iraqis: "there is no contradiction between what i wrote and what the economist wrote, at least in those quotes and its unfair to just take that quote from the article and make me look like a neocon supporter."

So there you have it. An American journalist is more supportive of democracy in Iraq than our Arab American "intellectual brothers" who believe the Iraqi government will collapse after US troops withdraw completely.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Iraqi people keeping democracy alive

"To say that mere voting or an election or two makes Iraq a success story would obviously be mistaken. An election does not a democracy make — and Iraq’s politicians still have yet to prove that they are up to governing, nation-building and both establishing and abiding by the rule of law. But this election is a big deal because Iraqis — with the help of the U.N., the U.S. military and the Obama team, particularly Vice President Joe Biden — overcame two huge obstacles.

They overcame an array of sectarian disputes that repeatedly threatened to derail this election. And they came out to vote — Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds — despite the bombs set off by Al Qaeda and the dead-end Baathists who desperately want to keep the democracy project in Iraq from succeeding. This latter point is particularly crucial. The only way Al Qaeda, Baathism and violent Islamism will truly be defeated is when Arabs and Muslims themselves — not us — show they are willing to fight and die for a more democratic, tolerant and progressive future. Al Qaeda desperately wanted the U.S. project in Iraq to fail, but the Iraqi people just keep on keeping it alive." --Thomas Friedman

Monday, March 08, 2010

3arab jarab unimpressed by Iraqi democracy

"Region Unimpressed by Balloting in Iraq"

Our Arab "brothers" are still the scum of the earth, it seems. I loathe the cockroach 3arab jarab.

"The Hurt Locker" wins best pic on Election Day 2010

The Hurt Locker won the Academy award for best motion picture last night. When I saw ads for the movie last summer I was looking forward to seeing it and I even posted about it in anticipation before it was released. I was hoping the movie would show how US soldier are helping Iraqis. I saw it a few days after its release date and was surprised to see few people in the theatre. Scott Bowles of USA TODAY wrote "no movie embraced obscurity like best-picture winner The Hurt Locker, which became the lowest-grossing film of all time to win best picture."

It was a good movie, but I did not think it was that good. Most Iraqis in the movie seem to be angry at American soldiers and want to kill them. Only one Iraqi professor and one Iraqi boy in the movie are shown interested in befriending the main character, an American soldier who specializes in defusing bombs. I doubt this portrayal of Iraqis as seeking death for US soldiers is accurate. Iraq Pundit seems to agree, and he may have liked the movie less than I did.

Also I was expecting to see in the movie a depiction of at least one market bombing. The bombings of Iraqi markets and public places occurred with horrific frequency between 2004 and 2007, yet there is not a single scene in the movie that depicts the reality of the "resistance", which has killed and wounded many times more Iraqis than Americans.

Nor did the movie reflect the reality of suicide bombers. There have been at least 1,700 suicide bombings in Iraq, a figure unprecedented in the history of the middle east. The majority of suicide bombers have been non-Iraqi and the majority of victims of such bombings have been Iraqi civilians. Many bombers and recruiters of bombers came from Jordan. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist who was belatedly killed by US forces, led his Arab brothers in mass murdering Iraqi Shia. Not a single mention of this fact in the movie. Instead the movie was shot IN Jordan! One of the award recipients thanked the "team in Jordan" for their role in the movie. This pill is still hard to swallow. I simply hate the Jordanian 3arab jarab.

Maybe I should not have expected so much from a Hollywood flick. I should not expect an accurate portrayal of Iraqis or Iraqi history and politics in any American movie. The Hurt Locker focuses more on the relationships between the soldiers. Perhaps I should be thankful that at least the movie shows what the resistance does to Iraqi boys who befriend American soldiers.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Election 2010: The resistance bombed apartment buildings

Although the "resistance" bombed apartment buildings in Baghdad today, "U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he sees surprisingly little violence associated with the Iraq elections and that security improvements have forced al Qaida-linked militants to change tactics."

The violence is little compared to 2005, but like in 2005, the retarded resistance targets mostly poor Iraqis.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Iraq the Cradle of Civilization

Another excellent documentary by Michael Wood.

"Iraqis are a mixture of Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Persians, whose ancestry goes back to the mysterious people who created the first civilization: the Sumerians."

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Suicide bombings kill 30 in Baquba

"A string of three deadly suicide bombings killed 30 people in the former insurgent stronghold of Baqouba on Wednesday, including a blast from a suicide bomber who rode in an ambulance with the wounded before blowing himself up at a hospital, police said."

Meanwhile the KABOBfest continues and the 3arab jarab are still pissed off about Mossad's assassination of a Hamas weapons buyer in a Dubai hotel.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Iraq not a colony of Iran

I love Fouad Ajami's optimism about Iraq.

"So Iran has designs on Iraq. Well what of it? A long border, the traffic of centuries in faith and commerce, runs between the two countries. But no Iraqi project in the offing contemplates making Iraq a satrap of the Persian state. The Iraqis are neither Lebanese seeking outside patronage, nor Palestinians in need of money and guns from foreign donors. They are a tough breed, they have their own material means, oil aplenty, and a determination to keep their country whole and theirs.

If anything, that border with Iran concentrates the Iraqi mind. The Iraqis know their Persian neighbors. The kind of romance about Iran entertained in the Bekaa Valley and Greater Beirut, or in the Gaza Strip, has no takers in Iraq. The Shiism of Iraq is tenacious and Arab through and through.

The sacred geography of Shiism is in Iraq, and clerics in the holy city of Najaf, or in Kazimiyya on the outskirts of Baghdad, display no deference to the theology of Qom. I hazard to guess from discussions with many Shiite jurists in Iraq that no one of any consequence in the clerical hierarchy believes that Iran's "Supreme Leader," Ali Khamenei, is a scholar of genuine standing and religious authority.

Iraqis of all stripes are wary of Iran. In the provincial elections of 2009, pro-Iranian candidates were trounced and Iraqi nationalists carried the day.

There plays upon Iraqis the hope that their country can make its own way, defying the obituaries of doom written for their new order in neighboring lands and beyond. There is a transparent parliamentary culture in Iraq, and we for our part ought to be proud of what we have given birth to.

Leave it to the Egyptians and the Arabs of the Peninsula and the Persian Gulf to belittle the new order in Iraq. They threw everything at it but it managed to survive. Peace has not settled upon Baghdad, but this Iraq, even in its current condition, is a rebuke to the dynasties and the dictatorships of the Arab world." --Fouad Ajami

Arrest warrant issued for Muqtada al Sadr

"Shiite cleric faces warrant over 2003 murder"

But Haydar al Khoei is skeptical:

Amid all this confusion it turns out that Iraq's highest judiciary has issued new arrest warrants for 14 people, including Moqtada. Oh, and the real news is Jalal al-Din al-Sagheer announced he has apparently had a roundtable discussion on this matter with members of the INA and they collectively decided that justice is not really that important. It was not important when Ja'fari was in power, it is not important now, and it will never be important.