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Posted: 5/12/2004 8:03:30 PM EST
From Iraq the Model


Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Ibrahim and the dark future.
Last Friday my oldest uncle, along with his 16-year-old son, visited us, as he used to do this once every month. My uncle is a high school manager and a history teacher at the same time in the same school. I saw that he was wearing a nice suit that I haven’t seen him wearing before. I said "Nice suit uncle. Is it new?" He said "Yes, I bought it about a month ago". "It must be expensive" I asked and he replied, "Yes it is, but your uncle now can afford it".

Some of the readers may remember me saying something about my uncle. Before the war he was in the same job and he was paid about 15 thousands Iraqi Dinars that was equal to about 7 US$ a month. His wife, who is also a teacher, was paid a little less than that. He has 5 children; one in primary school three in high school and a girl in college. Of course that salary couldn’t help him support his family, yet he didn’t quit it. He always hoped that things would change for the better. In order to meet life requirements and offer his kids a proper education, he had to work after school. He worked in every kind of business; a taxi driver, a grocer and opened a small shop for a while, but things didn’t go quite well.

He had to sell his car first, then his ‘extra’ refrigerator then the only refrigerator then the TV and then and then…. The last time we visited him, I had to hold my tears when I entered his house. There was virtually no furniture there, no chairs, no TV no tables, as they sold them all, but what shocked me more is that there were no inside doors. He had to sell those too. I mean his house was literally bare. His kids were ashamed of showing because they had nothing proper to wear. It was amazing how he kept honest and didn’t accept bribery from his rich students’ families.

Back to where I started, I asked my uncle: "How much do they pay you now? I’ve heard you get a raise" He answered "Yes I did, I get payed 550 thousands Dinars now" (that’s about 400$ a month). "And what about aunt?" I asked, meaning his wife "She gets 450 thousands, as she has less years of service". I said "Good for you! What does it look like now, your life?" He said, "Uncle, (the word serves both sides) it’s unbelievable. I’ve refurnished my house fully and I’m looking for a car, but I’m not in haste as I can’t drive now and I want it for Ibrahim (his son) as soon as he can get a driving license". His sons and daughters were always very polite and never asked for anything, they were very understanding to their father’s financial difficulties (the right word here should be EXTREEM poverty) they were smart and well educated and never asked for something their father couldn’t afford.

I said "You must’ve saved quite a good sum of money by now" He answered "Not that much, I’m trying to give my sons all that they were deprived of for all those years. Still they don’t ask much and I still end up every month with extra money even though I don’t touch my wife’s salary". I must say here that life in Iraq is very cheep compared to most of the world, but that has become a common knowledge I suppose.

My young cousin is a religious Sunni who goes to the mosque and listens to the cleric there every Friday and believes whatever he says, as he’s still young. My uncle always teased his son about this but never prohibited him from doing that. We were talking about different stuff; the kids’ needs, clerics, Americans and the increase in the average income of most Iraqis. My uncle had some unusual sense of humor that didn’t fit quite well in his somewhat religious family. He winked at me and turned to his son and asked him "What do you think of the Americans?" His son answered, "They are occupiers". "So you think we should fight them?" his father asked. Ibrahim said "No, but I don’t like them". My uncle said, pretending to change the subject "Do you like your new computer that no one shares with you?" "Yes of course dad". "Ok, are you satisfied with the satellite dish receiver we have or do you need a better one?" "This one is fine but I heard there’s a better one that gets more channels" "ok I’ll get you that next week". Then he said, "Is there anything else you’d like to have son?" "No dad I have all that I need". "Ok but how about a car?" Ibrahim was astounded and said "Really? a..a CAR.. for me!?". "Of course for you! I’m too old to drive now and my eyes are not that well and you are the older son. So whom else would it be for!?" "Oh, dad that will be great! When will that happen?" "Just finish you’re exams and you’ll have it". "I will dad". "Are you happy now son?" "Yes dad, sure I am!" "Then why do you hate the Americans you son of a b***h!? I couldn’t get you a bicycle a year ago, I could hardly feed you and your brothers and sisters. You didn’t know what an apple or a banana tasted like, I couldn’t buy you a damned Pepsi bottle except in occasions, and now you can have all that you wish, and a car of your own! Who do you think made that possible!?" My cousin’s face turned red and didn’t answer as we laughed and I said "What do you think Ibrahim?" He said, "Well it’s true but it’s our money. They are not giving us a charity" and I said "Of course it’s our money, so let’s forget the Billions of dollars they are giving to rebuild Iraq and the efforts they are doing to cut down our debts and lets talk about our money. Why didn’t your father, I, my brothers and all the Iraqis have anything worth mentioning before the Americans came?" He said, "Because Saddam used it to buy weapons and build palaces". "There you have it Ibrahim, but Americans are not touching our money. Can you tell me who’s better; the ‘occupiers’ who are helping us or the ‘patriot’ who did all that you know to us?" He said in a faint voice "They are better than Saddam but still they are not Muslims". "So do you want them to be Muslims?" "I wish they were." "Will you fight them to that?" he said, "No, of course not. I don’t like fighting." We didn’t want to pressure and embarrass him further and didn’t go further, as he’s still young but he’s smart and good-natured and will get it soon.

But this is not what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about a strange phenomenon that is related to this conversation I shared with you; it’s the Iraqi Dinar.

Before the war, the Iraqi Dinar was a pathetic piece of paper that could be easily faked, and during Saddam’s times its exchange value dropped from 1 Dinar for 3.33 US$ before the Iraq-Iran war to about 2000 Iraqi Dinar for each single US$ at 2003 with variable changes in between. We never trusted that Dinar, and the tiniest political change or even rumor, used to cause a huge swing in the exchange price of the Iraqi Dinar that sometimes reached 20% of its value in a single day up or down. In one occasion it dropped from 3000 Dinar for each US$ to about 600 Dinar for each US$ in few weeks and then back into 2000 after 2 months, and part of that was sometimes planned. Saddam’s regime used to sell dollars at half the market price, for about one week or so, in small amounts and spread rumors that the sanctions were going to be lifted as part of a secret agreement, and when the price goes below even that of the bank, as many people change their dollars into dinars in the hope that it will rise more, the Mukhabarat, through their men in the market, would buy back more than what the banks had sold, striking two birds in one stone; giving Iraqis a false hope to keep them busy and stimulate the greed of rapid fortune that occurs at such circumstances, and getting extra profit to keep his regime a live (this was not just a guess, I’ve knew this from many Mukhabarat’s men with big mouths). The results were as expected disastrous; few people get rich and thousands get bankrupt, which led in many times to furious disputes between people about unsettled businesses or debts in Iraqi Dinars that mounted to murder in some cases. Those were the peaceful and stable times.

Let’s take a look at the chaos we are living now. Iraq is certainly not what one can call a stable country compared to the rest of the world but is it really as messy and desperate as the media want us to believe?

There are violent attacks that happen on a daily bases and most of the major media are trying to show that these will last forever and that there are streets fighting going all over Iraq, there’s the Sadr revolt and the unstable so-called Sunni triangle that the media shows as a place that refuses American existence totally, there was the alleged unity between Sunni and She'at against Americans that never happened and there is the somewhat mysterious political future that most of the world try to show as a dark one, and finally the poles that show that most Iraqis want Americans out and added to that Abu Gharib scandal which seems to be the only violation to human rights on this planet!! I’m not going to argue any of these because each one approaches these in a subjective way and it’s hard to remain objective while discussing them. I’m going to agree with this dark picture and will not, for this time, show my opinion on them. Instead I’m going to focus on this one tiny detail that do not fit in this picture; that is the Iraqi economy.

I think that most people agree that the exchange price of a country’s currency is one of the indicators of the state of that country’s economy and one that when combined with the average income would help in giving a prediction of the future of this economy and the political future of that country as well, as economy and politics are so adherent to each other. Now the Iraqi Dinar was never trusted before the war, and my family was one of the hundreds of thousands of families that changed all the Iraqi currency they had into US Dollars just before the war which caused the exchange price for the Iraqi Dinar against the US Dollar and other foreign currencies to drop uncontrollably from 2000 for each dollar to about 4000 in a period of a month that proceeded the war. After the war the Iraqi Dinar returned to the previous figure and with the introduction of the new Iraqi Dinar, the exchange price improved to around 1500 by the beginning of 2004 with few shakes during the early period. Since January 2004 and till now and despite all the given factors of instability, the exchange price remained almost constant with a marginal variation from 1430 to 1460 and never dropped below 1400 nor did it ever rise above 1500!! What should that tell us?

Is it possible that Iraqis are that dumb to believe in their currency and that their economy is stable and rising!? Are they really stupid enough to by all this crap about a prosperous Iraq in the future? Or are there solid economic changes that make it so hard to shake despite all the efforts the friends and brothers of the Iraqi people are putting? Don’t they ever think of revolting against the Americans? Note that I’m talking about the majority here.

Back to the average income issue. Some readers may remember that I said my salary was about 17 US$ before the war. Shortly after the war it was raised to 120 US$. Three months after that, they made it 150 US$. Two months later it became 200$(although the truth should be said that they promised that it was going to be 250$) and when I went with one of my colloquies (who gets an exact payment) to receive his salary this month (I still haven’t get paid for 6 months due to some beaurocractic problems that has just been solved), the accounter said to my friend "congratulations! You are getting a new rise starting from the next month and your salary will be around 300 US$!"
Now I know this is still a very low figure compared to what doctors get in other countries, but look at the pace of the raises; 120, 150, 200, 300 all in one year! I mean it’s spooky. What will it be the next year, 500$? And what about 3 or 4 years from now? A thousand or can I dare and say few thousand dollars? Will we get more than what the Syrian, Egyptian Iranian and even Saudi doctors!? What a disaster will it be to the mullahs of Iran, Bashar Al-Assad and the king of Saudi Arabia?

Some people, including some Iraqis, are fooled by the media as it tells them that the prices are higher than before. This is not true, as the prices of ALL the imported goods have lowered especially with only 5% import tax and with no Uday or Qusay to take their share of the merchants’ profits. The only prices that have risen are those the of the local goods and the wages of laborers and services provided by private businesses, but that was only by 2 to 3 folds at maximum compared to the unbelievably high rise in the income of the government employees who represent most of the working Iraqis which should explain the former fact as a healthy sign of economical growth, not the opposite.

Others are fooled by what the media keeps screaming about the unemployment. And this is the most stupid lie I’ve ever heard to which I have only one question: Who are those unemployed people?? I dare anyone to answer this!

Everyone who knows enough about Iraq should know that millions of Iraqis were employed by the government, but most of them had second jobs (I used to run a small shop with my brothers beside my job as a doctor, and of course I gave it up soon after the war) except for those who took illegal advantages from their original jobs. The rest were involved in private businesses that paid more but were very risky with all the shakes in economy and all the restrictions from the old regime. After the war some of those who were employed by the government were expelled, but most of them are back now. For God’s sake even most of the Ba’athists and the security agents are back to their jobs now! The only people who are out of job now are Saddam’s special security agents and higher ranked Ba’athists who sucked the Iraqi people’s blood for decades. May I ask how many are those, and should we really sympathies with them this much? Besides, most of them made fortunes and fled out of the country or are using it to start their own businesses and no one is preventing them from that. But wait a minute! Maybe they are talking about the hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the old army who were paid no more than 10 thousand Iraqi Dinars (5 US$)! Now that is something really bad, to deprive a soldier from a job that paid him 5 $ and cost him 10 times of that in transport and bribing the officers besides his DIGNITY!

The bottom line, and to talk more seriously, is that this picture the media is giving us about Iraq is almost convincing, even to me, if it wasn’t for this insignificant detail, and something must be done to make it right before most Iraqis start to realize that! But to be fare our Arab and Muslim brothers supported by the legitimate Arab leaders and cheered by most of the major media are aware of that, and of the dangers of the vicious circle of (prosperity-stability-more prosperity-more stability) that the Americans and the Iraqi traitors (like myself) are trying to establish. They (our brothers) are doing all that they can; bombing oil pipelines and ports, beheading foreigners in the name of Iraqis and Allah, attacking electricity stations, creating chaos that allows thieves to loot everything they can, yet it’s still not working!! The Iraqi Dinar stands stable despite some Arab governments formally warned their citizens from dealing with it, the oil production is increasing, the markets are full of goods, most Iraqis are busy working, studying selling and buying and the average income is rising!
Please, all those who care about the poor Iraqis and want to save them from the brutality of the American invaders and who want to prevent the Americans from stealing our fortune; meaning Bin laden, Zagrawi and their followers, Arab and Muslim tyrants, our good friend monsieur Dominique de Villepin, all the pacifist of the world, the major media, and in short, all those who hate America and obviously love Iraq: Get your s**t together and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT or else one or two years from now Iraq will be…a prosperous country, and then we will never forgive you for letting us down when we needed you!
Besides, how would you face us if my cousin got a car and made an accident?!

-By Ali.



I love this part:

Please, all those who care about the poor Iraqis and want to save them from the brutality of the American invaders and who want to prevent the Americans from stealing our fortune; meaning Bin laden, Zagrawi and their followers, Arab and Muslim tyrants, our good friend monsieur Dominique de Villepin, all the pacifist of the world, the major media, and in short, all those who hate America and obviously love Iraq: Get your s**t together and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT or else one or two years from now Iraq will be…a prosperous country, and then we will never forgive you for letting us down when we needed you!
Besides, how would you face us if my cousin got a car and made an accident?!

Link Posted: 5/12/2004 8:05:22 PM EST
This, also from Iraq the Model, about serving in the new Iraqi Army.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Old soldier in a new army.
A relative of mine was forced as the millions of Iraqis to serve in Saddam’s army. He was poor and peaceful and couldn’t stand the humiliation and the torture that service meant. He lived in Baghdad and served in Basrah. He was paid about 10 thousand Iraqi Dinars a month, which equaled about 5 US $ at that time, while the ride from his place to his unit cost about 2 or 3 thousand Dinars. Above all he had to bribe the sergeants and the officers only to avoid the hell they could make his life there, as they could’ve made it a lot worse. Others more fortunate paid money to the officer in charge to stay at home and the officer would arrange it to look like they are serving. This may amount to 250-300 thousand Iraqi Dinars a month, and it was a very common practice at that time. And as tens of thousands of Iraqis, he decided to run away. He remained a fugitive for years, hiding from the eyes of the military police. He couldn’t see his family more than 2 or 3 times in the year. We helped him find a job and a place to hide where they couldn’t find him.
Few days ago I was visiting his family to pay our respect in the 1st annual anniversary of his father’s death.
When I saw my relative, and despite the nature of the occasion, I felt happy. Here’s a free man. I smiled as I said, “you must be very happy to be free again, and not fear the MP”. He said, "you can’t imagine! It’s like being born again. I’ve never felt so free before”. “But what are you doing for a living now? I hope you’ve found a job”. I asked. He smiled as he said, "I volunteered in the new army". “Really! I thought you’d never wear a uniform after that terrible experience” he replied "Oh no, this is entirely different". I said, “ I'm sure it is, but who convinced you to do so!? And when did that happen?” "A friend of mine who volunteered before I did told me some nice stuff that encouraged me to do the same, so I volunteered about a couple of months ago". He replied. “So tell me about it, are you happy with this job?” I asked. "You can’t imagine! It’s nothing that we’ve learned or knew about the military life". He answered. “I expected it to be so, but can you tell me about it” I asked and I didn’t have to ask anymore, as my relative started talking excitedly without a stop. He said:

The most important thing is that this army has no retards or illiterate in it like the old one. Now education is an essential requirement when applying to serve in the new army and anyone who hasn’t finished high school at least has no place there. In fact most of the volunteers are college and technical institutes graduates.
Everything is new, no more worn out dirty uniforms that only God knows how many people used before you, and they never minded about the size. This time they took our sizes and handed each one of us a new elegant uniform that’s worthy of an officer! It was a common scene, you know, that soldiers wander near their halls in their underwear after training hours. Some of them did that because they didn’t have much to wear when they wash their uniforms, but the majority did it out of custom. Now this is unacceptable, and everyone received a nice comfortable suit to wear after the training hours.
One of the officers said to us “you know what? One of the reasons you lose your wars is the boots you were wearing” He then handed each one of us a pair of those brand new boots that we could only dream of buying them in the old times, and said “Put these on and you’ll feel like you can fly” and it did feel almost like that!
I knew exactly what my relative meant, as I had to wear those boots at Sadam’s times when they forced us to do a month of military training during our summer vacation in college, and they warned us that anyone who refused to do so would be expelled from his college. Wearing those inflexible rigid boots in that heat was more like a torture. They were my worst memory of that camp and caused me multiple painful sores that needed weeks to heal.
My relative’s face was glowing as he continued, "you can’t imagine how much valued we are and how much our religion and traditions are respected. When we pass by a mosque, the officer in charge shouts “no talk” until we pass the mosque by a considerable distance, and when one of the officers enters our hall, if he sees that one of us is praying he remains silent and order us to keep quite until our comrade finishes his prayer.

For the first time in my life, I feel I’m somebody. I’m not a trash as Saddam and his gang tried to make me believe” as he finished his last words his voice went faint as if he was chocking. I felt his pain and tried to change the course of our talk, “how much do you get paid” I asked, “Oh, pretty much, more than enough, thank God” “and what about your meals” I added and he said with a smile, “Oh you won’t believe it. Everything that we couldn’t get in our own homes before and that we only saw when the officers in the old army made a feast to honor a guest! I mean we have everything; meat is essential in every meal, vegetables, fruits apples and bananas. It’s still unbelievable to many of us!” he went on,
“One of the most important things that the Americans concentrate on in our training is physical fitness. A month ago I could hardly jog for one kilometer before falling to the ground exhausted and out of breath, and now I can run 4-5 kilometers without being exhausted.”
A frown crossed his face as he said “ I remember when they used to train us at the most hot hours of the day for hours without allowing us to rest for a while under a shade or drink any water, and when we get almost killed by thirst, we would be forced to drink from the dirty contaminated ditch water. Now we don’t even drink tap water! Each one of us gets more than enough an amount of that healthy bottled water everyday”
To some people this may mean little if anything, but my relative looked at it as something huge, and indeed, before the war, drinking bottled water was really a luxury that a very small percentage of Iraqis could afford. In my house we used to boil the tap water and cool it before drinking it, because we knew it was not safe and we couldn’t afford buying bottled water everyday.
“I feel I’m somebody now. I’m respected and get all what most people get. Do you believe that they threw one of the Iraqi officers out of the army because he used us to do him personal services, like carrying his bags, and when we complained about his behavior, they told him “ Do you see any of us, American officers use our soldiers? You can go home. You still have the mentality of the old regime and you can’t fit in this new army!” imagine that! They listen to our complains, we the soldiers, and bring us justice even if it involved the higher ranked officers. This had never happened in the old army.”
“But what about the dangers you are going to face when you graduate? You’ll face it everyday, and you’ll probably have to fight Iraqis. Have you thought about that? And how do you feel about it!?” I felt some regret as I asked this question, but it was too important to ignore. My relative said, “Of course I thought about it!” He sighed as he continued, “Dangers were there since I was born; wars, MP chasing me for years, chaos…etc. These will not stop me from going on with my life, and I have a feeling that those thugs are the same people who oppressed me along with all the poor Iraqi soldiers. No, I’m not afraid of them and I’ll do my job. At least this time I know I’m doing the right thing and that my services will be appreciated” I looked at him admiringly as I said, “They are appreciated already! Congratulations, brother, for the new job and for being the free and new man you are”
When I left, I felt real hope in the new Iraqi army. Despite its terrible performance till now, one cannot be pessimistic after hearing the way this army is being formed and the way the soldiers look at it. I’m sure it’ll take time, but I’m also sure that we’ll definitely have an exceptionally efficient, small army with great morals and respect for the law and the institution they represent. An army that can preserve peace and order, and protect the constitution once the Iraqi people agree on one.

-By Mohammed.



Link Posted: 5/12/2004 8:08:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/12/2004 8:09:09 PM EST by ArmdLbrl]
From the Mesopotamian on the Nick Berg murder.


Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Friends,

Regarding the last post, I would like to add that combatting this kind of bestiality requires that people understand that the matter should be regarded as fighting some infestation of most dangerous vermin. How do you sanitise a place from such infestation? Think about it. You ask people out and then use an appropriate pesticide that will pervade the whole place and exterminate all the vermin wherever they are hiding.

Salaam



# posted by Alaa : 12:59 PM
Comments (29)
Hi Friends,

Regarding the horrible act of beheading the poor hostage Nicolas Berg, there is no use in expressions of horror and condemnation, but it is necessary to express sincere condolence and sympathy with the family of the victim.

But I would like to inform the American friends that beheading was known to be one of the techniques of the Fedayeen Saddam. The late Uday, the son of Saddam commanded that particular outfit. I think it was the summer of 1999 when we woke up some morning to be shocked by some horrible news. Before we tell you about that it is necessary to recount something that has some bearing on the subject. You might have heard that an assassination attempt against Uday had taken place in 1996, which left him with injuries that caused impotency. This made him even more cruel and sadistic than his usual self. It has been revealed after the fall of the regime that he shot the doctor who broke the news to him (c.f. interview with one of the close bodyguards of Uday at Al Arabia last year). This added one more complex to his extensive repertoire of psychological problems. He started to hate anything to do with other people having any kind of sexual pleasure.

Well, that horrible day we learnt that the night before the Fedayeen had attacked scores of houses and dragged women and young girls to streets and beheaded many with swords leaving the heads at the doorsteps of the victims houses. Some of these heads were left in place for more than twenty-four hours. The atrocities lasted for several weeks. The pretext for this behavior was a campaign against prostitution. The women who were beheaded were alleged to be prostitution madams and some of their young girls. I remember that my young boys came home suffering from shock as one of these houses was in our area and they knew the occupants quite well. The victims were taken by surprised and there was nothing to arouse their fears before that night. This was typical of the Baathists when they planned some atrocity to attack suddenly at some predetermined moment without any previous warning. Throughout the reign of the Baath party and particularly the Saddam era, it was customary to suffer periodic atrocities carefully planned and imaginatively variable to keep the people terrified all the time. It was considered necessary not to leave the people too long without some thing awful to keep them intimidated properly. The Baathists were masters of the “Terreur”, and it was the essential means of their hold on power. In fact what we see now is something rather similar. It is a similar technique; they are trying to intimidate both the Iraqi people first but mainly the western people. They will stop at nothing. You must understand that this is their only expertise; their sole training and method and way of thinking. They think they can inspire fear and terror into the Coalition forces and their people and leadership exactly in the same way that they did with the Iraqis. They think that they can intimidate the whole world exactly in the same way that they did with us.

So I just wanted to say the above to help people understand why these horrible things are happening: You are just being treated to a small sample of what we suffered for more than three decades.

Salaam


# posted by Alaa : 12:39 PM

Link Posted: 5/12/2004 8:14:31 PM EST
From Iraq at a Glance calling for the death of Al Sadr and his cronies. The US media FAILED TO MENTION that the Al Sadr Militia fired on a peaceful demonstration against their rule a few days ago.


Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Arrest him..
Abdilsattar AlBahadli.. One of Muqtada’s thugs in Basra, he’s the manager of AlSadr office there, on Friday, he urged his thieves that he’ll pay 250000 ID for anyone who can capture a soldier and if the soldier is a female, he can take her as a bondwoman! (I.e. they have all the lawful rights to do anything with her, and she must work as a house maid, they can sell her for others, have sex with her..anything..anything!!) All of that ( according to AlBahadli) is admissible in Islam, the announcer on the TV said “.... all the men who were listening to him were astonished and didn’t pay attention to his call”..
They didn’t, but Al-Mahdi militia of course did ! Murders leading idiots and thieves, what should we expect?
How can we describe Muqtada and his followers? Murders? Thugs? Thieves? Robbers? Kidnappers?..I think all the above are fit..
The coalition and the GC must put an end to M.Al-Sadr and arrest him with his ‘representatives’ right now, he’s so dangerous, it’s silly to negotiate with a murder and wrong to postpone this issue, it must be finished before June 30. M.Al-Sadr is the real threat now, he’ll spoil Iraq in the future..it’s extremely necessary to get rid of him..
It’s told that many of his ‘representatives’ in other provinces were agents for Saddam, they exploited the trust of those who were attending to pray behind them in Mosques, so the people were going to AlBahadli or Alkhaza’li and other ‘religious leaders’ to talk with them in politics, religion..and such things, then when the ‘honest leaders’ find something ‘suspicious’ in those people, at once they pick a pen and write a report to be signed by Ba’thists, then those naive people were being arrested and executed..
........

I read on Al-Iraqia channel that Al-Najaf people arranged a demonstration against the chaos that Muqtada’s followers commit, then M.followers replied by firing at them! I’m waiting for the electric power to watch what happened exactly..

Those crazy murders are roaming in the cities so freely, come on, kill Muqtada and his thugs immediately..

# posted by ays @ 4:56 PM Comments (39) | Trackback (0)

Link Posted: 5/12/2004 8:22:24 PM EST
Healing Iraq asks where is the international outcry over the assinations of Iraqi doctors and university professors across the country.


Iraqi doctors ask: "What about us?"
A number of renown Iraqi specialist doctors have expressed their outrage over the Iraqi, Arab, and international public reaction to the images of abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib. This following an alarming increase in the number of assassinations and abductions of Iraqi intellectuals and top medical professionals recently in Baghdad.

"They scream and whine about abuse of prisoners, most of who are criminals, but I don't recall anyone mentioning what we have gone through let alone condemning it, which was much worse. Now they are openly calling the Americans to release thousands of those criminals from Abu Ghraib.", a relative of ours told us a couple of days ago. He was kidnapped months ago and held for 2 weeks, after which his family paid a large ransom. Now he is considering leaving Iraq after he had recieved threats. He has already been offered a job as a professor in a Medical college in Europe.

Dr. Jawad Al-Shakarchi, a famous ophthalmologist was beaten together with his wife in front of his own house by armed assailants and was then forced to pay a ransom of $30,000. He left Iraq shortly following his release. Dr. Walid Al-Khayyal, a world famous Iraqi nephrologist specialised in kidney surgery and implantation immigrated to the UK immediately after his release a few weeks ago. He mentioned that his kidnappers tortured him and urinated in his mouth several times in an attempt to break his will. He refused to disclose the sum he paid for ransom. Dr. Abdul Hadi Al-Khalili, a specialist in brain surgery, is still suffering from severe psychological trauma and depression because of the humiliation he experienced by his captors and the large sum he paid in order to save his life. Dr. Raysan Al-Fayyadh, a general surgeon, was kidnapped by 15 gunmen in 3 cars. His family paid his captors $50,000 after he had sustained fractures in his nose and left arm after a whole week of torture.

Other gangs have resorted to blackmailing doctors monthly in return for their personal safety. The target is often threatened with death or abduction of a family member in case he doesn't comply with their demands. Eventually, this lead to rivalry and disputes between gangs competing for wealthier targets, often settled by assigning 'areas of influence' to each gang

A long list of specialists and doctors whom had immigrated abroad to escape the hegemony of organised crime groups was released by several concerned specialists. The list includes names such as Sarmad Al-Fahad, Riyadh Al-Sakini, Mudhaffar Karkachi, Mizhir Al-Douri, Mudhaffar Habboush, Talib Khairallah, Sinan Al-Azawi, Adil Al-Qaisi, Ayad Shafiq, and Hussam Jarmuqli. The Iraqi Medical Association organised a sit-in Saturday protesting the public's silence to the dangers they were confronting everyday, and calling upon the GC, Ministry of Interior, religious, tribal, and political groups to put an end to it, warning them of the grave consequences to the country if the immigration of Iraqi specialists and intellectuals abroad continues.

As much as 500 Iraqi intellectuals and specialists have been reportedly assassinated since April 2003, and a much larger number have been abducted. Several groups have been accused. Insurgents, criminals, fundamental religious groups, foreign terrorists, even Israelis. GC member Muhsin Abdul Hamid mentioned the phenomenon a week ago for the first time in public, decribing it as an "international plot against Iraq". However, the reluctance of the IP to assume their duties and the spread of lawlessness is to blame. Several gangs have been captured only to be released after a few days because of threats against the police force. In Tannuma, Basrah, an IP station was surrounded by an armed group related to several prisoners detained at the station. A tribal sheikh leading the group talked to the IP officer and told him to release his 'boys'. When the officer tried to explain to him that the prisoners they were holding were looters and bandits, the sheikh responded "So what? You know they're only trying to support their families". The officer was forced to release the prisoners when the sheikh threatened to return with heavier weapons. The reason the officer relented is because he also lives in the same area, and he or his family might be later harmed by relatives of the criminals.

Some tribal sheikhs have condemned other tribes for this behaviour, and several have vowed upon themselves to disown or punish any of their tribesmen connected with banditry or criminal behaviour, and to lose the protection and sanctuary of one's tribe is the worst kind of punishment that can be inflicted on an individual in rural parts of Iraq. That is why the former regime relied on tribal leaders rather than the police force to maintain order in the country.

Tribal laws sometimes border on the surreal. For example, when a thief breaks into your house and you succeed in injuring or killing him, his tribe would contact you asking for a diyya (a specific sum of money to be payed to a tribe for it's reputation and esteem to be restored) otherwise you would have to face the consequences. There are some ridiculous stories related to this practice, like a few months ago, this incident at the Basrah university; a herd of bulls was passing through an area of campus where some powerlines construction work was going on, a bull was electrocuted when it tripped over and damaged a power cable. The bull belonged to a tribe of former Marsh Arabs who had settled in the area recently. An angry sheikh came to the dean demanding a diyya for the dead bull. The dean was at a loss. He couldn't convince the sheikh that he had nothing to do with the accident. The university ended up paying the tribe for their dead bull.

I suppose I will have to write a post some time about tribes and their controversial role in Iraqi society.

# posted by zeyad : 5/10/2004 06:17:43 PM
comments (52)

Link Posted: 5/12/2004 8:24:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
This, also from Iraq the Model, about serving in the new Iraqi Army.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Old soldier in a new army.
A relative of mine was forced as the millions of Iraqis to serve in Saddam’s army. He was poor and peaceful and couldn’t stand the humiliation and the torture that service meant. He lived in Baghdad and served in Basrah. He was paid about 10 thousand Iraqi Dinars a month, which equaled about 5 US $ at that time, while the ride from his place to his unit cost about 2 or 3 thousand Dinars. Above all he had to bribe the sergeants and the officers only to avoid the hell they could make his life there, as they could’ve made it a lot worse. Others more fortunate paid money to the officer in charge to stay at home and the officer would arrange it to look like they are serving. This may amount to 250-300 thousand Iraqi Dinars a month, and it was a very common practice at that time. And as tens of thousands of Iraqis, he decided to run away. He remained a fugitive for years, hiding from the eyes of the military police. He couldn’t see his family more than 2 or 3 times in the year. We helped him find a job and a place to hide where they couldn’t find him.
Few days ago I was visiting his family to pay our respect in the 1st annual anniversary of his father’s death.
When I saw my relative, and despite the nature of the occasion, I felt happy. Here’s a free man. I smiled as I said, “you must be very happy to be free again, and not fear the MP”. He said, "you can’t imagine! It’s like being born again. I’ve never felt so free before”. “But what are you doing for a living now? I hope you’ve found a job”. I asked. He smiled as he said, "I volunteered in the new army". “Really! I thought you’d never wear a uniform after that terrible experience” he replied "Oh no, this is entirely different". I said, “ I'm sure it is, but who convinced you to do so!? And when did that happen?” "A friend of mine who volunteered before I did told me some nice stuff that encouraged me to do the same, so I volunteered about a couple of months ago". He replied. “So tell me about it, are you happy with this job?” I asked. "You can’t imagine! It’s nothing that we’ve learned or knew about the military life". He answered. “I expected it to be so, but can you tell me about it” I asked and I didn’t have to ask anymore, as my relative started talking excitedly without a stop. He said:

The most important thing is that this army has no retards or illiterate in it like the old one. Now education is an essential requirement when applying to serve in the new army and anyone who hasn’t finished high school at least has no place there. In fact most of the volunteers are college and technical institutes graduates.
Everything is new, no more worn out dirty uniforms that only God knows how many people used before you, and they never minded about the size. This time they took our sizes and handed each one of us a new elegant uniform that’s worthy of an officer! It was a common scene, you know, that soldiers wander near their halls in their underwear after training hours. Some of them did that because they didn’t have much to wear when they wash their uniforms, but the majority did it out of custom. Now this is unacceptable, and everyone received a nice comfortable suit to wear after the training hours.
One of the officers said to us “you know what? One of the reasons you lose your wars is the boots you were wearing” He then handed each one of us a pair of those brand new boots that we could only dream of buying them in the old times, and said “Put these on and you’ll feel like you can fly” and it did feel almost like that!
I knew exactly what my relative meant, as I had to wear those boots at Sadam’s times when they forced us to do a month of military training during our summer vacation in college, and they warned us that anyone who refused to do so would be expelled from his college. Wearing those inflexible rigid boots in that heat was more like a torture. They were my worst memory of that camp and caused me multiple painful sores that needed weeks to heal.
My relative’s face was glowing as he continued, "you can’t imagine how much valued we are and how much our religion and traditions are respected. When we pass by a mosque, the officer in charge shouts “no talk” until we pass the mosque by a considerable distance, and when one of the officers enters our hall, if he sees that one of us is praying he remains silent and order us to keep quite until our comrade finishes his prayer.

For the first time in my life, I feel I’m somebody. I’m not a trash as Saddam and his gang tried to make me believe” as he finished his last words his voice went faint as if he was chocking. I felt his pain and tried to change the course of our talk, “how much do you get paid” I asked, “Oh, pretty much, more than enough, thank God” “and what about your meals” I added and he said with a smile, “Oh you won’t believe it. Everything that we couldn’t get in our own homes before and that we only saw when the officers in the old army made a feast to honor a guest! I mean we have everything; meat is essential in every meal, vegetables, fruits apples and bananas. It’s still unbelievable to many of us!” he went on,
“One of the most important things that the Americans concentrate on in our training is physical fitness. A month ago I could hardly jog for one kilometer before falling to the ground exhausted and out of breath, and now I can run 4-5 kilometers without being exhausted.”
A frown crossed his face as he said “ I remember when they used to train us at the most hot hours of the day for hours without allowing us to rest for a while under a shade or drink any water, and when we get almost killed by thirst, we would be forced to drink from the dirty contaminated ditch water. Now we don’t even drink tap water! Each one of us gets more than enough an amount of that healthy bottled water everyday”
To some people this may mean little if anything, but my relative looked at it as something huge, and indeed, before the war, drinking bottled water was really a luxury that a very small percentage of Iraqis could afford. In my house we used to boil the tap water and cool it before drinking it, because we knew it was not safe and we couldn’t afford buying bottled water everyday.
“I feel I’m somebody now. I’m respected and get all what most people get. Do you believe that they threw one of the Iraqi officers out of the army because he used us to do him personal services, like carrying his bags, and when we complained about his behavior, they told him “ Do you see any of us, American officers use our soldiers? You can go home. You still have the mentality of the old regime and you can’t fit in this new army!” imagine that! They listen to our complains, we the soldiers, and bring us justice even if it involved the higher ranked officers. This had never happened in the old army.”
“But what about the dangers you are going to face when you graduate? You’ll face it everyday, and you’ll probably have to fight Iraqis. Have you thought about that? And how do you feel about it!?” I felt some regret as I asked this question, but it was too important to ignore. My relative said, “Of course I thought about it!” He sighed as he continued, “Dangers were there since I was born; wars, MP chasing me for years, chaos…etc. These will not stop me from going on with my life, and I have a feeling that those thugs are the same people who oppressed me along with all the poor Iraqi soldiers. No, I’m not afraid of them and I’ll do my job. At least this time I know I’m doing the right thing and that my services will be appreciated” I looked at him admiringly as I said, “They are appreciated already! Congratulations, brother, for the new job and for being the free and new man you are”
When I left, I felt real hope in the new Iraqi army. Despite its terrible performance till now, one cannot be pessimistic after hearing the way this army is being formed and the way the soldiers look at it. I’m sure it’ll take time, but I’m also sure that we’ll definitely have an exceptionally efficient, small army with great morals and respect for the law and the institution they represent. An army that can preserve peace and order, and protect the constitution once the Iraqi people agree on one.

-By Mohammed.






I dont know if this article is truly written by an Iraqi, but the details in the story conform to the stories I have been getting from my buddy who is serving there as a US military instructor for the NIA (New Iraqi Army). These soldiers would rather follow their US instructor's order than their own officers. The soldiers were trained by the Americans, but the Iraqi officers are not. They are mostly former officers in the old Saddam's army who have been deemed fit for duty (no record of human rights violation etc). Unfortunately, many of these officers still carry the same mentality that prevailed in the old army. Which caused resentments from their men who have been trained professionally following the US standards.
Link Posted: 5/12/2004 8:26:52 PM EST
Dont make them bring back the 8000 character limit, dude.
Link Posted: 5/12/2004 8:32:39 PM EST
The only way to put an end to it is to wipe "the bad guys" from the face of the earth.
Link Posted: 5/12/2004 8:35:56 PM EST
From Iraq and Iraqis on what real Bagdadis are thinking about Abu Garib, Fallujah, and Najaf.


Monday, May 10, 2004
Settlements

When I didn’t find the time yesterday to post an article I realized that we are in some kind of peak point in business and work here in Baghdad, I didn’t even find enough time to open my personal mail, and when a friend of mine from Basra said that he would e-mail me about something important three days ago and I didn’t receive any thing yet because he is busy with a contract about rehabilitation of 100 schools there, and when I received information about two Iraqi companies and another group of companies wins the bid to clean the mess and rebuild Faluja , and when I receive information about an Iraqi company joining with Ukrainian company to invest more than hundred millions dollars in one of the most important steel factories compound in Iraq and supplying job opportunities for more than 4000 Iraqi’s besides training ………..Then I would be sure that the peak is not only here in Baghdad its every where in Iraq. What’s more important that I am not the only one to see this and for sure that’s not every thing. Much more is being done.

Last Friday I took my family for lunch in one of the social clubs here in Baghdad, Where usually families gather for lunch and children play, men may discuss business, some may use the internet café, and people stays for the day. And there were hundreds of them. Nobody was talking about Mahdy militia or Abo Ghraib.

Not because we don’t care, actually we care too much but its very obvious that thing are heading to be solved and those who are wise enough are concentrating on how to achieve their goal in life.

Here in Baghdad any one can see that the media is talking about Abo Ghraib more than the Iraqis themselves. Its not Iraqis they are crying on they are using this case against the Americans. Please try to answer these questions:

Is there any prison in the world with out humiliation?
Did any one talk about Iraqi human rights before April 2003?
Did any one ask what those people in Abo Ghraib did to be treated like that?
Can any Arab country open its prisons for any committee?
Would any one dare to criticize prisons system in any other Arab country?

Well……Tank you Arabs, we don’t need your voices now, we know how to solve our problems very well, and it’s being solved. We have our own government and its going to be more legitimate in next July and elected in 2005.


All I can think of now if I had the power is to start a huge campaign against those governments who tries to use us for there own settlements with others. At that time the world would see enough scandals that may forget about us and we would go ahead for prosperity more easily.


// posted by Firas Georges @ 1:08 AM

Link Posted: 5/12/2004 8:37:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
The only way to put an end to it is to wipe "the bad guys" from the face of the earth.



And the way to do that is to follow the precident of Fallujah, and what we are now conducting in Karbala and Najaf.

And after next June, to carry it on to Iran and Syria.
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