After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Mother of all Smoke Screens

I remember when Princess Diana died an enthusiastic Labour party worker sent round an email suggesting that it would be a good time to push through some unpopular policies. The worker was immediately sacked not just for extreme tactlessness but also exposing an ages old trick in politics. Use an extreme diversion to push through an unpopular policy. Or to quote Riverbend, "when all else fails execute the dictator".

Bush is in a fix and needs time badly. The Iraq Study Group report is hanging over his head like the Sword of Damocles. And after the split of the Sadrists from the Iraqi government, its unity is hanging by thread. The execution of Saddam Hussain will buy time. It placates the American public on one side and the Sadrists on the other. Saddam's execution is a big smoke screen to hide an ugly policy. As proposed by the American Enterprise Institute, a huge military surge as a last gamble to secure Iraq. By its own admission, this policy will cost billions and kill hundreds. But its the last desperate throw of a dying empire and after this, the only way is down.

Saddam had his Mother of All Battles but nothing will be left of the Mother of All Smoke Screens after the wind blows it away. The emperor has no clothes and it's showing.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam at the Iraqi Blogodrome

... for the last time.

Today I post without comment on blogger reactions to Saddam's execution. I'll be posting more updates as the blogs develops.

From my honorary Iraqi of the week. A cartoon by Latuff that sums up the mood of many:
Saddam Hanging

Like a gathering storm, realization that the execution was imminent became apparent hours before the event. Neurotic Wife an Iraqi woman who works inside Baghdad's Green Zone gets a tip-off:Read more »

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Who got Dick Cheney off...

(to invade Iraq)? ... its Ahmed Chalabi.

Giving intelligence in the form of a dirty phone call.

very funny.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

To hell you f***ing hell...go and meet your other chums who are burning in hell now!!!!

(or Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome)

These were the words of, normally, mild-mannered blogger Marshmallow26 to the news that her uncle's neighborhood had been blown to pieces by a suicide bomber who had aimed his load at one of the houses but in his hurry killed no one but himself. And she describes the scene:
It was about 5:30 pm and as usual it was dark already, all wires and electricity cables melted because of the explosion… smoke, shrapnel and screams in every where, we got into the house finally.
I will never forget how my Uncles’ wife and daughter looked like at that moment, scared to death, quivering so bad, stammering and crying!!!

...I walked into the house, and took a look inside in the kitchen; I found broken glasses, shrapnel, destroyed plants pots, broken dishes, and doors!!! It was so dark that we had to lit candles all over the place.

In TV room, the scene was bloodcurdling!! All curtains and glasses were mixed with each other the way we couldn’t move them, TV and satellite receiver were on the floor... I wanted to go upstairs to check the other rooms, I couldn’t go up, because of the teeny-weeny broken glasses were on the steps and the banister.

Today another post dedicated to the voices from Iraq. You may here on the news that the situation for the ordinary people is going from bad to worse but why not hear from the Iraqis for yourself. But it is not all blood and pain, there is also the experiences of a first year student at University, women complaining about men, a view from the front lines of the civil war and, if you read to the end, Iraqi women discussing *ahem* vibrators.

If you read no other blog post this week read this

Sunshine defines the meaning of "having a bad day" in Iraq.
Yesterday " Thursday " I had a very bad day , I was in the garage , waiting for the driver , when my neighbor " H" , came to say hello , he was standing near me , and talking with my grandma, suddenly he touched his leg and said " awwwwwwwch "... A bullet entered his leg, he fell down on the floor ... I got panicked and started to cry and shake hysterically, I ran and brought handkerchiefs , and started to put them on his leg , he was bleeding.

... I went to bring my mom I was out of breath , and couldn't talk , I was terrified " I was , a man , a bullet , the car , blood , neighbor , bandage , cotton, come please " I couldn't create a sentence , she didn't understand me but she came and brought medical cotton and bandage with her , she ran wearing her pajamas ! anyway she tied his leg so hard , to stop the bleeding , and I kept crying shaking and spreading so many handkerchiefs on the floor to cover the blood, I don’t know why !

... I went to school , and kept crying all the way long , and when I reached there , I was shaking so badly, even the teachers were worried about me , my mom called the headmistress and told her what happened , when I arrived school the headmistress asked me to sit in her room, the teachers were around me , trying to calm me down , after an hour I stopped shaking , but kept crying , ...

"R" my dearest friend came while I was in the headmistress room ,she was crying and shaking too , a mine exploded in front of their car , !!!! the car's windows were broken , then US soldiers started to shoot their car !.

Then our friend "Sh" came crying , because she heard about me and "R" .

Then our teacher Mrs. E came to the headmistress with tears in her eyes because her aunt died .

Then Mrs. S she is another teacher came and said quickly " excuse me , I have to go , 3 of my neighbors were killed "

At last Mrs. "A" came and said "did you know about the Arabic teacher , her nephew was killed" .

Suddenly the headmistress fell down , we ran to her desk to see what happened , she fainted because of all what was going on in her room ,as well as she was tired from taking care of her sick mother ,and from being awake all the night.

Stopping the Universities

Many Iraqi students woke last week to the news that even attending school will be more of a risk to their lives than normal. Fatima translates a not so thinly veiled threat from one of the insurgent groups:
In order to protect your blood from the crimes committed by the Maliki government and its death squads...we have decided ... to cancel the rest of the 2006-2007 school year for undergraduate and graduate students at all Baghdad universities and colleges...

[To those who do choose to continue] ... We will choose the time and place to attack you, in your homes, and on your beds and in your schools... You will continue to live in fear until your time comes
The result was immediate. Treasure of Baghdad received a call from his sister saying that armed men had distributed leaflets to students in the Baghdad University of Technology and it has been closed for a week already. Fatima adds, "This whole school year has been a joke so far, with students attending less than half of the normal school days (curfews, security situation, etc). ... I don't know how authentic this letter is... but I do know that this letter has had its effect on Baghdad university students. Even if they decide to ignore it and go to class, they find that no one else is attending, neither student nor teacher."

Meanwhile at another university in another city, Aunt Najma is getting used to her first year there...
Universities in Iraq are mixed... unlike secondary schools ... which was a bit hard to get used to. We are walking baby steps towards better communication with each other. Some boys just want to start a conversation, which is sometimes really annoying, since they just can't say a whole sentence without making fools of themselves, and sometimes offending us. ... Girls can be smarter than them, they will have to see it now.
Hmm, I think this situation is not unique to Iraq. Najma continues:
I left home late today since the neighborhood was surrounded. We were having breakfast when an explosion happened and broke several windows in the house, including the dining room, but none of us was hurt.

I love college, still, but I am under great pressure to prove myself, and the circumstances aren't always helping me. I want to prove myself real hard that I am losing some of the fun in learning and studying. I guess I just need a real exams and knowing who my opponents are to know where I stand and how much work I need to do.. I just do not feel like losing here.

Following on from the story of inept male communication here is another example from Rejected who had a visa interview with a diplomat from an embassy in Iraq. Following her visit to the embassy he called her to, well, flirt. She was outraged:
After hearing his life story and after having the privilege of being called Princess of Iraq.. Not flattered…

I struggle to comprehend how some men push their luck too much when they cheaply shoot way beyond their capabilities. First, not only the guy had a clear lack of education that he could hardly put together a useful sentence that you can make something out of it but had the most hideous looks ever. Did he really think that his disrespectful attitude+ his looks were a good package to offer? I was literally looking down at him, mentally and physically. Some men!

I think I am on a roll here... speaking again about bad habits of men... what would you do when you only get one night a week to spend with your spouse and you want that time to be special. Neurotic Wife finds out what I have to say is an all too common truth..
We go to room and as usual I take my nightly shower. Ofcourse this time I took extra care, like lavishing myself with perfume and body lotion... I get out of the bathroom all smiles and smelling like "beautiful"... I look at the chair and its empty, hmm. I took one look at the bed, and sure enough HUBBY is there tucked in, SLEEPING!!! HUBBY I shake him. HUBBY wake up, Im done. He opens one eye, tells me na3eeman (something we say when we come out of the shower) and smiles. Then he pulls me next to him, hugs me and goes to SLEEP!!! OMG...

Struggle to keep the neighborhood

On the borders of the civil war in Baghdad there is a continuous struggle by various militias to occupy your area. Meemo is unfortunate to live in such a neighborhood. He writes:
Al-Mahdi militia tried to take over our neighborhood, but they couldn't, and I think they will try again later, and the other team that trying to take over the neighborhood is al-Qaida, they don't attack in the same way that Al-Mahdi army use, they are more bloody, like I don't know sidewalk bombs and get inside some house and kill the whole people in it, the both teams are killers, I don't like both of them I want both of them to burn in hell
Meemo is not a political blogger but when he gets started he is as sharp as any pundit:
about the bad things that happen to Iraqis, its not just in Iraq, I've been talking to my friend before few days, he live in Amman Jordain, and he told me how bad the Jordanian police treat the Iraqis ... back in Saddam's days not even the KING of Jordain can mess with Iraqis, cause he was afraid of Saddam, I'm not saying that Saddam is a good guy, I'm 100% against him, but the Arabs are jerks, they are rats, they just want Iraq to burn cause they know if Iraq going to be a peaceful and democratic country they will just disappear, they are sending money for the terrorists and sending terrorists everyday they never want Iraq to get back on its feet, they are afraid of democratic Iraq as much as they were afraid of Saddam, so if they want to bring back peace to Iraq, they must destroy the source of all terror in the world which is Saudi Arabia, that's what I think.

And, HNK describes "un normal" life on her own end of the blog..
Time....It's only time that is moving forward, it's the only thing that is making it's Job. It's the only thing that we both share. We both live in the same time...

I am with no power starting my day as usual, Waking up early to study and then taking my breakfast.... Till now it's look like I have a normal life.
But hey... Did you forget that you are reading Hnk's blog ( Iraqi girl blog)?

Here and in this blog nothing is normal. Here people are wearing a thick clothes under thick clothes till they become like a ball. Here people are drinking a dirty water,and take a bath once every week because the water is somehow closer to black colour than white. and if you are going to take a bath, you might possibly became dirty more than you are already.

let's go back to my UN normal life. One day not far along, but about week ago:
I was taking my breakfast, I finished it. I wore my clothes and my shoes and took a look throw the Windows to see if the car that carried me to school is waiting for me.... Yes, yes there was a car, No not a car but an American Tank. The road was closed and everything was calm. Anyway, after a while everybody was a weak even my grandmother and there were taking there breakfast and I was walking between them worry about my exam that I have that day. I sat on the chair and after that I don't know exactly what happened but there was an explosion took part near from us. The type of explosion that YOU will always remember.

And Finally...

Konfused Kid remembers the good old days back in Iraq (about last May) and links to a medley of old Iraqi songs he played with his friend Nabil.

And Neurotic Wife talks vibrators with Iraqi friends that live outside the Green Zone:
if you are below the age of 18 pls do not read further...

L a colleague of mine ... came to me yesterday and said, I need to ask you something , but its kinda embarrasing, and you are the only one I can talk to, so lets go out and have a smoke. I followed her out and pulled my cig then said What is it L? Do you need anything? L said, no, then she lowered her voice and said is a vibrator what I think it is??? OMG. I was just startled. I almost choked on my cig. L, I asked shocked, how do you know about vibrators??? L who by now was blushing big time, said well, the American ladies I work with keep whispering to each other about using vibrators. I overheard them the other day, and because I didnt wanna embarrass myself, I googled it. (yup, the joy of the internet). I tried to act as normal as can be and asked, aha, and what did you find out???

L looked at me then came closer, she said, it looks like you know. Like what??? You know, like you know what I'M talking about. Hmm, this time I laughed from the bottom of my heart and said Oh L, yessss, it is what you think it is. She said, but why is it fun??? I said, hmm, hard question, why dont you ask the women you overheard??? She gave me a shocking look, you must be crazy she said. No way, I cant do that. Then I said, well, I dunno L. I cant answer you there. Then L flashed a smile and said, you know, these women keep getting me sweets and chocolates, christmas is coming, do you think maybe I should order something on the net for them??? And here was what I was dreading. Using HUBBYs credit card to purchase VIBRATORS, and umm to have them shipped here. Wont that be just lovely. I patted L's shoulder and said, L dont even THINK about it. Get them ANYTHING, ANYTHING but those.

There is sadness everywhere, but when they come here, they lose themselves in what they see as their freedom. My prison is their freedom, yet the laughter albeit scarce, is there. Can anyone imagine that vibrators will be a subject talked about in this part of the world, and in these circumstances??? No, nor did I until L brought it up. Imagine that. Vibrators. Vibrators in Iraq...

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Bleeding at the Iraqi Blogodrome

I sit here and try to imagine how I would feel if it had been my country which had been invaded, bombarded into submission, occupied, allowed to be looted and vandalized, my people brutalised, towns I lived in ripped apart, my countrys infrastructure destroyed, people I loved killed and those who lived, frightened, despairing, wondering if they have any future....
Iraq is the holocaust of our time.
It weighs heavily on the hearts of a lot of us.

Anonymous comment at Iraq Blog Count

Iraq is bleeding and it seems nothing can be done to end the suffering. Today I give you stories from the front lines of the new civil war that is Iraq, without comment. They express themselves well enough.

If you read no other blog, ever, read this

"Why, Dubai?" is truly what blogs are all about. Rejected tells her story of a professional Iraqi Woman who travels to Dubai and is rejected for, well, being profession, Iraqi and a woman. She starts from her times working for international companies in Iraq after the war and goes through her experiences in Duba. So far she has got the ideal job in Dubai and has returned to Iraq so that she can get her residence visa. The next installment will be the most painful and is yet to come. She writes:
Had I been a gypsy dancer, Pilipino escort or Russian club singer, I would have been received in open arms and granted residency in UAE. Being a decent Iraqi hard worker female made me lose my job in UAE and my future.
Just read it all.

Without Comment

Baghdad Connect:
They have been coming down like black rain; at least where we live. The districts Mortars wars are horrifying and nothing like them, not even the war of the cities with Iran . The whole situation is savagely out of control. And the Mortars are causing permanent body damages as well as deaths.

The killings in our neighborhood have turned into a psycho-apartheid modus operandi. Whoever is of somewhat darker skin and spotted in the streets is considered a ‘Shrougi’ – (a dirty southerner) and shot at instantly. No IDs are being asked for! Some are being caught and had their head covered with a bag before being shot. It is becoming a very normal sight for everyone to spot dead bodies in the streets.

During the past 5 days the children did not see the roads. Neither schools nor universities are open period. It’s like a devastated Pompei visited by Nero. Yet some men are still going about their jobs. The fuel shortage is back to a crisis level.

The house of the deputy (Shiite) to the health minister was raided in broad daylight by men dressed in police uniforms – the official death-squads uniform - and he was dragged out and dumped in an Opal’s trunk and driven away. A day later a Mortar was aimed at his house but missed and hit his next-door neighbor’ house!

Woke up at some point during the night on a weird noise, or early morning was it? It was dark. My senses started to realize slowly it was war outside! Heavy shooting! It involved RPG, guns and rifles. In between there was a horrible sound of bombing. I was still not completely awake but those three years made us all experts. It was a car bomb, I could hear the echo, and I could feel the huge flames reaching up to the sky. Another run of heavy shooting. “Please God make me sleep again” I was praying to Allah. Recited some verses while my eyes were still open. Seconds later silence filled the place, like if it was a nightmare, only it wasn’t.

Iraq The Model:
The past four days during which we were under siege were long and rough for Baghdadis. Anxiety and fear haunted us at our homes and a flow of horrible news made the prison feel even tighter…it was a material and psychological siege that will not be easy to forget. ...

Terrorists and militias started an open war; the battlefield is our city and the fuel is innocent civilians as always since those criminal groups find it easier to kill civilians than to confront each other ... We had no choice but to rely on ourselves to protect our homes and neighborhood insurgents and militias alike. In our mixed block the elders met to assign duties and make plans in case things go wrong. They decided that people should all exchange cell-phone numbers as the fastest means to communicate at times of action, it was also decided that if someone calls to report an attack on his home, everyone else must go up to the roof and start shooting at the direction of the assailants...

The situation was terrifying and the rattle of machineguns broke through the tense quiet of the night several times every night but perhaps the star of the latest show was the mortar—there has been a frenzy of mortar fire, gladly none struck our neighborhood but we could hear the stupid death packages pass by each other in the air across our neighborhood....

When the news came that the curfew was over and people began walking on the streets again there was a strange feeling that was particularly very strong this morning in Baghdad; despite all the rumors and fear from more wide-scale revenge attacks there was a feeling among the people that they must go out on the streets and live in all possible means. The most beautiful scene was that of students going to their schools and colleges despite all what happened in the days before.

Iraq Sweet Iraq overhears a common conversation:
- Do you have a low or a high wall at the back of you house? I mean can you easily jump to your neighbour’s house if necessary ?

- I suppose so.

- Good, that will be the women's escape . As soon as they attack you, get the women to cross over , then you and your brothers and father go upstairs as fast as you can, and shoot down on them from your roof, and remember son ; never ever open the door for them even if they shoot or even if they bombard your garden, don't give them an access.

At that point I sprang out of my chair and went to the kitchen. Abu S... and M … were having their breakfast and drinking tea . Abu S… was standing holding his cup and eating a cheese sandwich , and M… was sitting listening attentively and eating .
Here , I intervened saying :

- Abu S…, my oh my, I've known you long enough , yet this is the first time I see the “General Casey” side of you , what the hell are you teaching the boy !.

- ‘Hello Dear‘ , he said slicing some cheese and wrapping it with a piece of bread , handing it over to me .

– ‘ M ...’s area is being attacked daily’ , Abu S.. explained, ‘And yesterday his next door neighbour was attacked . The bastards stormed in and the poor man was beaten up in front of his children and wife. Everything was stolen and as if that was not enough they took him away somewhere . I tell you they are taking the whole area in turn . A man has to do what a man has to do , one must fight for his house at least..

- ‘Who are these people ? do you have any idea’ I asked M...

- Who cares any more , you see our area has been practically invaded , people driven out , the houses left empty and any one can just break in .My area has been taken over by people who claim to have been driven out from their own houses . And they are forming now the majority and are carrying out raids on the old tenants. It is happening now everywhere .

- ‘And what are you going to do? , I mean besides the D-day plan Abu S... has formulated for you?’ ,I said smiling at Abu S…

- What is their to do!, I'll move maybe . The whole country is on the run .

Attawie gets an SMS from relatives in Iraq:
Dear ……..,
Thank God we are ok. But the situation in general is more than tragic. I believe that we have arrived at a stage of no return. Maybe you'll have to exchange your passports as there no longer is a country called Iraq. Hence, you'll have to obtain passports from either the Shia region or Sunni region. It is not worthy to mention that men entering these regions must be wearing head turban, and women in Booshi. It is also preferable to wear traditional slippers instead of regular shoes to avoid embarrassment, and "he who released his warning is not to be lamented if bad events take place. Regards to all.

All the people are leaving Iraq, My uncle and my aunts leave to Dubai.
My other aunt move from Baghdad to Mosul and by the end of this year I think we will have my grandparents in our house, Do you know I didn't see my grand parents for more than a year.

I don't know what to say except I think we are hardly live here and we are hardly keep going in this life, I wish some times that my eyes are a digital camera so you can see what I see, or that you have a magic ball that help you to see me and see everything around me, maybe that time you can feel my pain.....

And Finally...

Zappy is counting his lives:
1. on thursday the past I visited Sadr city to fix my car, I made it through the explosions there by a hair!! so yes there goes one of the lives.

2. on the same thursday and after the curfew I found out i had no ciggerattes left so of course I left the house to buy some, The Police were after me without me noticing and using thier Car speaker told me to take my hands out of my pockets, lie down on the road and then they sent a police man to check me, they thought I was a bad guy, I thought that they were the Milita. anyway they let me go and gave me a ciggarate and told me not to mleave the house again because of the curfew, did I mention that it was 9:30 p.m. and not even a Rat was on the Road., there goes another life.

3. this Morning I was waiting for a Airport Cab to take me to Baghdad International Airport, he called me in the morning to tell me he can't make it he was scared of my Naghbourhood, so me being me wearing my suit and dragging my two large bags and a backpack had to Walk two kilometers until on a empty scary street at 6:30 a.m. until I reached a Police car, the boys where so scared of me they started shouting at me to..yes to lie drop the bags and lie down on the street..again this time because I was wearing a Suit I refused to do that part and tried to reson with them, after some talk they sent me one of the police men to search me. "sounds familiar?" anyway they let me stand beside the Police car, and they even stopped me a Taxi. live number 3