After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

Let me clear it up for any moron with lingering doubts: It’s worse. It’s over. You lost. You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the cheers of your imported, American-trained monkeys. You lost every single family whose home your soldiers violated. You lost every sane, red-blooded Iraqi when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out and verified your atrocities behind prison walls as well as the ones we see in our streets. You lost when you brought murderers, looters, gangsters and militia heads to power and hailed them as Iraq’s first democratic government. You lost when a gruesome execution was dubbed your biggest accomplishment. You lost the respect and reputation you once had. You lost more than 3000 troops. That is what you lost America. I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile.
Riverbend on the security situation in Iraq

With a new security plan under way in Iraq and and a major oil law being pushed through parliament, politics is the order of the day for this post. But read to the end and learn something new about Iraqi jokes and the difference between Iraqis and Americans.

If you read no other post this week read this one...

Ishtar just does not get it... "I can't understand this American mentality which obliged all world people to love what they love and hate what they hate as if they are the only perfect model on this earth and all the other people come after them" she writes.
For four years now, I have not heard the US administration declaring any strategy to deal with its internal affairs, in the contrary, it has devoted all its time for Iraq, as if Iraq is one of the US states... but why all of a sudden when the US administration began its cowboy compeign to revenge from those who blown up the towers, the first people to begin its revenge with was the Iraqis.

I have asked this question to a US General in Iraq, he could not give me an answer because he himself did not know why when the US wanted to fight the terror the choice was the Iraqi people and the battlefield was Iraq...

If the matter stopped to this level, we would accepted, but if any wise man takes a look about the bunch of men US picked up from the exile and brought down to rule Iraq, could feel the scale of the damage this administration caused to the Iraqis, they have chosen the worse people in the world and the best example to that was Saddam's execution... A set of sectarian politicians who could not set up such a big event in a proper way and were dancing on Saddam body like monkeys and moreover when they wanted to justify that they said it was a habit by the Iraqis which was to dance on the body of their enemies, they wanted to amend their ugly picture by putting this on the shoulder of the Iraqi tradition which has nothing like that.

Its an oil thing

Al-Ghad had an exclusive publishing, in full the draft Iraqi Oil Law for the first time. And, according to one blogger, "scooped the New York Times". This is something of a scandal as such an important law is being passed by the Iraqi government without a whiff of public scrutiny.

Raed writes on the implications: "This law legalizes PSAs (production sharing agreements) in Iraq. Iraq will be the only country in the Middle East with such contracts privatising Iraqi oil and giving foreign companies crazy rates of profit that may reach to more than three fourth of the general revenue."

Iraqi Mojo publishes an analysis of the law by Muhammad-Ali Zainy of the Centre for Global Energy Studies:
I am really surprised why this hurry in making this law. ... Violence in Iraq is worse than ever, and I really do not believe that force alone (i.e the latest Maliki/Bush security plan) will solve the problem... In the absence of a political solution, therefore, the ongoing bloodshed and strife will continue in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq, and the [international oil companies] will not come to Iraq any time soon because they are not prepared to risk the lives of their personnel under such conditions.

Then is it that the Iraqi government is under pressure from the American administration and have to hurry up with this law. For us, oil and gas people, we could realise with a single glance at the oil and gas articles, that something was seriously wrong. In addition to the pervasive vague language, the inexplicable bias towards the region and governorates, it is beyond belief to see that one of the articles allows the federal government to participate with the governments of the region and producing governorates in the oil and gas management of only the present fields (what is the definition of present fields?) to the exclusion of future fields!! What is the reason for this exclusion is beyond my comprehension, other than to leave Iraq's future oil and gas riches, which are, by the way, about twice the size of the presently proven reserves, to the custody of the self-interested region and weak and competing governorates, who could very easily be cornered and overcome by the IOCs. This is not withstanding CORRUPTION, which can play havoc with the Iraqi people's only remaining assets.

Al-Ghad's own analysis agrees and adds, in a detailed critique that makes essential reading:
The U.S. policy has failed in Iraq. Though they succeeded in destroying Iraq and driving a wedge between its countrymen, their power was not strong enough to apply their imperialistic schemes. Now they found themselves forced to find an “honourable” exist strategy from Iraq that could “save their face”. The U.S. Administration believes that it is the right time to pass the oil bill. They do not have enough time to wait, particularly with the domestic U.S. pressures... As far as the Americans are concerned, this dismal situation could help pass this law, particularly if the process is shrouded in secrecy. ...

Bush wants to achieve a strategic victory through passing a law that could lead to the end that brought him to Iraq regardless of the reasons he declared. Despite his military and political defeats, he will get oil. Enacting the oil law and translating it into signed contracts must be a fact before the termination of his term in office. The contracts may not get into force now, but the law ensures the implementation later. This is why the duration articles in the Federal Law were made lengthy and flexible so that they could be extended. Besides, the law must be passed through the current government and parliament. The Americans might need to replace the government, if the crackdown fails, which is quite expected. When the chips are down, a national salvation government will be declared. It will abolish the constitution, declare two-year martial laws, and dismantle the parliament, just like Ayad Allawi said on American TV. When that happens, there will not be a legal cover to pass the law. ... This reminds us of a Sunday Star Times editorial, which said, “For the international oil companies, Iraq is the uncaught gem on the Middle Eastern crown.” We think Bush and the American oil companies will not be able to get THE PRIZE or the GEM. The law they want to pass under such conditions would harm Iraq’s interests and Iraqi’s oil processes-related expertise. Passing the law cannot be done at a time Iraqis cannot decide their own and the next generations’ fate under the rule of the occupation, with insecurity, poverty and corruption spreading like wildfire. Therefore, Iraqis will work hard on abolishing it regardless of all the criminal disputes the occupation has hatched.

Security, Security, Security

Iraqi bloggers have given the new security plan cautious support. Iraqi Atheist reported that for four days last week Baghdad was at its calmest since the war began:
Even bullets are not being fired into the air, people respect the Iraqi army and government. Is that even possible?

Life is back into Haifa street, people who got forcefully evacuated from Sunni areas in Al Karkh are going back, and no one is daring to threaten them. Again is that even possible?

I just want time to fly so that we know if the plan is actually working or if the terrorists are hiding and waiting... I don't really know what to feel. Happy to know the violence is going to end? Scared that it could very well continue from where it left off? or sad because deep inside I think I know it will?
Iraq the Model believes the defence ministry statistic that attacks were down 80%: "It’s a reality I live in nowadays, at least in my neighborhood and its surroundings." writes Mohammed. Iraqi Pundit even tells the story of how relatives were able to return to their home after being previously forced out of the area by terrorists threats. "Will the thugs eventually come back? I don’t know... But for now, my relatives, their neighbors, and the piece of Baghdad of which they are a part can live in hope again" he writes.

But, Baghdad Connect warns us not to believe the hype:
Many ‘big gun’ western media, either due to hidden agendas or a mere jacking-up of circulations, are joining the circus to speak about how the militias are going into hiding...

The Militias (from all sects) haven’t gone into hiding or withdrawn from Baghdad. Right next door there is a lurking militia and for the past 8 months, which today they probably are watching TV from the comfort of their home! Why they are not working? Simple, their bosses at the Green Zone have gone into hiding and withdrew from Baghdad. And therefore, there are no orders to follow!

Once the confrontation with the resistance subsided the militias will report back to work – when their bosses are back to the GZ, and will be business as usual. Bear in mind, for the past few days the militias did roll a few car bombs in areas where it is supposed to be securely sealed, how did they get their? ONLY GOD KNOWS, amongst others!!

And Finally...

Konfused Kid gives us the essential lowdown on Iraqi jokes..
This article will try to discuss how jokes against various ethnic/sectarian denominations have developed and evolved through the course of years.

The major targets in an Iraqi joke are (arranged by popularity):

1. Kurds (Before I was born)
2. Dulaymis (1999 - present)
3. Shroogis (60s - present)
4. Maslawis (??)
5. Nassiriya (??)
6. Sectarian (??? but heightned after 2006)
Together with some fascinating insight to how jokes were part of the previous regimes propaganda machine:
I once had a friend who was the son of a military intelligence member... one thing he said one day caught my attention: 'Man, we sell these jokes', the Ba'ath regime has a competent propaganda machine that steered something whenever they feel like it.

And Baghdad Connect has a chat with an American in Iraq called George:
He is a man of 57 years old from the USA. I have heard about him from a colleague who praised him as ‘different from the rest’. So we have invited him to a late lunch... And George was promised to try Kubat Hamudh; they’re rice pasta honed into small circular shapes; rolled and stuffed with minced diced meat and cooked in somewhat tangy tomato paste. They’re delicious!...

George, who works for a contracting company, said he was American but from ‘back east’! Which was quite puzzling. And when I enquired about ‘back east’ he said most Americans are proud of their east coast origin. He says that long ago he’s ‘moved out west’ and got married and then got an ugly divorce.

... As time progressed I realized that I just could not figure him out. There is this man who is American but from back east. Moved out west and got an ugly divorce. His family moved around somewhere and his friends are either people he ran into or he used to know!!

George is an ace in what’s going on in both Las Vegas and Reno (apparently it is another gambling place) He knows all the hotels names and their proprietors! His face lit up when he expounded, for half an hour, his endeavours in those two cities. And to be frank I lost him there.

George loved ‘this good stuff’ – Kubat Hamudh, which reminded him of some Turkish food he tried long ago; and when I explained to him that some of our cuisines are derived from Turkish origins he said ‘really, I’ll be damned’!!

When the Iraqi tea was served I began to sympathize with George. It must be hard living like that, and I honestly was looking for ways to make him talk about some nice things that he has done in his life. And when I asked him what does he do when he wants to relax he said he would ‘get away from it all’ and leaves his wife at home and ‘travels up north’ with his dog to fish in a lake by the name of Tahoe. And when I asked him why go there all alone he said so he could have peace of mind! Which it turned out to be even sadder and it felt so creepy.

When George left I thought what if the Iraqis would lead a life similar to that of George with no families, relatives or friends in Iraq? and I said no way. And then I suddenly realized that we have in fact commenced to live just like George!

And I laughed bitterly and I said in English ‘I’ll be damned’!

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