Friday, January 28, 2005


I've been following the Iraqi bloggers and the American Military bloggers and my guess is that Iraq is going to shock the world on January 30, 2005. Their take is that Al-Zarqawi's decalaration of war on Democracy is a sign of desperation. A freely elected government will make it much harder for the terrorists in the coming months. One of the things that we keep hearing in the main stream media is that there is a strong possibility of civil war if the Sunni's feel disenfranchised. What the media doesn't make clear is that the Kurds, who will be voting en masse, as their area is relatively safe, are themselves Sunni Muslims, and they represent 20% of the population and don't have a problem with the Shia' as some the Sunni Arabs do. What follows is post by Ali Fadhil on why Civil War is unlikely. It's a great read.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Elections and related fears.

One day and as I was getting back home from work I saw some people gathering on the road. Abu Ahmed (a taxi driver I usually go with. He's an old religious She'at with a scarf on his head all the time) slowed down to see what it was and we saw some guy arguing angrily with a police officer who was apparently issuing a ticket for him. The guy was shouting madly and people were trying to calm him. The poor policeman seemed afraid. Such scenes are not uncommon these days and at certain occasions policemen were actually beaten at the hands of some nasty drivers and they didn't dare to use force! It was an annoying scene to me and to Abu Ahmed who shook his head with an unsatisfied look on his face and said, "When are we going to learn how to live in order?""I think the police need to be more firm. This man is not only defying a policeman. He's defying the law represented by him" I said."Yes, but you know how some people would answer this. Every time I say the word "law" someone answers me, "What law?? There's no law and no government!""You're right""I hope things will change for the better after the elections" He said"Yes I hope so too. Who are you going to vote for by the way?""I want to vote, but I don't know who to vote for. I don't know most of the parties""I know, but right now, who are the best candidate in your mind?""Allawi is good. He's like Saddam but he's good""What does that mean??""I mean he's tough but he's only tough with the bad guys""Ok I see what you mean""Al Ja'afary is good too, but I didn't like his attitude when this Sadr issue started. He should have shown more determination"(He means the head of Al Da'awa Islamic party)"Yes but we are not going to vote for a president this time" I said."huh, then for what uncle?"I explained to him as briefly as I could and he showed his disappointment in "the government" for not paying more effort to instruct the people about the elections and again I corrected him saying that it's not the government responsibility but the "independent electoral commission" "Whoever it is!" He replied.I mentioned this incident because what I want to say is that many people want to vote because they believe this election will make their life better. Some people really believe that out of thinking about it deeply and others believe it just because they hear it all the time in Radio, TV and see it on the signs on the streets. It's similar to the way Iraqis were waiting anxiously for the authority hand over. Many Iraqi believed at that time that a government would be the answer to all our problems.One fear from the results of the upcoming elections is that it's going to lead to the domination of the She'at clergy and thus to a theocracy similar to that in Iran. And there are so many flaws about this theory.First, She'at represent approximately 60% of Iraqis and even with the majority of Sunni not voting the percentage wouldn't rise to more than 70% at most, as there are some She'at groups who won't vote like Al Hasani followers (the latter is a cleric who claim he has contact with the 12th absent She'at Imam Al Mahdi in his dreams and has some supporters in Diwania and Basra). Also such theory should mean that at least 90% of the She'at will vote for the Islamic parties, which is not realistic at all. We have some really strong and old parties that are secular but with a majority of their members and supporters being She'at. One example is the "Iraqi Communist party" which is the oldest one in the political arena and despite all the massacres committed by Saddam against the communists in the early 70s they still have the largest number of registered members among all political Iraqi parties, 69 000 members. Another one is the "Iraqi National Accord" which although not that old and has many ex-Ba'athists in it who ran away from Saddam for one reason or another, this party had gathered some good number of supporters solely due to Allawi's performance in the government.This point is true despite that it's strange, as most Iraqis are not satisfied in general with the interim government performance and think it's corrupted to a great extent, but they still like Allawi! I think this can be explained this way; the situation is difficult so who can we blame but the government! Still when Allawi shows on TV, one cannot but try to compare him with Saddam, the only ruler many Iraqis knew all their lives, and in such comparison Allawi, looks like a saint, and still can show that he's articulate and firm.Finally, even if the religious She'at parties get their desired majority somehow, when it comes to the constitution they still need the approval of the absolute majority of Iraqis for their Share'a to be the core of the constitution. Something that I believe every one with some brains would find impossible to happen.The thing is that for She'at or Sunni, most of the time it's not about religion. It's more about the identity of the leader. The She'at in the beginning were satisfied with Allawi being in charge because he's a She'at and that's all. They have been dreaming of this for a long time and now it's coming true. It doesn't matter a lot what's his political stand is as long as he's She'at.Another fear is that the elections results might cause a civil war. This is so against reason. As what result would cause that? If the She'at get the majority would that upset some radical Sunnis? But that's already happening now and it's expected! Besides, the parts of Sunnis who are boycotting the elections now are already fighting, as they know the result in advance and they're trying to prevent it.The only result that could really lead to a civil war is if the She'at do not get the majority they deserve, but we all know that's not going to happen.I was yesterday in one of my friend's house and his father, a secular She'at who drinks and think that the worst people on earth are the She'at clerics was talking on the phone next to me. He was saying thing like "Sistani" and "slaughter" and when he finished I asked him what that was. He told me that his friend told him that some She'at men went to Sistani complaining and saying that they're being killed just because they are She'at and that he should do something about it, but Sistani answered them saying, "If they level a whole city with the ground don't respond!". It's unfortunate that many She'at still look at the extreme Wahabies as Sunni, but luckily most of their religious leaders are not very stupid.My friends' father was praising Sistani saying he's a sane man who's trying to avoid blood shed. I agree with that but I think it has more to it than just being worried about blood shed. I think that She'at clerics are waiting impatiently for the elections thinking that it will lead to a decisive win for the She'at for the first time in history (and it will) and this is obvious from the effort they are doing to encourage people to vote. The Hawza (the main Religious school for She'at in Iraq and the world) is closed temporarily so that its student can have more time on 'educating' people and encouraging them to vote. The only thing that might lead to a civil war is that if the Shea't main religious leaders lose their sanity totally and the only thing that could cause that is if the She'at do not get the majority in the upcoming elections or if the elections get postponed. Now will the She'at clerics be mad if the She'at achieve the majority through secular parties and not religious ones? Maybe, but they won't find enough people among She'at to support them if they think of something crazy.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


I've been following American Soldiers Blogs as well as Iraqi blogs to get a feel for things on the ground. There is a huge redployment going on at the moment and a lot of soldiers are waiting to fly out, a lot have already gone home, and others are due to redeploy right after the elections.

The sense that I'm getting from all these sources is that the elections will go off on time, even though they expect a huge operation to stop them by the terrorists. My personal bet right now is that it will happen and be successful. That doesn't mean the Americans will be able to get out soon. Nor does it mean the end of terrorism, but as Churchill once said it will be the beginning of the end.

We can only hope.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


I'll be damned, but he's back, and with a cryptic post from Rambo and a message to stay tuned which I definetely will. He's the US soldier who started bloggin from Iraq and then was forced to shut down. He started a trend and while there are a lot of Milblogs now, the only one that can compare is The Questing Cat. To see what all the fuss was about go here: and search the archives for the post titled 'Men in Black'. Not long after that post he was ordered to have his posts vettted by his platoon sergeant which watered down his stream of consience style until he finally stopped posting in September 2004.

His blog was originally called My War: Fear and Loathing in Iraq. He's a fan of Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, hense the title. He's had offers from publishers and the hollywood crowd. I'm glad he's back, and apparently in one piece. He was in the Stryker Brigade stationed in Mosul which has been hell on earth lately.

The elections are 13 days away. We'll see what we will see.

Friday, January 07, 2005

The Coming Elections

I started this blog because I came a cross the most amazing blog by a soldier in Iraq, called My War. Creating a blog was the only way to post a comment. He has since stopped posting but their are many others that I have been following. My favourite Soldier's Blog currently is The Questing Cat, a First Infantry Division Soldier.

I found out about both of these blogs from Iraq theModel, an award winning blog by 3 Sunni Arab brothers who started it because they could after the Fall of Saddam. It has grown to be world renowned and the brothers have started their own party which is registered for the election coming January 30, 2005.

Reading these blogs you get a completely different perspective on what is really happening in Iraq from the picture of doom and gloom painted by the main stream media. People in Iraq are anxious for the elections and unlike what the media would have us believe want them held on time, not postponed. The Iraqi's are brave people who will vote even under threat of death.

You can get a diferrent take on the war at the following sites: