Friday, 18 May 2007

The New Iraqi Army

The Iraqi Army Just announced few days ago that they will be replacing the AK-47 Assault rifle, (widely known as the Kalashnikov after its Russian designer Michael Kalashnikov) which has been the standard issue weapon of the Iraqi Army since the 60s, with the American Made M-16 and M- 4.

So, what is wrong with this news?

Since I have been in Iraq all my life I know for a fact that almost every Iraqi Youngman, and boy, knows how to deal and maintain the AK-47. This came as a result of an 8 year long war with Iran, during which the AK was the constant and trusted companion of the Iraqi Soldier in the Battle field. Then it was widely used by almost every Iraqi on August 8th 1988, when the seize fire was announced between Iraq and Iran, marking the end of the war between the 2 countries. People went out in the streets firing their AKs to celebrate the great announcement for days. The AK was ululating for them.

Then Came the Days of the war with America, Saddam decided to train the Iraqis, all the Iraqis, and young, Old, men and woman on using the Ak-47 to "defend Iraq". So as you can see there is a long history between the Iraqis and the AK-47.

For those who have never used or even seen a gun, the Ak-47 is considered the most practical assault rifle ever. It hardly jams and it has been battle tested and it came out with flying colors. I still remember when J. Garner ( the first American civil administrator in Iraq after the war) when his body guards came to the press room carrying all kinds of Semi Automatic rifles and guns. The next press conference they all came Carrying AKs. I was surprised then, but the camera man who was with me that day, who happen to be an Ex-Marine, was not.

"Are you kidding, it is our dream weapon" he said when I pointed out that the American PSDs (private security detail) are carrying AKs.

So why the Iraqi Army would switch from the weapon which is most efficient, well trained on and never had problem with, to another weapon that they are totally unfamiliar with and known for its problems and how much maintenance it requires.

The Ministry said that they want to do that in order to put an end to the weapons being stolen and sold at the Black market, which means that now we would find the M-16 and M-4 in the black market, but no one will buy them for 2 reasons. 1st they are not as good and reliable as the Ak so the Iraqis are smart enough not to buy them, 2nd where do you think the Aks that the Iraqi Army abandoned will go, they will definitely end up at the Black market which will reduce its current price( which is around 300$). The Ministry also said that they almost got those rifles for free; well we did not want them in the first place. What the Iraqi Military need is new Modern tanks instead of the T-52 second hand Tanks which are imported after the war form former Soviet republics and eastern Europe. We want new fighter jets, and modern warship helicopters like the Cobra, Apache or the Chinook, so that we have a real Military force in stead of the Current boy scouts who are being slaughtered on the hands of more powerful and better equipped terrorists and militias. Then we will be able to say to the foreign forces, now you can go back home safely for your "Mission" is really "accomplished" and you do not need to fear for us any more. So in stead of sending us Junk, send some F- 16 s in stead. It is only one letter different but it makes all the diffrance at the Battle field.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007


For those who fancy a cold can of BEER in the middle of the heat of Baghdad, the following is a guide to where you can find BEER now in the free, democratic and liberated Baghdad.

For those who live in the northern part of the city, there is always the liquor stores compound which is right behind the concrete Blast Barriers around the Italian Embassy in Wazziryia. For the thirsty people of Central Baghdad you can either get it across the street from the Famous Baghdad Hotel. Right across the street from the other concrete Barriers protecting the residents of Baghdad hotel with its high guard towers that provides protection to those liquor stores ( later you will know from what).

As for the poor people across the river in the side, which we Iraqis Call Kerkh, now dominated by the extremist Islamist, as far as I know you can only get liquor from the liquor stores at Karadat Maryam area, situated between the 2 check points guarding the entrances to the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad.

You may now wonder why all the above mentioned liquor stores are situated in areas close or inside heavily guarded and fortified places. Why you no longer could go and Buy them from the other liquor stores like the Honey Market, the liquor stores in Arrasat, Karada, Sadoun Street or from the Many liquor stores and whole sell merchants at street 52 in Al-Ellwyia? Well the answer is very simple, because they all closed their liquor businesses after receiving threats or actually attacked or had their shops blown up and burnt.

That is why you need protection and that is why you need guns and gunmen inside the shops to protect you. The only exception to this role is a shop in Karada (I will not say exactly where so that it remains open) where they have at least 3 – 4 guards with AK-47 machine guns and BKCs ( a more powerful and bigger Machine Gun) on the roof of the store. No front windows for they were sealed off with a brick walls. No signs announcing the name of the store or promoting a brands of Beer or Johnny walker whiskey or the local Drink Arak ( kind like the Greek OUZO). Just a narrow front door which takes you inside that store.

The liquor store would wrap what you bought in a black plastic bag or a big Cartoon box so that you do not get in trouble while you carry what you just bought which either could get you killed or save your life. If some of the police members caught you with a can of beer or any kind of liquor they just might beat you like hell for that , even though it is legally Ok to have, move or consume liquor and there is no law against that, and the constitution which Many of those people voted yes to guarantee such right. Some Islamic fundamentalists, who are now separating the cucumber from Tomato at the Markets just because they have a twisted mind that looks at vegetables like human mating organs, might kill you for drinking liquor. It might also save your life for it proves that you have no religious or sectarian affiliation so none of the sects or religious extremists groups would target you and they do not look at you as a source of threat.

Since the real power in the streets of Baghdad is the Militias and the terrorists and not the government, they are the ones who set the rules. And they even have clever ways to get to their victims (unlike the Government). In Iraq, people who drink costumary eats Pacha ( boiled sheep head) a traditional Iraqi dish, because they think that the meat would absorb the alcohol that they just consumed. So Militia elements started to hang around the Pacha restaurants to catch those who were drinking. Some times those Militia elements come in the form of a police patrol car, for the police is already infiltrated by the Militias. Those are the Law enforcement elements but the question is that which law they enforce???!!.

During the past decades till the early years of the 90s, you would have been able to drink liqoure practically every where in Baghdad. There were bars, night clubs and at hotels. In addition to that there were many liquor stores every where. But on the Early 90s Saddam launched his religious Campaign to win the Back-warded Arab and Islamic world on his side in his stupid confrontation with the west, So he closed Bars, night clubs and banned drinking in 5-star Hotels, but not the liquor stores. The liquor stores remained open and no one messed with them. Even Saddam did not go that far.

Right after the war there was too much freedom that street vender's would have a scotch with rocks ready for you that you can pick it up while driving down the Aa'adhmyia Cornish. But now since there is a Government dominated by Islamists extremists ( Sonnies and Shia) and parliament which more dominated by Islamists groups ( also Sonnies and Shiat) we will never have a legislation nor an executive power which will guarantee the Iraqi thirsty man have a cold beer in a hot summer day without Having to build a concrete Blast Barrier around him.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

The IRAQI Prime Minister :

Today the Newspapers in Baghdad delivered the good news that Prime Minster Maliki will be Granting 2 Million Iraqi Dinnars ( = 1562 $) to every Family of the victims from the Kerbala Bombing which took place couple days ago. This generosity is not the first of its kind from the "Iraqi" prime Minister. Last week Prime Minister Maliki distributed money on the victims and shop owners in Karad which witnessed bombings on January 25th of this year. And he also gave 2 Millions to the Families of those who were killed in Sadr City bombings late June 2006 and one Million to those who were injured.

Before that Prime Minister Ja'afari also ordered generous financial compensations to the Victims of the Shiat stampede on the 2 Imams Bridge between Kadhumyia and A'adhamyia over 18 months ago. He was so generous that people started to wish if their wife or Mother died in that stampede.

Do not get me wrong, I'm not against generosity, I'm all for it. I'm even more pro generosity when the Prime Minister is involved and innocent Victims are benefiting from it. But when all that generosity is heading in one direction only and the simple rights of others are not granted, then questions should be asked.

Has not been there MAJOR bombings as well in Kirkuk ( at least twice) with many people getting killed there. Have not there been Major Bombed Trucks with Chloride gas, in Amiryiat Al-Falluja. Have not been there Major Bombing in Telafar whose Sonies and shiat Killed in the same time? Are those people killed on those bombings less human than the first group?! Why the " Iraqi " Prime Minister is always Generous with his compensations when the area is Purely shait and the Victims are Mainly Shiat. Are they Afraid that this Money would Go To sonnies (God Forbids).

In order to be fear and Call your self an " Iraqi Prime Minister" and head of a " National Unity Government" you should be just in your generosity with all the Iraqis, so that all the Iraqis consider you as their Prime Minster and not look at you as the SHIAT Prime Minster. You are seeking recognition from the entire world while your own people do not recognize you as their Prime Minister.

So you either be equally generous to every one or do not call your self "Iraqi" Prime Minster.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007


Through out history Date Palm Tree was always a revered symbol for the Middle East societies in general, and Iraq in particular. You can trace that respect and love all the way back to the old civilizations which flourished in Mesopotamia. Iraq is considered the No.1 country in Date Palm trees and the Best (that is up till the 80 of the Last century) in Date production.

It really aches the Heart of every Iraqi who looks to this great Generous if Not sacred tree, to see Plastic palm trees Made in Iran, filing the streets of Baghdad and Najaf ( the Heart of Palm tree Land) and replacing the Ever green, Beautiful, tall and glorious trees .

Being Made in Iran dose Not Make them more holy and more revered than the original Date Palm Trees which provides, food through its nutritious sweet Dates, wood through its strong trunk, furniture and baskets from its leafs and I could go on for pages and pages and not to give it justice.

This is the Blessed tree In Judaism, Christianity and Islam " Shake the trunk of the palm tree towards thee: it will drop fresh, ripe dates upon thee. Eat, then, and drink, and let thine eye be gladdened!" (Qur'an 19:25-26). And that is why you see Dates on the Christmas Banquets in some Christian societies. And the Palm tree leafs is what is carried as part of a ceremony in Jerusalem. Fronds used on Palm Sunday, commemorating the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem (Lion's Gate or east entrance to Jerusalem, through which Jesus is supposed to have entered the city).

All of this! and now we are replacing this magnificent, always giving tree, which Prophet Mohamed Said " honor your Mother the Palm tree" because it is just like a mother which gives so much with unconditional love. We replace it with a plastic mother just because it came from Sacred Iran??!!... Shame on you. The Iranians made Plastic palm trees because they simply do not have it and they Envy you because you (I mean the Iraqis) do have it.

Why should you blindly imitate the Iranians in every thing. Isn't it enough that you brought from over there all the beating and Chains wiping, which is the ugliest thing ever and it got nothing to do with Islam? Why you did not bring from over there the clean street and the highest nationalistic spirit to your Nationality (and not theirs because you are already good in that).

Wake Up and respect your Country, your identity and your Mother… the Date Palm Tree ( Al-Nakhlah).