Friday, 28 November 2008


One night, few years ago I fancied a hand watch at a store in Baghdad. Few days later, I took a friend of mine who was, unlike me, good in Bargaining and went to the store to get that watch. The guy at the store did not budge off his position regarding the price of that watch which was really cheap. My Friends efforts went in Vain, but it was I who actually managed to get that watch in a price less than the asked price. No, I did not “Make him an Offer that he can’t refuse” in Marlon Brando’s tactic at the Godfather. I simply talked to him in the manner that every Iraqi understands. I simply Said to the seller “ do you really expect me to go back home with the watch and tell the people at home that I actually bought the watch for the asked price!”. The Man immediately realized the sense in what I was saying (as an Iraqi) and sold me the watch for 14000 Iraqi Dinnar in stead of the 15000 the guy was asking for in the first place. Back then the difference was less than a Dollar.
You might ask what made me remember this incident. Well when I saw the Iraqi Government sending the back the Final draft of the security draft to Washington for last minute changes, this incident jumped to my mind immediately. The draft was fine for the Iraqi Government and they would have said yes to it at that Moment, but this would have made them look bad that they have actually said yes without a little bargaining.
This security pact, which was initially said that it would organize the presence of the troops in Iraq or as it is known by the name ( SOFA), suddenly changed to become the pact to organize the withdraw of the Foreign troops from Iraq. It set the date of the end of July 2009 for the American troops to pull out of the Iraqi cities, and the date of 31/12/2011 for them to pull out of Iraq.
Well this should come as great news to the people who were calling all along for a withdraw time table of the troops from Iraq, regardless what that time would be. Among those who were calling for this time table where Crazy Moqttada’s group ( the Sadrists), the association of the Muslim scholars and hard line sonnies. Iran and Syria were also were calling for such withdraw. That is why it came as a surprise that all the above mentioned people were against this practically withdraw pact. The Iraqis where split into 2 factions, those who are pro the Pact which would automatically make them Pro American and those who were anti the Pact which would also automatically make them Pro Iranian. Many Iraqi officials where just in the middle of this ordeal, if they said Yes to this pact then they will be stained that they are favoring America and if not then they are taking Iran’s side. That is quite understandable because this agreement would basically make Iraq a strategic Ally of the United States.
When the Government actually approved the final draft of the agreement, after the last minute touches, and sent it to the Iraqi Parliament to ratify it, the Fun started. The Sadrist raised hell during the initial reading of the pact at the parliament by shouting and then beating on the desk with File Boxes and finally physically attacking the other members of Parliament who were reading out the draft of the pact. The scene repeated it self at the voting on the agreement with minor changes, like the Black scarf that the Sadrist MPs wore as sign of mourning and the Banners which each of them , especially the female street venders they call Sadrists MPs, which read “ No, No to the Agreement”. On the other hand, the accordance front ( the sonni block at the parliament) refused to pass the pact without some extra bargaining so they came up with this lame “ political reform document” which they read, voted on and passed right before the security pact.
The security (or the withdraw) pact, since the official Name of it in Arabic is the withdraw pact, by 149 votes.
Now as an Iraqi I feel safer that the security pact has been signed since I woke up on Thursday morning on the sound of an explosion followed by gunshots, and no one reported because they were busy covering the parliament and the Bombay attacks, and was not able to sleep later at night because of the sound of American helicopters hovering over my neighborhood all night till the next morning.

Thursday, 6 November 2008


Since the start of the presidential election campaign I had some reservation on Barak Obama, especially on issues like Iraq. I was more of a Clinton supporter. But once Clinton was out of the picture , it became obvious whom I would rather see at the white house. Probably you would think that this is only because I’m an Iraq and electing a new president at the white house who would have a direct effect on my country and that is why I’m concerned. It is true to an extent. One morning as I was driving to work, had the radio on BBC Arabic. They had a talk show and they were receiving calls and comments from all over the Arab world reflecting on the American elections. One caller from Sudan, as I recall, said that it is gone be impossible for Obama to be elected. “ do you really believe that America is let a black man of a Muslim back ground be elected as its president” the guy said on the radio. “It is impossible” he added.

At that very particular moment I really wished that Obama would win just to prove to that Man in Sudan and the rest of the Arab world how wrong they could be, by making such prejudice remarks and judgments.

Through out the campaign, as the reports were talking about Obama’s double digits lead over the war veteran McCain, that caller from Sudan was always in the back of My mind. And when one day in the streets of Manhattan , during my visit to the US, I saw a black man who had to wait for 20 minutes to get a taxi and Taxi drivers refuses to stop for him just because he is black , and this is in 2008, that man from Sudan was in the back of my mind. Seeing that first hand shock my faith in all what America stands for. That is other what we, as Iraqis, have seen through out the past 8 Bush’s years on the white house.

On November 4th, what was considered impossible by many, did happen. A black man called Barak Hussein Obama became the 44th president of the United state of America. Every body agreed that it was a historical moment. It is not a historical moment Just because an African American man has been elected as a president of the United States. It is a historical moment because you Americans have given the whole world a valuable lesson in democracy and the power of the people’s will , when you all chanted “ yes we can” and proven that man from Sudan wrong . Your march to the polling centers did to democracy what no tanks, fleets or warplanes were able to do. It brought back faith in America as a super power and in democracy. So …Thank you America.

Sunday, 1 June 2008


For the past 2 days, I have been watching a DVD called “ Hitler- the rise of Evil”. It talks about the rise of the most notorious dictator that the world ever known. As an Iraqi, who lived in Iraq for the past 3 decades, I could not help but notice the remarkable resemblance between the realities I lived, and still living in this little country called Iraq.

I still remember the striking resemblance between the German dictator and our own home grown dictator, Saddam Hussein. The police state he created and the Militarized society and the wars that brought disasters to Iraq and to the entire region. The liberties which were frozen, and most importantly, the psychopath manner of ruling. The one and only feared leader to whom we are supposed to sacrifice our “ souls and blood”.

Ironically, that dictator was removed by almost the same Allies, USA and UK ( with the absence of if not rejection of Russia and Free France) .

This was the most obvious resemblance that any one watching the movie can see. The other resemblance is that those 2 dictators are now long gone and only became part of history and became subjects for historians to study and derive lessons from those eras.

But the lesson that we did not learn is that dictators could come from democratic states and even through elections.

Moqttada Al-Sader another psychopath, just like Hitler managed to get 25 seats in Parliament, after democracy was introduced into Iraq. His SAS ( the Mahdi Army) managed to strengthen its grip on the entire nation, and made every one in Iraq forced to deal with this 28 year old retard , and even giving him 6 ministerial portfolios in the first elected Iraqi Government.

Just like Chancellor Hitler, Moqttada knew how to use democracy for his benefit and put the entire country captive to his will. …Lesson Learned??!!!

You might think that such resemblance is only applicable to little countries like Germany or Iraq, where democracy was only young.

Adolf Hitler decleared “Ability act” after the building of the Reichstag (German parliament) was burnt by a supposedly Dutch communist. Rings any bells? Something like the “Patriot Act” announced by President Bush after 9/11, were some liberties were “ frozen” during the “War on terrorism”.

The DVD end s with a remarkable quotation of the Anglo- Irish statesman, Edmund Burke( 1729 -1797) saying “ the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” . I hope by writing this blog I did something.

Friday, 9 May 2008


Last March I started my Trip to the states to Visit Washington DC on a business trip. Naturally, I would need my passport to accompany me through out this Journey. This trip made me realize how special my Iraqi Passport is.

My rout was through Istanbul Turkey where I would Take the Plane from Istanbul to New York in a none stop flight. Once I arrived at Istanbul International airport, we were searched thoroughly and went through metal detectors, since we are coming from Iraq. I thought that this is the normal procedure that the Turkish authorities follow, with every passenger who lands in Turkey, for this is the post 9/11 world.

Earlier when the American embassy, In Amman Jordon , mailed me back My "special" Passport with the American Visa on it ( oh, yes the Biggest over seas American Embassy , in Baghdad , dose not issue Visa's for ordinary Iraqis. there fore you have to go to Amman Jordon or any other country to get your visa), along with a Visa , came a letter with instructions telling me that I should go an register My Self at the (Immigration & naturalization service – INS) once I get to the Airport, because " INS register certain Individuals from the foreigners coming to the United states in consideration for the National security interests or for implementing the laws". So even when I already had a visa on My passport , but since I have a special passport then I have to get a special treatment, like have my picture taken, finger prints and full special forms. The guys at the office were nice and done every thing really quickly, but still the fact that you are treated like a potential terrorist is still there in the back of your mind.

Throughout my stay in the states every body was nice and once they realize that I'm an Iraqi they would express their apology to what their country did to my country.

On My trip back, I was supposed to take an Air France flight to Paris where I would stay in Transit for 4 hours and then take another flight to Istanbul on my way back to Baghdad. First of all, I have to show up again with a Boarding ticket at the Immigration & naturalization service office and register my self out. When I got to the Ai France counter at JFK Airport, I was surprised to know that I need a visa to get to Digul Airport in Paris, so that I change planes. Even though I would not inter Paris and will only spend 4 hours at the transit area. The visa in my case would take 2 weeks. When I asked the Air France official why is that? And why do I have to get a visa just to change planes in Paris, his reply was "because you have a special passport".

Eventually I had to change the whole plan and take a direct; none stop flight all the way from NY to Istanbul.

When I got to Istanbul I was waiting for that long line before the metal detector and that search which I went through when I came from Baghdad last time. To my surprise, none of it took place this time. I immediately went to the passport officer who let me in and the whole thing did not last more than 15 Minutes. I realized that you only get that special treatment only f you come from Baghdad.

I wondered if other Nationalities from Countries from where all those notorious terrorists like Saudi Arabia where 15 of the 19 of the 9/11 hijackers came from, Jordon from where Abu Mosa'ab Al-Zarqwi, the notorious Qayida man was from , Egypt where the Zaerqawi successes Abu Hamzah Al-Muhajir ( AKA Al-Massri) is from, for Al-Qayida dose not put Iraqis on its leadership for some reason, get the same special treatment. But it is us the Iraqis who are suffering from terrorism on daily bases are the ones who should also bear its shame.

Monday, 3 March 2008


Yesterday the controversial Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadi Najad arrived in Baghdad in a 2 day official visit. Unlike the visits of the other presidents who came to Iraq after the "liberation", Mr. Najad , got the whole red carpet treatment worthy of a Visiting president. In his joint press conference with President Talabani, Najad said that " A visit to Iraq without the dictator is a truly happy one,".

Happy visit indeed. The only major power in the Region which was facing Iran is now gone, instead Iran have full control over that rival power. And to strengthen their grip over Iraq, Iran is gone sign several agreements and memorandum of Understandings, on all aspects, economic, commercial and security.

The Iranian Minister of Electricity, who is accompanying the Iranian president headed yesterday to Najaf to lay the foundation stone for a 250 Megawatt power plant that Iran is gone build there. This is not the first project in Iraq, for there is also the eye and kidney hospital that Iran built in Najaf and supplied the holly city with Garbage trucks and telecommunication centers.

Prior to the visit, the Mayor of Baghdad announced that he made an agreement with the Mayor of Tehran so that the Later help in reconstructing the infrastructure of the city of Baghdad.

So let us get this straight, there are 120 000 American soldiers on the Iraqi soil today, and up till now over 3800 American soldiers killed in this war, and billions of American dollars were spent. Is all that so Iran can roam and work freely in Iraq???!!!

Well Unlike president Bush, Tony Blair and the Australian Prime Minister John Howard and all the other coalition officials Ministers and secretaries of State or defense, who sneaked into Iraq and left after few hours, just like burglars, Najad stayed for 2 days and got the whole red carpet treatment. Not only that but he said yesterday, from the heavily fortified green zone, that the Iraqi people "do not like the Americans". He also said from the Green zone, which is guarded by the US military, who are also indirectly providing security to Ahmadi Najad, that Iraqis should be careful while Making a long term treaty with the United States.

Today in a press conference, Najad told the " Foreign forces" to leave and go to where they came from", for his the Job is done and mission is accomplished, now his country is a sole major power in the region and Iraq is no longer a threat to his neighbors (and we know whom we got to thank for that) and made Iran the sole threat to the whole region.

So well done President Bush, you single handedly handed over the entire region to Iran through your arrogance and ignorance and now he is telling you that you should pack and leave.

No wander many of the sonni Arabs thinks that America and Iran are allies since America is doing every thing for the best interest of Iran.

No wander that Ahmadi Najad thinks that the Iraqis do not like America, because all they built them is great and huge prisons and filled their country with concrete barriers. Good Job Mr. Bush.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008


Few Days ago, the “Iraqi” parliament passed a law to change the Iraqi Flag. The presidency council ratified that law today and it will become valid starting from the day it is published in the Iraqi Gazette.

I will review with you the history of this particular flag and the reasons behind changing it and also behind my own reservation over that particular change.

If you have read previous posts on this blog , you will see that I have mentioned more than once that the Kurds refuse to raise the Iraqi flag over their “region” under the pretext that the Iraqi Army was carrying that flag when they attacked the Kurds.

The new flag, which the parliament approved, simply removed the 3 green stars from the old Iraqi flag and kept the words ( Allah Akbar) which means (God is great).

Now, first of all the only countries which has the word Allah ( or God) on their Flag in the region( if not the entire world as far as I know) are the Islamic theocracies, Iran And Saudi Arabia. Dose that mean that now we are the 3rd Islamic theocracy in the region?

The words ( Allah Akbar) were introduce to the Iraqi flag in 1991 by Saddam Hussein when he went into war with America in the 1991 gulf war, in an attempt to win over the Islamic world. Before that, the Iraqi flag was simply red on the top, then whit and the bottom is Black and 3 green stars in the Middle .

The green stars were originally placed there for the proposed, but never-consummated, union of Iraq with Egypt and Syria (United Arab Republic), which both had flags with two stars in the middle at the time. Theirs would have presumably changed into three had the union with Iraq been accomplished. By 1961, however, the Union between Syria and Egypt had already fallen apart.

Then Saddam changed the meaning of the 3 stars to signify the three goals of the Ba’ath Party (Unity, freedom and socialism), that was when he introduced the words ( God is Great) into the Iraqi Flag in 1991, with his own hand writing.

So as you see, the Kurds are not upset because this flag was raised by the Iraqi Army when they were massacred, for thousands of Iraqis also died in order that this flag is not to be brought down, but because of its pan – Arab back ground.

The Kurds changed it because they were facing a dilemma. They will be hosting the Arab parliamentarians meeting in Arbil soon. Since the Kurds refuse to raise the Iraqi flag, and since the Arab Parliamentarians will not approve that they would not see an Iraqi flag raised in the Kurdish region of Iraq, the Kurds pressured into changing the Iraqi flag, and having a temporary Ffag for one year( just to get them through this ordeal) and this is what actually happened.

Once I heard of the new flag, which came suddenly and we were surprised to see, the first thing that came to my mind “ how could they do that?!”. If you wanted to change the flag and get rid of Saddam’s trace on the flag, then remove the words of (God is Great) from the flag and change the meanings of the 3 stars. But to remove the stars, which are the old Characteristics of the Flag, and keeping the Saddam addition of ( God is great) is really uncalled for.

My own conservation over the old Flag (with the words God is Great) is that it is significantly Islamic. No Iraqi Christian or other religious minority could relate to this flag, which is supposed to represent every Iraqi.

This is not the first attempt to change the Iraqi flag after the US led invasion of Iraq. The Governing council, which was set up by the Coalition Provincial Authority (CPA), came out with a

proposed flag in 2004 but it was immediately rejected. The Iraqi people thought that it was too similar to the Israeli flag.

Couple of Days ago, the Kurdish MP Mahmoud Uthman, said on Al-Arabyia TV that the Iraqi people, represented by the parliament members, whom they have elected, are the one who chose this one year flag. He denied what was mentioned on the web sites that the Iraqi people are not welcoming the new flag and that there has been voices coming out rejecting and not recognizing that new flag and that they are holding to the old one.

As a sign of protest and defiance, I fitted today the old Iraqi Flag (with the 3 stars and God is Great) on my car to express my rejection to the new flag and also to see what the reaction of the people would be. The first reaction was from a guy who guards a check point who gave me a thumb up. Another guy asked if it is the new flag and then he checked it and unintentionally exclaimed “oh no it is our flag”.

I got to the house after driving around Baghdad with the flag on my car. I was not alone in doing so, for many of the police cars had the old flag on it as well (one of the police cars had even 3 of them). Once I got to the house my mother saw the flag and she said that I should take it off “because it is an act against the government” My mother said. “Well the Kurds did not raise the official flag of the state and raised another one instead and they are part of the Government” I replied. Then she said “people would think that you are a Saddamist”. “This is the Flag of Iraq and not Saddam’s Flag” my reply was.

I believe if we do not do something about it, then they will change even the name of Iraq, especially now we are hearing form Fouad Ma’asom, another Kurdish member of parliament that there was not something called Iraq up until recently.


This is an update of the reactions I’m receiving on the second day of raising the Iraqi Flag.

well, there are More thumbs up today.

First of all I drove through the hot A’adhayia main street in Baghdad today, and the majority of cars, bikes, Motor cycles and trucks were doing exactly the same thing I’m doing, which is raising the old Iraqi flag. you would see it every were,on the buildings or even at the checkpoints maned by the US military backed Awakening ( or concerned citizens) and their tents.

In order to prove that the rejection of the new flag is not a strictly sonni position, a shiat guard ( I know he is shiat because he guards one of the main offices of the Shiat endowments) stopped me at a check point. Usually, since the check point is at a side street, they would ask me where I’m going. Today he immediately said “since you are raising this flag, go ahead, with God’s blessing”. Another shiat neighbor asked me when she saw the flag “ what! Are you a Sadrist Now”? Meaning that I have joined the group of the radical shiat clergyman Moqttada Al-Sadr. “No this is the Flag of Iraq not Moqttada Al-Sadr’s flag” my answer was.

The reason why my neighbor thought that I joined the Sadr movement is that, last March 15th , Moqttada Al-Sadr ordered his followers to raise the Iraqi flag every where in Iraq, as an act of defiance and rejection to the American occupation in the 4th anniversary of the war on Iraq. The streets of Baghdad became so glamorous when they were filled with the Iraqi flags. Yet, this dose not make the Flag exclusively Sadrist, Ba’athists, shiat, sonnies, Arabs or Kurds. It is still the Iraqi flag.

Day 8

I need not to say that I’m receiving more thumbs-up throughout my travels in the streets of Baghdad. Last Saturday, a Man, in his lat 30s, got his body out of the window of a car up to his waist and he was cheering for me when he saw the flag on my car. Couple of Days ago they raised the New Iraqi flag in front of the convention center, which houses the parliament right now, and it was done quietly. Well since the parliament is the one who passed the law so they should follow it , this is natural and a sensible thing to do, regardless of what I think of that step in the first place.

Today, the Prime minister raised the new flag over his office and gave an order that the new flag should be raised over all the Iraqi Ministries and public offices. No problem with that so far. The problem is when the Prime Minister and the official spokesperson of the Government, Dr.Ali Al-Dabagh, open their mouths to utter the most irritating things.

First the PM said that everybody should raise this new Flag and that “No other Flag should be raised”. He claimed that it is the “democratic” thing to do and this is a matter of respect for the state. Ok, I have one Question, where was Mr. tough, decisive, firm, strong and steady fast Maliki, when the Iraqi flag has no trace to be found in the three Northern Iraqi provinces. Not even when he would visit the region, they would not raise the Iraqi flag in his presence. Why was not he so firm and defended the statues of the Iraqi state??!!

Then he uttered the most stupid thing. “Those 3 stars, which represent the Unity, Freedom and Socialism, those miserable goals”Maliki Said. It is true that they were the declared goals of the Ba’ath Party, yet they as goals by themselves are far from Miserable. I do not think that we do not need Unity at the time being, Unless Mr. Maliki prefers that people remain in Iraq at each other’s throat. As for Freedom, we know where those religious parties stand from such a goal. As for socialism, well you may have the right to agree or disagree with it, depending on your political and Ideological view ….in case you have any.

Then the government spokesperson opened his mouth. “Well if they want to link themselves to the old regime, they may do so” Ali Al-Dabagh Said. So if you defend the symbol of your country, the dearest thing to any patriot, for which many people died defending, then you are from the old regime. Next we will hear that Saddam was the leader of Iraq, and then there should be no Iraq. And since Saddam used to Role the Iraqi people then there should be no Iraqi people and no one should say I’m an Iraqi, because that would mean that you are pro- Saddam. You should say that you are a shait, Sonni, Kurd, Arab, Yazidi, Muslim , Christian, Turkmen or Shebek, but not Iraqi. Unity is a “miserable goal” as you know.

Feb - 24th

Today I was walking down the Mutanabi street, the Famous open air market for books and Stationeries in Baghdad. As you go through the market and Pass by the shops, you will find a large number of Iraqi flags ( the old one) openly displayed for sell. They are in different sizes . one shop had the old Iraqi flag on the right side and the new one on the left .

Since the area is one of the areas which is jointly protected by the Iraqi Army and the Awakening ( Sahwa) forces, or what the American Military calls " the concerned citizens", you can see a large number of the old Iraqi flags hanging every where, since the Awakening forces clearly said that they do not recognize the new Flag and that they are holding to the Old one " this is the State's flag while this one is ours" Said Ali Hatem Al-Salamn the sheikh of the Big Dulaimi tribe, and the senior Figure at the Iraqi Salvation council which established the awakening forces, in a recent TV interview.

It was not a surprise to me to see the golden statue of the old nationalistic Iraqi poet, Ma'arouf Al-Russafi, holding the old Iraqi Flag on his right arm, while his Back is riddled with Bullet holes from recent clashes in the area. And you almost can hear him recite couple of verses from one of his poems, which he wrote during the English occupation of Iraq

" علم ودستور ومجلس امة = كل عن المعنى الصحيح محرف
اسماء ليس لنا سوى الفاظها =اما معانيها فليست تعرف

"A flag, a Constitution and a Parliament, each has its meaning twisted.

Merely uttered words, while its meanings are unknown".