Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Just as I started to breathe some fresh air from the good news coming out of Iraq, just as I thought that the US finally learned the lesson, I got this horrible development. US forces, for the very first time, surrounded a police station and arrested a number of IP because of alleged human rights abuses.
Ladies and gentlemen, that is one day after the handover. This action was unspeakably stupid and wrong. US forces have NO right whatsoever to arrest IPs. For heaven’s sake, when will they learn the lesson? America failed in running the country last year, now let Iraqis run their own life IN THEIR OWN WAY. We are not Sweden, we are not Norway, we are in the Middle East. We play by different rules. Spoon feeding Iraqis with democracy and human rights WILL NOT WORK.
Concerned about human rights abuses in this police station? Pick up the phone and call the minister of Interior. The US army broke the agreement and they MUST apologize unless this whole handover thing appears as if it’s a huge mega fake show.
Bits and Pieces
IP arrests a Libyan thug
Want to hear very good news? Iraqi police arrested a Libyan man linked to Al-Qaeda in the city of Najaf. Iraqi police implement a curfew in Najaf. Oh, how my heart dances when I hear the IP and the Iraqi people doing something for their future instead of staying on the sidelines and blaming the Americans. The US army must keep a low profile and the IP must be equipped with all sorts of weapons (even RPGs).
Mubarak doing well
President Mubarak, who just had an operation on his backbone in a German hospital, is doing well and might be home in the coming days. His German doctors said that the operation was a success. President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi were among the leaders who called Mubarak on the phone. Mubarak congratulated Allawi for the handover. However, Egypt and all other Arab nations will not restore diplomatic relations with the new government. What a shame. Only Kuwait will open its embassy in Baghdad.
Egyptian 4 Bush
A friend of my mother came to visit us today. She has a son who is living in the US. She became an American citizen even though she can’t speak any English. Here is what we said:
GM: Will you vote?
Friend: Sure. I never voted before but this time I will vote for George Bush.
GM: You have to register first.
Friend: What’s that?
GM: You have to register your name and address in order to vote. Do that when you visit your son this summer. You can also register on the internet.
Friend: Hey can you do that for me?
GM: You have social security number?
Friend: Yes, take it and register for me.
GM: Well, I really don’t know the procedures, it is better if you let your son do it for you, or you can go to the US embassy here to register. Well, you’re son lives in New Jersey; Bush has a zero chance there.
GM: The majority in NJ just doesn’t vote republican, like in Texas, Kerry has a zero chance there. Anyway, at least your vote will get counted in the popular vote.
Friend: I love Bush; every time I see him on TV I pray that he wins.
Note: NJ has the largest number of Egyptians in the US.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
The Way Forward
Yesterday’s handover of sovereignty was a crucial milestone in Iraq’s road to the league of decent nations. The early handover surprised everyone, especially the terrorists, and I believe it was a very smart move.
Now, there are two issues concerning the way forward in Iraq. First, this government must have and show that it has 100% sovereignty and that Prime Minister Allawi has the final say on everything that goes on in his country. Let us not repeat the mistakes of the Governing Council. The Arab media is already pointing to the presence of 130,000 American troops and ambassador Negroponte’s huge embassy to indicate that this is not real sovereignty. Well anybody who knows me knows that I don’t give a dead rat’s ass about Arab opinion, but I do care tremendously about what Iraqis think. Early indicators show that the vast majority of Iraqis are willing to give this new government a chance and they will base their judgment on how well Allawi does in providing security, jobs, clean water, and electricity. I firmly believe that Iraqi anger towards the US occupation was not because of the occupation per se, but mainly because of the failure of this occupation in providing security and bread. Yes, things are better without Saddam. Yes, Iraqis can now hold mobile phones and log on to the internet. But in our impoverished world, those who enjoy such services don’t usually exceed 5% of the population. If Allawi and his impressive cabinet didn’t provide security and bread, Iraqis will turn against him just as they did with the coalition forces.
The second issue relates to the future operations of US forces. I worked in an advertising agency and we never sent an ad to a magazine without having the client’s final approval. We did that mainly so that the client would bear all the responsibility if things went wrong. Apart from self defense operations, the multinational forces (MTF) shouldn’t fire a single bullet without having the approval of the government. This is so crucial. All efforts must be made to take US forces away from the cities and into bases located outside. Those useless single humvee patrols should cease to exist. Iraqi policemen should be doing these patrols and not US forces. The IP might not be capable of fighting but I think they are capable of patrolling a street or two and calling the US forces if troubles emerge.
Iraqis must really feel that they are fighting for their future simply because nobody washes a rented car.
Sunday, June 27, 2004
Over 140 Iraqis died in 3 days – Shshshhhhhh!
Over 140 innocent Iraqis and brave policemen were brutality murdered by terrorists over the past 3 days. It now appears that the Saddamists, Islamic radicals from outside and inside are ready to do anything, and I mean anything under heaven, to force this new government to fail. They know it quite well. If this government succeeded then the Iraqi plan will succeed. And if the Iraqi plan succeeded, then just like Churchill, Sadat, and Reagan, Bush will turn out to be right and will have the last laugh.
Did the Arab media cry “massacre” and “ethnic cleansing” just like it does when Israel kills 5 Palestinians in a single day? No. Did the Arab press publish gruesome pictures of dead bodies? No. Ops, I didn’t know that a Muslim corpse is worth more when it has an Israeli or an American bullet in it! Terrorists in Iraq killed more civilians than Israel did in the 4 years old Palestinian uprising. What are we hearing from the Arab media? An ugly hush, and an uglier attempt to explain the daily carnage just to avoid shifting the Americans to the “good guys” column.
Egypt’s and the region’s largest newspaper, Al Ahram, published a silly editorial claiming that to stop those bombings, Iraq has to reach the elections process as soon as possible. I can’t believe how silly and rather stupid the region’s largest newspaper can get. The answer to their la-la-land editorial came today. The Taliban shot 16 Afghans who went to register for the upcoming elections. I don’t see any difference between the Taliban and the thugs we are fighting in Iraq. The main aim of the Taliban and the thugs we have in Iraq is to derail the political process in both countries because they know they will turn out to be the biggest losers from those elections. And they know quite well that America’s plan will succeed if those elections went ahead.
I am beginning to feel real sick from the overdose of “Arab opinion” I get everyday. The hypocrisy just chokes me.
I hear some grumbling Arab telling me “but America never cared about elections. It supported dictators in the region for the past 60 years.” I don’t care about the past. Bush was born on September 11, 2001.
Saturday, June 26, 2004
Thank God we’re not the only people with nuts among us
A lot have been said about the river of conspiracy theories that runs through the Arab/Muslim world. Even some of our most celebrated intellectuals resort to unrealistic and too often funny conclusions when they do not want to face a reality. A huge number of educated Arabs actually believed the rumor that 4000 Jews did not report to work in the World Trade Center on September 11. You get the idea.
After reading some of Michael Moore’s comments, I felt relived that we are not the only people with nuts among us. From what I read about his latest documentary film, I discovered that it really resembled a lot of the fake and emotionally hype stories I read in our media and especially in our cheap tabloids.
However, there is something very troubling about Michael Moore. Our conspiracy theorists and la-la-land inhabitants do not hate their country and they don’t go around the world bashing it in front of a foreign audience. I am not sure if I am being fair by using the word “hate”. May be Michael Moore doesn’t hate the USA but just hates its system or whatever you want to call it. But I find it a bit difficult to use another word when I read that he actually thinks that the terrorists who bomb police stations and oil pipelines in Iraq resemble a “revolution” that “will win.” I find it equally troubling that he uttered those far from the truth words to a foreign audience.
Friday, June 25, 2004
The Right Wish from the Right People
“Handover of the power to Iraqis is frightening but necessary .The first step is always the hardest one. This may become the start of new era in the Middle East. Neighbors of Iraq like Iran do not want to see democracy to be exercised by Iraqis because it will endanger mullahs regime in Iran, people of Iran are watching their neighbor closely.”
The above words were not said by a pro-Bush American or some member of the neo-conservative clan; they came from an Iranian living under one of the most repressive regimes in the world. He posted his comments on the BBC Open Forum website after the tragic events in Iraq today. I guess no words from me can explain the situation in Iraq better than the above quote. There is no room for failure in Iraq. Success is the only option.
I just wish to highlight the difference between the opinion of this Iranian and the Arab media. This afternoon I logged on to the CNN website and their major headline read “92 Iraqis killed”. After reading the news report, I logged on to Al-Jazerah’s website and guess what their major headline was? “3 American soldiers killed”. This is what they ONLY care about, to see America fail. In fact, it is not just Al Jazerah, I am beginning to believe that the majority of Arabs/Muslims feel indifferent towards Iraqi deaths as long as the US sinks deeper in their perceived “Iraq quagmire”. They don’t give a dead rat’s ass about Iraqis being killed on a daily basis by suicide bombings and arbitrary shooting. Their passion of “Arab/Muslim brotherhood” only explodes when few Iraqi civilians are accidentally killed by US forces. I am outraged at such hypocrisy and lies.
Iraq will succeed. For the sake of Iraq, Iran, the free world, and the future of this dark miserable region, Iraq must succeed. Don’t tell me it cannot be possible. Nothing is impossible. We learned that lesson from Winston Churchill, Anwar Sadat, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush will teach us this lesson one more time. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said that Hitler could be appeased and war avoided. Churchill said no. Arabs said that Egypt cannot have peace with Israel. Sadat said no. John Kerry said that “we cannot fight communism all over the world”. Reagan said no. Today, doomsayers are telling us that Iraq will fail. Goerge Bush must continue to say no.
Sunday, June 20, 2004
What I wished for in Iraq and what is left now
Before the war in Iraq, I wished for only one thing which is to replace Saddam Hussein with a decent government that would accept to step down if beaten in an election. During the war in the Security Council, I immersed myself in the writings of New York Time columnist Thomas L. Friedman and other Arab liberals who believed that a decent outcome can result from the war in Iraq. I had my doubts of course. What would happen if the Shias of Iraq who never tasted a “theocracy” choose to embrace a religious form of government? Arabs never experienced democracy yet alone understand it, who can they adopt a democratic system in Iraq? All those questions raced through my mind as the US and Britain were battling the axis of weasels in the Security Council.
I had no idea what Iraqis inside Iraq thought about this whole issue. Internet was banned under Saddam and so I couldn’t find one in the chat rooms. I remember the first day I saw Iraqis in Iraq (normal citizens and not Saddam’s officials). It was on April 9, 2003, the day Saddam’s ilk fled Baghdad. I saw Iraqis walking side by side with American while carrying their weapons. “Wow, they are not shooting them” I told my dad. “It seems that they like them”. I added. I saw an old Iraqi woman gently patting the chest of an American soldier. A man was embracing a soldier and handing out cigarettes to the coalition forces. If CBS, Paris, and liberals in the US are telling us that Iraqis did not welcome the coalition forces, they were simply asleep on April 9, 2003.
After seeing the reaction of normal Iraqi citizens, I added one wish to my wish list. I wished that Iraq would be the only Arab country that is not stricken by anti-Americanism. I wished that Iraqis (and here I mean Shias and many Sunnis) would love the US with both their hearts and minds. I personally love the US and the government of the US. That is what I am and I am not ashamed of what I believe in. I do not agree with everything the US does around the world but I definitely do not have anti-Americanism running in my veins. I simply wanted Iraqis to be like me.
Today, I announce that I removed my second wish from my list and its back to square one: praying for a decent government in Iraq that would be good for the region, the US, and the world. Terrorist attacks that alienated America from Iraqis and America’s huge avoidable (and totally unforgivable) mistakes in Iraq made the US part of the problem. Today, if you want to score some political points then you’ll have to start bashing the US lead coalition or the American forces in general.
I am not painting a grim picture here. I still believe however that the majority of Iraqis feel grateful towards the coalition in spite of expressing dissatisfaction with it. I am just lamenting the loss of April 9, 2003. As the coalition diminishes and Iraqi leaders’ faces begin to appear, Iraqis will eventually realize that the US is not the enemy. This rift can be filled. Who knows, may be Iraqis will feel grateful one more time when they cast their first ballot in the election box. Terrorists know that, they don’t want that, and they’ll do everything to stop that. Let us pray they fail. Let us pray there won’t be any more avoidable mistakes.
What went right?
What went wrong?
The way forward.
President Has a Back Problem
President Mubarak went to Germany today to undergo surgery in his backbone. Yesterday he delegated some presidential authorities to the prime minister until his arrival.
That’s not it. Al Jazerah announced yesterday that the president will nominate a vice president before going for treatment. In Egypt, a vice president means the future president since he gets swiftly elected after the president passes away. Mubarak never appointed a vice president. Anyway, an official from the presidential palace denied Al Jazerah’s report and called it a “rumor”.
Upon hearing the report, we all knew that Omar Soliman will be nominated. Soliman is Egypt’s secret intelligence director. He is a very fine military official whom Mubarak had sent countless times to Israel and Palestine. We all think Mubarak is trying to brighten his star by sending him to such diplomatic missions. Omar Soliman is considered today the most eligible vice president after Mubarak denied any intentions of choosing his son Gamal.
Anyway, I’ll support anyone Mubarak might choose. Egypt’s political system can’t withstand any political gambling. I want stability, and despite Mubarak’s huge problems, I still believe that it would be too risky to open up the country for a presidential election. Iraq’s political process is guarded by American F16s and Abrams tanks. We don’t have those here.
Thursday, June 17, 2004
I Interviewed Ronald Reagan
Yesterday when I was on my bed trying to fall asleep, I felt that my spirit left my body and kept transcending upwards towards heaven. My spirit kept ascending until I reached a golden gate. I met an angel who told me that I reached heaven and he told me that I have about 1 hour to have a sightseeing tour before going back to my body.
“Who do you like to meet?” the angel asked.
“I want to meet your new resident President Ronald Reagan” I answered.
“OK you have just 40 minutes with the man” he said.
I took a golden notepad from the angel to write down some notes from my interview with Reagan. The angel guided me to Bel Air mansion on the river of life. I entered the mansion and saw a 30 something man who introduced himself as President Ronald Reagan.
Q: Hello Mr. President, how do you find heaven? You surely look much younger and in perfect health.
RR: Heaven is wonderful. I was tormented down there. I was like a vegetable at the end of my life. Today I went to God and he showed me all what I have missed on a huge screen. I was so touched when I saw my dear friend Margaret Thatcher buy this special black dress 2 years ago just to attend my funeral.
Q: Well Mr. President, I know you have a lot to say about heaven but let me bring you back to earth. I know it is much better here but I would like to ask you a few questions about what is happening on earth.
RR: Go ahead. I saw everything on this huge screen. Now I know all what happened ever since I lost my brain.
Q: Let me start with President George W Bush. Some people say that he will carry your mantle and that there is a lot in common between you.
RR: Well, Ronald Reagan is not George Bush and George Bush is not Ronald Reagan. However, I do believe that there are some striking similarities between my time and his, but there are also differences. For example, we are both not afraid to name the enemy and call it by its true name “evil”. People laughed when I called the Soviet Union the “evil empire”, I laughed at them when the Berlin wall fell. I advice Bush not to relent and to continue his awesome perseverance in the face of those who want to pull him down. Another similarity is the European hate. When I went to Rome or Paris, I was always welcomed by massive protests that labeled me as “warmonger” and “dangerous”. The European left and pacifists hated me for my clear vision and “black and white” world. I urge Bush not to heed to their voices. I hope he too will laugh at them at the end.
Q: So, you’re saying that you both have the same enemy and he should behave in the same persistent way?
RR: Yes, I faced a similar enemy but poor Bush, he faces a much more dangerous enemy. Let me explain. The soviets invaded Afghanistan at the end of the Carter days. I saw their move as a dangerous move aimed at spreading their ideology. However, at the end of the day, the Russian soldier yearned for the day when he will return home safely for his wife and children. Our enemy today loves to kill us more than he loves life. He is ready to use any method to destroy as much as possible. During my days we were concerned that nuclear weapons might destroy the civilized world. Today, the enemy is using box cutters and commercial airplanes to kill thousands in few minutes.
Q: What other similarities you find?
RR: There are similarities that are not good. For example, my hands off approach lead to the Iran-Contra scandal. Bush’s hands off management lead to the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Q: OK and differences?
RR: I am the great communicator, Bush is the great divider. My uttermost critics never really hated me. Today, you either love or hate Bush, there is no middle ground.
Q: Now we turn to the war in Iraq. What are your thoughts?
I believe that Iraq is Bush’s Berlin Wall. At the beginning of my presidency, I was harsh and tough on communist tyranny. I was ready to use force at anytime and look at my enemy in the eye. The pacifists in Berkley and in Paris didn’t like it. They would have preferred appeasement. If I hadn’t done what I did, Eastern European leaders wouldn’t have attended my funeral. When the Berlin Wall fell, I had my laugh. If Iraq becomes a decent country, I am not saying it should be Norway or Sweden, just a decent country based upon rotation of power, Bush will definitely have the last laugh. The thing I love about Bush is his belief that no human being on earth is not worthy of freedom and democracy.
However, I have to add a negative note here. The US’ fatal mistakes after the war were unforgivable. I fully understand that there were uncontrollable factors such as the suicide bombings and Al-Jazerah, but I am so upset because our mistakes were avoidable. First, Bush had no post-war plan whatsoever. Second, the US allowed the liberation to turn into occupation. On April 9, 2003 the majority of Iraqis welcomed us as liberators. We provided no “roadmap” for our invasion and dissolved Iraq’s military that we could have bought with money. Under pressure, we appointed a governing council and appointed an American proconsul who did all the governing for them. In fact, the first person to name as “occupiers” was the Saudi crown prince Abdullah. Unfortunately, we listened to him and pushed the UN to legitimize our occupation. Most of Iraqis didn’t think we were occupiers back then. The majority today think we are.
Q: So you think the US will not succeed in Iraq?
RR: No, I didn’t say that. I believe that we will win; however, I am just too upset from the damage caused by the US’ avoidable mistakes. Listen, the situation in Iraq reminds me of Lebanon. In Lebanon, I was no naive and didn’t understand the region and depended upon the “advice” of a government that was itself part of the civil war. In addition, I will never forget what I read about what the Lebanese did when they knew that the Marines would land in Lebanon. A sense of optimism swept through Lebanon. People started believing that we will help the country reach a solution to their civil war. Lebanese exiles started returning to Lebanon when the Marines landed because they thought they will do good business after we solve the problem. The Lebanese people put so much hope in us See, people outside America think we can do anything and save anyone. If we reached the moon and today Mars, can’t we end a civil war and pull a country out of poverty? I partially blame Hollywood for that. Our movie heroes always win when they kill all the bad guys at the end. That’s the thinking out there. Just like the Lebanese, the Iraqis trusted us and dreamed of the good days that will follow our arrival. The Wahabi terrorists, the Sadamists, Al-Jazerah, Arab mistrust of everything American, and our avoidable mistakes shattered this hope. Now we are part of the problem and not the solution. I hope and pray that we will turn into a part of the solution when Iraqis get true real unlimited sovereignty. I hope Iraqis will know who the real enemy is.
Q: Who would you vote for if you were on earth, Bush or Kerry?
RR: With what Kerry said back in 1971 “we cannot fight communism all over the world”, with his extreme liberal nature, and with the type of enemy you are facing today, I think we cannot afford losing Bush.
Q: If Bush won, what would you advice him to do?
RR: After settling Iraq, turn eastwards. Place as much pressure as possible on the Iranian regime until it cracks up and the Iranian people will rise up and overthrow their government. If Iran became free, Bush can join me in the Lincoln-Wilson-Roosevelt-Reagan club. And for God’s sake, why are Poland’s young people, whose parents I helped to liberate, paying $100 to get a US student visa? I was furious when I saw that on the huge screen. Those people are one of the very few on earth who love us with both their hearts and minds. I helped in shaping their heart, why is the State Department shattering it today? If the Poles find it expensive to go to America, they will go to France and Germany instead and soak the poisonous anti-Americanism there.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
There is an interesting post on Iraq the Model on yesterday’s events. The post is titled “Just a guess” posted on June 15. I still believe however that Iraqis should see some faces on TV. Some might not believe it and still trust the conspiracy theories, but it will be better than this “ghost like” enemy we have today.