Sunday, June 28, 2009

Crossroads

I strongly doubt that any person with the slightest interest in the politics don't look at these days as a very important crossroads and a milestone.

The US troops will withdraw from the Iraqi streets and be deployed in their bases and Iraq will gain its "sovereignty" as they say in the next few days, but what is behind the news? What is really happening on the ground? And what are the possible scenarios? And that will be what I'll discuss in this post.

It's so obvious that all the Iraqis are really cautious these days, we are watching with fear and crossed fingers the events and wish for the best to happen.

The past few days were the bloodiest since a very long time…350 Iraqi; killed and wounded as a result of explosions.

Yesterday's night the Iraqi with the US army carried a raid on Adhamiya and arrested some young men…few days ago in an area near Taji armed men in suburban cars with dark tinted windows arrested some of the young men in the area; by the way none of those incidents were mentioned in any news network.

I heard from some of my sources (reliable ones) :" it's certain that explosive cars, sticky explosive packs and some explosive belts have entered Adhamiya these days to target the gatherings of people"

You can easily feel the tension in the streets, and after the working hours (3 PM) you would notice a very big difference in traffic, the streets are much emptier than 2 weeks ago for example, there is somehow a long line at the gas stations because people are expecting a crisis.

Any Iraqi kid would strongly advice you not to go anywhere unless it was a really important business.

And to give you a more vivid image, I'd like to describe the situation on ground a bit more…very severe sand storm with extremely hot weather that if you walk for 5 minutes you would feel a fire in your shoes let alone the massive amount of sweat and water you'll drink…tensioned people passing through checkpoints of tensioned soldiers and that somehow gives me some flash backs to 2007.

OK, me and many other people are wishing for the best, wishing that nothing will happen, and Iraqi security forces will be up to the task and they will do great and they will not act on sectarian or political bases and be able to defeat terrorism…etc. but can we discuss the subject rationally rather than emotionally and put aside our dreams?

Most of the leaderships of the security forces have occupied their positions according to sectarian bases or political bases rather than efficiency, experience or loyalty to Iraq and the service of Iraqi people.

What will happen if there was a security breakout (for any reason)? What will happen and how will the Iraqi forces react? Will they act proficiently or they will bombard the whole area and make it a ground?

We should also keep in mind that the elections are close, so naturally we would notice some eliminations and disturbances due to political reasons either to hold the power and keep sitting on the chair or to reach that chair and seize the power specially with the sever corruption in every inch of every ministry and the fires that happens in the ministry are just a simple example of corruption and trying to ruin the evident!

This is a very important turn in the political history of Iraq, it's a milestone, it's a major crossroads and a chance for the Iraqi government and the security forces to prove themselves loyal to Iraq and Iraqis…it's the time to defend the ugly sectarian and disloyal look Iraqis have about them.

So let's cross the fingers and wish for the best to happen, we'll wait and see.

I'll keep this post updated if anything happens (let's hope not).

28 comments:

LJM said...

I've got my fingers crossed, too. I read that al Maliki called for end of "the invaders" as a cause for celebration. As an American, I appreciate the feeling that this was an American invasion. Still as an American, the war cost $1 trillion and many American lives, courtesy of the Bush administration. Americans wanted pull out of US troops as much as the Iraqis. That's how Obama got elected in the first place. Having sovereignty returned is certainly cause for celebration. Congratulations to Iraq from our side of the world. Still, I hope Iraq can go forward not hating average Americans. We fought to get this war ended through every means available to us. We had to live through stolen elections to get there. I only hope anti-Americanism isn't so strong in Iraq, that it fuels the same sentiment in Iran, further strengthening the Ahmadi-Nejad regime. Today I read that Grand Ayatollah Sistani is the one person who really could clarify how government should function in both countries should happen. He seems willing to have Iraq function without ayatollah oversight, unlike Iran. Perhaps he needs to say as much about both countries. Then perhaps both countries would have a stronger chance to get along. Otherwise, there is going to continue to be this Sunni Shia split. That's just my opinion. Just seems like enough people have died in the name of religion.

Congratulations again to the people of Iraq on taking back the keys to your own country. Fingers crossed, and wishing you all the best!!

Anand said...

Akhoiya Dr. Mohammed, the large majority of security responsibilities have already transferred to the IA and IP. Today is mostly for show rather than an actual change on the ground.

MNF-I is still training and equipping the IA and IP. Do Iraqis on the street want the MNF-I to keep training and equipping their IA and IP? Can you perhaps discuss Iraqi perceptions regarding this issue in a future post?

In a February 2008 public opinion poll, about 80% of Iraqis supported MNF-I training their IA and IP. My perception is that the percentage is falling now, because Iraqis increasingly think that the IA and IP no longer require training and equipping. Is this true?

PM Maliki slashed the IA and IP budgets when oil prices fell last year. This caused the cancellation or delay of most weapons purchases and has delayed the standing up of the IA by several years. Do Iraqis on the street now want PM Maliki to increase spending on the IA and IP because of higher oil prices?

Stay safe friend. And take care of the little one :-)

Ana Cristina Toledo said...

Looli is a beautiful girl! God bless you all!

LJM said...

Ding Ding Ding....I just read that so far the big winner of the oil contracts auction is China. I used to think Iran was the big winner in the Bush/Cheney Iraq war, but I'm starting to think it will be China. It's always been about the oil.

Indigo said...

LJM, what about Iraqi lives? Probably a million dead, mostly civilians, including women and children, just trying to live in their own country. Then there are the five million displaced Iraqis. And a whole generation of traumatised young people.

The number of American lives lost in Iraq is - forgive me - piffling compared to the numbers of Iraqis who have died, and the Americans did not have to invade Iraq, did not have to be there. (The US government believed that "Iraq's oil will pay for the war". Hah.)

Cartoon (Steve Bell, in the Guardian) here, remembering the shoe-thrower who gave the whole world an instantly-understood metaphor for disgust.

It is possible, too, that the recent car bombs are US black "sysops". Hoping to pressure the Iraqi government into inviting the Americans to maintain a watching brief to "help" keep security.

Indigo said...

I haven't heard anything about the US abandoning its dozen or so new military bases.

Independent newspaper article of just over a year ago, 5 June 2008
Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

Indigo said...

Yes, LJM, China has won big oil contracts without having to invade Iraq and kill a million innocent people. America, watch and learn: your military might has made you all losers.

China has been quietly working with Iraq behind the scenes for more than 10 years on negotiations to develop Iraqi oilfields. From the Open Democracy web site, article of 9 August 2008.
All this, moreover, is being achieved without China having to contemplate sending military forces to the region or facing widespread popular hostility and armed resistance. It is a further example of how the international balance of political and economic power is shifting (see "Russia and Iran: crisis of the west, rise of the rest", 21 August 2008).

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

It's always been about the oil.

For the Chinese, yes. ;)

Average American said...

"The average Iraqi on the street had some mixed feelings today. A very deep sense of pride and patriotism comes with regaining 100% control of their cities. I can only imagine how fantastic it must feel for them today. The other emotion that grips the hearts and minds of many Iraqis is a deep-rooted fear of a possible return of the terrible sectarian killings of 2006 and 2007. How can anyone who lived through those days in Iraq not feel apprehensive now. Let us hope that the lessons learned during that time period will be remembered. I'm sure that there will be some who are not ready to quit yet, but I am also sure that they will squashed. I have to believe that the people will do whatever they have to do to ensure that all the gains to date are not lost."


Dr. Mohammed, this is just one paragraph from my blog about Tuesday's events in Iraq. If you get a chance, I would really appreciate your visiting and commenting on whether I am correct on the way I see things. Your post seems to be along the same lines, happiness mixed half and half with intrepidation (worry). My congratulations and my prayers go out to you and your family and your country. God bless.

Joe

Anand said...

Rachel Indigo, President Bush didn't go to war to advance America's national interest. "It wasn't business, strictly personal" to invert a Godfather quotation.

President Bush went to Iraq because Saddam tried to kill his Dad. There is a video clip where President Bush says "after all he tried to kill my Dad." President Bush said it with a lot of emotion. Chris Matthews once described the reason America went to war in Iraq as: "HELLO! My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!"

Oil wasn't the reason America went to war in Iraq. After all, Saddam wanted to form an alliance with the US against Iran in the 1990s and 2000s. Saddam revealed that the reason he pretended to have WMD when he didn't was to prevent Iran (and presumably the Iranian backed Iraqi resistance--Talabani, Barzani, SCIRI/Badr, Dawa, Sadrists, Chalabi's INC, Iraqi Communist Party, Allawi) from finishing him. Saddam was willing to offer all sorts of concessions on "oil."

In any case Rachel, anyone in a brain in 2002 and 2003 thought that Chinese HQed multinational companies would probably win a plurality of Iraqi hydrocarban contracts. Chinese companies usually offer the best bids in dangerous and uncertain business environments. I thought so in 2002. You might have too.

I would like to congratulate the Iraqi oil ministry for finally letting out some energy contracts. They got a good deal from British Petroleum and CNOOC.

This said, Iraq became sovereign in 2004, over 5 years ago! Iraq should have been maximizing oil production before oil becomes increasingly obsolete. Overall, Iraq's policy of pumping very little oil for many years was very stupid. Partly because of this decision, the Iraqi Government has been very cash constrained. This has lead to the Iraqi Government not spending nearly enough on its IA (Iraqi Army), IP (Iraqi Police), social services, education, and long term economic development capital spending.

Over all, the performance of the Iraqi government has been poor.

Akhoiya Mohammed, do Iraqis realize that a major reason the Iraqi Government hasn't spent nearly enough money on Iraq's needs is because the Iraqi oil ministry refused to produce oil? Do Iraqis realize that a major reason that so many Iraqis died in violence was because the IA and IP have been severely underfunded since 2003? Are Iraqis upset about this?

Anand said...

Indigo, only very stupid idiots with sub 60 IQs believed that oil would pay for the war. Bush's own economic advisor in 2002 said that the war would cost US taxpayers $200 billion or more. Senator Biden was very explicit is saying that US taxpayers would have to pay a large amount to rebuild Iraq after the war.

President Bush in July 2003, asked Congress for $22 billion in grants to Iraq to pay for Iraqi reconstruction.

Iraq was bankrupt in 2003 with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of debt. Until Iraq's national debt was reorganized and renegotiated (which under the best of circumstances was going to take many years), no large company was going to invest in Iraq and the Iraqi Government would be unable to borrow money to fund deficit spending. Anyone with a partial brain new this in 2002.

The inability of the Iraqi Government to borrow money was a major reason the IA (Iraqi Army) and IP were so badly underfunded from 2003 to the present. This directly lead to many tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians dying.

LJM said...

Indigo,

Of course I am thinking of all the Iraqis who lost their lives. I'm also thinking of all the suffering the Iraqis living in their country and outside of their country have endured. It will take generations to work through the issues brought on them from this war.

My point was that lies were told to get us into this war. That includes lies told in your country (dodgy dossier) as well as mine. We have paid a high price to relieve Iraq from the Saddam regime. The only way for the people of Iraq now is forward. My best wishes are with them to build a government and their country to be better than they could have ever dreamed of before.

LJM said...

Indigo, the idea that the recent car bombings in Iraq are psyops from the USA is just plain silly. We want to get out of Iraq just as much as the Iraqis want us to leave. In case you've forgotten, we have a tricky siutation requiring more troops called Afghanistan and now Pakistan.

Don Cox said...

"kill a million innocent people."

Apart from the greatly inflated number here, the word "innocent" is being inserted as an emotional trigger. Unless you have a list of all the individuals killed by US forces in Iraq, with information on their behavior and attitudes, you cannot claim that they were all "innocent". A large proportion were killed when fighting against coalition forces.

Or do you define "innocent" as "anti-American"?

Ripama said...

You're onyour own now. Obama won't lift a finger to help you unless American troops are in danger. Most Americans I think want to leave Iraq. If you can't resolve your sectarian animosities, you'll probabl,y see a collapse of government and a blood bath which will pale in comparison to anything you've seen til now.

When we withdraw, it will be much more difficult to re-insert ourselves to restore what semblance of stability you've had.

Iraqis have to pressure their government to ensure the security of all Iraqis or no Iraqis will be safe.

Sandybelle said...

Hello dr.

it's been so long since i visited your nice blog.. as i see, everything is fine, and this is really what i wish :) :) :)

"This is a very important turn in the political history of Iraq" i agree..

I aslo agree in hoping for the best to happen.. let's see and do :) :)

best wishes :) :)

amagi said...

Dr. Mohammed -

Would love to hear an update from you! I know you're probably very busy, but I am anxious to know how things are going in Baghdad... there is hardly any reporting going on there, at least hardly any English language reporting.

My best to you and your family! You are often in my thoughts!

LJM said...

I've read about the new censorship laws in Iraq. Hopefully, they will not have an impact on your blog. You have done such a great service in bringing new from Iraq to those of us on the outside who otherwise wouldn't have know what was going on there. You have always done your best to try and be objective in your posts.

tikno said...

Your voice has been heard. Continue blogging!

Average American said...

The news media here says about 90 were killed in Baghdad Wednesday. Sunshine says the number was more like 500 with many more wounded. Can you give us your thoughts on the actual number. I hope the media was right, but I doubt it. Either one is way way to many. Dr. Mohammed, please know that I and millions of others wish and pray for a normalized Iraq and an end to all of the senseless violence. As impossible as it may seem, there just has to be a better future ahead. May God bless you, your family, and your countrymen.

Joe

Carolus Magnus said...

Are you ok and still alive?

I am wondering, when you restart writing on your excellent blog again?

Wishing you all the best

Carolus Magnus

Indigo said...

Wonderful news. Great article. Fantastically supportive comments (except one from, predictably, a right-wing American).

Iraqi shoe thrower Muntazer al-Zaidi innundated with offers and gifts, Guardian 9 September 2009

Next Monday, when the journalist walks out of prison, his 10 raging seconds, which came to define his country's last six miserable years, are set to take on a new life even more dramatic than the opening act.

Across Iraq and in every corner of the Arab world, Zaidi is being feted. The 20 words or so he spat at Bush – "This is your farewell kiss, you dog. This is for the widows and orphans of Iraq" – have been immortalised, and in many cases memorised.


It is not just in the Arab world that Zaidi's bravery and example are admired. At some public demonstrations in the UK, shoes are thrown, which never happened before Al-Zaidi threw his shoe at Bush.

Average American said...

Happy 6 months birthday to Looli! We heard about her arrival on May 9th so I am guessing at the actual date of birth.

I hope you and your family are fine Dr. Mohammed. I will keep dropping by looking for a new post (hint hint).

God Bless you all.

Joel Wing said...

Side note,

Anyone got friends or family in Basra? This guy who use to work for Prince Hassan of Jordan claims that people in Basra speak Persian/Farsi more than Arabic. He's making the comments here at Marc Lynch's blog on Foreign Policy.

http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/09/07/civil_wars_literature_and_iraq#comments

The laguage in Basra.
by janbekster on Sat, 09/12/2009 - 4:37pm

I did not say that Presian (Farisi) is an official language in Basra, though its usage in the city and in the Governorate on the streets, has surpassed Arabic (Arabic and Kurdish being the official languages of Iraq). This fact is no more a reason to have Basra being annexed by Iran, than the fact that many of the leadership of "al Dawa Party" and the "Council for the Revolution", are of Persian origin and Persian (Farisi) speakers; even the revered and much respected Ayattullah Sistani; as the name indicates, is not a reason for the Shi'a of Iran to follow Qom. What one is saying, is neither a revelation; as it has already been revealed by many observers, and ceratinly not an insider knowledge; especially that one is actually a distant outsider. However, having an insider knowledge would indicate that one has an official position of sorts; and one has neither an official nor unofficial position, which would have meant that, I couldn't devulge insider knowledge.

Indigo said...

Images of the day Muntazer al-Zaidi is freed. I found the one of him embracing his sister particularly moving.

The Arabic Student said...

إن شاء الله الحالات عم تتحسن ببلاد الرافدين.

Indigo said...

Statement by Muntazer al-Zaidi

Why I threw the shoe Guardian 17 September 2009

Over recent years, more than a million martyrs have fallen by the bullets of the occupation and Iraq is now filled with more than five million orphans, a million widows and hundreds of thousands of maimed. Many millions are homeless inside and outside the country. ... the invasion divided brother from brother, neighbour from neighbour. It turned our homes into funeral tents. ... I say to those who reproach me: do you know how many broken homes that shoe which I threw had entered? How many times it had trodden over the blood of innocent victims? Maybe that shoe was the appropriate response when all values were violated.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're alive & well - it's been long since we heard fro you.