Another Iraq Post

It has been a while since I have written about politics or world events. Partly because I have been busy and partly because everybody else writes about politics and world events. I have been reading a few things about Iraq that I want to point out, especially since the election. I am mainly drawing on a few Iraqi bloggers but will also cite a few US bloggers. Here it goes. Its a lot of reading, can you handle it?

I believe Iraq is going better than what most of the media would have us beleive. Yes, there are still tragedies occuring, but much less often than before. Critics of the war and Bush just want things to end. I understand that, war is bad, murder is bad, killers are bad. Instability can be worse though. With things looking better in Iraq and democracy spreading in the Middle East, some have even suggested that, yes thats right, Bush may have been right!

Check out Carnival of the Liberated - a good roundup of recent posts from Iraqi bloggers. Also, Chrenkoff’s Good news from Iraq, Part 23 is a good place to see some of the good things coming out of Iraq that don’t get too much airtime in the mainstream media. Here are a few snippets from that page:

On the international front, Iraq’s northern neighbor is now onboard: “Turkey has officially accepted the establishment of a federal structure in Iraq. Officials including Turkey’s Special Envoy to Iraq, the General Staff, National Intelligence Branch and representatives Foreign Affairs Ministry have accepted the federalism article, the most important article in the Iraqi Temporary Administrative Law that until today had not officially been accepted. An official statement released today says: ‘We respect the decisions of the Iraqis. We will not object if the majority of Iraqis demand federalism’.”


In health, the Ministry of Health has now submitted its development plan for 2005, which is worth 60 billion dinars ($41 million) and includes projects as diverse as establishing a new 200-bed hospital in the province of Maisan; the construction of a burns unit, a consultation clinic, and an emergency unit in Bakuba Hospital; the construction of the Medical City in Baghdad province, and developing Ibn El-Nefees Cardiology and Blood Vessels Hospital in Baghdad province. The authorities are also importing 600 new ambulances from Canada and Saudi Arabia. The first of its kind center for disability in Iraq is getting new equipment at a cost of $5 million; the center will among other things assist 4,000 quadriplegic children. A new center for cancer research and treatment is also being currently planned.

and in education:

USAID is continuing to assist on the primary school level (link in PDF): “198,540 Secondary School Student Kits providing basic supplies for learning have arrived at Directorate of Education (DOE) warehouses in 12 governorates. Iraq has 21 Directorates of Education, including four in Baghdad and one in every other governorate… The remaining 326,460 student kits are currently in storage at Umm Qasr seaport and will soon be delivered to DOE warehouses. A USAID partner is facilitating the distribution as part of the second year of programming for the improvement of basic education in Iraq. By the end of the program, more than 525,000 students in 2,014 schools will receive kits.” In other school news, environmental awareness education will now be part of Iraqi school curriculum.

He has MUCH to offer in that one post (and there are 22 others like it), check them out if you want to see what is going on in Iraq.
This site offers:

Under Saddam Hussein, women in Iraq enjoyed freedoms denied in other parts of the Middle East. Some took high office. Others, mainly in Baghdad, embraced western fashion, shunning the headscarf.


“Sixty percent of voters were women. They were courageous enough to choose their leaders. And then there is the power in the upcoming assembly, 31 percent is women. Now the challenge is how to activate this power,” said Nasreen Mustapha Berwari, minister for public works. “Women in the assembly and also of NGOs outside the assembly must advocate for women’s rights and fight for them in the constitution drafting, which is going to be a very important battle, not only for Iraqi women but all Iraqi society.”

So we can start to see some good things going on and change happening. Hammorabi (an Iraqi blogger) offers this:

When the idol of the Iraqi tyrant regime falls these dictators looked to their chairs to see whether they are still safe to recline or not! They sensed the real danger. Some of them surrendered and gave up early however not to its won suppressed people but to the enemy that he created or the enemy himself created! … The calls for democracy and freedom in Iraq which had its first free election two months ago was the magic button which switched on many other buttons at one time. The Middle East dictators tried and trying their best to convince their people that the democracy is not working in Iraq.

They pushed their dogs to kill the Iraqis under the cover of Jihad and resistance against the infidels. On the same time they told their people; look to the American democracy in Iraq it brought none but chaos and Abo-Ghraeb scandal. They used the Mullahs and their Fatwa to enhance this. They tried all their resources and their intelligent services to kill the Iraqi election. In stead the hammer falls on their heads when the Iraqis challenged their terrors and showed the world that in spite of long years of suppression they did it in a civilized way…

There are some hopes for many of these states [still with dictators] to get freedom and democracy so as to join the world in its moving forward. This is the best way to cut off terrorism and to make peace in the region.

Now that freedom is on the move in the Middle East and especially in Iraq, Healing Iraq (from Baghdad) wants the Next Step, National Reconciliation:

Apart from a minority that would rather burn down the country than see someone else in power, I am confident that most Iraqis are weary of all the violence, chaos and bloodshed. It is therefore the utmost duty of Iraqi politicians, the occupation authority and the international community to seize upon the moment and to quit beating around bushes.

Friends of Democracy (a group of Iraqi bloggers) have offered many insights in what is going on inside of their country. Shortly after the elections they offered One Election does not Achieve Democracy:

The recent Iraqi elections are more than a symbolic proof of Iraqi people’s will in playing the main role writing their constitution. The elections were as a chance to demonstrate rich political varieties that confused the ones who bet that Iraq is on the edge of a cultic civil war. The elections proved the policy, not religion nor race, is an essential factor in understanding the balance of the new established authority in Iraq after the collapse of Saddam’s Hussein regime.


What happened last Sunday is a main step towards having an accurate and reliable assessment of the political powers in Iraq and this serves creating the suitable moderate political environment; something that is essential for the success of the new born democratic process.

And then also discussed The Elections and the importance of Change:

All these events, and the Iraqi people observes and waits, every time a group takes over the regime and started a new series of injustice and crucifying, the Iraqi’s waited for a more stronger group to eliminate the one ruling, by this the people became with no will waiting for someone to save them without any efforts from their side in saving themselves. The Baath government have enrooted this feeling inside Iraqis when all the rumbustious government joints is under control by the government like industry, trade, agriculture and other country fortunes, by then the government started feeding, clothing, learning and thinking, and all what the people should do is to receive what the government provides, so the people eat what the regime tastes, wear what the regime likes, learn, study and think only what this group provides, reaching as a result that people are not capable of changing a single official employee in spite his deviances because the government is complacent on him, that’s why the citizen have to go back to the same waiting maelstrom, so in order to change a corrupted official the citizen have to wait for this official to annoy who is higher than him and change him so he can take a breath.

And more recently, discussed the results of the election and Iraqis Who Didn’t Vote where Iraqi people offer some of their thoughts on why some didn’t vote. Then one of their contributors, Al-Witwiti, presents a Letter To The Next Iraqi President. Here are a few snippets, but read the entire letter:

Your Excellency. We don’t want to see you more than one minute per day. Respect our private lives, houses, and holidays. Don’t hang your portrait on the wall. Don’t put your statues in the squares. We don’t want to see you wearing a headcord or some other thing whenever we turn around. We don’t want to listen to your news on TV welcoming someone, saying farewell to someone else, holding a meeting, or anything else that reminds us you exist. We don’t want any of this, Your Excellency.

We want to feel you in our children’s health, or while sleeping deeply in peace. We want to feel you in the bread filling our dishes, in the pure water that we drink every day, and in electricity that doesn’t switch off every two hours.

Let your slogan be Iraq is for the Iraqis. Iraqis should always be first, not second or tenth or last. And when I say “Iraqis” I mean Kurds, Arabs, Azoreans, Armenians, Chaldeans, Turkmen, and Jews.

Remember that people have given you their confidence. You won’t stay long if you betray them, not even if you stuff them in jails. Don’t ever think you are above the law. You are a citizen.

In our new Iraq we don’t want to see a Kurdish child freezing out in the cold, or his family shacking in caves. We don’t want to see the children of Basra wearing worn clothes and shoes. If this happens, consider yourself overthrown because you will not have fulfilled your duty.

Salaam for he who loves his people and gives them dignity.

In order for the new democracy to solidify, the fighting needs to end. Once the insurgents a removed, the Iraqi people will be in a much better position. Their attacks have been horrible, but they are weakening now. The Belmont Club offers two posts asking Is the Iraqi Insurgency Dying? I think it is pretty reasonable to assume his answer is “yes”:

…He [Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, head of the First Marine Expeditionary Force] said that several hundred hard-core jihadists and former members of Saddam Hussein’s government and security services were still operating in Anbar Province, but that the declining frequency of the attacks indicated that the rebels’ influence was waning.

“They’re way down on their attempts, and even more on their effectiveness,” General Sattler said.

Which is great…

But the change American commanders see as more promising than any other here is the deployment of large numbers of Iraqi troops. … Last month, an Iraqi brigade with two battalions garrisoned along Haifa Street became the first homegrown unit to take operational responsibility for any combat zone in Iraq. The two battalions can muster more than 2,000 soldiers, twice the size of the American cavalry battalion that has led most fighting along the street. …


The rebuilding of the Iraqi armed forces proceeded in parallel, with the same stops and starts, with the much more celebrated task of rebuilding its civil government as exemplified by the elections held last January. That the elements came together was less accidental than the culmination of long effort. The US armed forces had also been adapting to the methods of the insurgents with moves of their own.

Iraqi people are tired of the fighting and want to start living in their free country. The NY Times notes that
Ordinary Iraqis Wage a Successful Battle Against Insurgents

“We attacked them before they attacked us,” Dhia, 35, [a carpenter] his face still contorted with rage and excitement, said in a brief exchange at his shop a few hours after the battle. He did not give his last name. “We killed three of those who call themselves the mujahedeen. I am waiting for the rest of them to come and we will show them.” … The battle was the latest sign that Iraqis may be willing to start standing up against the attacks that leave dozens of people dead here nearly every week.

So this seems to be the current state of affairs in Iraq. Before you go out to protest US involvement in Iraq, maybe you should really see what is going on over there. Iraqis want freedom and they are in the process of taking it. As soon as they are stable on their own, we will leave. To keep updated on events, keep checking the many sites I have linked to (as well as many more - especially The Command Post’s Iraq page.) You should definitely be reading the Iraqi blogger pages as they are in the middle of it.

As a final note, there was an interesting poll taken in Iraq and presented (on March 21) in one of their newspapers, Iraquna, Chrenkoff reports. I am really not a big fan of polls (a la Neil Postman), but it was interesting none the less. 970 residents of Baghdad were asked “Are you in favor of implementing Islamic Sharia and an Islamic government?” and responded thusly: Yes - 12.5% No - 83.9% Don’t Know - 3.6%. If you know anything about the history of Islam in Arabian / Middle Eastern governments, you would find this VERY surprising. Can anyone offer reasons for this drastic change / when this shift occurred?

I hope you didn’t fall asleep through all of this! It really is quite interesting to see some of the things Iraq is going through. Iraqis have hope for their country and new found freedom, we should support that.


[UPDATE: The original post and comments are no longer available. :( Sorry!]

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