Saturday, February 28, 2004

Professional armies!!

So if they do it to their own people, I wonder how many Iraqi/Afgani women have suffered the same fate.

While over here, the most experienced army in the world is showing its profesionalism and dedication to liberate and protect Iraqis from Saddam

But hey, Iraqis should not complain...Saddam has treated them even worse....A few killed here or there by the liberators does not matter...because in the end they had a reason to kill people in such manner. (For the people who are going to argue about how great and professional your armies are, just a pick a reason to justify the crimes committed, so that you can sleep soundly at night, knowing that those soldiers did the right thing, and spare myself and others your BS)


Thursday, February 26, 2004

Miscellaneous Stuff (Part 2)

I have come to the conclusion that the GWB administration suffers from some kind of a split personality disorder. Recently, there was a big hoo-ha about the letter allegedly written by Abu musab al zarqawee in regards to the situation in Iraq.
This letter was published in the pro US Arabic daily Alhayat.Of course, nobody in the administration accused Alhayat of spreading hate or shown their revulsion because of the letter. In fact, in some circles there are suggestions that the administration gave the letter to Alhayat to publish. Compare that to their stance when Aljazeera broadcasts audio tapes of Bin Laden. All hell breaks loose, Aljazeera gets threatened and gets accused of everything under the sun. In the end, both audio tapes and the letter are of the calibre of crap alqaeda have entertained us with over the years. There is nothing new, why is it ok for Alhayat to publish that crap and not for Aljazeera?
The amusing thing in this whole episode is that Alhayat did not publish the letter as it is, but they got the Arabic translation of the English translation, of the original document. Must admit there are some bright sparks in action over here, why not just give them the original? Also, I often wonder if Aljazeera was owned by Rupert Murdoch, would the US administration be as vociferous in its objections as it is now? Personally, I don’t think so, the moment they say anything, Rupert’s boots would be so far up their backside that their roar would be seen more of a whimper.

Also, an interesting story has emerged recently in Khaleej (Sharjah) in regards to the Saddam oil bribes scandal. Some Iraqi guy from Sadr city claims to have forged the documents for money and other unspecified gifts. I do not doubt that Saddam has used such method, but the document produced few weeks ago appears to be questionable at this moment of time. Also, read Jihad Alkhazen of Alhayat 2 cents worth on the matter.

Finally,anybody who is interested in following Iraqi finances should visit Iraqi revenue watch. An excellent website with some good reports, it was created and supported by the Open Society institute. Highly recommended.


Thursday, February 19, 2004

Miscellaneous Stuff

I have been going through some Iraqi message boards lately, and came across the following:

“[Jawhar Hussain] What is your opinion about the Kurdish paper presented by the Kurdish members of the Governing Council regarding the project of federal system for Iraq in future?

[Paul Bremer] First we believe that it is important in the new Iraq to find an equation for balance of power between the Centre and the rest of the parts [regions] in the country as one of the problems of Iraq historically has been that the central power was concentrated and strong in Baghdad during the last 80 years. As happened with the regime of Saddam Hussain the dictatorial central authority became the total and totalitarian power. To avoid such a bitter experience there must be an effort to distribute power among the regions in federal system agreed [by all sides]. We according to this theory support the demands of the Kurds to obtain some local authorities provided that these do not surpass the limits of the national unity of Iraq. We in principle do not support any law that will be an initiative for separating any part of Iraq, as we strongly believe in the unity of Iraq. For information, we have explained our opinions to the leaders of the parties and told them we do not agree on the federalism proposed on ethnic and sectarian basis for Iraq an Kurdish leaders know that.”

Jerry, dude, what can I say, you seem to be the only politician ruling Iraq these days, whom genuinely wanting to preserve its territorial integrity. I raise my hat off to you for rejecting the calls for ethnic or sectarian federalism. If Iraqis do adopt a federal structure, then it should be along the same lines of the US or Germany, based on geography. We do not want another Yugoslavia in few years time. I really hope that you, and the US administration do not compromise on this issue ,and keep on advocating it and in the end implementing a sound and strong federal structure that serves all Iraqis, regardless of their background.

On another matter the NYTIMES has published the details of an agreement in regards to elections in Iraq (Free Registration). I just want to know, who was the evil bastard thinking of and proposing to disenfranchise 20-25% of the population and make them wait for their own representatives. So what happens if the low level warfare does not stop and keeps on going, do you intend to keep those people in limbo for an unspecified period of time? How does that equate with a free, democratic Iraq people are trying to achieve? Lots of countries have had troubles, and the people went to vote regardless of the danger. No group whatever the plan should be left behind, if there is a plan, then it should include all Iraqis. There should not be one law for us, and another for them.

On the mobile front, my cousin had to pay $250 to get her own phone and line in the end. This is called “DAY LIGHT ROBBERY”


Saturday, February 14, 2004

Rip off Iraq.

Around the mid 90’s, the London based Times newspaper started a campaign called “Rip off Britain”. The campaign highlighted the differences in goods being paid by British consumers Vis a Vis their counterparts in Europe or the USA. In most cases, British consumers were being charged way over the odds prices.

I have decided to start my own campaign called “Rip off Iraq” from this webpage. I will choose a different company, and investigate whether they are over charging the consumers or not, if they are, then they will be named and shamed (I doubt that they have any shame ;))

Today, ORASCOM (the mobile network service provider around Baghdad, and the middle of Iraq) have earned the right to be the first company to enter the hall of shame. It all started 2 weeks ago, I was talking to a relative of mine and asked them to buy a mobile so that we can talk to them direct, as their land lines have not been fixed yet. It transpired that, it will cost approx $125 - $ 150 to setup the whole thing. If you happen to have your own mobile, and only need a sim card on its own (which is far a cheaper option), you will not be supplied with what you want, you have to buy the phone as well. Also, each month you have to buy airtime, and if you don’t use it by the end of the month, you lose it; it will not get rolled over to the next month.
A friend of the family, who is an authorised agent for ORASCOM in Baghdad, confirmed that this policy being adopted by the mobile company. Now, if you go to, Jordan or Syria, and apply for the same spec mobile and a smiliar tariff, it will cost you something around $50 - $70. In my opinion, in Jordan at least, the standard, and cost of living is higher than that of Iraq, so in some cases goods should be more expensive than in Iraq but to ORASCOM (who operates in Jordan) it is not.
Some people might argue, and point out that since, the mobile company is creating the entire infrastructure from scratch, with no government financial backing or assistance, unlike neighbouring countries, then they should dictate their own pricing policy, which in turn should reflect the investments and risks they have under taken. That argument holds true if, Iraq had charged the mobile networks a considerable amount of money for the operating licenses, but it did not, each company that won the contracts to operate, only paid $5 million for the licenses, this was done to help the companies offset the expenses they are undertaking in creating everything else. To compare,in Lebanon, the mobile service provider paid $100 million for the licenses, and Syria it was $250 million. The Iraqi market is definitely bigger than both countries combined, and $5 million does not reflect the huge potential of that market.

If people want to buy a mobile with line, a sim card on its own, or both, then Iraqi consumers should be able to have that right to do so, and not be dictated to buy what is on offer only.

Shame on you ORASCOM.


Tuesday, February 10, 2004

With friends like these......

This is a true story that happened to one of my close relatives who decided to visit Baghdad. Since Iraq has no direct flights going into it, most Iraqis go to Amman-Jordan, and then rent a car that takes them straight to Baghdad. On the way to Baghdad at the border the driver of the rented car turns around to my relative and asks her for $20, so that he can payoff the policeman, who will in turn wave them through, bypassing the usual checks and inspection procedures. After being paid the $20 the policeman at the border, let them through without even a glance at the car .I was really pissed off at that incident, imagine if somebody was smuggling drugs, weapons, or any other banned products. For $20 you can do some serious damage to ordinary people.
But then again, when you think of it, the policeman is only trying to make a living, his action seems to be minute, to the fact that people at the top are indulging in siphoning millions if not billions out of Iraq. Till now, the CPA won’t account to $ 4 billion out of Iraq money, and where it spent it. On the Iraqi side, rumours are rife that bidding for the mobile networks in Iraq was not transparent, that in turn has prompted the pentagon general inspector to open an internal investigation to ascertain what really had happened in the tendering process. The latest financial scandal comes from our Interior minister (related to one of the IGC members through marriage), who authorised the transfer of 9.5 billion new Iraqi Dinars to Lebanon, when challenged on the issue, he claimed that it was some payment for some companies. Just want to say to the dude… Haven’t you heard of bank transfers, and other transparent banking methods to deliver money, it really beats the mafia style operation you have run in smuggling those Dinars?

It seems like when it comes to money, there is no difference between what Saddam did, and few of our new leaders, in cheating the nation out of its wealth.


Thursday, February 05, 2004

Aljazeera Banned

Few days ago the IGC banned Aljazeera. While I’m very critical of Aljazeera’s current affairs programs, which place Iraq and Iraqis in bad light on most occasions, I have to admit that their news are top notch in regards to daily affairs. It’s kind of an alternative to that of CNN and FOX news. The ban stemmed from a program (It was discussing Israeli infiltrations inside Iraq), which accused a minister of being an agent of some country security services (I think it was Czechoslovakia) when he used to live there. The accusations that were lobbed at the minister at the time were in my opinion defamatory, and there was nothing to back them up apart from gossip and rumours. But, I have to disagree with the ban concept, the IGC, should have taken legal action to protect the minister involved. What they have done reminds me of the time where Saddam passed laws which more or less stated, “you are either with us or against us”. As an Iraqi, I would like the IGC to rescind the ban, take legal action against Aljazeera, and make them pay in a law of court. This will teach Iraqis in particular, that even the people in power will refer to the courts if they were wronged, and falsely accused, instead of handing out punishments like Saddam used to do in kangaroo courts or no courts at all. The IGC should not miss this chance, and make a shining example of itself to follow.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Read & Understand

Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime

By acknolewdging past mistakes, and moving forward to correct them, you will be doing a great service to future generations.


Monday, February 02, 2004

US involvement in arming Saddam.

"P.S. The US did not give Saddam chemical weapons. The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta sent Iraq samples of biological samples to be used for disease prevention, which we did for a great many countries, including the former Soviet Union. It's a quantum leap from germ samples to weaponized biological arms. We did not supply them with the technology to convert simple germs on a petri dish to weapons of mass destruction. We NEVER supplied Iraq with chemical weapons!"

I was reading the comments section and came across the above. I beg to differ with this analysis; the US was involved in arming Saddam, supplying him anything from military trucks to WMD components. . This would not have been done without the tacit approval of successive US administrations in providing political/financial help. The link I have provided, is the most detailed list of US companies providing technical know how, and products for his war machine. I have not checked all companies, but look at "UNION CARBIDE's" involvement in exporting the chemical Xylene.

There is no point in denying these facts, whats done is done. I'm sure that if we had the ability to go back in time and change things, then most people would have changed the policy of supporting Saddam, unfortunately, we can't. Today, the onus is on you to prevent this from happening to another nation, you must hold your government accountable at every turn for dealing with dictators, and supporting them. The end does not justify the means. Bin Laden was created/backed by the CIA, only to come back later and haunt them. The biggest WMD's to ordinary people is not nuclear/biological/chemical weapons, but it is the dictators who rule them, and other governments who back them.


4/02/2004 15:34 GMT

I must admit, I found the comments going back and forth quite disturbing. The purpose of this blog was to correct the information of somebody, who was either ill informed or ignorant of the US involvement in arming Saddam. It was not to point finger or accuse anybody.

I’m still puzzled at the way some people concluded that this blog is “ I hate America” blog, and preceded to attack on that basis. If a French/German/Russian, person had said “WE NEVER SUPPLIED” any chemicals to Saddam, I would have, corrected his/her information, as it happens, the person I was replying to was American.

Furthermore, I would like to thank all of my readers who found new enthusiasm towards chemistry, and went on to teach us about Xylene. You could have just clicked on the link I have provided, it explains what Xylene is. I just would like to point out, that all of you budding chemists, were not able to disprove the fact Xylene was used in Saddam’s chemical warfare program, while the “real experts” did prove it was used. I could not care less what it was used for. It could have been used as a primary, secondary, or a cleaning agent, but it was used, and that’s the main point.

Lastly, to the moron who accused me of being alqaeda member/sympathiser. I would like to ask you, where did you get your info from? Please do share, Its news to me. Also, I have got a suggestion for you, instead of accusing people on the net, where it does not matter, why don’t you join homeland security, I hear there are opening for rats there, and besides you can do some decent damage to decent people while getting paid for it. Beats anything you are doing on the net for free buddy

Long Live Iraq

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Japenese Story

Got this through email by one of the Japanese readers. I'm not sure what to make of it, but would like to share it with you. It might shed some light on the reluctance of the Japanese in general for sending their boys to Iraq.

As for me, I just would like to say, that their soldiers are going there to perfom a noble mission. They will be helping our people stand on their feet again and lead a normal life. It won't be easy, but we are ever thankful for their contribution.



It seems that the final rehabilitation process of the madman of Tripoli (Qadafi) is underway. Few months ago, the UK and the US settled their last differences with him in regards to Lockerbie. In a bit of a theatrical moment, he has also given up his WMD’s programme (Not that there was anything of use). The world today is ready again to deal with this guy. Libya has not changed to the better, it is still ruled by a corrupt dictator. Abuse of human rights is widely prevalent, democracy is as far as ever, and nepotism is the name of the game. Unfortunately, western governments have adopted the mantra of “business as usual”, and are getting ready for some lucrative contracts in rebuilding the Libyan economy. Today, people who live in democratic countries have a historic duty, and a golden opportunity to pressure their governments to extract real concessions from Qadafi, effect real changes, and reforms in Libya for the benefit of its own people. Ordinary people should not compromise on this issue; it is in their best interest to bring about a democratic Libya, that in turn will start a snowball effect in North Africa. Make your voice heard, and pester your representatives, there is no better time than the one we are in right now, it should not be “business as usual” until real changes have taken place.