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Landing at the Iraqi Blogodrome

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Iraq, Ethnicity & Race, Freedom of Speech, Governance, International Relations, Law, Politics, War & Conflict

Humiliation at the hands of the Jordanian border police; belief restored in Iraq; a report from the Iraqi city of Arbil and a life in the week of one Iraqi blogger are some of the essential tales I bring you today. Also find out what is really happening in the world of Iraqi politics.

If you read no other blog posts this week read this:

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I have read [2]several [3]times [4] of the humiliation and ill treatment of Iraqis at the Jordanian border, but none has described the details of this more eloquently than Last of Iraqis. Having begged, borrowed and risked his life to get time off work, Last of Iraqis decided to take a well-earned holiday with his wife in Jordan. But he was refused entry at Queen Alia airport in Amman, Jordan and what followed serves as a testimony that should shame [5] the whole of the Jordanian state:

After an hour of my wife crying , her eyes are so swelled now , then another humiliating officer talked to us like we were dogs :”get the hell out of here , and go to that room” he pointed , we walked and we saw a dirty corridor with blankets and 3 small rooms , you will sleep the night here , he said. He pushed all of us and locked the door, at this time I wish I could kill one of them for the humiliation we received from them. all of us were so scared from the idea that we will sleep in a jail for the first time in our lives for no crime we did , just because we are Iraqis , why does everyone treat Iraqis like this , we are humans , we aren't aliens , we are not animals to be put in jail for no crime , I walked and I saw another man in one of the rooms , he was very classy , he smiled kindly when I entered . I asked, did they return you also? How long have you been here? He said , yes they did and this is the fifth time they return me , I don't want to enter the land of dogs “he meant Jordan” all I want is my money , all my money is there , and I want to draw it , but the dogs didn't let me in , tell your wife that there is no need to cry like this for the land of the dogs , and if she continues crying they might tell her some words that she will not like and will never forget , this happened before and I have seen it.

But this was only the beginning of an ordeal which lasted three days. Other passengers were in a worse condition. One mother was refused nappies for her baby, another, escaping kidnappers in Iraq, was not allowed to fly on to another country. And when Last of Iraqis finally managed to return home:

I was ready to pay million bucks just to let me sleep on my bed and at last I have reached there, I jumped to the bed but it was like a frying pan, I had to go and look for fuel for the generator, I tried to have a shower but there was no water, not a drop, it has been 2 days with no water or electricity as my neighbor said. What is happening to me? Am I cursed? Then I remembered that I'm Iraqi!!! All Iraqis are cursed!

Read on here [5] for the full story.

Word from the streets:

After having given up Iraq as a lost cause and moving to Jordan, Konfused Kid has had his faith restored [6]. As he writes:

I am as optimistic about Iraq as a dead skunk on the side-road, … all the things I see and hear everyday… all serves to confirm my deductions about the future of the country-to-have-been.

You could only imagine my own shock as I found myself trying hard as a I can to resist swelling tears as I was watching the Iraqi team win the semifinal on a penalty shot against South Korea …

Yes, I do realize that probably it may have no effect on the bloodbath back home, and things could be darker than one would ever imagine, but what this thing did for me, and hopefully for many other Iraqis, is that it reminded us that there is indeed something that is common between all of us that is real and genuine, a deep chord that is resonating still inside, whether it was already present and we lost it, or whether we are all hoping for that could transpire practically in the future, in any case, for the first time in my life, I believe in Iraq with conviction, and that is certainly enough.

Sunshine brings us another post [7] where you feel a lifetime could have passed for all the events that happened in a week. She writes: “It has been a messy week , full of events , some were good , some were bad, in addition to tragic events mentioned in the media…” but there is way to much to do it justice here you just have to read it for yourselves [7].

Aunt Najma goes by car [8] from Syria to Mosul and comments on the towns she passes:

The road to Mosul and the first few neighborhoods are devastating, ruins all over, the walls of the houses have way too many holes caused by the bullets, there were remains of bomb cars and the street was very damaged.

If you read in the press that things are getting better in Iraq, well that has bypassed Iraqiya. She apologises for not writing for a long time and gives her reasons [9]:

I guess its because so much has been going on in the past period, I just cant bring myself to write , I feel so discouraged, so broken, and above all so sad , things here in Baghdad at this time are not getting better ,on the contrary they are getting worse !!!! when is this going to be over ? when will we live like normal human beings ? I find myself asking the same question day in and day out,
I try to find some good things here in Baghdad but I just cant, even if there are some exceptions, there is always something that will ruin it for me, like a kidnapped relative, or a sick family member that cant find the proper medical treatment ….and so on …..How ever hard I try, there is always something that will bring me down!!!

M.H.Z. is in the Kurdish-Iraqi city of Arbil and gives us the definitive guide [10], from its origins to its modern history. From its people:

Most of the people here are so great, they always say that we are dear guests, they always say how sorry they are for Baghdad, and how beautiful it was, and how they wish that we all go back home someday so that they could come visit us in Baghdad.

to its contradictions:

When the Iraqi soccer team got the Asian cup, celebrations were all over the world, the Iraqi flag was seen everywhere, except in Arbil, it was banned, and the police prevented the partying people from raising the Iraqi flag!!. Well, it’s too simple, if it’s not Iraq here, it’s OK for foreigners to hold their flag, and If it was Iraq, it’s also OK for natives to hold their flag, can you decide? It’s just like the roaming mobile devices, they work all over the world except in Arbil, it’s a fact, may be that’s it?

The Week in Politics

Baghdad Treasure sees members of parliament resigning from the government and others taking a month long holiday and feel nothing but bitterness [11]:

We all know that the current Iraqi government is nothing but a piece of rock thrown at people to hurt them. … What kind of democracy is this when every now and then we see one of the “political blocs” announcing boycott without paying attention to the hundreds of innocents killed by day, the hundreds of thousands being displaced, and the millions who fled the atrocities of the war…

Have all the political blocs seen how seventy people were killed just in Baghdad today? Aren’t they supposed to sit down and try to find a way to help stop this mayhem? Aren’t they supposed to unite instead of divide? Oh I forgot. They don’t have to, because they are on vacation! What a bump! Hundreds are dying and millions are being displaced and the “democratic” parliament members take a 30-day vacation…

Hopefully, none of the Paradise-seekers-vacationists come back to their seats. If that happened, I would be more than happy to not to look back. I would look straight for the future and for the right people to run the country, and tell those behind me: GOOD RIDDANCE.

While Omar sees the same events as a huge setback [12] for American policy in Iraq. He writes:

The withdrawal of the Accord Front from Maliki's cabinet and the persistence of the parliament on taking a month long recess is a major embarrassment for Baghdad and Washington alike and for anyone who was looking forward to seeing some political progress in Iraq before the September milestone…

These developments show that a majority in our parliament care only about themselves and their blocs’ interests much more than they do about the country's in such difficult time and their attitude tells that the blocs don't want to work together and don’t want to reconcile their differences.

And he speculates about the possibility of a coup:

One thing makes me worried these days and I'm afraid that someone is planning a different bad solution. The rift between the minister of defense and the senior commanders including chief of staff of the army which led to a group resignation is an ominous sign that indicates a deep dispute between the two leaderships … It would be too early to speculate that someone is planning a coup-or preparing to crush one-at this point but the mere thought of it remains a little bit scary.

But Nibras Kazimi pours cold water [13] over any notion that a coup is possible or that Iyad Allawi [14] could be at its head. He gives his reasons:

-No one can pull-off a military coup in Iraq.

-Parliament is out for another three weeks, so Maliki is not facing an immediate no-confidence vote.

-Adel Abdel-Mahdi, the current Vice-President, cannot deliver SCIRI’s parliamentary votes for the Allawi camp.

-The Sadrists won’t vote for Allawi.

-The Da’awa Party won’t follow former PM Ibrahim Jaafari if he moves against Maliki.

-Anyone seen as “Saudi Arabia’s guy”—as Allawi projects himself, although that may not really be the case as far as the Saudi leadership is concerned—is not likely to get Sistani & Co. to go along with this plan.

-The Iranians won’t let this happen, and they have far more political cards to play in Iraq than the Americans—and they can play those cards smarter than O’Sullivan.

-Why would the Kurds substitute their strong alliance with the Shiites, who are going to run the country for a very long time to come, in return for the fleeting favor of the defeated Sunnis (their rivals on Kirkuk) and a politician such as Allawi whose word really doesn’t go that far?

-Qasim Daoud, a favorite of the Emirati leadership and another PM candidate as far as the Americans are concerned, has too many corruption scandals hovering around his head.

-My sources tell me the following: one of the principal actors who was attempting to bring down Maliki has left Iraq for an extended vacation, telling anyone who’d listen that it can’t be done.

Enough said really so that leaves the other major policy – Oil – and the passing a new law that is one of the American benchmarks [15] for success in Iraq. Well Al-Ghad sees that a declaration [16] by Ali Al-Adeeb, a senior member in the Iraqi prime minister's party, against passing the law as a sign of its possible demise [17]. Al-Ghad writes:

Al-Adeeb’s stand and opinion carry a great weight in the Dawa party, some observers consider him as the most important force in that current, which is much wider and more powerful than the official organisation. In the present precarious political situation in Iraq, it could be no exaggeration to say, his declaration would fatally affect the destiny of the Oil Law and with it the fate of Maliki’s Prime Ministry…

One is tempted to see in this episode a possible connection with the sudden bitter attacks by prominent US officials on Maliki’s Government.

And finally…

After Raed was (in)famously stopped from boarding [18] a plane for the crime of looking like an Arab having Arabic words on his T-Shirt, the American Civil Liberties Union finally took up his case [19] a year later. Read more about it here [20].