The Big Pharaoh: 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Horrible Development!!!!!

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.
Friend: why?
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.


Future Posts:
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

Update:

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.

Give Them the Enemy

Let me tell you a true story the happened today. A suicide bomber exploded his car in the middle of a convoy in one of Baghdad's busiest streets. 8 Iraqis and 5 foreigners were killed. Right after the bombing, a mob of 20-30 young men ran to the scene and added kerosene to one of the cars and set it ablaze creating a huge fireball. Others danced on top of a burned vehicle while chanting anti-US slogans. Another gleefully held the passport of a burned British citizen in front of the cameras. About 50 Iraqi police rushed to the scene, the American humvees arrived shortly afterwards. The mob started peddling US soldiers with stones. Afraid to be seen as helping the Americans, the Iraqi Police stood there and watched the scene with a wide mouth. Both forces withdrew after they failed to control the mob. Oh, I forgot, the mob also stole private possessions from the burned corpses. Interestingly, some of the dead foreigners were working with General Electric, a bad naughty occupying company that wants to help Iraqis build their power grid!

Are you confused after hearing this story? Well, me too. I just came up with this interesting riddle: what's the difference between an Iraqi and a dog? A dog doesn't bite the hand the feeds it.

Upon reading this confusing story, I logged on to Yahoo Messenger and found an Iraqi friend online. This wonderful person works as a translator with the US army, he helps them help build a new Iraqi army. I cascaded my feelings to him. "Oh, these are just stupid unemployed people" he said. "They are the thugs that Saddam released from jail" he added.

Well, after cooling off, I sat down and thought about it. Why would some Iraqis dance around a burned corpse of a Westerner who came to help them install a power grid? The answer lies in the words of one of the injured Iraqis. "The Americans made this bomb to justify their stay. OK, let them stay, but why do they bomb us? For God's sake, an Iraqi never kills another Iraqi, the Americans did it" he said. Oh yes, these words came from someone who was supposed to benefit from the GE power grids.

Ladies and gentlemen, I belong to a region where we once believed that Israelis secretly sold us chewing gum that was contaminated with some hormones aimed at increasing the sexual desires of our girls to turn them into prostitutes. I belong to a region that once believed that Israelis distributed bad seeds aimed at destroying Egypt's agricultural industry. We justify every wrong and believe every lie. Welcome to the fantasy world of the Middle East.

I am not sure if Americans fall into conspiracy theories just like us. Well, with Michael Moore, I guess Americans are eligible to join the club.

Anyway, in the past, Saddam was the bad guy. He did the bombings and the mutilations. Today, the bad guy is America. Unemployed Iraqis, who have nothing to do except go and listen to some crazy cleric in the nearby mosque, believe that. I'm not talking about my friend who earns $600 per month, or the policeman who earns $300. I'm talking about the thugs. The forsaken. Those who have nothing to be grateful for.

Those people need to see the enemy. For God's sake, I hope the new interior minister will arrest some terrorists and broadcast their testimony on TV so that Iraqis know who the real enemy is. The Jordanian King did that when his police arrested a group of terrorist who were about to carry out a huge terrorist attack in Amman. They appeared on TV and gave every single detail of their deadly plan. His majesty was smart; he wanted his people to know who the real enemy is. If Iraqis didn't see an enemy, they will invent one.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Act Before You Lose Them

Americans might think that they are not so good in finding friends around the world. I think this is not true. The problem with America is that it finds it so hard to retain any friends it found. From dropping the Iranian Shah like a used handkerchief to divorcing Ahmed Chalabi in such a terrible way, America has proved that it has hard time keeping friends on its side. I know the Shah wasn't the best democratic ruler on earth who was kicked out of his country after a popular revolt and Ahmed Chalabi proved that a crook will always be a crook. However, there were much better and smoother "ways of divorce" than kicking a cancer patient out of the US and using Iraqi soldiers to storm into the house of a Governing Council member.

I am afraid America might be on its way to foolishly lose the Kurds, one of the extremely few people on earth who love the US with both their minds and hearts. Looking at Iraqi and Iranian Kurds' blogs yesterday showed me how those precious people are so angry at the US because it succumbed to the demands of Almighty Ayatollah Sistani and refrained from mentioning the new transitional law in the UN resolution. This law states that minorities (i.e Kurds) can veto any future law. By having this clause, Kurds can always veto any constitution that doesn't grant them their regional autonomy under a federal system. Ayatollah Sistani refused to accept the transitional law not because he is against the federal system, but because he don't want the majority (i.e Shias) to be held hostage by a veto from the minority (i.e Kurds). Both the Kurds and Sistani's demands are realistic.

I fully understand why the US and Britain didn't want to antagonize Sistani. The Grand Ayatollah, or Almighty I should say, is the de facto ruler of Iraq. Lose Sistani lose Iraq. However, the Kurds are entitled to feel secure that the US didn't find another friend and that it will not abandon the vision of an autonomous Kurdistan in a federal Iraq. President Bush should immediately do the following:
1. Emphasize that federalism will be the way of governing Iraq. Most Iraqis agree. This will look like a new "Balfour Declaration" to one of America's ONLY true friends in the region. He should personally send a letter to Iraq's Kurdish leaders stressing this fact.
2. Sign a treaty with the 2 Kurdish Iraqi leaders vowing to protect the Kurdish people in Iraq with whatever means available.
3. Travel to Kurdistan in Iraq, wear the Kurdish dress, and deliver one of his emotional speeches there.

Help Me I'm a Muslim

"Help me I'm a Muslim." Those were the words uttered by the BBC correspondent in Saudi Arabia after he was shot by terrorists. His colleague, a cameraman, was killed in the drive by shooting. I'm not sure if he is in fact a Muslim or he was just claiming to be so to get "extra attention" from passersby. I'm sure any sane Saudi would run to his rescue whether he was a Muslim or not, but I can't help but think about what if he said "help I'm a Christian" or "help I'm a Buddist" or even "help I'm a Jew".

I have to admit that I personally would have run to rescue this poor fellow upon seeing him bleeding. The fact that he is Muslim would not concern me. But why did he say such words? What made him think that Muslims would "care more" if he's one of them?

I guess the answer lies in the rotten social fabric of Saudi Arabia where little children are taught that they are the most valued by God and others were simply created because God found some free time to do so. . Islam is the only religion allowed in Saudi and no other faith is tolerated. Non-Muslim expatriates who dare to practice their faith in their private apartments are arrested. US soldiers who headed to the Gulf during operation Desert Storm were advised to hide their cross necklaces lest they "offend" their Saudi hosts.

Why would Saudis be offended from crosses? Why would anyone be offended from a cross or a star of david or even the Muslim crescent? I guess because Saudi kids were never taught tolerance and love of the "other". This is the reason why Saudi produces radical youths as fast as it is pumping oil. Kids learn at school that God somehow choose their land to be holy and choose them to be the best people on earth, and that they should divide people into Muslims and non-Muslims.

I have no problem with those who claim that they are the sole holders of Truth with a capital T. I even have no problem with those who think that people who are not from their faith are going to hell. People are entitled to believe in whatever they want to believe in, but they don't have the right to coerce other people and treat them as inferiors as well as deny them the right to practice their faith as they see it. Saudi Arabia spends billions to build mosques and centers in the West yet they prevent poor Filipino workers from bringing Bibles into the kingdom. The government recently celebrated the opening of a huge Sunni Islamic center in London, yet Shiite Saudis are still discriminated against and denied from their basic right to worship as they see fit.

Saudi's school books should be all burned. All those responsible for its education should be assembled and injected with some tolerance and acceptance. For the sake of future Saudis, for the sake of Islam, for the sake of the world.



Friday, June 11, 2004

They Thought He was Crazy

He called it an “evil empire” They thought he was crazy

They said he acted like the cowboy. They thought he was crazy

Europe (minus the British government) thought he would start a third world war. They thought he was crazy

They called him a big mouth who knows nothing in politics. They thought he was crazy

Leftists hated him because he had “moral clarity”. They thought he was crazy

Europeans, peaceniks, and pacifists thought that the devil turned into a cowboy. They thought he was crazy

Today, Baroness Margaret Thatcher bowed before him.

Former foe turned friend Gorbachev came to say goodbye to him

A young soldier with a blown up hand saluted him

Eastern Europeans leaders came to pay tribute to him

People who never knew him discovered that he didn’t turn out to be crazy after all

Rest in peace Ronald Reagan.



N.B. I hope George W. Bush would be alive when we discover that he too didn’t turn out to be crazy after all.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

OH MY GOD!!

Paul Wolfowitz's recent article in the Wall Street Journal revolved around a post by my fellow Iraqi blogger Omar. I am sure you all know him. That was sooooo cool. I'm wondering whether Wolfowitz saw my blog since it's on Omar's blog list. Umm, I'm feeling jealous! Yet I really really wish Omar and his 2 awesome brothers all the best. They are wondersul souls.

Sorry folks, at the moment, I can't afford buying a digital camera and posting photos on my blog to look as good as the other blogs :(

Monday, June 07, 2004

D-Day, What D-Day?
(Part 1)


Do you know what I felt while watching D-Day celebrations on CNN today? You won’t imagine my feeling. Well, ummmmmm, I felt nothing.

The lavish celebrations looked like a huge fake show with those heads of states playing the roles. Only those brave veterans were the true thing today. It is time for Americans to divorce the idea that they are one and united with Europe because of their so-called shares values. Politicians want us to believe that shared values make friends. That is far from the truth. Friendship is only created out of shared enemies.

60 years ago, America and Europe shared a single enemy called Nazism and Fascism. They got together and defeated this enemy. After 1945, they found another enemy: the Soviet Union’s communism. America and the terribly weakened Europe stood one more time beside each other to bring the Berlin Wall down. Today there is no such common enemy.

I hear someone asking “hey what about terrorism?” Sorry, Europeans do not consider Islamist terrorism as their main enemy. 911 was hatched up in Europe which is still a safe haven to the world’s most dangerous men. If a European country was attacked, it will be because of its support for US. Does Madrid ring a bell? You’ll always find code red alerts in Britain and Italy. Nevertheless, it is true that western civilization as a whole and certain Arab/Muslim regimes are the prime targets of terrorists, however it is quite apparent that they are currently singling out the US since it is currently the leader of the Western world.

D-Day, What D-Day?
(Part 2)


What created this divide between the US and Europe? Why is there so much anger towards the US?

“Hey, being anti-Bush doesn’t mean being anti-America” I hear someone saying. Well, look closely. Today I saw a French protestor carrying a sign with the words “Anti-Bush, Pro-America” written on it. At last the French got it right, I thought. My judgment was doomed when I saw another person, a couple of meters behind him, carrying a US flag with swastikas replacing the 50 stars.

I blame the “great divide” on 3 factors.

First, the natural factor. As mentioned above, friendship is created out of common enemies. Europe and America do not share the same vision today, they have completely different policies. What threatens America doesn’t threaten Europe. America, being the sole super power, has to carry the burden of protecting its interests around the world. Europe is not a super power anymore; they have no burden to carry.

Second, I really blame the Europeans especially the envious French, the pacifist Germans, and the wounded humiliated proud Russian bears (who see the US encroaching towards its former satellite states in Asia and Eastern Europe). Their problem is with what America turned out to be after the cold war and how the US rightfully became so powerful that they want to somehow neutralize this power. Call it hidden hate, call it envy, call it whatever you want to call it, it is there. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman explains this point so well when he said that “France’s problem is with Coca Cola, she wants to Un-Cola the world.”

Third, I do put some blame on the US and especially on the Bush administration. When it took power, it kicked world treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty out of the window in such an arrogant way. I know very well that Kyoto was only ink on paper and star wars didn’t start when Bush ended the ABM treaty, however hypocritical Europeans got mad. To be it more plainly, this pissed them off and it sure didn’t help the “alliance” during the build up to the war in Iraq. Also, some shameful unilateralist tones coming from the Bush administration at the beginning of the Iraq issue didn’t do any good to the US and the “coalition of the willing” today. Remember, Cheney said that the US didn’t need the UN and Rumsfeld even went further and said that he can go to war even without Britain!

There is absolutely nothing the US can do in order to gain the favor of the majority of the Europeans. In the future, the US should act a bit more multilateral and avoid excessive unilateral confidence. Just as on the shores of Normandy, the US must use its military might to make the world a better place. Iraq is a good place to start. The US should also use its non-military soft power to help the oppressed and create a happier world. Iran is definitely a good start. Above all, the US should strive, and I mean to really really strive, to retain the newly found lovers. I hear Kurds, many Iraqis, many Iranians, and Eastern Europeans say Amen.

N.B. I’d like to point out that many Europeans today are not tainted with anti-Americanism. I’d like to invite them to join the “silent minority” club that I am in.


A MUST read





D-Day, What D-Day?
(Part 1)


Do you know what I felt while watching D-Day celebrations on CNN today? You won’t imagine my feeling. Well, ummmmmm, I felt nothing.

The lavish celebrations looked like a huge fake show with those heads of states playing the roles. Only those brave veterans were the true thing today. It is time for Americans to divorce the idea that they are one and united with Europe because of their so-called shares values. Politicians want us to believe that shared values make friends. That is far from the truth. Friendship is only created out of shared enemies.

60 years ago, America and Europe shared a single enemy called Nazism and Fascism. They got together and defeated this enemy. After 1945, they found another enemy: the Soviet Union’s communism. America and the terribly weakened Europe stood one more time beside each other to bring the Berlin Wall down. Today there is no such common enemy.

I hear someone asking “hey what about terrorism?” Sorry, Europeans do not consider Islamist terrorism as their main enemy. 911 was hatched up in Europe which is still a safe haven to the world’s most dangerous men. If a European country was attacked, it will be because of its support for US. Does Madrid ring a bell? You’ll always find code red alerts in Britain and Italy. Nevertheless, it is true that western civilization as a whole and certain Arab/Muslim regimes are the prime targets of terrorists, however it is quite apparent that they are currently singling out the US since it is currently the leader of the Western world.

D-Day, What D-Day?
(Part 2)


What created this divide between the US and Europe? Why is there so much anger towards the US?

“Hey, being anti-Bush doesn’t mean being anti-America” I hear someone saying. Well, look closely. Today I saw a French protestor carrying a sign with the words “Anti-Bush, Pro-America” written on it. At last the French got it right, I thought. My judgment was doomed when I saw another person, a couple of meters behind him, carrying a US flag with swastikas replacing the 50 stars.

I blame the “great divide” on 3 factors.

First, the natural factor. As mentioned above, friendship is created out of common enemies. Europe and America do not share the same vision today, they have completely different policies. What threatens America doesn’t threaten Europe. America, being the sole super power, has to carry the burden of protecting its interests around the world. Europe is not a super power anymore; they have no burden to carry.

Second, I really blame the Europeans especially the envious French, the pacifist Germans, and the wounded humiliated proud Russian bears (who see the US encroaching towards its former satellite states in Asia and Eastern Europe). Their problem is with what America turned out to be after the cold war and how the US rightfully became so powerful that they want to somehow neutralize this power. Call it hidden hate, call it envy, call it whatever you want to call it, it is there. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman explains this point so well when he said that “France’s problem is with Coca Cola, she wants to Un-Cola the world.”

Third, I do put some blame on the US and especially on the Bush administration. When it took power, it kicked world treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty out of the window in such an arrogant way. I know very well that Kyoto was only ink on paper and star wars didn’t start when Bush ended the ABM treaty, however hypocritical Europeans got mad. To be it more plainly, this pissed them off and it sure didn’t help the “alliance” during the build up to the war in Iraq. Also, some shameful unilateralist tones coming from the Bush administration at the beginning of the Iraq issue didn’t do any good to the US and the “coalition of the willing” today. Remember, Cheney said that the US didn’t need the UN and Rumsfeld even went further and said that he can go to war even without Britain!

There is absolutely nothing the US can do in order to gain the favor of the majority of the Europeans. In the future, the US should act a bit more multilateral and avoid excessive unilateral confidence. Just as on the shores of Normandy, the US must use its military might to make the world a better place. Iraq is a good place to start. The US should also use its non-military soft power to help the oppressed and create a happier world. Iran is definitely a good start. Above all, the US should strive, and I mean to really really strive, to retain the newly found lovers. I hear Kurds, many Iraqis, many Iranians, and Eastern Europeans say Amen.

N.B. I’d like to point out that many Europeans today are not tainted with anti-Americanism. I’d like to invite them to join the “silent minority” club that I am in.


A MUST read





Saturday, June 05, 2004

Reflections from Iran

“Khomenei used them all. Maybe we should have handled or addressed problems differently”. Those words are found in the recently published memoirs of former Iranian Empress Farah Pahlavi, “An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah”. Empress Pahlavi ran away from Iran along with her ailing husband after the Islamic Revolution broke out in 1979. Shah Pahlavi then trotted around the world seeking a save haven for him and his family. After shamefully being asked to leave the US by the Carter administration (that was soaked in the Tehran hostage crisis), the Shah found no where to go except to his trusted friend Anwar Sadad, the late president of Egypt. After a few months, Shah Pahlavi died from cancer in the lymph nodes and was buried in Cairo.

Why am I saying all this? Well, Empress Pahlavi’s words above shed light on some similarities between Egypt today and Iran 25 years ago. During the reign of the secular Shah, he embarked on a program of Westernization that alienated his religious dissidents. His very warm relations with the US and Israel did not help him in winning any favor with Ayatollah Khomenei and his ilk who were living in Paris at the time. His harsh methods of suppressing any dissident voice and the deteriorating economic situation made his reign so unpopular. Khomenei used the anger and humiliation felt by the Iranian people very well. He convinced them that the Shah is an enemy of God and his US backers are major contributors to their misery. Girls started wearing the veil as a sign of protest against the Shah and Khomenei’s smuggled cassette tapes were priced as jewels. To sum up, Khoemenei and the rest of the mullah gang used them all; they used the humiliation felt by the people and convinced them that they alone can bring God’s paradise on earth. After 25 years, it is now clear that Khomenei was a big fat liar and the theocratic establishment is clearly breathing its last breaths.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the other Islamic organizations are playing Khomenei’s game in Egypt today. They are feeding on our frustration from the current regime and our dissatisfaction with the way the country is heading. Just a couple of month ago, the Muslim Brotherhood presented a “democracy initiative” where they spelled out the “values” that they believe in. We won’t find much difference if we compared their initiative to the US Bill of Rights! It calls for democracy, rotating government, and equality for Egypt’s Christian population. Their move reminded me of Khomenei and his promises to the Iranian people.

Will the Egyptian people rise up against the current government and choose an Islamic one instead? Even though the Islamist groups are the most powerful opposition block, I still do not believe that Egypt can witness a revolution a la Iran 1979 for 3 main reasons. First, the current president is holding the country quite well. Second, Egyptians in general are timid people who just want to live a peaceful life. We know we have problems and we often make jokes about those problems. I don’t sense that the majority want to risk challenging the status quo. Thirdly, I frankly do not believe that the majority of Egyptians can soak in nor accept Islamic rule a la Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Taliban’s Afghanistan. Yes more and more girls are getting veils, and more and more boys are growing beards, but they still want to “enjoy a little bit of life”.

www.farahpahlavi.org Empress Farah Pahlavi website.





Thursday, June 03, 2004

Here are the answers to the new questions I got.

Who is paying the funds for the american university in Cairo?

Revenues come from 3 main sources: tuition fees, private donations, and US aid. The AUC is the most expensive college in Egypt and one of the most expensive in the Middle East.

I know that there is a lot of anger about Israeli and American actions among average Egyptians, has there ever been anything similar over the much worse treatment of the Christians in southern Sudan by the Arab Muslim government in Khartoum?

That’s the irony. Very few words are spoken here about the much bloodier atrocities committed by the Sudanese government against the Christians in southern Sudan or the African black people in Darfur who happen to be Muslim. It seems that we keep our mouth shut when “one of us” is doing the killing.

Can Egyptians distinguish between the kinds of elections they have, with the ruler getting 90%+ of the votes, and the kind Israel has, where governments don't even get majorities and have to make coalitions, etc.? Do they want or fear Israeli-type elections?

Actually no one believes that Israel is a democracy here. People believe that by occupying Palestinian lands, Israel has lost any praise for its democracy. I think there is some truth in that even though I am quite fond of Israel’s political system.

is there much in the way of dialogue between Iraqis and Egyptians that doesn't come filtered through the Arab media channels?

No

Is there any sort of Egyptian awareness of Iraqi blogs for instance?

Even if there is, they’ll prefer to read the anti-US Iraqi blogs and send hate mails to those blogs that appear friendly to the coalition.

I'm just curious if there are any alternatives to the mainstream media for collecting information about Iraq for the Egyptian people at large.

No.

How easy is it for the children and grand-children of the 1948 Falastin Arab refugees to become citizens of Egypt?

Egypt has very few Palestinian refugees compared to Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The few that are here cannot obtain the Egyptian citizenry that easily. In fact, only Jordan gave Palestinian refugees the right to become citizens of Jordan.
How are relationships between Copts and Muslims in Egypt?


An unexploded volcano. In urban cities such as Cairo and Alex, the relationship is quite good. We live together and deal with each other everyday. However, the situation differs in rural areas where there is considerable tension between the two. Christians never forget that Egypt was their land and Muslims took it from them, and Muslims never forget that they ought to be superior.

To what extent do Nasserite (socialist) ideas mingle with Islamist ideas, aside from a simple alliance between groups?

I don’t think their ideas mingle except the notion of anti-Westernization. Islamism flourished when Nasserite socialism failed after the 1967 defeat. Today, Islamists are the main opposition, the socialist remnants tend to cling to them in anti-America demonstrations and stuff. However, both do have a completely different local agenda. Look at tomorrow’s anti-Bush demonstrations in Rome, you’ll see communists and socialists joining hands with Islamic radicals. Now those 2 cannot live together if they both governed a country.

Did the earlier Nasserite philosophy in any way lay the groundwork for Islamism, by creating a pre-existing bias against America an the West, which might then have enabled Islamism to grow more easily?

You need a sociologist to answer that question. I personally think that those 2 ideologies have similarities and differences. A major difference is that socialism tends to be secular. A major similarity is that both are radical fascists. I don’t think one laid the groundwork for the other.

Given your response on how Palestinians are generally viewed in Egypt, do they have any rights?

I personally do not know any Palestinians in Egypt. I am not familiar with the rules of their stay here.

If a Palestinian is born in Eqypt, is he considered Eqyptian or still a Palestinian refugee?

Again, I don’t know any Palestinian refugee in Egypt. I have to ask. But as I said before, Egypt did not grant citizenry to the few Palestinian refugees here.

What did you study at University?

Business Administration and Economics.

What was the most important subject for your? Math, Literature, etc.

Marketing

In the American University, is the literature you are taught more eclectic (from many countries) or does it focus on Eqyptian or other cultural literature? Or, do you have choices to do one or both kinds of reading?

Both. We read Western and Eastern literature. There is a course I took where I had to read books by Shakespeare and Naguib Mahfouz (Egyptian literature Nobel prize winner)

Is there much/any Internet censorship by the Egyptian State?

No. Only Saudi Arabia bans porn and political sites. They’re failing, these sites mushroom every second.

Do the Egyptian people understand the level of tyranny under which the Iraqi people lived?

They do especially after it became all clear when Saddam’s regime fell. However, they consider the US to be worse than Saddam. Another rationale goes on like this: it’s better for Arabs to be slaughtered by another Arab than to have a Western occupying power in an Arab/Muslim country.

What did Egyptians know about Iraqi's level of suffering under Saddam? Have they heard the stories of the various methods of brutality used against the Iraqi people, e.g., used as prey for wild animals for the amusement of SH sons, gassings, killing children in front of the parents. Do they believe or disbelieve these stories?

Yes, but remember, the US is considered the Big Big Satan here. No atrocity, no slaughter, nothing can be more than what the US is doing. This is how they view things here. Quite stupid I know but that this how the majority thinks here.

Is Abu Ghraib considered more egregious than that of the brutality of Saddam Hussein?

Very few is said about the brutality of Saddam. Some justify this brutality by saying that this was what Iraq needed to keep it together. Hatred of the US runs very high; no evil can overshadow this hatred. It takes lonely independent minds like me to admit the difference between Abu Ghraib and what Saddam used to do or in fact what Arab governments do in their own prisons on a daily basis.

Would the Egyptian people prefer that Saddam Hussein was back in power?

Yes, not because they like him but because they hate the US. Again, I want to stress on the fact that most Egyptians have nothing against Americans as people and American culture is wide spread here.

What system of government does Egypt have?

One man show. The President is God on earth. There is a prime minister and ministries. Also, there is a parliament. However, the president has the final say on everything.

Why do you say the US is a small devil? What are Britain, France, Germany and Russia on the devil scale?

I didn’t say that. Read my post well. A moderate Iranian cleric said these words to indicate that the great satan is the current Iranian religious establishment and not the US.

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