Better late than never. All the better for being by Iraqis about Iraq instead of everyone else about a place "far away of which they know nothing", to paraphrase a famous quote.
New U.S. embassy
Perhaps there is a saying, "If the U.S. intends to stay they build an embassy" see
Opinionjournal 4 June
The real reason for linking this is that it reminds me of the U.S. Consulate or annex at the top of our road in what must have been roughly Karradah/Alwiyah, though I never learnt the name of the road.
My mother tells me it was part of the Armenian Quarter. I have already told you about Haraj who lived with his large family opposite me and his grandfathers many shoes.
We lived about two-thirds of the way down this quite short road. Round the corner at the "bottom", or northern end of the road, a bloke sold sweets from a garage. I bought my first Mars bar from there. My mother still mocks me with my regular peading for 50 fils.
In the summer evenings, as darkness fell, the Consular staff regularly played a film (movie) onto the wall above a large balcony. Kids would wander in from all over to stand on the unmade up pavement on the other side of the road, or up on the quite tall wall at the back - which was probably someone garden wall, now I think of it. Once I managed to get up on the wall too with the help of a hitch-up.
No one down on the road could quite hear the sound-track of the films that were shown, even the English speakers. It was a home movie type projector with poor speakers, but we loved it, just watching the flickering images of anything that was presented to us.
Afterwards, in the dark, we all dispersed to our respective homes. A good time being had by all. Funny though, even with a crowd of 20 odd kids down below, the staff never turned round down to see who was there.
Chalabi overview > Jane Mayer The New Yorker 29 May 2004
Chalabi underviewWashington Posy Friday 4 June 2004
This Washington Post
article is nothing new, but it reminded me that I had, in a post way back, probably in Baghdadskies Original
, called Monsieur C. an "entrepreneur". I think I was right and he is. Not in a totally business sense, simply in the etymology...someone who goes in and takes. Nothing wrong with that. As long as he doesn't take what doesn't belong to him. His power is based mostly on a FBI Hoover-type knowing dirty secrets (in his case past history of Ba'ath rather than pecadillos of priapic presidents.)
The talk on the airwaves is of the illegitimacy of the interim government, since most are outsiders. Chalabi is the archtypical Iraqi outsider, despite his tragic youth, who no one will ever believe is back in Iraq except to claim what is his family's and do as much good for himself as possible. Presumably pressure will push him out. The UK newspapers are talking of his current activities as not harming him but of him becoming a "strongman" -a term I always hated.
It makes sense for him to cosy up to the Iranians in this context - he's looking for somewhere to live! What will he do when he is told to stand his private army down?
It is interesting to see that he is related to Allawi. But Allawi is not going to be first elected Prime Minister of Iraq, if you get my meaning.
My assessment is that there will be a government or four - sensu Italy - of the old order, before the younger 35-45 year old politicians come through.
I think that once the U.S. Army goes back to barracks that any private armies still around will be sqaushed rushlessly by the Iraqi government itself. Though there will be the more a process of force-negotion-force that only the Iraqis can do because they know their own people.