Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ibrahem Al Jaafari Iraqi P.M. designate

Wanted to check what Iraqis were saying about new Prime Minister. Seen him on the TV a few times speaking in Arabic. Can he speak English? If one can go by appearances, and I think you can to a large degree, he looks like the sort of chap for the job. What pressures will be put on his by the various political parties that support him, heaven knows, but there is a way to look at it: he is ony P.M. for 12 months. In that time his job will to (a) bring more law and order (b) be chairman of the Constitution committee.

Highlighting Iraqi opinion:

Omar at Iraq the Model

chews the fat with Egyptian friend over comparisons of Middle East govts., with particular reference to Egypt and Iraq (now and was). Ayman Al-Zawahiri's name come up. There are several links to him on Baghdadskies2 which detail his life story in the contect of Egypt as a country and its various strains of government, which is fascinating (to me anyway). The biggest one is the September 2002 New Yorker piece by Lawrence Wright. I'll post it here to save you wading through the blogroll > Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri

Omar links to a Brooking Institute essay by Michael E o'Hanlon, Iraq Without a Plan, which he then discusses.

Abu Khaleel at Iraqi Letter to America

asks whether it is true that the Americans are having talks with the insurgents, as reported by Reuters.
Nearly missed his 12 February post: A Lesson from History

which I think I could add somemthing constructive to:

(1) It should work out a lot better for Iraqis this time
- The oil will not be stolen from the Iraqis despite the rhetoric about the American only being there for the oil
- The oil,as I have repeatedly said through the over 2 year history of Baghdadskies, will be bought on the open market by whoever wishes to pay the market price, American companies competing to buy it with others
- The Americans will certainly stay to protect its flow onto the market because they need the oil desperately (more expensive to exploit Alaskan reserves, off-shore, etc.)
- The added advantage will be the refurbishment of the antiquated Iraqi oil infrastructure using mostly American expertise
- The oil wealth should trickle down more effectively than it has even done before, and, though it will not effect America whether it does or not, under the present climate, where America is said to be in Iraq to help and support Iraq, it is almost certain Iraqis will all be better off because America, and progressively, other Western countries and the UN, is present
- with international encouragement the Iraqi economy will modernise and grow, with a ready made market for its good and services in the Middle East and beyond

(2) it is unlikely that what happened in 1920s Iraq will be repeated today
- though there has been a balls up so far, the eyes of the world are watching in a way it didn't in those days
- though many people talk about neo-colonialism, the whole world has moved on in many respects, which means that people from under-developed or third-world countries are not treated quite as badly and disrespectfully as they were then. This does not mean American soldiers aren't shooting more Iraqis than they really need to. I have always said their way of doing things is almost criminal. It is more about the concensus on how to treat people, nowadays, not so much the U.S. military or the current U.S. govt.
- although there is much talk of the political divides based on ethnic and religious divides:
* Iraqis main demands will be for a prosperous future for themselves and their children
* This will cut across the divides which are currently exaggerated by the media because it makes good copy to have conflict, bad-guys/good-guys, whit hats/black hats scenarios to sell to ignorant western readerships normally fed a diet of scare/disaster stories

{{ saw Bowling for Columbine last night on TV and was mightly impressed by the fact that the U.S. and Canda both have firearms by the bucket load but Canada has little or no gun crime: all put down, by Michael Moore, to the mass-hysteria whipped up by the mass media [ha!] . A black comedian was shown doing a joke about bullets costing $5000 each, with a guy saying "I'd really like to kill you but I just can't afford to do it."

Another lesson to be learnt from this film is that Americans have beeen persuaded [the anti-gun lobby strangely ineffective, here] to have guns because arms manufacturers make billions out of making them, rather than because they really do feel need pistols under their pillows to protect themselves and their children.

In Iraq, there ought to be an all out drive to have an arms amnesty as soon as possible, paying Iraqis a reasonable sum for each AK40, and grenade-launcher, mine, artillery shell brought in. The reason half these insurgents are shooting and blowing up people and things is because they believe they are going to be left out economically.

If the new Iraqi media put out 'good' propaganda to tell these people who feel they are being marginalised that they will get clean water, electricity, sewage treatment, jobs, proper medical care and education for their children, but there has to be peace and stability in order for them to have these things, they will get it sooner or later. Once they see the promises coming true, the atmospher will change.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

One of my interests, stemming from my childhood in Baghdad in the 1950s, is the subject of incomers. The ultimate incomers in terms of historic Iraq were the Jews, of whom I have already posted because the story is so interesting but ultimately sad as far as the modern Iraqi Jews were concerned. The Scribe give stats on Jews in Baghdad in the early 20th. century. And of course if you want to read all about individuals and their lives you will find many stories there.

There have been successive waves of different people who had come and stayed in Iraq, playing their part. One of these has been the Armenians. I don't really k ow what the indininous people thought of them. I would be interested to have anything along these lines.

In the years since returning to the UK, I have read about this people, who themselves have a diaspora which retain a strong identity. I even came across a site a few weeks ago with all the famous Armenians including Cher and Charles Asnavour, and many more. I'll link to it when I come across it again. But in the meantime I am putting this compilation of Amenian genocide articles up so that it is possible to do a bit of stuying from there.
Turkey wants to join the EU, but it seems wrong that they will be allowed to do so with the legacy of the genocide hanging over them.

I have written a little story with an Armenian connection based on a miniscular moment in my life, but have found it difficult to write it to best effect, so probably present it as a working script because I see it as a series of images. Hope writing this declarion of intent will encourage me to discpline myself enough to make a final draft! It sometime works.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Washington Times Insider, 21 February, 2005, (free registration) suggests Israel is putting pressure on America to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities which might be producing weapons grade materials.

My idea [already posted] was the Israelis would not do it themselves because the Palestinian problem was of greater importance. I stick by this. The logic is simple:

(1) Israel knows what is going on in the Middle East, unlike America
(2) They do not plan - this time [remember Osirak?] - to attack themselves, because it will encourage Hammas and others to send in more suicide bombers. Their major concern is how many Israelis are getting out.
(3) They have nuclear weapons themselves, so know there will be no retaliation if they should decide to bomb the Iran facilities. Oil is no good if it is irradiated.
(4) They are about to leave Gaza.

memories of a childhood in Iraq in the 1950s * thoughts on events in the Middle East

Location: United Kingdom

expatriot in Middle East as child, retired teacher.

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