Saturday, September 24, 2005


The last time I looked here was the business of the photographs of a rape, which proved to be fabrications. A little bit of googling showed the site was Tunisian in origin. Quite a few people discovered what I had put up a few hours before. Internet research can be effective.

Looking for more on Two Scousers Go Mad in Basrah (British undercover soldiers arrested in Basrah by Iraqi police wearing large black curly wigs reminiscent of football perms favoured by British footballers such as Kevin Kegan in 70s/80s), came across this page in Al Basrah, which has a long video in Arabic complaining about the sale of 70,000 tons of brass and copper. Expect experts can tell from accent who was behind this.


Two other sites also caught my eye:

We did not expect Iraq fanatics, says Hoon

By Toby Helm, Chief Political Correspondent

British “Pseudo-Gang” Terrorists Exposed in Basra

Kurt Nimmo, September 20th, 2005

under byline: Another Day in the Empire


Is it just me or is this sort of thing, where Hoon admits in public to general incompetence, a sign of the degradation of politics such that politicans can admit to being useless (lacking any foresight in this case) without any fear of political consequences. Being political hols. right now, it is astute to get all the bad messages out before the House resits.

Part of the explanation for this may be the degradation of journalism and the recycling the the internet (e.g. blogging), which many say is A Good Thing, but which in many cases is a
Thoroughly Bad Thing because so much is an ever increasing mountain of unchecked rumour with a soupçon of unadulterated propoganda slipped in. As an example, we have The Scousers Story, which is now at fever pitch in the Anti-War Blogosphere, with assertion after assertion but no obvious evidence - except for references to historical research on various under cover organisations such as the SAS - that The Scousers were really a "pseudo-gang" aka. Northern Ireland and Kenya during Mau Mau.

If we can all freely have our twopennyworth of conjecture without the need for evidence, I would suggest The Scousers were looking for who had blown up British soldiers in previous
weeks. The allegations that they shot at Iraqi police (currently its one hit or killed) is simply a one-sided allegation by the Iraqi authorities. As yet there is nothing from the British Army or Ministry of Defence, apart from they were obeying the rules. Conjecturally, it would seem likely they did shoot to try to get away because they thought the police weren't police. Events seem to have shown their fears were correct.


On the basis of this incident and the waves it has created both in Iraq and round the world I would suggest Britain tactically withdraw all forces to somewhere in the desert near Kuwait and wait to see what happens. Their role would then be solely to protect Iraq's territorial sovereignty. If you would argue this is what the insurgents of what ever ilk want the British to do, I would suggest that a dose of Talibanisation will soon bring even Iran-orientated Shi'i to asking for the troops back in order to have some peace and quiet.

If we are going to have troops there on the streets we need to at least double the numbers, which are currently at 8,500. Its a dereliction of duty 9politicians) to put too few men where they are ths in greater harms way. Unfortunately we haven't got them. So logic dictates pitching tents, setting up the deck-chairs and waiting.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Report from British Embassy, Baghdad, 15 November, 1969



As yet not found anything on what Syria was doing in 50s according to official papers, but this current article

Syria after Lebanon : The growing missile threat

by Lee Kass, The Middle East Quarterly, Volume XII, Number 4, Fall 2005

is quite informative. It is Pipes but the refs are all there so it is checkable.



The default always seems to be looking back to what Iraq was like before: although current events are fascinating, they are also confusing and frustrating. In part that is because I know this has all happened before. In looking up some older documents this turned up:

My aim was to check U.S. Iraqi relations in the 1950s to use it as a counterpoint to the current relationship. This .pdf

United States Embassy, Iraq Despatch from Philip W. Ireland to the Department of State. "Evaluation of 'Hoja' Films," July 18, 1953.

[if it doesn't load properly go back to the link in the site]

is a classic. Note the comments sundry after the film!

Yes, it was oil, but it was also Reds under the Beds. The commuist party was not the only socialist grouping. The mad thing is that if the communists had been allowed to rule Iraq things might have been better (who knows) because they might have actually created a truly socialist state. The U.S. would not allow such a thing, and in any case could not see that there were communists and communists. Each society produces a different communism because of its culture. Russia and China for example. It is difficult to understand that socialism has formed the backdrop of Iraq for half a century. Though what you got with the Ba'thists, culminating in the totalitarian rule of Saddam, was a mixture of Stalinism and National Socialism!

United States Embassy, Iraq Despatch from Burton Berry to the Department of State. "Samples of Anti-communist Propaganda," March 16, 1954.

Really gets under the bonnet!

As does:

United States. National Security Council. Office of the Executive Secretary Memorandum from James S. Lay, Jr. to the United States. National Security Council. "United States Objectives and Policies with Respect to the Middle East" [Includes Draft Amendments], July 6, 1954.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hold your conservative hat on and have a read...

A five part series in DissidentVoice: American Violence in Iraq: Necrophilia or Savagery?

by Kim Petersen and B.J. Sabri

{1} Part One: Bully, Cheat, Kill, and Conquer
{2} Part II: Is Supporting the Troops, Patriotism, Dementia, or Moral Dissolution?
{3} Part 3: King Frederick’s and George Bush’s Troops
{4}Part 4: Obedience, Defiance, and Conscience
{5} Part 5: Creating Our Own Reality


DEJA FUT? (tense correction welcome)

Some bright spark googled " Gertrude Bell letters, Al-Sadr, in" and came up with this one which mentions:

You'll be interested to hear that Saiyid Muhammad al Sadr, the son of the old mujtahid you went to see at Kadhimain [(Al Kazimiyah)], is the leading figure in the present disturbances.

While letter has much which is not exactly deju vu, it is certainly be termed deja lu.

We have had a stormy week. The Nationalist propaganda increases. There are constant meetings in mosques where the mental temp. rises a great deal about 110. I enclose an exposition of the moderate party. The extremists are out for independence, without a mandate. At least they say they are, knowing full well in their hearts that they couldn't work it. They play for all they are worth on the passions of the mob and what with the Unity of Islam and the Rights of the Arab Race they make a fine figure. They have created a reign of terror; if anyone says boo in the bazaar it shuts like an oyster. There has been practically no business done for the last fortnight. They send bagsful of letters daily to all the tribes urging them to throw off the infidel yoke.

Patrick Bishop in The Telegraph, Wednesday 21 September, 2005, starts:

Call the gunmen's bluff and get out of Iraq

which roughly coincides with my, now, jaundiced view. If they want an Islamic state in the south, then let them have one. Who are we to deny them what they yearn for? This will of course mean virtual control from Tehran, but should we care? We're all be driving around in electric noddy cars soon and the Middle East just won't matter to us anymore.

But he then Bishop returns to the structured vithdrawal. What if the central government insisted we stay? After all they wouldn't remain very central once the foreign kelebs have gone. In fact most of the Iraqi government will be scattered all over the place, either blown to bits or in cosy capitals such as Amman or London.

The war in Iraq was based on a lie - and policing Basra is an illusion

By Boris Johnson, The Telegraph, 22 September 2005


The distinct impression is being created all that will be left intact in the soon-to-be Balkanised Iraq will be the socialist paradise of Kurdistan under the leadership of Jalal Talabani. Presumably that is where the U.S. bases will be. That's the lot Christopher Hitchens is so fond of. And where post-1991 Gulf War we saw the images of the refugees in their hundered of thousands streaming across the snow towards the eastern mountains despite the northern no-fly zone. Reemember? Instead of putting forces on the ground we sent in nice little fellows (an masses of the meja) to stand around going, "Tut! Tut! Oh dear! Oh dearly me!" and getting lots of wonderful shots for us to sit at home n the comfort of our lounges emoting about.

Here we see the British leaving before the job had been done...

1991: UK forces withdraw from Kurdish haven

and here:

Iran-Iraq Border: Plight of Kurdish Refugees

a human tragedy which we some forget. Now, the Kurds are with western help in a position to look after themselves, though the Turks are not too happy about a strong Kurdish State.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

An idea to write something on Firdos Square (9 April 2003) led to a Google or two: this gave quite a few interesting sites including :

A word, a phrase, a name, and it all comes rushing back

By Kevin Horrigan, Tue, Sep. 13, 2005, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The stage-managed events in Baghdad’s Firdos Square: image-making, lies and the "liberation" of Iraq By Patrick Martin, 12 April 2003. Now if the fact the latter came from an organ of the Fourth International upsets you, please don't clic...there you go, curiosity killed the cat.


Events moved on in interweb/weblog world - and Firdos got left behind - with more details of exactly which of the British Army's knickers got in what twist. Hell they don't half carry some equipment those boys. The black wigs the special forces men were wearing put me in mind of The Two Scousers. And made me think they might have got caught because they were shouting and pushing each other and one of the wigs fell off...

The story is that they were out and about looking for who had attacked some of their chums, when they were arrested. But the story gets to its true meaning when the police then passed The Two Scousers over to a Sadr Cadre! The other bit is that the British Army are dilligently training up new recruits for the Iraqi Police who might actualy later be using their newly acquired weapons training against the very people who have been training them, as part of a militia!

So it goes. And perhaps so should the British Army. Think of all the schools and hospitals we could build with the money we are spending keeping an expeditionary force in Iraq. If the Iraqis want to be a weak nation squeezed between Iran, Syria and Israel, so be it. Let them get on with it. They have had their chance. Well, no actually they haven't. But Iran wants Iraq weak and so do all the other countries around it.

What excaxtly does the U.S. and Britain want Iraq to become?

The British bombed and gased them to death in the early part of this century and that didn't quell their enthusiasm for fighting each other. It was only the firm hand of of the former Ottoman General Nuri as Said, and a succession of post- Kingdom dictatorships culminating in Saddam's, which tortured and hung its own people on a daily basis to keep rival groups in check. The ethnic, tribal and religious differences were only subsumed by force.

Now we are seeing what those divisions are. And how they seemed to Gertrude Bell, Sir Percy Cox, st. John Philby and crew. They are pretty much the one's described by Gertrude Bell, and in the 50s by writers such as Desmond Stewart, in his The New Babylon, even if they had the the taint of the colonist.

In Basrah, the British removed - exiled to India in 1915 -
Sayeed Talib, one counter-claimant to the Hassemite rule that Iraq was to have imposed on it by the British. Interestingly , in a biography of St. John Philby by Elizabeth Monroe, there is mention of

Philby, while in Baghdad, roughed out...the democratic constitution that he thought would suit Iraq, complete with elected assembly and republican president.
By 1920, when Cox was back to sort out things, Sayeed Talib, son of the Naqib of Basra, was back too, as Minister of the Interior with Naqib of Baghdad -head of the Gaylani(Kaylani) family - to head of Council of Minsters.

Sayyid Abd ar-Rahman al-Haydari al-Gillani (عبد الرحمن الحيدري الكيالي)

Prime Ministers of Iraq

wikipedia : British Mandate of Iraq


Keep reading Martin Kramer....who is he? {Well, amongst other things, he certainly has a sense of humour}

In discussing the way Turkey is treating novelist Ohan Pamuk {2} wiki: Ohan Pamuk, he mentions the Paris court judgement against historian Bernard Lewis, which Kramer calls Orwellian.

Everything I have read about the Armenian Genocide (including Ashile Gorky's involvement) tell me there is no other word you can use but genocide.

The Armenian genocide pushed a lot of Armenian refugees into Iraq where they stayed and prospered. I lived in the Armenian quarter for part of my five year stay in Baghdad and had an Armenian friend called Haraj - though I don't know if the spelling is correct. You will find a reminiscence of him in baghdadskies I wonder if he still in Iraq?

In this wiki: Armenian Genocide resources entry there are references for the case against genocide

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Here is the video of the Hitchens Vs. Galloway debate at Baruch College, New York, 14 September 2005.

They say Galloway won on points - I think he won some other dubious argument which had no connection with what Hitchens was debating.


Running through the whole thing again as one is prone to when confronted with these sorts of arguments it is useful to come across an interview like this :

American Amnesia Interviews John Mearsheimer {part I} {and part II}

Clive Davis runs through some of the post-match opinion

half way down :

I always think that this excerpt from Orwell is apropos anytime that I hear about the hard left bullying people out of a dialogue:

"There are families in which the father will say to his child, ‘You'll get a thick ear if you do that again’, while the mother, her eyes brimming over with tears, will take the child in her arms and murmur lovingly, ‘Now, darling, is it kind to Mummy to do that?’ And who would maintain that the second method is less tyrannous than the first? The distinction that really matters is not between violence and non-violence, but between having and not having the appetite for power. There are people who are convinced of the wickedness both of armies and of police forces, but who are nevertheless much more intolerant and inquisitorial in outlook than the normal person who believes that it is necessary to use violence in certain circumstances. They will not say to somebody else, ‘Do this, that and the other or you will go to prison’, but they will, if they can, get inside his brain and dictate his thoughts for him in the minutest particulars. Creeds like pacifism and anarchism, which seem on the surface to imply a complete renunciation of power, rather encourage this habit of mind. For if you have embraced a creed which appears to be free from the ordinary dirtiness of politics — a creed from which you yourself cannot expect to draw any material advantage — surely that proves that you are in the right? And the more you are in the right, the more natural that everyone else should be bullied into thinking likewise."

--From "Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool"

Posted by: Aaron Azlant, Thursday, September 15, 2005

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.

04/11/2004 - 04/18/2004 / 04/18/2004 - 04/25/2004 / 04/25/2004 - 05/02/2004 / 05/02/2004 - 05/09/2004 / 05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004 / 05/16/2004 - 05/23/2004 / 05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004 / 05/30/2004 - 06/06/2004 / 06/20/2004 - 06/27/2004 / 07/04/2004 - 07/11/2004 / 07/11/2004 - 07/18/2004 / 07/25/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 08/08/2004 / 08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004 / 08/15/2004 - 08/22/2004 / 09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004 / 09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004 / 10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004 / 10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004 / 10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004 / 11/07/2004 - 11/14/2004 / 11/14/2004 - 11/21/2004 / 11/21/2004 - 11/28/2004 / 01/02/2005 - 01/09/2005 / 01/09/2005 - 01/16/2005 / 01/16/2005 - 01/23/2005 / 01/23/2005 - 01/30/2005 / 01/30/2005 - 02/06/2005 / 02/13/2005 - 02/20/2005 / 02/20/2005 - 02/27/2005 / 04/03/2005 - 04/10/2005 / 05/22/2005 - 05/29/2005 / 06/05/2005 - 06/12/2005 / 06/26/2005 - 07/03/2005 / 07/03/2005 - 07/10/2005 / 07/17/2005 - 07/24/2005 / 07/24/2005 - 07/31/2005 / 07/31/2005 - 08/07/2005 / 08/07/2005 - 08/14/2005 / 08/14/2005 - 08/21/2005 / 09/04/2005 - 09/11/2005 / 09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005 / 09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005 / 10/02/2005 - 10/09/2005 / 10/09/2005 - 10/16/2005 / 10/16/2005 - 10/23/2005 / 10/23/2005 - 10/30/2005 / 12/11/2005 - 12/18/2005 / 12/25/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 01/08/2006 / 01/08/2006 - 01/15/2006 / 01/15/2006 - 01/22/2006 / 01/29/2006 - 02/05/2006 / 02/05/2006 - 02/12/2006 / 02/12/2006 - 02/19/2006 / 03/19/2006 - 03/26/2006 / 03/16/2008 - 03/23/2008 /

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