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Cry Me A Riverbend II

Monday, January 31, 2005

Emigre Finally Banned At Iraqi Elections Discussion

She posts her "side" here. Although she isn't especially forthcoming, it seems she had something pithy to say about the Nazi holocaust.

Whatever the reason, I say it was too long coming. She offered nothing to the discussion but rejectionist propoganda.

I'll let you know more when I know more.

Egyptian Sandmonkey To Raed: "Go F*** Yourself"

Sandmonkey just discovered Raed Jarrar. A whole new world is about to open up to him.

To Raed (who is half-Palestinian) he says:
You remind me of this other dude that I was reading yesterday, who was going on and on how this election is illegitimate cause it is done under occupation. So following that same logic, Abu Mazen’s* victory is illegitimate as well? Last I checked where he was campaigning it’s called the “occupied territories”. That must make him an illegitimate Palestinian president then. That makes perfect sense. Or doesn’t. whatever

*Abu Mazen was just elected President of the Israeli occupied West Bank

He also correctly points out that the picture Raed put at the top of his post (claiming that the high turnout was due to Iraqis being denied their ration cards if they didn't vote -- apparently 35% of Iraqis don't care if they eat) is of a woman in Najaf who is CRYING TEARS OF JOY after voting. I thought I was the only person to notice that.

To see this and other pictures go to http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6887461/site/newsweek/

You'll also see a picture of a man receiving medical attention after being shot in the face by one of Khalid Jarrar's glorious insurgents for showing up to vote.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Unrealists Disrupt Iraqis Casting Ballots in Sydney

The unrealists never sleep:
The disturbance broke out when a group of 20 protesters started to shout insults at voters leaving the centre.

And it wasn't just in Austrailia.
In Spain as well (Hat-tip: Little Green Footballs)

People shout slogans during a protest in central Madrid January 30, 2005. Marchers were protesting Iraq holding national elections under what they called U.S occupation. At least 10 suicide attacks targeted polling stations and voters on Sunday, but Iraqis still voted in large numbers.
REUTERS/Susana Vera

Londonkurd reports that they did the same in LONDON!! Why didn't the BBC report this??

Terrorists use a mentally disabled child as a suicide bomber.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Voting Starts Today!

This picture is a kind of statue of liberty, don't you think?

Congratulations to Iraqis around the world on Iraq's first step into the Free World!

Good luck to every voter in Iraq on Sunday, and God be with the candidates, policemen, and National Guardsmen. Now get out and vote.

Also the military wing of The Islamic Front for Resistance says it will not target the elections, voters, or polling stations. Lets see them put their money where their mouth is and PROTECT those places from attack!

When the Presidential elections approach in the U.S., I like to follow the electoral map to get an idea of how it will go. Well, Zeyad has provided something like that. Check it out. Here's one I thought he should have included.

Friday, January 14, 2005

My Ears Burning at the Straight Dope Forum

I was working here at my computer when suddenly my ears turned red hot. "Holy Otolaryngologist! Someone's talking about me!"

So I closed my eyes and clicked on my AdFree Stats link at random. Sure enough, someone had accessed my site through the Straight Dope forum.

Somehow the conversation there turned to Riverbend, and a poster had recommended this lil' shack as a supplement to her blog. (Thanks Ryan Liam. I'm honored!)

Then someone started talking smack about me and this blog, sooooo I jumped into the mix.

Here's the conversation. Enjoy. :)

By the way, I included in that give-and-take my challenge to any Unrealist who thinks the removal of Saddam was illegal or a war-crime:

If Saddam was removed "illegally" then he should released from jail, returned to power, and compensated with the funds and weapons necessary to put down the newly empowered opponents of his regime. If you don't believe that should happen, then you don't really consider the act illegal. Pick one.

I've yet to get an Unrealist to admit that Saddam should be reinstated or to explain why he shouldn't be even though the invasion was illegal. But the offer still stands. In fact, if any Unrealist is willing to take this statement on -- answer it honestly or explain why the alternatives are irrelevant -- I'll post his responses in full on this blog.

I finally got a taker on my challenge. He/She didn't leave a name, did make a valient attempt:

Your challenge doesn't stand up to much scrutiny. Most opponents of the war were also opponents of Saddam. His removal was the silver lining of an extremely large cloud. Naturally that does not make an unprovoked attack on a sovereign country legal, and overall it has probably done much more harm than good. That's no reason to undo the single good thing that came out of it.

A similar argument to yours would be the following:
A burglar breaks into a house. When he gets in, he finds a man having a heart attack and calls an ambulance, saving the man's life, before escaping with his life savings. If you think the burglary was an illegal act, you should have the homeowner killed, as he was only saved because of an illegal act. If you think the homeowner should be allowed to live, you don't believe the burglary
was illegal (and you should let the burglar keep the man's life savings).

Nice try. You seem to be suggesting that the INVASION was illegal, but deposing Saddam was not. I'm sorry, but that simply won't fly:

Saving a life is perfectly legal. If the invasion was illegal -- a war crime -- then removing Saddam Hussein was NOT legal.

Any response?

Jeff Kantor has taken up my challenge. Nicely done too. I suspect I am about to cry "Calf Rope".

Get your user's certificaton in International Law in the Comments section of this post.

BTW I screwed up my last response. Jeff's quotes and my response are inexplicably set in the same paragraphs, but Jeff's words are italics and that is how you will know the difference.

[UPDATE -- "Calf Rope!"]
Okay. Jeff Kantor has definitely proved his point. IF the invasion of Iraq were illegal under international law, then it WOULD NOT require that Saddam be released, reinstated, and provided with funds and munitions to fend off his enemies.

International law is not what it would appear to be...not even as what it's most fierce propronents seem to think of it. His response is too long and involved to do justice here but I definitely recommend you read it in the Comments section of this post.

However, I don't think his explanation of international law and why Saddam can be left in history's ashtray is really what the unrealists have in mind when they call the invasion illegal.

CMAR II says "Check it out"

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Iraqi Boy Helps Lead Troops to Roadside Bomb

Let's Talk About Civil War

You know what surprises me most? Iraqi bloggers -- those living in Iraq, that is -- rarely (relatively) speak directly of civil war. In America right now, if you watch the talking-head programs, you would think a civil war in Iraq is annual occurrence marked with anticipation by everyone, like Marti Gras in New Orleans ("Are we going to have a civil war in Iraq?" "Can we do anything to prevent a civil war among Iraqis? "How long do you think it will take for a civil war to develop in Iraq?").

Riverbend spoke of it last month, however. Guess who she blamed? Foreign Islamists? Ba'athist recalcitrants? Hmmm....I see you've never met our Riverbend:

We've been avoiding discussing the possibilities of this last week's developments… the rioting and violence. We don't often talk about the possibility of civil war because conferring about it somehow makes it more of a reality. When we do talk about it, it's usually done in hushed tones with an overhanging air of consternation. Is it possible? Will it happen? Sunnis and Shi'a have always lived in harmony in Iraq and we still do, so far. I'm from a family that is about half Shi'a and half Sunni. We have never had problems as the majority of civilized people don't discriminate between the two. The thing that seems to be triggering a lot of antagonism on all sides is the counterinsurgency militia being cultivated by the CPA and GC which will include Chalabi's thugs, SCIRI extremists and some Kurdish Bayshmarga.

What can I say, but Ha ha ha. As typical for Riverbend, it is attempts to arrest terrorists (who have stated their intention to foment a sectarian civil war) that are to blame for any violence or civil war.

For about a week the unrealists in the West became attached to a jag that having elections would lead to a civil war. That one is almost as rich as anything Riverbend could come up with.

Riverbend is an exception. Most Iraqi bloggers who will openly analyze the possibility of a civil war, tend to be those most optimistic about the new Iraq and they typically do not consider a civil war an odd's favorite. Which brings us to Mohammed's most recent post at Iraq the Model. He takes apart the theory that the a civil war in Iraq is inevitable or that elections will lead to them. This is his conclusive point:

I want to say that I think what happened in Palestine yesterday and what happened in Afghanistan before that proves that if the people really want to have elections, then they can do it and it's another indication that we're moving on the right track here and it's another accomplishment for the ongoing change in the region.

Ali at Free Iraqi, taking on the financiers of the terrorist side in the War of Iraqi Liberation says:

"They bet for a long time on a civil war in Iraq or isolating Iraq from the international society, but Iraq came back to the political arena stronger than before the war and there are no real signs for civil war yet (and in my mind there won't be any). "

I love the Mohammed and Ali, but I'm not certain too much optimism in this case is a good thing. I'm more like Hammorabi. He believes in the new Iraq but he's not so sure a civil war isn't quite possible. Even better, he agrees with me about the motive of those pushing to have the elections postponed:

At last those who think that civil war may happen in Iraq are not very wrong but the possibility of it is happening without election is more than after election and this is why the terrorists are pushing to prevent the election...

...Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski forgot about what will happen if the civil war resulted in the terrorists becoming strong inside Iraq whether with or without controlling the power especially if the USA pulled! It will certainly be the worst disaster for the region since the WWII and will give birth into another 11 Septembers in many areas regional and abroad.

I said Riverbend is an exception. Well Faiza is an exception too. Most of the time, it's the same ol' Faiza with her bitching that America has harmed Iraq so much by getting rid of Saddam. And, then, out of nowhere...it becomes clear that she is not for chaos and she knows who the chaosmasters are:

And there are some who want to start a civil war between the Iraqis, especially between the Sunni and Shi’aat. It didn’t work between the Muslims and Christians. Nor between the Arabs and Kurds. So, the last card remains, between the Sunni and Shi’aat.When we are at the shop, and some people come in, Iraqis, somehow the talk would run around to the topics of the new government, the Sunni, the Shi’aat, and the conflict would almost start to loom ahead, then I usually stop, cut the talk with a laugh, and say: well, well, that is enough, no Sunni, and no Shi’aat, we are Iraqis, and Muslims, right? I usually get the answer: Right. We all laugh, and that would be the end of it.I do hope the Iraqis would remain with these kind hearts, good intentions, and love for each other, and so be able to cross this crises.

I tell you, I'm crying tears of joy to read this again. Then, again, maybe she thinks America is the one trying to start a civil war.

About the same time, Rose speculated about the terrorists and their goals to drag Iraq into a civil war:

The Iraqis have strong bonds between them, in spite of religion or ethnic differences, we all work together, have neighbors from other religions, visit each other and respect our differences. my neighbors are shias, my best friends are Christians and Kurds and I’m Sunni, but we all have good relations between us. I’m afraid of those who are trying hard to tear us a part, for me I don’t think they will succeed but I’m sure they are from outside Iraq, and they want Iraq to separate into several parts or maybe drag it to civil war.
also today, my father told me that he is afraid from a civil war, he said that those who are doing these things they know exactly what they are doing. I tried to tell him it’s impossible but he said no, they will succeed in making a civil war and then divide Iraq to peaces. I still don’t believe in this, The US will not allow this to happen because it will mean that they have failed in everything they fought for.

I wish I could believe with Rose that only foreigners want to see an Iraqi civil war. I will also say that if it is only some fraction of the Sunni Arabs who support the terrorists, then there will be no civil war, and the terrorists will lose. But if the Kurds, choose adamantly to secede from Iraq, I believe it will launch a chain of events that will require US troops to retreat to Jordanian border and watch as Iraq tears itself to pieces. The most dangerous thing for Iraq is for the Sunni terrorists to attempt to strike a deal with the Kurds..."you support our independence drive, and we'll support yours."

Should the US withdraw troops? Riverbend, Raed, and Khalid say they should. Every other Iraqi blogger I've read who lives in country states emphatically that a US pull-out would precipitate a civil war and that that would be a bad thing. Only Riverbend states openly to prefer civil war to U.S. troops....hmmm...I wonder who she thinks that would benefit? The Jarrar boys leave to us to infer it.

Rana Imad at the BBC Iraq Log says:

I don't think that the withdrawal of the American forces would be wise. It would make the situation much worse...In my opinion, if they leave now a civil war could follow in Iraq.

Neurotic Iraqi Wife agrees:

But once those troops leave Iraq, then believe me, the atrocities and the barbaric activities will escalate even more. People will start killing each other, and yes a civil war will break out. Iraqis who have been brainwashed by Saddam, and by religeous fanatics will take the opportunity to slay everyone that says NAY to them. This process is already taking place now.....

There are some Iraq bloggers who are more ambivalent about the troops leaving. Samir Ali at the BBC's Iraq log portrays the schizophrenic POV that seems so common among so many Iraqis and simply makes me crazy:

I worry that if the Americans leave there will be civil war; all that we Sunnis want is a definite time schedule for them to leave and a government that involves all Iraqis. I think the Americans want to stay here for a long time.

If the Americans want to stay a long time, why would the Sunnis worry about the Americans leaving? The first fear is not unfounded, Samir. Americans are so anxious to pull out their soldiers from Iraq, their palms sweat.

They are like a man that has mortgaged his house to finance a friend in a high-stakes poker game when the friend is not doing so well and has asked for extra cash. He wants to answer, "No, just give me what's left of my money and I'm out of here." But if he does, he will lose his house. So the man will loan his friend more money and the US will keep the troops their until the new Iraqi government can defend itself. But as soon as the man's friend has won his money back, the man will take it and go. And as soon as Iraq will not collapse when the US troops leave, the troops will be out of Iraq. That seems so obvious to me.

Don't worry about the Americans staying too long. Do everything you can to build up your country before the American public gets bored with building new democracies and turns to other things.

During the liberation of Fallujah, Zeyad at Healing Iraqi spoke of civil war as though it were inevitable (he hasn't mentioned it since though):

What is worse is that the first chapter of the future Iraqi civil war is currently being written. The Sunni armed groups have made no secret this time of their true intentions. According to them, the Iraqi NG's are now just infidel 'Kurd and Shi'ite' militias taking their revenge against the peace-loving Sunnis. The Association of Muslim Scholars issues fatwas calling Iraqi security forces 'apostates' because "Iraqis should not be fighting Iraqis under the occupation". This fatwa implies that if the occupation ends tomorrow then it would be okay for Iraqis to kill each other then, since that has always been the case over the last three decades.

On the subject of a civil war, Raed seems believe (as closely as I can discern a rational thought in that sad scattered mind) that civil war in Iraq is inevitable:

Iraq is really going through a critical time, and any of these clashes can turn into civil war easily, especially with the mistakes of the US administration in Iraq like putting Kurdish peshmerga against Arab fighters, and Shia Iraqis against Sunni Iraqis. I used to say this 20 months ago, and I'm still repeating it. The real war in Iraq didn't start yet. The real bad time didn't start yet.

Typical for Raed, it is hard to determine what he is getting at. I think he's saying that the real war in Iraq will start after all the Iraqis rise up and cast out the infidels (secular infidels I'm sure Raed would stipulate) and choose their new National Leader who is more of a phenomenon than a person. But your guess is as good as mine, and he's welcome to comment here and clarify what the hay-dees he's talking about.

(Note to self: Calling an evil thug "more of a phenomenon than a person", absolves you of assigning critical moral judgments to that evil thug. After all, how can you expect a phenomenon to answer for its crimes?)

And in October, after those ING heroes were murdered by Zarqawi's group, Ferid the Great expressed amazement that there was not a civil war considering how the Arabic media was playing the coverage.

Kurdo, a few weeks ago was reminding everyone that elections of themselves will not end the terrorist attacks, make all Iraqis happy with the government, or solve all of Iraq's problems:

Elections are not some magic-sticks that could touch Iraq and make it as safe as heaven. I remember in 1992 before the Kurdistani general elections, we had this view of Kurdistan after the elections. A free, organised, democratic, western style country. There was even [a] TV series called "After the Parliament". In these TV programmes, they used to show Kurdistan as a (arms-free), democratic, prosperous country. In the shows, a few people were saying "When is this going to happen"? The answer and the end of the show was "Dwaii Parlaman" "After electing the Parliament".

But, after the elections, Kurdistan turned into hell. A bloody civil war that continued for about 7 years devastated the country.So anyone thinking that this Iraqi election is going to make things anything better, should stop thinking about that now. Yes if you are George W. Bush or Tony Blair, it will help a lot. But if you are some poor Iraqi family then forget it about it.

Kurdo is right. Things still could blow-up after the elections. The Kurds could declare independence. The Sunni Arabs could turn in en masse to support the terrorists or Ba'athists or anyone who could promise that they would not have live as equals among the Kurds, Turkomen, and Shi'a. Well, the Kurds declaring independence is the most realistic danger.

But this time we have something in our corner that the Kurds did not have in 1992. Then, Kurds did not appreciate that their democracy could fail (although even the U.S. had a very bloody civil war and it had a couple of rebellions shortly after the War For Independence from Britain).

Now, we have the very bracing danger of an impending civil war. Fear of the Abyss is a useful virtue to get everyone to keep his eye on the ball. The more Iraqis remember that a civil war could realistically occur and that it would be the very worst thing that could happen, then the more likely it won't happen.

I've said before that while I'm not superstitious, talking about something too loudly and too often can cause it to occur. But in this case, I think the civil war story is something useful for Iraqis to tell each other regularly right now.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Is El Salvador the Model for Iraq?

John Lyons in the WSJ explains on how El Salvador beat homegrown terrorists with elections.
"In El Salvador you had the image of old farmers lined up to vote, crouching to get out of the line of fire, and then getting back into line. It was about as graphic a demonstration of the desire for democracy as you can have."

Can Iraq do the same? Why not, considering that when El Salvador held its first election in 1982, communist insurgents controlled a third of the country? As bad as the situation in Iraq is, it isn't that bad.

This is as sure an explanation as any for why the terrorists and the unrealists are united in calling for the elections to be "postponed".

Friday, January 07, 2005

A Bleak Scenario If Iraqi Kurds Declare an Independent State

Iraqis are seeking a referendum from the U.N. to have Iraqi Kurdistan recognized as an independent Kurdish homeland.

Meanwhile, Kurdo has been increasingly dubious regarding the feasibility of the Iraqi elections, and has been hinting that postponing them might not be a bad idea.
(here and here)

The Iranian Kurd Medya is saying flat out that permitting a Shi'a majority democracy is a bad idea, and he is openly calling for a partition of Iraq:
If Sunni [Arab], Shiite and Kurds can't live toghether why should we make them to do so ?

Medya considers the Unified Iraq policy to be a Turkish plot to keep Kurdistan bottled up.

I think some elements among the Iraqi Kurds have decided they don't want to be part of a democratic Iraq (in which they are a minority among a Shi'a majority) any more than radical Sunni Arabs do.

To be fair, there are plenty of Kurdish voices that are openly backing the elections, even if they are distressed at the current events:

I'm sympathetic to the Kurds in their asperations for an independent state. They've wanted it for a long time, and one can imagine that after being driven from their homes and gassed by an Arab-dominated government, they would not see themselves as patriotic "Iraqis".

But here is the reason why (for the time being) the Iraqi Kurds must remain part of Iraq.

If they break loose of Iraq, the first question to be settled will be their exact borders. This brings up the question of Kirkuk, but it puts in dispute places like Mosul which also have large Arab populations. When the Kurds break loose, three things will happen:

  • The government of Iraq will lose its core fighting-force in the form of the Peshmurga, making it less able to to fight insurgencies within its non-Kurdistan areas

  • The Sunnis will seek their own homeland separate from the Shi'a -- and the battle for Baghdad will begin.

  • The Arabs and Kurds will start fighting over Mosul, Kirkuk, etc.
What is the next thing that will happen? Turkey, Syria and Iran will clamp down on their own Kurdish populations to premptively prevent similar independence actions in their own countries. This means the hard-won (albeit insufficient) liberties recently secured for Kurds in Turkey will be lost. These clamp-downs will probably not succeed in preventing revolts and there will be multiple Halabjas within those countries.

Simultaneously, each of these countries also will move into portions of the new Kurdistan (as well as Iraq) to secure real estate as a buffer to the chaos that will swiftly envelope all of Iraq.

So the new Kurdistan will be at war with the countries on its West, East, North, and South: Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq and the attempted independent Sunni state.

At the same time, each of these entities will begin handing out money and supplies to secure aliances with the local Arabs and other ethnicalities, and with rival Kurdish groups within the new Kurdish state. So in addition to fighting a war on every front, the new Kurdistan will be engaged in a no-holds-barred civil war with itself. Not to mention that it will have an increasingly radicalized Arab failed-state(s) on its southern border -- it's only path to a port. Kurdistan will become the center of a maelstrom with a maelstrom.

The result? Tens of thousands of dead Kurds throughout the Middle East. At least four Middle East nations in flames. Iraq becomes a black-hole. The surrounding dictatorships smugly assure their citizens of the dangers of liberty, and hold up the Iraqi Kurdistan as proof that the Kurds can't be trusted with self-governance.

For now the Kurds need to concentrate on keeping Kurds free in Iraq.

As George Packer said in his New Yorker article,

Fanaticism is the legacy of Saddam’s Arabization policy.

We must not let Saddam win.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

"Unrealists" or "Freedom Haters"?

If you take issue with my designation of those "ideologically invested in the failure of democracy in Iraq" as unrealists...well...as least I haven't taken the (reasonable) step that Anne Applebaum has at the Washington Post.

In the very near future, I'm going to be adding to this post in the near future to investigate what the Unrealists want -- intend and hope for -- in Iraq. (The wife and kids are in town this week, so I have had little time for posting)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Zarqawi Collared?

Kurdish sources are reporting that Jordanian terrorist and Saddam hatchet-man, al-Zarqawi, who was reportedly the man who personally beheaded all those people on video, has been captured.


MSNBC is now reporting US military and intelligence sources that are deny reports that Zarqawi has been captured.



Now Al-Jazeera is reporting Zarqawi has been captured.

I'm torn. I can't decide whether this makes the story more or less likely to be true.

I want to hope like, Kender (see the comments) that the story is true and the MNF is keeping the story under wraps to nail more of his cronies, but I can't risk hoping for this. The disappointment would be too great.


An anonymous commentor reports:
Aljazeera.net, the website of Al Jazeera, the TV station based in Qatar, has NO stories about the "capture" of Zarqawi. The link provided is to aljazeera.com a site, with no Arabic version, by a publishing company based in Dubai. This fake Al-Jazeera (aljazeera.com) has nothing to do with the Qatari TV station.

Ah yes! This "Al-Jazeera" is from the United Arab Emerates. Pay close attention to those URLs.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Liberal Iraqi outs himself

As some have suspected for a while, he is Ali from Iraq the Model. He mysteriously quit there a couple weeks ago. It turns out he went undercover as Liberal Iraqi. He offers an explanation, mea culpas, and...heck...another great Iraqi blog.

He's also changed the name to Free Iraqi.

Check it out.

The Peace to End all Peace now reigns at the Iraqi Elections Blog.

I mentioned previously that some trouble was going on at Iraqi Elections Blog. It seems that what happened was that Stephen had stripped Khalid Jarrar of his co-author status at the blog (which suits me just fine). But then he began to purge unrealist Shirin and Jeffery--New York from Iraqi Bloggers Central. When I heard this, I interceded:
Shirin is saying he’s been banned from these Comments. Considering the fact that Khalid Jarrar is a contributor, I don’t see anything he’s posted so far to justify this. Is this true, and if so, what gives?

Note that I was under the presumption that Khalid was still a co-author. After some back and forth, Stephen posted this:
You are persuasive.Shirin and Jeffrey are unblocked. Khalid Jarrar has been reinstated as a co-author. Let the flamefest begin. It won’t kill me to see how this goes.

To which I responded:
What!!? I didn’t know I was REINSTATING Khalid!!! Wait, Stephen! Wait! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait!