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Cry Me A Riverbend II

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Iraqi Shi'a Don't Rise To The Terrorist's Bait

I'm not supposed to posting, but I just wanted to mention how impressed I am with the Shi'a clerical leadership.

The terrorists (as was their stated goal a year ago) have been trying to instigate a civil war between the Shi'a and Sunni Arabs and the Kurds and Sunni Arabs. But the Shi'a aren't going for it.

Whatever Riverbend says about the Shi'a clerics, they have shown themselves to be quite enlightened so far in the necessities of democracy and the disastrous results of retribution. Compare them to the most vocal Sunni clerics calling for the murder of the "occupying infidels" and "apostates" and to the clerics permitting mosques to be used as weapons depots and it is easy to see who are the real wolves in shepherds' clothing.

Personally, I would be quite satisfied to see a goodly number of certain Sunni clerics taken out in the streets and kicked senseless (and my church congregation has never been attacked by a murder-suicide bomber). But the Shi'a as a whole have show themselves wiser than my inclinations.

I can't find the post but I read an Iraqi blog a month or so ago in which al-Sistani was reported saying "I don't care if they blow-up the whole town, don't strike back." Honestly, I don't fully trust Sistani. However, if I'm ever in a situation where every action seems bad and any wrong move to the left or right will destroy me, I want someone to advise me who has the steady nerves and cool pragmatic mind behind a command like that one.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Changes At This Blog


This is to let everyone know that with increasing commitments at work, I will not be making any attempt to update this blog regularly in the near future. I'm gratified by the 1200 or so visitors that have come by here each month, and if you have a blog on Iraq, it is likely I'll be checking you out eventually. I'll do some occasional profiles on Iraqi bloggers, and I'll post some new pictures and links I've been gathering on Kaddaffi's all-girl bodyguard (here here and here), but I'm not going to be very active on this blog or others.

Anyway, it looks like I'm not very much needed anymore. Why should I fisk Riverbend, when there are 100 Iraqi blogs that can reveal her as a liar just by writing the truth. After Riverbend's last post and also Raed's and Khalid's latest posts, and with the results of the elections, it has been increasingly clear to me that the Unrealists have lost.

There are reports that average Sunnis are upset with Association of Muslim Scholars for calling a boycott since A) by listening to them and those like them, the Sunnis feel like the train left without them and B) the AMS now says they will "respect" the results of the election (so after the vote the AMS is willing to accept the elections -- ha ha ha). Also, the Ayatolla-supported UIA party failed to capture 50% of the vote so they will have to work with the secular Kurds to form a constitution. And both the Kurd and Shi'a leadership say that they consider including Sunnis in the constitution process to be "vital". Sistani may attempt to influence the constitution process, but that ship has sailed -- there will be no theocracy. If Sistani tries to force one or even one by another name, he will be marginalized. If he doesn't, then he will only lend credibility to the process.

So it looks like everything is going to work out. There are going to be some bumps, but the possibility of Iraq becoming a failed state becomes more remote each day and nothing seems likely to change the momentum. The Ba'athists have lost (Riverbend's family), the Islamists are losing, Tehran is going to lose Eastern Kurdistan (IMO), Sen. John Kerry -- who claimed the Iraqi liberation was a mistake but he would send Americans to die there anyway -- lost, Michael Moore -- a pariah now even among Unrealists -- lost, Juan Cole has been revealed as a joke over and over again. Can you see the smile on my face? Ear to ear, my friends.

Zarqawi and his group have openly declared war on democracy, and the other terrorists are kidnapping retarded children and forcing them to be living bombs. Why would anyone need me to explain to them that the Iraqis are fighting a war against the most sinister evil? And if they do, what more could I say to persuade them?

In advance, I morn and honor those Iraqis who will die this year at the hands of abaddon-minded dead-enders. But I can see now that the future of Iraq is entirely in the hands of Iraqis and the Mult-national force will more and more play the role of assistant rather than partner.

Riverbend has gone back to telling drama-queen fiction breaking out in tears because (supposedly) some stranger said she ought to wear a skirt:
No one could talk that way before the war and if they did, you didn’t have to listen. You could answer back. Now, you only answer back and make it an issue if you have some sort of death wish or just really, really like trouble.

Oh, come now, Riverbend. Of course they didn't talk to you that way. Confronting someone with close ties to Saddam's government could get you in trouble. In fact, many reported feeling just the way you describe now:
The problem with defiance is that it doesn’t just involve you personally, it involves anyone with you at that moment- usually a male relative. It means that there might be an exchange of ugly words or a fight and probably, after that, a detention in Abu Ghraib.

Now I ask you Riverbend fans, have you ever read Riverbend acknowledge that that this was a constant fear for the vast majority of Iraqis in the good ol' days of Saddam? Has she ever acknowledged that people seem to have felt the same worry when talking to her once upon a not so very long time ago?

All this presumes Riverbend isn't blowing the event way out of proportion or making it up entirely. I'd love to see a blog devoted to instances of the enforcement of conservative dress on Iraqi women or on the harassment of women who wear pants or don't cover their heads. Until now, it is only Riverbend who talks about it, and she is no one I would believe about anything anymore. She's a Rejectionist by her own words now. And she's been shown to be a liar in the past.

And Raed? Khalid? They're blogs have been a fountain of the most pathetic blatant rumor-mongering. If they were Americans, they would be called "black helicopters types": people who will buy any conspiracy theory that views the world in terms of powerful hidden forces and weak mind-controlled robots/huddling victims.

What does Khalid say?: The elections were an exoneration of Rejectionists like himself. Yes. He he did write that yesterday. Raed seems pretty much through with Iraq. If he's not reiterating some bizarre conspiracy theory, he's railing against newly elected Palestinian Authority leader Abbas for acting to keep the cease-fire with Israel, or against the government of Jordan. Hmmmm....He doesn't like elected leaders and he doesn't like secular monarchies. The only government that atheist communist Raed seems to like is the Iranian theocracy:
I still have this faith in the Iranian government, that has better potentialities of having internal revolutions and evolution, a government that can produce a real national democracy in the long run.

Faiza still complains, but she is really uninterested talking about the legitimacy of the New Iraq anymore. She's in Jordan now, and who knows if she'll ever go back? She says she will. She says she wants to do something to help Iraqi women. That sounds admirable.

So I don't have time to update this blog regularly for the next few months, and frankly, why bother? The terrorists, the Rejectionists, and the Unrealists are getting the message out for me.

I'll see ya'll when I see ya. You can still reach me by email and Yahoo! IM.

I can't help it! Saudia Arabia religious police crack down on the observance of Valentines Day, even among husbands and wives...the color red is banned for clothes and flowers:
...Religious authorities call it a Christian celebration that true Muslims should shun.

Each year shortly before Feb. 14, the country's religious police mobilize, heading out to hunt for - and confiscate - red roses, red teddy bears and any signs of a heart.
Valentine's items descend underground, to the black market, where their price triples and quadruples. Salesmen and waiters avoid wearing red.
"Female voices demand the re lease of the red rose," read a headline in Sunday's Asharq al- Awsat. Women complained to the paper that no one had the right to ban flower sales.

In a town outside Riyadh named Thumama, Sheik Abdullah al-Dakhil, head of the muttawa, or religious police, told Al- Eqtisadiah newspaper that "despite awareness campaigns and the confiscation of flowers, chocolate and other items, there were 15 infractions" for Valentine's Day indiscretions last year.

Does anyone believe that a majority of Iraqis are going to sign up this sort of nonsense?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Electricity situation in Iraq

Riverbend's blog has become little more than an intermittent status report on the electricity supply at her house. A discussion in the comments section of the last post has inspired me to post about Iraq's power supply now.

The unrealists are crowing all over the blogosphere about a statement from Gen. Bostwick in January. He said that Iraq's base power capacity is currently at 3600MW.
The unrealists are jumping on this. They say,

See?! The US has been in Iraq for 22 months and the power capacity is less than under Saddam!!! It was 4400MW under Saddam, and now it is only 3600MW!

Based on the cited article, I can only assume the unrealists are attempting to mislead (as typical). The famous article states:

Bostwick blamed the shortfall on sabotage and the deterioration of Iraq's electricityi nfrastructure under Saddam's rule. Through October, power generation was at 5,600 megawatts, but the electricity supply shrunk when Electricity Minister Ayad Al-Samarrai opted to carry out large-scale repairs to the aging network that month, Bostwick said.

Bostwick compared Iraq's electricity infrastructure to an old car. "You can choose to drive it until it breaks, but when it breaks, there will be multiple problems."

The US and Iraqi authorities hope the repairs will be completed before June when the temperatures soar, he said.

I pointed out that the biggest slow-down in the power situation, so I have been told by responsible soldiers, is deliberate sabotage by the terrorists and that the Iraqi power grid was in a seriously decayed state and generally "held together with chewing gum." Cpt Teeg responded:

I stumbled on your blog and you are absolutely right in regards to the Iraqi power grid. I am a civil affairs soldier who spent 13 months in Iraq. The power grid was basically held together by chewing gum as you so eloquently described.

Saddam used the power grid (power on/power off) as punishment for Shiitesand Sunnis alike if they did not tow the party line. It was never made a huge issue because the alternative punishment was death/torture/family rape and execution. If you travel just 2K outside Baghdad into the suburbs (slums) most places hadn't seen power since the last Shiite uprising in 1991. ...I am a Democrat, not a huge fan of Bush but am smart enough to see the facts. Like I said, I was there...I saw. Be well
- CPT Teeg

Thanks Captain, and thank you for your service to us.

As for the state of the power grid this summer, I read this article in the
July 2004 issue of International Water Power and Dam Construction Magazine which confirms Cpt Teeg's report. It said:

[Iraq's] electrical generating base was often deliberately kept low during Saddam Hussein’s reign, as electricity was one of those perks that could be favourably rationed, because the base capacity, 4000MW, was so inadequate.

Did you catch that? They say Iraq's pre-war base capacity was 4000MW, not 4400MW! What's with that?

The article continues:

Typically, parts of Baghdad, Fallujah and Tikrit would receive electricity up to 24 hours a day. Everyone else was getting between 0 and 10 hours. Indeed since the early 1990s, the Kurdish Region to the north was entirely cut off from the central electricity grid.

...in July 2003, one of the first steps of the Coalition Provisional Authority and the former Electricity Minister, Dr Ayham al-Samarrai, was to equalise the distribution of electricity across the country.

This agrees with Ali's post at Iraq The Model when he accused Riverbend of distortion and outright lying about the power situation in Baghdad. (Ali now has a separate blog at Free Iraqi).

The article then says:

It had been hoped that by the changeover date of 30 June 2004, 6000MW of capacity would be installed. Unfortunately due to the uprising in April, the ‘Spring Maintenance Programme’ was significantly curtailed and the actual figure was more like 4500MW.

It is a great article. I recommend you check it out. It was quite optimistic about Iraq's power capacity in the near term, and since the capacity was up to 5600MW by October, I'd say their predictions were realistic. Now Iraq apparently has to take the next step to modernizing their grid to be dependable.

To be fair, I have heard hearsay that there is also an organized crime problem with the stealing and black-marketing of copper cabling. I don't know if this is true. If anyone can provide first hand confirmation of this, I'll report it.

Monday, February 07, 2005

No News Is Good News

Riverbend has not posted since the election. I presume she will not until something bad happens since she's sure as hell is not going to discuss the election without a sinister turn to it.

I point this out because I check her blog twice a day in anticipation of her take on the 'fraud' elections that her countrymen braved so much to take part in.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Ordinary Iraqis Turn the Tables On Insurgents: Kill Five

The residents of a small Iraqi village have killed five insurgents who had attacked them for voting in last weekend's national elections. Several other insurgents were also wounded.

The insurgents raided the village of al-Mudhiryah south of Baghdad after warning its inhabitants not to vote in the election.

The villagers fought back, killing five of the insurgents and wounding eight others.

The insurgents' cars were then set alight.

Al-Mudhiryah's tribal sheikh says his people are sick of being threatened by Islamic extremists.

By ABC News Middle East correspondent Mark Willacy

I know the terrorists have killed a couple dozen good people so far today (and who knows how many of their own they've killed for the fun of it), but this is such marvelous good news, I couldn't help but share it.

Ali, at Free Iraqi, got the story before I did and is giddy about it as you would expect.