Sunday, March 30, 2008

Isn't this eerily familiar?

Some of previous American contributions to democracy in the Middle East, this is tragically funny:

"US and UK relations with Iran have a long history. Both states have been considered imperialist states by Iranians and have a long history of interference in Iran's internal affairs. In 1907, the Anglo-Russian Agreement between Russia and Britain divided Iran into spheres of influence, challenging Iran's moves toward independence. At the height of the Cold War, the administration of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved a joint British-American operation to overthrow democratically elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq, in the pretext that his nationalist aspirations would lead to an eventual communist takeover. The information from CIA that became unclassified decades later proved that the only objective of this was to secure oil interests for the United States and Britain. The operation was code-named Operation Ajax. At first, the military coup seemed to fail, and the Shah fled the country. After widespread rioting -- and with help from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and British intelligence services -- Mossadeq was defeated and the Shah returned to power, ensuring support for Western oil interests and snuffing the perceived and largely unfounded threat of communist expansion."

NOTE: If you're too stupid to figure it out (like the last time I posted a double-entendre post), the text tells the story in 1953, and the links tell it in 2003. you can just hover over the links to read what they really mean.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Understanding Muqtada

Image: "Spontaneous" Sadrist supporters in al-Kadhmiya, Baghdad, the sign reads: "The New Tyrant."

Image: "Sponatneous" pro-Maliki rally in Kerbala, which is largely controlled by Badr / ISCI
Image: here's one of countless "spontaneous" Saddam demonstrations by comparison, they used to force us to go to these ones all the time when we were in high school.

Anyone following the events in Basra (now all of Iraq) would be extremely baffled by the radically different coverage given to the incident by the various news outlets, TV stations and bloggers as everyone attempts to reconcile the event with his own perception and perspective of what is going on in Iraq. al-Sharqiya channel, a specialist in doom-and-gloom news coming from Iraq, says: "Tribes in the south are helping jaish el mahdi against the Iraqi army." The national state television, al-Iraqiya Channel is reporting this quite laughably: They don't mention the name of the "militia", support government as it should, but then they give ample time to the Sadrists and their spokesmen in a rather hazy and uncertain approach. al-Iraqiya Channel has a long tradition of supporting Muqtada and his folks, treating him with extreme honorifics. After Nuri al-Maliki failed to impose the blockade on Sadr City for more than one week, the Iraqiya (which I remind you, is the state-tv, not sadr-tv) took the streets of Sadr City to broadcast live the joyful celebrations of the residents, a particularly funny scene was when one of those "ordinary" citizens tried to hold his AK-47 up in the air, the cameraman immediately screamed: "put that down", no such coverage was given to Adhamiya after the 2006 battle there. The level of influence the Sadrists over even the state-owned television gives you an idea of how powerful the movement is.
So what is the truth? is it Doomsday and JAM is going to take over all of Iraq soon? is this a battle between two sectarian parties with little regard to building a powerful nation? or is it the effort of a determined genuine government to crush all unruly discord and dissent?
As I said in my previous post, the ISCI-Da'wa government has long followed a policy of Chamberlainian appeasement toward the powerful Muqtada al-Sadr and his movement, who has far more street cred than them, as I expected, this "moment of truth" isn't going to be any different, after Maliki gave them a 72-hour ultimatum, he extended it to 10-days, also tagged with the usual last-hope when you can't do much else, similar to what the Americans done with the insurgency, luring them with money. hardly the show of force you'd expect from a legitimate, confident Iraqi government against the "Iranian influence and criminal cartels?"
Hey look, the ultimatum is 12 days now, could this be any much more pathetic?
Har har, look.
Police are refusing to give in to Maliki's demands, forcing US planes to come to the rescue, further exposing the weakness of the central government in dealing with problems independently.

So why is this freely elected government acting as such a pussy against an admittedly rogue militia?
PART I: Before 2003
In the beginning, the Shi'i religious movement revolved around one man, Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr (Qado's Uncle, also called the First Sadr), al-Sadr was the brains behind the formation of the first Shi'i religious reform party, the Islamic Call [Da'wa] in 1958, which was basically a Shi'i version of similar Sunni movements like the Muslim Brotherhood [1] , Baqir al-Sadr was an important theologian and philosopher, who sought to work Shi'i Islam into a modern system, his most important work "Our Economy" presents an Islamic economy model that is alternative to Capitalism and Marxism, it was adopted in Sunni Kuwait and allegedly forms the basis for Islamic Banking.
After Khomeini successfully installed his theocracy in Iran, he began calling for a similar one in Iraq, Baqir al-Sadr was his friend, some sources say that he disagreed with Khomeini's Vilayet-Faqih, in any case, he got basically nothing from Khomeini other than nominal support, Sadr had the charisma and appeal to become Iraq's Khomeini, but Saddam was not as weak and reluctant as Pahlavi was, distressed by the rise of theocracy, the Ba'ath Party waged war against religious Iran and crushed internal religious Shi'i movements, executing its figurehead, Sadr, in 1980. (Ironically, the Da'wa was viewed by the West at the time as a terrorist organization, this shows you how 'terrorist' can be applied loosely and how the terrorists of yesterday are the allies of today [2])
the remains of this movement fled abroad, to Syria and then to Iran. There, one of Sadr's disciples Hojjatol-Islam (not an Ayatollah at the time) Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, formed SCIRI, which espoused loyalty to Iranian visions of Pan-Shiism Vilayet-Faqih according to the understanding and centrality of Iran [3]. SCIRI's armed wing, the Badr Briagde, was formed out of Iraqi POWs, allegedly some joined under torture or intimidation. the Badr Briagde was an active part of the 1991 Uprising through its cells in Iraq.
After 1991, Saddam Hussein, always looking for some sort of legitimacy from religious Shi'i theocracy, forced the marj'a Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei, whom he favored over Sistani because the latter was Iranian and the former was of Turkish origins, to be present in television conferences, but that wasn't enough. So the Ba'ath tolerated and probably encouraged the rise of Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr (a cousin of Baqir Sadr, Muqtada's father, and commonly referred to as the Second Sadr), the Ba'ath sought to placate the Shia and to present him as an alternative to the aloof religious leadership in Najaf, led by Sistani after al-Khoei's death in 1992, the Ba'ath expected Sadr II to be less hostile to the regime, but apparently, that didn't materalize, Sadr II emerged as a voice of Shia within Iraq, reconnecting the Shia clergy, which usually abstained from meddling in politics too much, with the rural areas of southern Iraq, Sadr II the involvement of the clergy in politics further ; he held Friday prayers in Kufa, which, in Shi'i customs, can only be held in the presence of the Rightful Imam (Mahdi himself, or, under the Iranian Vilayet-Faqih, Madhi's deputy -Khomeini or Khamenei-), Sadr II built a network of civil services that replaced the neglect of the Ba'ath central government during the years of sanction, and he angrily lashed out against the USA and Israel, while also adopting an indirect confrontation with the Ba'ath, refusing to bestow legitimacy to its rule in exchange for religious freedom, all this was cut short when Sadr II was killed by unknown gunmen in 1999, probably ordered by Saddam Hussein who never tolerated any rising political power. [4]
the rise of Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr was received with hostility from SCIRI, the reasons for this are many: the Arab vs Persian dimension may have played a great part, as al-Sadr meant the rise of an Arab Iraqi Shi'i center whereas SCIRI was aligned with the Iranian vision of a central Shi'i authority mainfested by Vailety al-Fariq, whether this is true or whether Sadr was a Baathist method of splitting Shi'i ranks, al-Hakim repeatedly lashed out against him as a Ba'athist invention, a curse that today finds repeated mention in Iraqi forums, describing the Mahdi Army as nothing but ex-Fedayeen Neo-Baathi thugs. Saddam Hussein employed this hostility, blaming the assassination on Iran and its "agents", in the funeral held for Sadr II at Qom, Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim received a sound bashing by slippers and shoes in an infamous event now known as the "Battle of Adham Mosque"[5] , someone has to write a somewhat detailed account of the roots of this enmity, but what seems to have happened is that eventually, the rift between Sadrists and Badrists had already gone beyond repair by this time, with the Sadrists viewing al-Hakim and his accomplices as Iranian agents and an arrogant upper-class who has little care for the southern population at large, and who left Sadr II to die while opposing his activities. After Sadr II died, his movement went underground.

[1] T. M. Aziz--The Role of Muhammed Baqir al-Sadr in Shii Political Activism in Iraq.
[2] Wikipedia, Dawa Party.
[3] Dhiyaa al-Shkarji, ex-Dawa member, "al-Maliki, Sadrists and ISCI revisited"
[4] Yitzhak Nakash - Reaching For Power: Shia in the Modern Arab World, 96-97.
[5] For a Sadrist account of this event (arabic).
Other details of the hostility between the families of Sadr and Hakim (arabic).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Iraq is fucked up, here's why, I must say that Patrick Cockburn is go(o)d.

As you know, Qaddo's milita is having a tough time is Basra, habibi, al-Maliki himself is over there, habibi, but is this any different really, habibi? Qaddo told Maliki to "leave Basrah, habibi". So far I haven't read something which explains to me what exactly caused this violation of the trumpeted ingenious ceasefire, but I guess it's not important, habibi, those intra-Shi'i clashes haven't needed much of a concrete reason in the past, and I don't believe it's going to end up any different than the previous Sadr-Badr confrontations in Karbala', Diwaniya or Amara. Some fragile truce is going to be negotiated and Hojjatolislam Muqtada al-Sadr would be heralded as the indomitable safety valve of our country, habibi.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Yitzhak Nakash: Reaching For Power - Shia In The Modern Arab World

I shall write soon about the 5th Anniversary but I wanted to postpone that until the 9th of April, in the meantime I'll review this book since I just finished it.

Like me, Nakash is a non-Shi’i (Iraqi Jew) who seems to have developed a fascination with Shi’ism, he’s written a number of books on the subject, including the solid The Conversion of Iraq’s Tribes to Shiism, a book I found thoroughly researched, sourced and balanced, which led me to pick up this book, making it the second Naqash book I read.

The book is essentially a very informative country-by-country overview of Shia conditions beginning from the nation-state period in the Arab world, it outlines in painstaking detail the relationship between the state and Shi’i community in four gruesome chapters, beginning by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, briefly touching on Kuwait [which it praises as the most Shia-tolerant], then jumping headlong into the informative Iraq and Lebanon chapters, before finishing with a brief opinion-recommendation.

One of the more fascinating aspects of this book is the illuminative insight it provides in the role different sects played in shaping current nation-states, before reading this book, I voiced the opinion on this blog or some other blogs that the clash between the Ba’ath and the Shia in the 1980s was in essence a clash between the tyrannical secular state and Pan-[Shi’i] Islamic theocracy, with the Sunni-Shia dimension being only secondary in the conflict. I can tell you now that this view is bullshit, the only definitive fixture in the struggle in Iraq is the Sunni-Shi’i dimension, but it often hides behind other ideologies, for example, while the Sunni ruling elite espoused Pan-Arabism, the Shia by and large were more than fearful of compromising their majority-status in Iraq by joining a Pan-Arab domain in which they will be marginalized as a minority, hence their own choice to embrace a modern ideology was the Communist Party, which I believe has less to do with any appeal of Marxism in the Shia community than it being the only modern ideology (as were the trends of times) strong enough to repel Pan-Arabism at the time ; thus, you can understand the amount of reverence the Shi’i community hold for Abdilkarim Qassim (the face-on-the-moon hoax was actually invented by Thawra (Sadr City now) residents after he was executed), the minority-status of the Sunnis compelled them to stress their Pan-Arab ideology so as to embrace their co-religionists and balance their number, often harping on the cultural ties of Shia with Persia, while the Shia preferred an isolationist policy that maintained their advantage and emphasized general Arab and Tribal values, which was what the Communists preached.

Ironically, the very same Pan-Arabism the Shia of Iraq found unappealing was doted upon by their Saudi co religionists, who sought to counterbalance the ideology of the Saudi state’s Pro-US Pan-Islamism (yeah) which had a strong adversary in Nasser’s Pan-Arabism at the time, basically, the Saudi Shi’is embraced any ideology that promises reform and change, here we see that the choice of ideologies in the Middle East was inspired not by the actual principles of said ideologies but the degree of adaptability they offer to persist the rights of respective communities.

Even more interesting is that while the notion in Pan-Arab Iraq was that the Shia are the separatist traitors, in Lebanon, the Sunnis were the ones labeled traitors to Lebanon because Lebanon was the isolationist country the Shias of Iraq desired ; the Christian-minority Maronites went out of their way to forge Lebanon against the demands of Sunnis to unite it with Syria, they designed Lebanon as a Phoenician non-Arab oasis of the oppressed in the sea of Islam, in fact, there are several eye-opening accounts of several botched president Bshara al-Khori projects, including siding up completely with Israel and resettling all the Shia of Jabal Amil in Iraq in order to increase the numbers of Christians.

The book is largely concerned with the modern politics, it doesn't explain for example why the Shia feel so estranged from the Sunnis when they're both Arabs, History-wise, it's informative and recommended, if anything, the reference index is a treasure trove of Arab-only books on the subject. Where it falls short is when Naqqash advocates his upbeat and optimistic opinion, Naqqash views the ascendancy of Shia as a potential reform palette in the Middle East, reading this book, sometimes you might be persuaded to think of Muqtada as a sharp, intelligent grand strategist, not a confused Nasrallah-wannabe with bad oral hygiene, Naqqash says that Shias have moved from confrontation to accommodation regarding the West, he adds that the only reason theocracy rose in full force is because of the lack of a civil alternative, and he doesn’t invest much in Iran or the idea of its possible dominance through the guise of Pan-Shi’ism, instead describing it as a country very persuaded by democracy and civil rights, he mentions the possibility of Iraqi civil war in a single line amidst his love-fest, of course, this book was written in 2005, so he might be excused a little in that regard. Personally, while I do believe that it is absolutely necessary for any meaningful democracy of any sort to emerge out of the Middle East that the oppressed sects get their say, I don’t see Shias as any better than Sunnis in the field of understanding the grasp of pluralism and multiculturalism, they can be just as barbaric, backward and resilient, if not more due to their history of oppression which forced them to go inward, if Shi’is were the majority and Sunnis were the minority, the results would be quite similar, as long as sentiments in the Middle East adopt a method of discourse that consists of dominating everything at all costs, then it’s hopeless.

The only way Shiism could stand a chance at being a platform for accommodation is the same reason why the Shia Ismaili Fatimid state in Egypt [which ruled a Sunni population] exhibited a larger degree of religious tolerance in its times, that is, self-conscious recognition of their own status as a minority, which prompts them to encourage freedom and liberty as necessary for their survival, in this case too, it is a fake democracy aimed only at escaping persecution and not genuine belief in equality and modern citizenship values.

A good overview of Iraqi Kurdistan's "Democracy."

Is Iraqi Kurdistan A Good Ally?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Abu Jasim!!!

Yesterday, Mohammed ibn Abdillah, salla allahu 'alayhi wa salam, the prophet of the Muslim faith, turned, wait, 1438 years, my mother made a cake for him, a chocolate and caramel cake with strawberries, I don't think she could fit 1438 candles on it, anyway, my parents, in a rare ceremonial move, decided to hold a "festival" in this anniversary yesterday, in which each family member is required to prepare an anecdote about the prophet. The cheery family sat down at tea-time like some cheesy scene from those Islamic Educational TV series nobody watches, my father talked about something, my mother talked about something else, my sister talked about the Danish Cartoons Controversy, and my 14-year-old Metallica-freak brother talked about something he didn't understand, while I hung out and played pool, chess and checked out some babes, I also decided to try out the Bluetooth-style pick-up technique at City Mall, all I got was a dozen guys and a lone woman called "Um Mazin", I sent a Divorce SMS to Um Mazin انت طالق ثلاثا and that's it.

ولد الهدى فالكائنات ضياء و فم الزمان تبسمُ وثناء

Happy Birthday, Abu Jasim!
My 2006 post about this occasion, it also has some history about my stint as the lead singer of an Islamic boyband that tours mosques when I was 12, it's funny, wil nabi.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"No Baghdadi Mentioned The Surge"

Okay, so the shiny-happy why-not-go-back- to-Iraq camp's argument was that Nir Rosen is irreparably biased to be reporting meaningfully on Iraq, but I wonder what are you going to dig up on formerly pro-war Iraqi Christian blogger-turned-news photographer Ghaith Abdul-Ahad after watching his recent series of films, City of Walls, which is almost incomparable in pessimism with Rosen:

"I came to investigate the American military reports that violence is falling in Baghdad...that the US surge has transformed the city....what I found contradicts all the official reports, Baghdad is a city where one street is at war with the next, where the people are more desperate than I've ever seen has been transformed into a city of walls...[these walls] are the main reason why the casualities have fallen, not because peace is an odd sway."

Ghaith visits two opposite Sunni and Shi'i districts, one of them is my district, al-Adhamiya, the part which he shows used to be a very lively place filled with car auto-shops, only dogs roam it now, what also amazed is the barbed wire and the gridlock put on the stairway over the highway, there were no such things when I was last there in September 2006.

A friend and I tried to discern whether what he meant by the opposite district was al-Qahira or al-Sha'ab, but in the end, we couldn't tell what it was, and couldn't care, because the only place it brought to our memory was quite telling.


Here's another video from that series.

NOTE: The district turned out to be al-Qahira, speaking of al-Qahira, here's a nice story, my aunt used to live next to our house in Adhamiya, they left to Egypt soon after we left to Jordan, my aunt's husband, Abdilhussein [the only Shia member of our family] returned for some family business a few months later, he wouldn't dare go to their Adhamiya house, so he spent his time in al-Qahira district.

A map of Baghdad clarifying the area where all of this took place.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Christians in Iraq

the Chaldean Archbishop is found dead. I don't understand what would al-Qaeda gain from attacking Christians, a politically marginalized minority that is even not very united itself ; it seems their only plan is to cause strife between communities and piss everybody off ; the Wikipedia page does mention that the Archbishop was a bit vocal about announcing his objection to the growing fundamentalism of the country, which might have caused this tragic incident. Regardless, this is not the first Christian figure killed in Mosul, Theocracy is bad, bad, bad for you.
The Christian community in Iraq is divided between two ethnicities: Chaldean and Assyrians, within Iraq's new reality, the two has been lumped together as Chaldo-Assyrian by Jalal Talabani, but it doesn't seem they have much in common aside from religion, I had a Chlaldean friend who was vehemently opposed to this categorization, and he told me that they consider Assyrians "dirty." I was actually quite surprised since most of the Christians I know looked really open-minded and secular. Most of my other Christian friends are Assyrian, including my friend Ninos who was kille d in 2006 and in general, most of the Christians I've met favor Saddam Hussein, in their eyes, all that matters is that he was a secular who cracked down on all forms of theocracy, their natural oppressor. It seems to me that this sentiment was born out of long periods of tensions under Ottoman rule, I also think that the Christians of Syria [mostly Assyrians] also support al-Assad's minority pesudo-Shia Alawite secular dictatorship for the same reason.
Since we're talking about Christians in Iraq, look at this report about the Jesus-Camp missionary maniacs in Iraq, I've never heard of such a thing before in Iraq, I guess they didn't succeed much.
*To support my argument that there's a sizable Christian support for Saddam, Here's an Iraqi poetry set to music by famous Iraqi Christian composer Ra'id George, it's made by a Christian Group calling itself Suqoor Talkif (Hawks of Talkif - Talkif is a majority-Christian area in Ninewa) in which they insult Hakim, Muqtada and Sistani. (offensive), even though most of the tensions Christians in Iraq have is between them and Sunni Muslims, many Christians I know (incl. this song) doesn't seem to view the Shia theocracy as anything better, my Chaldean friend used to tell me how his father was insulted as a 'najis' [unclean] in Amara, a southern province.
*Here's an Iraqi Shia Rap Group's response to this song. [extremely crass and offensive]
*YouTube Tribute to the Archbishop.
*The usually friendly Iraqi Christian blogger Marshmallow26 reacts in a great post angrily to the murder, this post is a good example of how old religious tensions corrupts the friendship and harmony of co-existence. Amazing, she proves two of my above-mentioned points : she lets out her frustration about ugly Muslim-Christian tensions in Mosul and her respect for Saddam Hussein (both I wrote about above), this post is a great example of how people are left wondering which is real: the hostility, or the friendship? This is why religious rule is bad anywhere on this Earth ; it highlights hostilities and sooner or later this is what you get, the only way forward is to kill organized religion once and for all.
In other news, my blog has been counted #3 on a Channel4 article: 10 Iraqi Blogs You Should Read, after Zeyad and Iraqi Blog Count, the latter I co-edit.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Layla Anwar

Layla Anwar is in Jordan, her most recent post describes a security check that is necessary before you obtain your legal residency ; something most Iraqis in Jordan don't have.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Categories of Syrian Hijab

Being a closeted Pan-Arabist (democracy first!) , there are two countries I especially like: Egypt and Syria. Egypt was the leader of the modern Arab world, even though that role has faded with the stagnation of the Pan-Arab movement, weighted down by dictatorships, Egypt remains the cultural and intellectual hub of the Middle East. Syria, in spite of all its totalitarian, evil-axis troubles, has also managed to wield an impact on the larger Arab world recently. I've been to Syria last September, and it looks just like Iraq before the war (it even has Iraqis :D) but there are waaaay more pictures of Bashar al-Assad than Saddam Hussein ever did.
Here's a brilliant caricature drawn by Puppeteer, whose blog is now defunct. [click to enlarge]

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Re: Wafa Sultan

I attended the Friday prayer two days ago. The Palestinian preacher changed my mind about Wafa Sultan, I think the maniacs balance each other out.

"And my God annihilate the Jews, your enemies and the enemies of religion, and by God, make them righteous [slaves?] farms for the Muslims, my God widow their women, My God, make us victorious over the crusading, infidel America, and the crusading, cunning Britain! and may PEACE be upon the Prophet, arise for the prayer, may God BLESS you...."

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Tribute To My Iraqi Shia Friends

Looking at my recent posts, the word 'Shi'i' seems everywhere, I have been ranting too much, way too much about that ; so I thought I'd do this post to remember my good times with them.
Most of my college friends were southern Shi'i, when I first started learning about the differences and hostility between Sunnis and Shia in 2006, this created a dilemma for me, I would spend the night getting so pumped up with rage when learning about the Shia doctrine, and then I would go to college, and that frustration would all fade away the moment I met the first one of them.
When I went to UNHCR back in September 2007, I did not hang out with the elegantly-dressed Baghdadis, instead, I immediately connected with a southerner from Basra ; I can't help their simplicity and modesty, soon enough I was sitting with the whole mashraga, Nasiriya, Hilla, you name it. it felt back like college for a brief while. However, being in Jordan, none of my friends are here with me, and this has naturally led to some imbalance on that point, this post is aimed to at trying to regain that balance and to remind myself and you that it wasn't some apartheid segregation and that only religion is keeping us away from each other.

Sixi Princi:
Princi is my best friend, we worked together on a lot of video projects (notice the early use of the name "Abbas" in this post, subconscious?) he is one of the nicest people one could ever hope to meet, he's now in Sweden and has long hair, beware. Princi has a picture of Sistani above his bed, but he is not an orthodox Shia, for starts he thinks it's completely valid to pray with Sunnis (and he did pray with us in public once in a Sunni mosque amazingly in 2005! Was it so good so late?) and last I heard he doesn't even believe in Mahdi.
Eihab: Eihab was a tall, strangely white, bald dude from Kerbala with Turkish descent. He was a very close friend of mine, an atheist, but like most Iraqi atheists his sectarian identity did not fade with his religion (he chose the 555 bloc). Like me, in his latter days Eihab became more aware of his sectarian identity, but that never affected our friendship ; we joked about it all the way until he died. He was killed in 2006 and he appears in the tribute video I made for him and three other dead pals.
Jidida: Jidida is a Baghdadi who had affinity for Muqtada al-Sadr. He's such a modest dude, he also bore intense hatred for the Badr brigade, who were unmistakably Iranian to him, but more so for Saddam Hussein. I talked about him earlier in my blog here.
Muqdad: Here comes the good stuff. Muqdad comes from Najaf, and he was named after Al-Muqdad al-Aswad, a companion of Ali (he too, is aswad, very dark-skinned), however, I think his similarity with the prominent companion ends about here. Muqdad was a very, very, very horny, muscled individual who'd tell us hilarious fantastical stories about his fake misadventures. God, those were the days...
Mudhaffar "Giraffe": A tall guy from al-Misyab, Mudhaffar was a very simple individual with a very imposing neck, he also asks every new girl in college to be his girlfriend.
Weezi: One time I burnt the garbage can with a hastily-thrown cigarette in our college department as a joke, Weezi instantly searched me out and introduced me to the "cool" community due to that feat. I didn't know Diwaniya people were famous for their wise-cracking until I met Weezi, a Yoda-like smartass character who, in his own words, if he ever wanted to talk to you then that means he wants 5 bucks.
Hamchi: Hamchi was an ultra-religious, Persian-accent-during-prayer Badr-sympathizer from Najaf. He thinks I will go to hell because I don't pray the Shi'i way and he thinks praying with Sunnis is a sin that rivals drinking wine, he was also one of the nicest people I have ever met. I used to mess with him about his suit and ties almost daily, it was with Hamchi that I engaged in the little *honest* sectarian debate at my college and it always ended so respectably, Hamchi is married now and he's working somewhere in the south. Last time I heard from him he wanted to elect Mithal al-Alusi. Both Hamchi and Eihab appear in this early post.

My time with those people were some of the best I have ever had in my life, I never felt strange or detached between them, we never discussed religion or politics, it was all regular college topics: girls, girls and girs. On the contrary, they were so easily lovable and very fun-going and hip, you can understand how difficult it is for me to talk about the huge sectarian differences when all my friends are of the opposite sect, of course, I am aware of some limits, most of these people, for religious reasons (including me) would not marry of the opposite sect (in fact, I did want to marry a Shi'i girl in particular just to annoy a sectarian member of my family, but on thinking it through I realized that the sectarian differences are just too great ; maybe if she's secular, and hot), but it is largely for the memory of those people that I do not want Iraq to divided, it is for those people that I feel truly belonging and I do believe a secular government is necessary to strengthen those ties and de-emphasize the hostile history. Looking back, it's hard for me to decide which is real and what to embrace: the violent religious and historical enmity, or the honest transcending feelings of friendship? I guess it's a problem for all multicultural societies.


Eternal Ziyara كافي يمعودين

There are two places where it would especially suck, life-wise, having a Shia supremacy: Arabia and Iraq.

In Shi'i belief: There are 14 Infallibles = 12 Imams + Muhammed + Fatima (PBUH's daughter.)
Seven of those are in Iraq, (six, but counting the Mahdi)
The others, with the exception of Ridha, who's in Iran, are in Saudi Arabia.

So, what's the big deal? Okay, the big deal is that the Shia hold a mourning ritual and a birth ritual for each of those 14 dudes, that's about an entire month in the calendar where the whole country would have to galvanize all of its resources to protect and serve the hordes of visitors of the shrine of this Imam and that. Not to mention of course, the roads blocked throughout the city for the on-foot visitors, in short, the entire country would have to shut down.

So just when the supposedly 9 million Shia gathering in Hussein's Arabien at Kerbala dispersed, another ziyara was soon taking place in Najaf (where Ali is) - on top of it all, the ceremony is not related to Ali, but it is actually The Martyrdom of the Prophet. I mean, seriously!

and martyrdom? Gee, the Prophet was murdered? upon research, it seems that I have overlooked another feature of the tapestry of the Nasibi Sunni oppression against Shia, it seems that the Prophet was poisoned by Aisha and Hafsa, so that their parents, Abu Bakr and Umar could undertake the plot to deny Ali the caliphate.

All right, I have already established that Sunnis and Shia have little to claim in the vein of friendship or unity, but dude! I'm all for co-existence, but from a statesman point of view, should the year be completely dedicated to one ziyara after the next? Is that all you have to show for being liberated from Saddam Hussein? Secular Shia MP Iyad Jamal al-Din said that the overwhelming attendance of the Shi'i rituals in 2003 and 2004 was because people were trying to release the pent-up pressure of years where those religious rituals were denied by the Ba'ath. But it's 2008 now and it seems to get bigger than ever, Jamal al-Din himself seem to share my view, he was complaining about the politicization of those flagellation ceremonies and its use by political parties to re-assert themselves, Shia claim it's about establishing identity, but shouldn't that have already taken place now? We get it, you're in power! Thank you very much.

Here's the ِABRIDGED!!!! Shia festivities calendar, looking at it, I guess I should be thankful there are ONLY 7 shrines here. In general, martyrdoms are much more important than births, which are only massively celebrated for the principal Imams (Ali, Mahdi, etc)

10 Muharram: Hussein (Kerbala)
24 Muharram: Al-Askari Shrine Explosion, Samarra
25 Muharram: Zain Al-Abideen (Medina)
7 Safar : Hasan (Medina)
17 Safar : Ridha (Mashhad)
20 Safar : Hussein 40 (Kerbala)
28 Safar : Muhammed (Najaf - should be Medina)
5 Rabi1 : Sakina (Damascus?)
9 Rabi1 : Fatima's Joy [At Umar's Death]
17 Rabi1 : Birth Muhammed & Sadiq (Medina)
8 Rabi2 : B Askari (Samarra)
5 Jamad1 : B Zainab (Damascus)
17 Jamad1 : Fatima (Medina)
20 Jamad2 : B Fatima (Medina)
1 Rajab : B Baqir (Medina)
2 Rajab : B Hadi (Samarra)
3 Rajab : Hadi (Samarra)
25 ٌRajab : Musa al-Kazim (Baghdad) <-Al Aimma Bridge, 2005
3 Shaban : B Hussein (Kerbala)
5 Shaban : B Zain Abideen (Medina)
15 Shaban : B Mahdi + 1991 Rev (Kerbala) <- Sadr/Badr clashes, 2007
15 Ramadan : B Hasan (Medina)
19 Ramadan : Ali, Day 1
21 Ramadan : Ali Martyrdom (Najaf)
8 Shawal: Destruction of Shia Shrines in Arabia by Wahabis, 1920s
25 Shawal : Sadiq (Medina)
11 Qi3da : B Ridha (Mashhad)
7 Hijja : B Baqir (Medina)
18 Hijja : Ghadir (Najaf)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

ME Leaders Pastime

Hazrat Feetarchi Nijad didn't visit Najaf and Kerbala, which was rather odd as he's ultra-conservative, there have been speculations as to why. However, Nijad did the next best thing, he visited al-Kadhumiya shrines in Baghdad (two Shi'i Imams there, but not as important as Kerbala or Najaf), here's footage from SIIC's al-Furat TV. (why is he folding hands, Sunni-style?)
Here's also Nijad in a heated Iranian Shi'i flagellation latmiya ritual, he cries at the end of the rave.
By comparison, here's Saudi Riyadh governor Prince Sulman Bin Abdulaziz's dance with George Bush during the latter's ME visit, one of the most appallingly stupid things I've ever seen. You really gotta love Saudi Arabia's masquerade as the leader of "moderate" Arabs and Islam when they kiss ass so affectionately.
This is why Shi'i leaders like Hasan Nasrallah and Ahmadinijad are gaining ground in the Middle East, in spite of the intensified sectarian campaign spearheaded by Saudi Arabia , the US's best Arab puppy in the region since the beginning of it all, and even though the campaign is working anyway because, like I said before, the intentions of Shi'is aren't exactly friendly and hostility defines the relationship, much to the delight of Shaytan Bozorg herself and her puppies, who are using the Shi'i threat to rally support for their unpopular regimes in the same manner they are doing that with the Danish cartoons.
In spite of all this, Nasrallah probably still remains the most respected leader in the Middle East.

Wafaa Sultan

This woman is the other end of radicalism. like other people cashing in on Islamophobia (and clearly directed by hands similar to those that brought you MEMRI) ; Angry Arab [my new hero] articulates my thoughts about her.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Nijad In Baghdad

"How interesting that Ahmadinejad, unlike a U.S. president who has to be airlifted unannounced into ultra-secure bases, was able to convoy in from the airport in broad daylight on a road that U.S. dignitaries fear to travel."

I have received messages saying that Baghdad was suspiciously quiet the day Ahmadinijad was there, does anyone have links to confirm?

Iraqi reactions to the visit were as predictable ; outcry and demonstrations in the Sunni provinces alone, Sunni MP Salih al-Mutlaq claimed that the Shia could not do the same because of the Turbaned Snakes parties, yeah, right. A fairly good amount of Shi'i writers have praised the visit on the net, which I suppose is more like it.

This symbolic visit is indeed historic, also, Ahmedinijad is the first president to visit Baghdad since 2003, a move no Arab leader to date has carried out.

Okay, now I ask you, could this be any more sectarian?

Image Source: Pro-Baathist

Sunday, March 02, 2008

الضمير العربي صوت و صورة مجانا حصريا بدون اشتراك

Right Click > Save As Here (MP3, 100 MB)
YouTube Video
Video For Download (180 MB)

إليك جريمة أخرى يرتكبها إعلامنا العربي و حكوماتنا أجلها الله في تغييب و تسطيح العقول, جريمة أبصرت نتاجها بأم عيني عندما كنت في العراق حيث يفجر الشباب العربي المسكين نفسه وهو قرير السريرة بما يفعل بعد ان أقفل عقله , جريمة أدرك تماما مفعولها فهي جرعة أخرى من الجرعات التي ما تبرح تتلقاها في كل مكان حيث إني كنت يوما ما احد مستسيغيها و متذوقيها. و لكن رغم هذا و ذاك فيجب ان أقول اني شاهدت هذا العمل بأمل تشوبه مرارة شديدة bittersweet, فعلى الرغم من إني أعيش في دولة عربية خائفا أترقب وقد لقيت من العرب كرما حينا و ذلا أحيانا, إلا ان رؤية العرب متحدين في أمر ما – على الرغم من مسرحيته و عدم جدواه – هو لأمر يبهج المرء رغما عنه. والحق يقال فالعمل الطويل هذا – 40 دقيقة – كفيل بإستدرار عواطفك من المحاجر ؛ فهذه اللطمية الغنائية مستوعبة تماما مفهوم فن الرثاء البالغ التأثير في النفس العاطفية العاربية, وخاصة تصوير فاجعة قتل القديس من قبل الشياطين بأدق تفاصيلها البشعة ؛ و ذلك درس يمكنك إدراك قوته اللاعقلانية إن جربت يوما أن تكون في مجلس عزاء حسيني حيث يجري دمعك رغما عنك حتى لو كنت ملحدا زنديقا مثلما حصل لإيهاث هنا , و لا مراء ؛ فسيصعب عليك ان تهزأ و انت ترى سلسلة من صور المذلة و المهانة في وصلة ليس فيها أي مسحة من الأمل, تحزن صادقا حتى وأنت تعرف ان هؤلاء القومجية الذين صنعوا هذه اللطمية هم أنفسهم السبب الرئيسي في إماتة القلوب و تحويل أفكار النضال و المقاومة الى مفردات سخيفة مضحكة نسخر منها سرا في عراق أبو الليثين و سوريا الأسد حيث أفترق القول و الفعل وشتان بين التنظير و التطبيق: وهنا ينبري الجزء الثاني من مؤامرة التسطيح و التغييب على العقل العربي و هم الإسلاميون القعقاعيون بصرختهم القطيعية الموحدة "الإسلام هو الحل" فيسبون و يشتمون الناصريين و العفالقة و ملابس الفنانة كذا التي كانت سببا في انحلال الكرامة عند المسلمين (بالإضافة طبعا الى المركبات الكيميائية الدؤوبة لمنع الشهامة التي يضعها القرد-الخنزير في العلكة و البركر كنك و كل شيء وكأن هذا هو السبب الوحيد في السحل المتوالي الذي لقنوه إيانا على مرار الخمسين سنة المنصرمة) والواقع المرير هو ان أهل السبح و اللحى هؤلاء هم أتعس من سابقيهم لإن الإعتراض عليهم هو الإعتراض على المقدس بينما هم الذين يسيئون الى هذا المقدس أكثر من غيرهم – فليس العيب لا في الإسلام و لا في القومية – إذ إنك لو نظرت الى أدبيات عفلق تجدها مشرقة بيضاء تسر الناظرين, ولكن الخلل في هذا و ذاك هو التطبيق الديكتاتوري المسرف الذي لا تأخذه لومة لائم وهذا تراه نفسه بين الفريقين بتطابق مضحك في تحشيد الجماهير ديماغوجيا ضد العدو الخارجي الغاصب (وهذه كانت وسيلة هتلر الأولى) بينما يكمن سبب الفشل الأول الذي يجب ان يسب و يلعن يوميا في الداخل. وهم في هذا أشبه بالعراقيين الذين يعيرون دوما بانهم اهل الشقاق و النفاق وانهم هم الذين قتلوا الحسين و يمشون بجنازته (وذلك صحيح) ؛ فمثلما يلطم الشيعة اليوم على أبو اليمة و هم الذين كانوا السبب الرئيسي في مجزرته متناسين دورهم الفظيع هذا وملقين باللوم على مؤامرة جنجلوتية سرمدية حملت سيف السقيفة الذي ذبحت به الآل, فعطل الفكر وغيب المقصد و نتج عن ذلك "روتانا لطمية" تؤسس و تشجع التنويم المغناطيسي الشامل حيث تحولت روح الثورة على الظلم التي كانت محرك التشيع القديم الى مجرد طقوس و شعائر مشخصنة إنتهت الغاية و المقصد عندها فالظلم مقبول ما دام الظالم يصلي على محمد و آل محمد و ينصر ولده و يلعن عدوه مقتدى مقتدى مقتدى, فينهمك الرعيع بتأدية الشعائر و يتفرقون و كأن شيئا لم يكن فأذعنوا أخيرا بطبيعة البشرية بعدم قدرتها على إيجاد مجتمع فاضل فعلا و دخلوا فيما دخل فيه الناس من ملء الأرض بالظلم و الجور– فمثل هؤلاء يقوم القومجيون و الإسلاميون أيضا بإنتاج هذه المراثي التي لا ضير منها ما دام الجبت و الطاغوت (أمريكا و إسرائيل) هم وراء كل الفتن ما ظهر منها و ما بطن و الباقي كله صحيح صافي 24 قيراط ؛ نعم, أنا لا أنكر أن أمريكا و إسرائيل هم سبب في كثير من هذه الجرائم ولكن هذه هي وظيفتهم في الحياة فهم خصومنا, وان قدرتهم على نيل مرادهم بذكاء و حنكة لا يعني ان هناك مؤامرة خنفشارية تكالبت عليها كل أمم الأرض ضدك هي السبب في فشلك المتوالي, فالسبب واضح جلي و ما عليك سوى ان تنظر في المرآة لتدركه و ان تتوقف عن العيش منكرا واقعك in denial.

فنيا فان شعور الإحباط في هذه اللطيمة واضح الى حد الإشفاق, وكأن كاتب كلماتها قومجي أصولي بائس على وشك مغادرتنا إنتحارا , وقد أبرع المخرج في تحشيد كل ما أفجع و أصاب من أرشيفات الحروب و السجون (الأمريكية و الإسرائيلية حصرا طبعا ) و من أشد ما آلمني فيه كانت هذه المصلاوية الصارخة المستنهضة التي لا يسعني رؤيتها خجلا و مشهد الكلب الذي ينهش فلسطينية في النهاية, ولكن رغم هذه العاطفة الجياشة فستظل مجرد فقاعة غنائية جميلة مخدرة لا تسمن و لا تغني من جوع, وجل أملنا فيها هو ان تلين قلوب العرب شعوبا تجاه بعضهم بعضا. نستودعكم الله بانتظار إنبعاث صلاح الدين الأيوبي ليملأ الأرض حبة سودة و فلفل و بهارات كما ملئت تويكس و باونتي و كيت كات جنكي , والى ذلك الحين فلنردد : ماتت قلوب الناس, ماتت بنا النخوة, والله افلح من طبر.

I am a Pan-Arabist, but a cynical one anyway ; I still hope Pan-Arabism someday won't be a synonym for tyranny. But for now, let us daydream and blame our horrible factionalism on the outsider occupation in this 40-min beautiful "Arab Conscience" piece, at least it's better than the last Pan-Arab collaboration "the Arab Dream", there are two Iraqi singers there (Majid and Ridha - both I'm not a big fan of) but there's also my lady Syrian Asala Nasri as well, in addition to those, 100 Arab singers and actors united for this work, a rare solidarity moment.

لطيفـــــــــــــــــــــــــــه (تونس)
انا عــــــــايزة العــــــالم كله يمد كفوفه ســـــــلام
والســــلم العربى يكون ســــلام مش استســــــلام

هــــــــانى شـــــــاكر (مصر)
انا عربـــــى ورافض صمى وكاتم احساس جوايا
والشعب العربى فى صـــفى هقول ويردو ورايــــا

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

نانـــــــسى عجــــــــرم(لبنان)
يا صــــــاحبى يا انســــان هنــا او فى اى مكـــان
ببعـت رسالتــــى ليك تطـــــــوى بها الاحــــــزان

الشــــــــاب خالــــــــــد (جزائر)
نبــــــــنى مع المـــــــلاين بالعدل والايمـــــــــان
ياللــــــــه انا وانت نبنى العـــــــالم امـــــــــــــان

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

شيـــــــــــــــريــــــــــن (مصر)
اصل البشر انســــــــان كل الرســـل اخــــــــوان
موســـى وعيســـى ومحمد بيرفضــــو العــــدوان

صــــــابر الربــــاعـــى (تونس)
وبيرفضــــو زلنــــــــا وبيمجـــــــدو الانســــــان
الله هو المحبــــــــه دينـــــا هو الســـــــــــــــــلام

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

رضـــــا العبـــــــــــدلله (عراق)
قلنـــــا شعاع النـــــــور فى حلمنـــــــــــــا الاول
يوصـــــل سمـــــا وبحــــور يا لاسف طـــــــول

امــــــــــال ماهــــــــــر (مصر)
طــــــــول لان اللـــــيل خلى الضـــــمير ابكـــــم
لو باقــــى فينـــا يــــوم لابد ان نحلـــــــــــــــــــم

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

خــــــــالد سليـــــــــــــم (مصر)
مات الاحساس جوانـــا ولا احنا اللى امــــــــوات
ولا ضـــمير العالم خلاص احســـــاسه مــــــــات

احـــــــــــــــــــــــــــلام (إمارات)
وســلاح الشجــــــب معانا شايلينو للازمــــــــات
والناس بتعــــانى معانا بدايات من غير نهايــــات

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

ديــانــــا كـــــــــــرزون (أردن)
قــــــــم يا اخـــى بالدم واستنهض الهمـــــــــــــــه
واصـــــرخ وقل بالفم ما غاب فى القمـــــــــــــــه
عبــــــــدالله الرويشـــــد (كويت)
سنقـــاوم مهما قالو ارهابــــــــــا او عـــــــــدوان
لن يهدأ قلـــب فينا حتى ننتقى الجـــــــــــــــولان

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

وعـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــد (سعودية)
انا رافضــــــه هيمنتك تحت ستـــــــار الحريــــه
انا رافضــــــه رايك نصـحك بإسم الديمقراطيــــه

ايهـــــاب توفيـــــــــــق (مصر)
الحــــريه مش منـــحه تتفــــــــــضل بيها عليــــه
ارادتنا تمحى المحــــنه إصحى يا امه يا عربيــــه

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

مصطـــــفى محفـــــوظ
عمر الســــلام ما كان احـــــلام بنشوفها منــــــــام
الظـــلم فى كل مكـــان يانـــــــاس كفايه كــــــــلام
امـــــل حجــــــــــــازى (لبنان)
حــــربك ضد الارهـــاب عنوان ظــــالم كــــداب
مفهــومك للحريه ضد حقـــــــــــوق الانســـــــان

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

وائـــــل جســـــــــــــار
اطفــال شيـــوخ نسـاء تصرخ وما حدش سامـــع
اشـلاء دمـاء شـهداء و ضمــــــير العالم ضايـــع

يا امه صــــحى الهمه وصــــلى صوتك للكــــون
قتلو رمــــــــوز الامه ولا حــــرك فيهم سكــــون

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

عمــــــــــــــار حســـــن
هـى عادة فينـــا نرعى حقـــــــــــوق الجـــــــــار
هذه الشـــــــــعوب غدت عزمـا بغير قــــــــــرار

اصــــــاله نصــــــــرى (سوريا)
نبــــكى ودمع الناس دمع بغــــــــير رثــــــــــــاء
فإذا غــفى الاحساس ماذا يفيــــــــد بكــــــــــــــاء

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

الشـــــــاب جيلانـــــــى (ليبيا)
عذرا رســــول الله فى حـــــــــــرمه الاديــــــــان
لو لــــى مدى احيـــــاء فســــــأطلب الغفـــــــران
نانســـــى زعبــــــلاوى (مصر)
فبــــعزة التـــــــوراة ومحبــــــــه الانجيــــــــــل
بحكــــمه القــــــــران تبقى الاديان دليــــــــــــــل

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

مــــــاجد المهنــــــــدس (عراق)
غـــــزة بغـــداد بيــــروت الحزن فى كل مكــــان
عزيمتنا لا ما تموت راح تقوى بالايمــــــــــــــان
امنـــــــه فاخــــــــــــــر (تونس)
كلنا اخوان فى الازمه ايد واحدة على العـــــــدوان
كلنا واعيين للفتنه كلنـــــــــــــــا ملك الاوطــــــان

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

لطـــــفى بوشنــــــــــاق (المغرب)
لعبــتهم هى الفتــنه ولازم نكــــون صــــــــاحيين
للفتــنه ونــار الفتــنه لازم نكون واعـــــــــــــيين

يـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــارا (لبنان)
لا تقـــول مســـلم ومســيحى كلنا واحد إخــــــوان
لا تقول سنـــى وشيــعى كلـــــنا اسمنا لبنــــــــان

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

عمــر عبــد الـــــــلات (أردن)
ياخـــويا يا عــــربى احنا بقينـــــــا اغــــــــــراب
يا صـــــمتنا العربى انطـــــق كفايه غيـــــــــــاب

نــــوال الكـــــــــــويتيه (كويت)
ارفــــــــع جبينك فــــوق خلى الكـــــلام فعـــــال
يا ضمــــــيرنا يا عـــــــربى محال موتك محــــال

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

نـــــــور مهـــــــــــــنـــا (سوريا)
الله يا الله عـــــــاذت بــــــــــنا الاعـــــــــــــــداء
نـــــاديت يا لله ما خــــــاب فيك رجــــــــــــــــاء

فاتـــــــن هـــــــــــــلال (المغرب)
ايقـــــــظ ضـــــــمير الامه رجع لها الاحســــــاس
يا رافع الغـــمه صحـــــــى ضــــــمير النـــــــاس

ماتت قلوب الناس ماتت بنا النخوة يمكن نسينا فى يوم ان العرب اخوة

مـــــؤمن احــــــــــــــمد
صـــــــحى قلوب الناس صـــحى بها النخـــــــوة
اصــــرخ بكل احساــــــــس ان العرب اخـــــــوة

Shooting War Revisited

Remember when I reviewed comics about two months ago? I actually only did that because I wanted to review Persepolis, but in the process I started finding out about more interesting comics and reviewing them seemed more fun. After I reviewed both Shooting War and Pride of Baghdad, I wrote to both creators, baiting the first for a discussion, and asking for a signed copy from the other. Sure enough, soon I was engaged in a lengthy debate with Shooting War's writer Anthony Lappe, who thought I was being unfair to his work ; after two days of back-and-forth e-mailing I concluded by saying that I conceded to some of his objections but will revise my review only after reading the full published work so as to give my final say on the matter. He said that he'd contact his London publisher who will mail me a copy, I once had stuff sent to me by James Langley (who sent me his Iraq in Fragments/Sari's Mother free of charge, and who was sitting in both this year and last year Academy Awards ceremony) and Vice Magazine and it took only two days, so I assumed the same. after a week with nothing arriving I gave up and decided to move on to other material, thinking that this'd be the last of it.

Apparently not, about a week ago, polite Anthony commented a bit less politely on the review, I reminded him of my conditions, but I think he was still a bit glum about it, at first, I didn't understand his sudden interest after a month of absence, but I think it has to do with the fact that typing "Shooting War Review" in Google gives my page as the 1st Result.
Anyway, even though he is perhaps correct about minor details, such as his depiction of Green Zone employees as South Asian and Indians (with turbans, which I assumed it sits with the other barrage of inaccuracies about Iraqis he had filled the book with) which he claims are the norm regarding employees serving there (I asked Neurotic Wife about this but she didn't reply), my review is still an accurate representation of my opinion regarding the book: that the only thing powerful about it is that it misguides its readers into believing that this is a narrative that reflects reality, as is the case in most US media, this book gets America's side right and Iraq's side (which is supposed to matter most) horribly wrong, it's anything but reality, I suspect Anthony himself knows that it's only appeal is its grainy toughness, but after I flooded him with criticisms about his flimsy plot, he retorted by saying it's a fictional work not inspired not really inspired by facts ; if that's so, then it's a very boring, lackluster one without anything you haven't seen before.
What Lappe should've done is stay out of stuff he doesn't care to understand and focus on universal facts, like Brian K Vaughan did with Pride of Baghdad, I believe this book is timeless ; he promised he'd send me it but nothing arrived as well, so I went and bought it from, yes, it's so cool that it prompted a 23-year-old Middle Easterner whose software, books, movies and games are entirely pirated to go out and buy it legally.
Here it is proudly sitting on my desk. I also replaced the picture in my previous post with a better quality one.