Friday, September 16, 2005

Now Tal-Afar. . . . Who is next ??

There is some thing strange, that is the media's silence about what is going on in Tal-Afar.
Tal-Afar is a city about 80 km north-west of Mosul. For the last week, about 10,000 soldiers from the US troops, Kurdish peshmerga and Badir army (a shiee militia) were laying siege to the city.

Most of the residents have left their homes and settled in the neighboring villages and in Mosul.
Reports in the Iragia TV channel said, they killed about 200 terrorists in the operation, but what we heard from the people fled from their, that the fighters inside Tal-Afar have left the city already.
Some of the refugee said that most of the people killed were civilians who had no place to go so they chose to stay in their homes, stayed because they feared persecution at the hands of the Peshmerga and Badr Army.

Families fled from the city are staying in refugee camps out side the city, the government has not provided any shelter, food or drink for them.

Most people in Tal-Afar would choose rather to be detained by the Americans now, because they know if Iraqi soldiers or Iraqi police detain them they will be tortured severely, and possibly killed. This gives you an idea of how bad it is with these Iraqi soldiers.

I have difficulty in explaining my feeling. But just imagine how an Iraqi person prefer to be detained by an American but not by the Iraqis, his own countrymen...!!!


madtom said...

Well I heard that leaders from other cities were told that if they take control of their cities and remove the terrorist, and cooperate with the government in Baghdad, that the army would not be sent in, and they would not suffer like Tal Afar.

strykerdad said...

Would anyone want this guy's job? I doubt there is any way he could make ANYBODY happy, circumstances being what they are.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - (KRT) - As U.S. airstrikes pummeled insurgent strongholds in western Iraq recently, Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun al Duleimi sipped bitter lime tea and watched news of the operation on a flat-screen TV in his opulent office in Baghdad.

His cell phone chirped with calls from furious Sunni Arab leaders, but al Duleimi had nothing left to say to them. The powerful tribesmen and clerics had squandered chance after chance to evict foreign fighters from their perennially violent cities, he said. Once again, the time had come to flush insurgents from Anbar and Ninevah provinces by force, and al Duleimi no longer cared whether other Sunni Muslims called him a traitor for dispatching Iraqi troops to help the Americans who were storming through his ancestral lands.

"I belong to that area. That's why I'm between the hammer and the nail," al Duleimi said, referring to his roots in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar. "But I have no choice. Why are they angry? If they claim they control those areas, why didn't they stop the violence there?"

A self-described liberal pacifist, al Duleimi now commands a billion-dollar defense budget and is under intense pressure to whip Iraq's fledgling military into shape ahead of an anticipated drawdown in U.S. forces next year. His every move is shadowed by a phalanx of heavily armed bodyguards as death threats come by phone and mail. And after four months in office, the embattled minister is realizing that insurgents aren't the only enemy he faces.

Many Sunni Arabs claim that al Duleimi doesn't represent them, and they revile him for the nonstop military actions in their volatile, rebellious territories. Some Shiite leaders sought his resignation earlier this month, blaming him for the lack of crowd control that contributed to the deaths of 1,000 worshipers in a stampede at a Shiite religious celebration. He's made new foes by firing several senior employees who were accused in a massive corruption scandal that appears to have siphoned more than $800 million from his ministry's coffers.

Al Duleimi's alliance with the Shiite politicians he once criticized is critical to his political survival, as public support from fellow Sunnis melts away with each new bombing campaign in western territories. The Iraqi Islamic Party, the largest Sunni political faction, this week condemned the Iraqi government's cooperation with U.S. forces in "slaughtering its sons" in the Anbar province.

Al Duleimi swats away such criticism, saying that many Sunni Arabs haven't come to terms with their new reality as mere participants - not the dominant force - in Iraqi politics. And he says there's a "silent majority" of Sunnis who support the tough measures he imposes but are afraid to speak publicly in favor of the government.

For every critical politician's call that he receives, he said, he gets a call from a beleaguered resident of a Sunni town who's seeking his help in overcoming insurgents or hastening the departure of U.S. forces. He counsels patience, saying American troops will begin withdrawing only from the most peaceful cities. Giving their homes and hearts to insurgents will only prolong the bloodshed, he says.

For his part, al Duleimi is working on a pension program for members of Saddam Hussein's former military who lost their livelihoods when the U.S. occupation authority dissolved the armed forces at the beginning of the war. The former regime's jobless Sunni soldiers make easy recruits for foreign and homegrown insurgents, al Duleimi said. But he added that he wouldn't hesitate to "crush them" if they fail to meet him halfway.

"It's not easy to build a new military and fight at the same time," al Duleimi said. "But we do that in Iraq. Build and fight. That's our fate."

waldschrat said...

I can not approve of torture and mistreatment of prisoners by Iraqi forces, but anybody should be able to understand some of the reasons for it. These people, the Iraqi police and soldiers, have been the favorite targets of insurgents and have been slaughtered at every opportunity inthe most cruel ways. They know with certainty the cruelty of their enemy, and if they return it in the same kind it should not be unexpected.

A more worrisome bit of news is that some police may not be getting paid properly. If this is correct (and it sounds stupid and inefficient so I find it easy to believe) then how can they support themselves and their families except by bribery and corruption?

Tales of cruelty and barbarity in prisons in Iraq and other Arab countries are not new. They are as old as time, and it seems from their prevalence that perhaps people in the middle east consider such things normal and appropriate or have until recently.

Yet there also seem to be occaisional first-hand stories of people who were caught up in the prison system, not tortured, not treated with excessive cruelty, and released when their innocence became clear.

Obviously the best situation would be to
1. pay police and soldiers enough that they do not need to steal or accept bribes,
2. demand that they treat all prisoners with decency and justice, and
3. punish them if they become criminals themselves.

One question Iraqis may wish to ask themselves is "Does our draft constitution say that this is how things should be?"

waldschrat said...

A news picture from Mosul:

Hitech Luddite said...

I wonder how long Al Duleimi has to live? I know nothing about him but what the article SD posted but if he does hold these views of Iraq's problems and believes in the solutions and answers outlined in the article he will not be allowed to live. Because it is clear to me that Iraq is not ready to become a nation-state. It seems only to be able to exist as a collection of fearful slaves under a tyrannical ruler or a loosely governed group of tribes and religious sects with no central authority.

Hurria said...

"it is clear to me that Iraq is not ready to become a nation-state."

What rubbish! Iraq has been a nation-state for decades.

waldschrat said...

Hurria, I would be interested in how you use logic to classify Saddam's dictatorship and Iraq's condition under it as a "nation-state". Is a "nation-state" then in your mind a state where a thug steals power through ruthless assasination and builds himself a lot of palaces while embroiling his country in one war after another?

Actually, I have no idea what a "nation-state" is or should be. It's not a term I've heard often, and I suspect there is no formal widely accepted definition for it. I guess I will assume that you feel Iraq's consider themselves citizaen of on nation regardless of tribal or religious affiliation, since that is what "hitech luddite" was casting doubt on.

For my part, I have a hard time classifying a country with a 40.4% literacy rate as much of anything but a third world backwater, and that's the figure for Iraq according to the following link:

The Unicef figures aren't much different:

waldschrat said...

Did some more looking at the literacy numbers. Seems Iraq's literacy rate is roughly half that of it's neighbors (see I wonder if that's true. Certainly illiteracy is not unknown in Iraq if this blogger's post is correct:

So, Hurria, I guess the question is not what logical mechanisms you employed to convince yourself that Iraq is anything but "a loosely governed group of tribes and religious sects with no central authority" as hitech luddite characterizes it, but how you can imagine that a nation composed largely of illiterates could be anything else.

It is possible that your energies might be better employed in teaching children to read than condemning the great satan that is America in your portrayal?

johninnz said...

"For my part, I have a hard time classifying a country with a 40.4% literacy rate as much of anything but a third world backwater ..."
I’m revising my opinion of this Waldschrat guy. As far as I can see, what he is saying is "See, Hurria, Iraq is a backward area in urgent need of civilising by the world’s superior superpower."
His generosity towards Truthteller’s clinic seems to have been motivated by the same impulses which led 19th century Britons to give to missions in the Empire, to assist "lesser breeds without the law" while Britain maintained "dominion over palm and pine."
We all know how that turned out in the long run.
We’ve just had an election here in NZ. The most fascinating aspect has been the way the indigenous Maori people exercised their votes - voting tactically with their electorate votes to get their new Maori party represented in Parliament, but strategically with their party votes to ensure the ruling Labour party remains in power. Goddam ignorant natives. They’ve probably only got a literacy rate of 99%, compared with the national rate of 100%. Waldschrat would have no time for them.
Truthteller, it seems clear that in the next year or two every Sunni city in Iraq will be given the Fallujah/Tal Afar treatment. It is the only tactic these barbarians know. Will the Sunni eventually submit? The Maori in NZ never did really submit to the colonial occupier - they’ve waited 100 years, but they are now taking him on at his own game.

strykerdad said...

Truthteller, it seems clear that in the next year or two every Sunni city in Iraq will be given the Fallujah/Tal Afar treatment

Even though your facts are wrong, NZ--I think you are right about the Tal Afar operation as being a model for similar situations. And if Tal Afar is an example of what to expect, things are definitely looking up. So far as your infantile the only tactic these barbarians know remark, it and others you've made, it appears living in a nation of 100% literacy does not inoculate one from idiocy. Have you read the accounts of many of the citizens' experience with the 'resistance' who had taken over much of the city? Have you read enough about the situation before during and after the operation to know that what TT reported is grossly inaccurate (not to mention contradictory of itself)? I won't cut and paste all I've read, but make some effort before aligning yourself with the same folks that blew up hundreds in response to their removal of their comrades from Tal Afar. That is beyond shameful for a self proclaimed compassionate and civilised man.

From an article in the WSJ:

...There are good reasons to believe the current operation in Tal Afar -- a largely Turkoman city near the Syrian border -- will be a model of things to come. Previous attempts to clean the terrorists out of Tal Afar and other cities in northern and western Iraq have too often seen the insurgents melt away only to return when the U.S. spearhead withdrew. This time Iraqis are leading the fight and, most important, many will stay so the people of Tal Afar can begin to believe they can live free of terrorist intimidation.

As of last night, a force of about 5,000 Iraqis and 3,800 Americans had killed at least 157 terrorists, detained 440 suspects, and discovered 34 weapons caches, all while suffering minimal casualties. "The terrorists are losing their morale. They couldn't resist as they did in Fallujah," Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told us yesterday in an interview in New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly....

A U.S. officer with detailed knowledge offered us this assessment: "The Tal Afar operation has been a sweeping success for the Iraqi Security Forces in many ways. There is an Iraqi Army Brigade headquarters with four infantry battalions, a Special Police Commando Brigade headquarters with two battalions, and an Army Transportation battalion in the fight up there. The Police Commandos and one of the Army battalions were flown there by the Iraqi Air Force's own C-130 fleet executing their first combat support missions." Eight Iraqi soldiers and one American have died in the offensive.

...President Talabani told us that about 50,000-60,000 Iraqi troops can be considered "well trained," and the number is growing. They will eventually replace Americans, though we hope not before more Tal Afar operations can be undertaken....

strykerdad said...

More evil accomplished by the barbarians of NZ's twisted logic.

1:48 p.m. ET Sept. 18, 2005 KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghans chose a legislature for the first time in decades Sunday, embracing their newly recovered democratic rights and braving threats of Taliban attacks to cast votes in schools, tents and mosques...
....Sunday’s vote was considered the last formal step toward democracy on a path set out after a U.S.-led force drove the Taliban from power in 2001, when they refused to hand over al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden following the Sept. 11 attacks....

strykerdad said...

CAMP SYKES, Iraq - Scores of insurgents were reportedly killed, detained or fled from the town of Tal Afar Sept. 11 as Coalition forces launched an offensive into the city, located about 30 miles west of Mosul in northern Iraq.
Now reconstruction and re-establishment of infrastructure in the city has been turned over to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment's 401st Civil Affairs Battalion.
The civil affairs Soldiers have already been working on short-term projects in Tal Afar, including school refurbishments, supplying food, road repair, fixing electrical problems, digging wells for drinking water and starting a local newspaper.
Not only do the Soldiers repair and refurbish buildings, their long-term goal is to empower and teach the Iraqis to fix problems on their own when the Coalition forces leave, said Maj. Mark Syverston, commander, Company B, 401st CA Bn., out of Fort Bragg, N.C.
"Right now it is hard for the Iraqis to fix their own problems because of security issues," Syverston said. "Once security is improved and people aren't afraid anymore, they can start to lead a normal life, which includes taking care of their city."
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard Anderson, 3rd ACR liaison officer, said he is excited to be a part of the solution.
"I'm a military person with a humanitarian mission," he said. "We're doing great things, and it's good to be a part of it."
The reward of being able to sit down and talk with the Iraqi's is one of the best parts of the job, Syverston said.
"They're great people," he said. "It's nice to know that we're working for a good cause here."

strykerdad said...

Sunni Locals in Al Albar Fighting "al Qaida in Iraq" Terrorists
By Alan Gray, NewsBlaze

For the past five months, Marines based near Karabilah have reported an escalation in fighting between al-Qaida in Iraq terrorists and local tribes.

Reports indicate that al-Qaida in Iraq terrorists have been attempting to gain control of the city from its citizens.

Local leaders and sheikhs in western Al Anbar continue to resist the "al-Qaida in Iraq" murder and intimidation campaign.

The majority of people in Al Anbar are Turkoman, a mixture of Sunnis and Shi'a.

The leaders, Sunni and Shi'a jointly asked the Iraqi government to assist in expelling the terrorists and insurgents from Tal Afar, a city of about 200,000 people.

Since 24th August, Iraqi Military and Multi-National Forces have destroyed 500 terrorists and their safe houses.

The Iraqi government pledged $50 million to the people of Tal Afar for reconstruction and compensation. Already there is an effort to restore water to the general hospital of Tall Afar and remote schools have been established. Other projects, including water projects are also in progress.

waldschrat said...

johninnz -

My point was that Iraq and Iraqis can not simply say "Iraq is the cradle of civilization and a proud nation and therefore morally superior to these helpful people from the other side of the world who have invaded us". Hurria's casual dismissal of Titech Luddite's skepticism won't wash.

Truth teller said...


Unfortunatly the post of Alan Gray,Newsblaze, is full of mistakes
This is not surprised me or any other Iraqi who know how the US media change the truth in well planned manner.
Even the American Encyclopedias are written in such a way to hide the truth.
One simple example is this statement "The majority of people in Al Anbar are Turkoman, a mixture of Sunnis and Shi'a."
This is 100% wrong, any Iraqi or any one familiar with Iraq will prove it wrong to you.

strykerdad said...

I accept your correction of that statement---I think the author was referring more to the population of Tal Afar, but incorrectly described the population of the entire province instead of Tal Afar. Would he have been correct to say that the population of Tal Afar is largely Turkomen? Other than that misstatement, how else would you correct it? I also would like to know abou the refugee centers without shelter, water, or food as there are currently three US Army civil affairs divisions in the area, and providing shelter, food, water and rebuilding infrastructure is what they do. I hear they have already moved in and have hired many thousands of Iraqis to get to work in Tal Afar. Why do you find it so amazing that Iraqis would surrender to US military instead of their 'fellow' Iraqis? Do you think that those who make that choice might have something in common?

Ertejaa said...

I cannot agree more with hurria and bruno.

Iraq needs a return to authoritarianism and democracy is a tool of the imperialists who want to steal Iraqi oil and water. This articles makes us feel proud:,0,1027206.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines

Ertejaa said...

Here is the article.

Ertejaa said...

From Wikipedia: "The most common source of legitimacy today is the perception that a government is operating under democratic principles and is subject to the will of the people."

Hurria says: "A territory is sovereign, because rocks and trees and acreage have sovereignty."

Hurria, you are a darling.

jemyr said...


Sorry it took so long for me to read your offer of help. My immediate family is doing okay. My sister and her husband have been on the coast (with their 5 week old!!) setting up medical clinics and offering aid. A good friend of mine from high school has a blog where he talks about aid coordination:

If you still have a place to offer, or want to help in another way, he suggests coordinating your help through this group:

My friends are all determined to stay in their hometowns and rebuild. They are staying in trailer homes or at churches or at one of the few houses left standing. The help they need has to do with moving boxes, and cutting through trees.

Sorry for interrupting your thread truthteller.

Hurria said...

"Hurria says: 'A territory is sovereign, because rocks and trees and acreage have sovereignty.' "

No, Hurria does not say that - not even remotely. Kindly do yourself a favour and do not make such false attributions.

Hurria said...

As for your quote from Wikipedia:

The legitimacy of states is a legal matter. The last I checked Wikipedia was not considered the source of choice for valid legal facts.

It is also interesting that Wikipedia appears to consider PERCEPTION, not reality, to be the key to legitimacy.

Bruno said...

Waldschrat --

You know, Iraqi illiteracy is an interesting phenomenon. Yeah, yeah, I know blaming everything on sanctions and the US is becoming so terribly boring and old hat, but I did run across this:

"Turning the Page on Iraq’s History"
Charles Asquith - 4 Nov, 2003

“Early in his rule, Saddam was credited with creating one of the strongest school systems in the Middle East. Iraq won a UNESCO prize for eradicating illiteracy in 1982. Literacy rates for women were among the highest of all Islamic nations, and unlike most Middle East school systems, Iraqi education was largely secular.”

And this excerpt tracks the descent of Iraqi literacy into oblivion:

Malcom Lagauche - April 28-29, 2005

“ Let’s take a look back and see the gradual ascent of literacy in Iraq. I will use statistics from various sources. In 1980, a few years after the beginning of the war against illiteracy, according to PBS, 49% of those in Iraq under the age of 15 were literate. By 2002, that figure had risen to 75%. There may have been a possible decline in the 1990s because of the embargo, but the figures are impressive.

By the end of the 1980s, shortly before the U.S. aggression against Iraq began, 87% of the Iraqi public was literate. In other words, about twice as many people could read and write than could 15 years earlier.

The embargo was disastrous on the Iraqi educational system. For instance, even pencils were not allowed to be imported. The U.S. placed these in the "dual-use" category of imports. Since there are few trees for wood in Iraq, pencils became rare. Anti-embargo human rights groups brought pencils to Iraq during the sanctions, but it was only a drop in the bucket for the actual needs.

Despite the hardships, Iraqis were still learning to read and write. At the height of the embargo in 1995, 89.7% of Iraqi males were literate and 45% of the female population could read and write. The sanctions took their highest toll on Iraqi women.

Even in March 2003, most figures from international organizations stated that Iraq still had a literacy rate of over 60%. Two years later, and the rate is under 40%. To make it simple, about two of every three Iraqis today can not read or write.”

I leave the conclusion to you to make, as to what exactly the problem with Iraq literacy is. HINT: It has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein.

Bruno said...

ertejaa --

Uh, yeah, we'll just leave it to YOU to decide which government is legitimate or not. Suuure. We trust you completely, given that the 'forces of democracy' currently in Iraq support at this time a wide variety of thugs and monarchies. Heck, they even went to war to restore the Kuwaiti emirate, hardly a structure compatible with democratic principles. Get a life, hypocrite.

johninnz said...

I thought this, from today's Guardian, was very amusing, in view of recent events in Basra. This is from a former Colonel in the British Army, in other words one of the world’s most professional soldiers, who made a historic and widely publicised speech to his Battalion when the war began. Please excuse the length.

When I led my men of the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment across the border into Iraq we believed we were going to do some good. Goodwill and optimism abounded; it was to be a liberation, I had told my men, not a conquest.
In Iraq I sought to surround myself with advisers - Iraqis - who could help me understand what needed to be done. One of the first things they taught me was that the Baath party had been a fact of life for 35 years. Like the Nazi party, they said, it needed to be decapitated, harnessed and dismantled, each function replaced with the new regime. Many of these advisers were Baathists, yet were eager to co-operate, fired with the enthusiasm of the liberation. How must it look to them now?
What I had not realised was that there was no real plan at the higher levels to replace anything, indeed a simplistic and unimaginative overreliance in some senior quarters on the power of destruction and crude military might. We were to beat the Iraqis. That simple. Everything would come together after that.
The Iraqi army was defeated - it walked away from most fights - but was then dismissed without pay to join the ranks of the looters smashing the little infrastructure left, and to rail against their treatment. The Baath party was left undisturbed. The careful records it kept were destroyed with precision munitions by the coalition; the evidence erased, they were left with a free rein to agitate and organise the insurrection. A vacuum was created in which the coalition floundered, the Iraqis suffered and terrorists thrived.
One cannot help but wonder what it was all about. If it was part of the war on terror then history might notice that the invasion has arguably acted as the best recruiting sergeant for al-Qaeda ever: a sort of large-scale equivalent of the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry in 1972, which in its day filled the ranks of the IRA. If it was an attempt to influence the price of oil, then the motorists who queued last week would hardly be convinced. If freedom and a chance to live a dignified, stable life free from terror was the motive, then I can think of more than 170 families in Iraq last week who would have settled for what they had under Saddam. UK military casualties reached 95 last week. I nightly pray the total never reaches 100.
The consequences of this adventure may run even deeper. Hurricane Katrina has caused a reappraisal of the motives and aims of this war in the US. The storm came perhaps in the nick of time as hawks in Washington were glancing towards Iran and its newly found self-confidence in global affairs. Meanwhile, China and India are growing and sucking up every drop of oil, every scrap of concrete or steel even as the old-world powers of the UK and US pour blood and treasure into overseas campaigns which seem to have no ending and no goal.
It is time for our leaders to explain what is going on. It was as a battalion commander trying to explain to his men why they would embark on a war that I came to public notice. The irony is that I made certain assumptions that my goodwill and altruistic motivations went to the top. Clearly I was naive. This time it is the role of the leaders of nations to explain where we are going and why. I, for one, demand to know.

Moron99 said...

meanwhile, back in Tal-Afar ...
The Al Jazeera report states that the city was deserted except for fighters and that an unknown number of civillians were killed. Sorry, I have lost the link. The important thing to note is that according to the media source most hostile to western forces, the civillians evacuated the city of Tal-Afar before the offensive began.

From another source Najem al-Jibouri states “only six civilians were killed and 25 injured.”

Apparently, the rumors regarding Tal-Afar are contradicted by both media and official reports. Which leads to the questions "who would start such rumors and why?" ... "who would accept such rumors and why?" ... "who would propagate such rumors and why?"

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

"Which leads to the questions "who would start such rumors and why?" ... "who would accept such rumors and why?" ... "who would propagate such rumors and why?"

Excellent questions, M99. The answers should be obvious to those who do not completely have their heads in the sand.

Hitech Luddite said...

I'm sure that there is an official definition of nation state in some dusty tome at the U.N. For my purpose it is this. A group of people inside known and accepted geographical boundaries that identify themselves primarily by their nationality. It is something that we in the U.S. are experiencing a weakening of and without a national identity the people are ripe for sectarian strife. Some of the comments here would be really funny if it wasn't for the sad fact that some people actually believe them.....


P.S.S. Who invaded Kuwait???

Hurria said...

"A group of people inside known and accepted geographical boundaries that identify themselves primarily by their nationality."

As I said, Iraq has been a nation state for decades. But of course, what would someone like me know about Iraq compared to some American who has never set foot there, could not name five of its languages, let alone speak, read, or write one of them, knows nothing of its political, social, cultural structure or history, and probably could not find it on an unlabeled map?


The U.N.S.C. originally imposed sanctions as part of the effort to force Saddam Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait, hopefully without launching a war. After Iraq withdrew from Kuwait the U.S. insisted upon continuing the sanctions, using the weapons issue as a pretext. In fact, after the first few years, when it became obvious that the sanctions were having an absolutely devastating effect on Iraqi society, and actually strengthening Saddam's influence, France, Russia, China, etc. stopped supporting the sanctions, and began pushing to have them lifted. Unfortunately for the Iraqi people, the U.S. had its own agenda, and, along with Britain, refused to allow them to be lifted. During those years numerous countries, France, Russia, and China included, actually engaged in sanction breaking activities.

"P.S.S. Who invaded Kuwait???"

Oh, come on! You really ought to be embarrassed! Trying to use the 1990 invasion of Kuwait as a pretext for the 2003 invasion of Iraq was even too lame for the Bush administration, and they have almost no shame in these matters.

Hurria said...

Ooooooo! Look, everybody and see what a big macho man Dan is! Are we all scared now?

waldschrat said...

On the bright side, a shipment of ostomy supplies from Friends of Ostomates Worldwide ("F.O.W.", Link) reached the hospital in Mosul this week and is probably being unpacked as I write this. TT and his friend were so excited and happy they phoned me all the way from Mosul. This was a pretty big shipment, enough to make a real difference, much more than I could have possibly sent myself. The only part I had in it's delivery was helping to point the way for FOW and pestering people by phone and email to try to be sure it got there safely.

Talking to the doctors in Mosul warmed my heart. I think the communication and coordination that went into delivery of this shipment is an important step in trying to get the hospital what it needs to help patients. I have not located a similar willing donor for chemotherapy drugs and other stuff yet, but I have proven that drugs CAN be sent to Mosul, and I hope to find a way to get the hospital what it needs.

Moron99 said...

Thanks for the update waldschrat. I would like to download their form and send my pledged donation to them (FOW). Is that, in your opinion, the best option available?

strykerdad said...

Yes, thank you Waldschrat. That cost per pound to ship seems nearly incredible, but is probably a barometer of the situation. I am going to try again to see if the Army can work with these folks to give them some available space. They were unable to work on an individual basis, but maybe an established non profit could make it happen. I am about donated out to the max with the situation at home, meaning US, but I want to add a little to the pot to get some more headed to Mosul. OK if I use your ID to perhaps help direct my contribution to TT's hospital? Would they recognize Waldschrat or should I just refer to the circumstances around your involvement known by me through this blog? Is there a particular person there to whom I should direct my efforts?

waldschrat said...

Strykerdad -
Please contact me. You can either use the email link on my blog profile or relay via TT. I'm hoping to organize another shipment of chemotherapy drugs, and a couple of other folks have offered to chip in already.

Regarding subverting the US military to serve the hospital, contact me.

Hitech Luddite said...

"could not name five of its languages"

How can you have a national identity when 30 million or so people are split into five languages. Yeah we know all about France & Russia breaking the sanctions, just like we know they were both in communication with Saddam right up to the day the war started saying they would prevent the US from going in. I wonder if Saddam would have acted differently if the French and Russians would have played straight with him? Anyway let's not get sidetracked and stick to the main point here Iraq has no national identity, the only national identity they had was being under the thumb of Saddam. Now that he is gone who are they? Are they Kurds? Are they Arabs? Are they Assyrians? Are they Shite Muslims? Are they Suni Muslims? Are they all of these and if so what does that mean? When that question can be answered with some consistancy by the people of Iraq then they will start to develope a national identity.

waldschrat said...

I came across an intresting story of justice and injustice in Pittsburgh that seemed pertinent and thought I'd post a link. Here it is:

Seems a repairman turned an Arab doctor in to the FBI simply because he had a copy of the Koran and a flight simulator game lying around in his apartment - the poor doctor was inconvenienced badly and sued, and he got 2.5 million dollars. I guess the moral is that justice happens, although I can't help wondering how much success he would have had if he'd been shot by mistake in Mosul.

I went over to the local mosque today to see if I could get them inteested in helping get stuff for Mosul. It was an interesting experience - I blundered in smack in the middle of Friday prayers so I had to wait for that to be over. Found myself surrounded by lots of Arab-looking folks talking and being nice to each other (and to me) and shaking hands and hugging - the atmosphere was a lot like what I've experienced in gatherings at Christain an Buddhist churches, except that there were more beards and more folks speaking what I assume was Arabic. After asking around I found a guy who I was told was the the assistant president of the mosque and he was able to steer me to a website that might help - I will follow up on it. I also need to try contacting some of the local Christian chuches.

The reason the big shipment from FOW was successful was that I was able to attract the attention of a group tht had more and better resources thanI do and point the way for them. I plan to send some more stuff myself but it is now clear to me that I need to put more effort into finding people who can help.

Moron99 said...

so i am wondering ....

TruthTeller, Hurria - will you be voting in the upcoming referendum? and then, after that, will you be voting in the election to pick your next representatives? are there other Iraqis who frequent this blog? Will you be voting?

Hurria said...

"How can you have a national identity when 30 million or so people are split into five languages."

Iraq is no more "split" by different languages than the U.S. or any other multi-ethnic, multicultural country is. Do the different languages in the U.S. prevent an American national identity?

"Yeah we know all about France & Russia breaking the sanctions, just like we know they were both in communication with Saddam right up to the day the war started saying they would prevent the US from going in."

They did not say they would prevent the U.S. from going in.

"Iraq has no national identity"

I just looooove it when an American, who has exactly zero experience of Iraq and not much more real knowledge makes such a definitive statement to someone with decades of direct and intimate experience of being an Iraqi living in Iraq as part of Iraqi society.

"the only national identity they had was being under the thumb of Saddam."

I know this will come as a complete shock to you as it will to most Americans, but Iraq's history does not begin or end with Saddam. There were years of Iraqi history before Saddam, and millenia of history in Mesopotamia even before Iraqi statehood. Even before statehood there was a sense of national identity in Mesopotamia during the Ottoman rule, which led the people to attempt to free themselves from the Ottoman empire. That national identity became stronger after statehood, and stronger yet after the Iraqis succeeded in gaining independence.

No doubt it will come as an even greater shock to know that despite all the nonsense spouted by self-appointed American "experts" and talking heads, Saddam was anything but a uniter-by-force of a deeply divided society. On the contrary, Saddam did a great deal to erode Iraqis' sense of connection with each other and with the state by pitting one against the other, and the State against all. And now the Americans are, whether intentionally or not, doing whatever they can to finish the job he started. By using Kurds to fight Arabs and Turkmen, and Shi'as to fight Sunnis, and by fostering politics of identity rather than of ideology and unity, they are doing a great job of tearing the country apart.

"Now that he is gone who are they?"

Saddam's departure has nothing to do with the situation we have now in Iraq.

"Are they Kurds? Are they Arabs? Are they Assyrians? Are they Shite Muslims? Are they Suni Muslims? Are they all of these and if so what does that mean? When that question can be answered with some consistancy by the people of Iraq then they will start to develope a national identity."

This is ignorant nonsense completely disconnected from any kind of reality. When the Americans depart, if they do so before the damage is too great, Iraqis will start to regain the national identity they have had since Ottoman times, and that has been so severely eroded first by Saddam and then by the Americans.

Bruno said...

"How can you have a national identity when 30 million or so people are split into five languages."

Hmm. Well, we have ELEVEN official languages ...

Hurria said...


CC: luddite

Iraq has a number of ethnolinguistic groups, some of which, such as the Kurds, Assyrians and Chaldeans, predate the Arabs by a millenium or more, and some of which, such as the Armenians, are fairly recent additions to the mix. However, Iraq has only one official language, and that is Arabic.

No group is discouraged from maintaining its own language and culture, but Kurdish is the only language other than Arabic that is taught in state schools. Some groups, such as the Armenians, Assyrians, and Jews have historically maintained their own schools in which both Arabic and their language is taught. Families are free to send their children to these schools, or to state schools.

The Kurds form a special group in that state schools in Kurdistan are allowed to teach and instruct in Kurdish only (very dea), Arabic only (somewhat better idea), or both languages (by far the best idea). Up until recently educated Kurds had excellent Arabic - often better than most educated Arabs did. Jalal Talibani is an example of a Kurd who speaks and writes impeccable Arabic. Most educated Kurds grow up at least trilingual - Kurdish, Arabic, English - and many also learn Turkish and/or Farsi (which is very close to Kurdish, and therefore very easy).

strykerdad said...

MOSUL, IRAQ (September 27, 2005) – Over a five day period more than 600 young men stood in line to volunteer for the Tal Afar police force. Two hundred twenty-four of those men were recruited and will attend police training. Within the next two months more than 800 Iraqi policemen will be on the Tal Afar police force operating out of six new or renovated police stations. This is an increase of more than 450 new policemen over the current force.
The Iraqi government has pledged $50 million of aid and improvements for the city of Tal Afar. The funds will directly affect the water and electricity situation in the city. Schools, government buildings, roads and parks have also been identified for construction or renovation.

Upgrades to the existing city water system top the list of the priorities. Installing new residential piping and building a new water tower and lift station for the southwest side of the city and a complete overhaul of the city’s electrical system has been planned. An initial $735 thousand has been allocated for these repairs.

Transformers, cable, circuit breakers, and power poles have already been purchased, and two electrical lift trucks will be delivered by the end of September to assist in the electrical repairs. Already a large amount of electrical equipment was delivered to the city early last week.

More than $800 thousand has been allocated to the schools in Tal Afar. Patching and painting over the damages caused by terrorists, repairs to electric and water systems in the restrooms is all underway. Students will be welcomed back to school with the gift of new furniture as well.

A drive to employ civilians to help clean up the city is already underway and showing great success. Not only is there measurable change in the cleanliness of the city, but the employment program has brought a modest boost to the local economy.

Food shipments from the Ministry of the Interior and Iraq’s neighbors to the north have provided the people of Tal Afar and surrounding communities with more than two hundred tons of basic foodstuffs.

Compensation to civilians who have been affected by the recent fighting in Tal Afar are also being paid. More than 500 claims have been processed since Sep.19, paying out more than $175 thousand.

Life is returning to the city of Tal Afar now that fear is lifted from the people. Iraqi security forces including the police from Mosul and the Iraqi Army are partnered with Multi-National Forces to bring permanent security to the center of the city and prevent the terrorists from returning.

Who's next?

Bruno said...

thank you Hurria.

B Will Derd said...

TT--I read this tonight and remembered your post on the initial operation--thought you might be interested.

In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful

To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.

To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.

To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.

Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.

I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.

The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom. Officers and soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era. The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.

God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.

Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven’t the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families.

Mayor of Tall ‘Afar, Ninewa, Iraq

慢慢來 said...


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