Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Iraq invites oil companies to develop nearly 90 pct of its oil reserves

Postwar Iraq has managed to open nearly 90 percent of its oil reserves in 2008 to international oil companies for development through two major bidding rounds that are planned to be finalized in mid and end of 2009, Sinan Salaheddin reports for the Associated Press.

Iraq is classified as the world's third largest in oil reserves with at least 115 billion barrels underneath, but decades of wars, bad management, U.N. economic sanctions, sabotage acts and insurgent attacks have kept these resources away from the Iraqis.

With these two rounds, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani plans to add 4 million to 4.5 million barrels a day to its current 2.4 million bpd within four to six years to help building its heavily damaged infrastructure and bringing life to its economy.

Oil and gas fields on offer in the first bidding round are: Kirkuk and Bai Hassab oil fields in the north, Rumaila, Zubair, West Qurna Phase 1 and Maysan oil fields--Buzurgan, Fauqa and Abu Ghirab--in the south, and Akkas gas field in western Iraq and Mansouria gas field in the east.

Oil and gas fields on offer in the second bidding round are: Majnoon, West Qurna Phase 2, Halfaya, Gharraf, Badra oil fields and Siba gas field in the south. East Baghdad, and the group of Kifl, West Kifl and Merjan in central.A group of Qamar, Gullabat and Naudman oil fields and Khashm al-Ahmar gas field in the east and Qayara and Nejma in the north.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Iraq's second oil, gas bidding round shrinks to 10 fields

It sounds that Iraqi Oil Ministry has changed its mind and decided to offer 10 oil and gas fields in its second bidding round instead of 14 fields as some oil officials in Baghdad said last week, Sinan Salaheddin reports for the Associated Press (AP).
Justify Full
Hussein al-Shahristani, in an interview late Monday with the state-run Iraqiyah TV, named only two giant oil fields to be inculded in the list, which are Majnoon and West Qurna Phase 2 in Basra, and left the others to be announced in his press conference due to be held Wednesday.

Al-Shahristani added that his ministry has focused on the fields which Iraq shares with neighboring countries, or that are located near borders, Salaheddin adds.

"It is unacceptable that neighboring countries extracting oil from the shared fields while Iraq stands motionless," he said. "We have decided to include these fields in the second licensing round and expedite" investments in them.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Shiites, Sunnis on rare moment of agreement

It is a really rare moment of agreement between Iraq's two main Muslim sects, Shiites and Sunnis, when both agreed on marking the beginning of the Muslim lunar calender on the same day which is Monday.

The 12-month calender, or Hijri calender as Muslims call it, is used to date events in Muslim countries such as celebrating Islamic holy days and festivals. It is called Hijri after the prophet Mohammed's Hijra (emigration) from Mecca to Madina before nearly 1430 years ago.Since then the calender started.

Sighting the crescent moon is essential to mark the beginning of this year and then each month in it.Some Muslim countries use astronomical calculations and observatories while others and particular sects in some countries, like Iraq's Shiites, rely on the naked eye alone beside having their own interpretations on how the crescent's shape should look like.

This has led, since ages, to different starting times between Iraq's Shiites and Sunnis to Muslims events especially the two major Eids (festivals), one marks the end of holy month of Ramadan and the second marks the end of Haj. And this has added more to the differences and tensions between them which exist since ages but have come to surface since the U.S. -led occupation started in 2003.

For me, this thing is a good omen which I hope that both sects to come together and renounce all their differences...Happy New Year Muslim World.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Did Mr. Bush get what he deserves from shoes?

Iraq's civilian deaths since the 2003 Mr. Bush's "liberation" ranging between 90,133 to 98,399, a new study issued Saturday by the human rights group, Iraq Body Count, found.

The data showed that between at least 8,300 and 9,000 civilians were killed in Iraq in 2008 with an average of twenty-five civilians died a day.In 2006-2007, the data found, at least 48,000 civilians were killed, it is comparable to violence during 2003-2004.

The group's co-founder and spokesman, John Sloboda, told Reuters' Missy Ryan that attacks continue against U.S. and other foreign forces, Iraqi police and soldiers, government officials and members of "Awakening Councils," local patrol units often made up of former insurgents.

"Because this violence is actually against the occupation, it is unlikely to drop while the occupation continues," Sloboda said.

Were the two shoes enough to Mr. Bush?

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Honor your words, elections approaching

As usual, Iraqi oil sources in Baghdad whispered to Ruba Husari of the International Oil Daily and told her about the final list of Iraq's second postwar bid round for oil and gas field development with 14 oil fields and two gas fields, one week before the official annoucement due to be made by Iraq's Oil Minister, Hussein al-Shahristani.

Husari made a gesture why al-Shahristani insisted to launch the new bidding round before the first one, which was announced last June for eight oil and gas fields, has been concluded or has made significant progress.

"Al-Shahristani, who was elected to the Iraqi parliament in 2005 before joining the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, wants to build a list of personal achievments as he eyes the next elections, slated for early 2010," Husari said.

"During discussions Wednesday at the ministry headquarters, oil officials from the licensing and contracting department acquiesced to al-Shahristani's pressure to announce a new offering of oil and gas fields to international oil companies before the end of the year as he had promised on several occassions," she added.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Kirkuk, a test for nation

A nice story brought to us today by the Washington Post's Sudarsan Raghavan who went through numbers of normal residents of Iraq's ethnically-mixed Kirkuk to depict a picture for the vexing conflict the city has been experiencing since the U.S.-led occupation in 2003.

Raghavan's 2239-word story also helps the reader to unleash his imagincation to form many pictures on how the future of this ethnicaly fragmented city and then the Iraqi one will look like, considering the issue as a test to our war-plagued nation.

I only picked up some quotes, but advise everyone to read the whole story.

"I have no Arab and Turkmen friends. I have only Kurdish friends," said Darawan Salahadin, a slim 17-year-old Kurdish student with thick, gelled black hair. "I can't speak Arabic or Turkmen. So I don't know them."

"Damn the Kurds," screamed one of Khalaf Hamoud al-Jubouri's sons when his father's body was brought to his house after being killed by gunmen on Nov.24. Al-Jubouri , a 58-year old Arab lawyer and father of five, worked in the crucible of the conflict, pressing Arab legal claims to disputed lands. "I know it was the Kurds who killed my father."

"The government gave me the land, because I am originally from Kirkuk," said Abid al-Jubouri, an Arab and a father of 11, who owns a real estate agency .

"Kurds lost much blood for Kirkuk -- all what happened under Saddam, the executions, the jail sentences, the rapes, the blood -- all of this was for Kirkuk," said Darwan's father Salahadin Mahadeen."If the problem is oil, then we will give them the oil. We want the land."

"How can we live without our Jerusalem, without our heart?" Mahadeen added.

"It's all Turkmen land, 100 percent," said Abu Amjad al-Najafi, 61, a Turkmen, as referring to a Kurdish enclave in the city which he said it was owned by Turkmens.

"They have to walk over our bodies to make us leave this area," said the Kurdish fighter, Luqman Majid. "We will never leave, even if this place becomes our grave. This is Kurdistan."

Of course Raghavan didn't forget to incldue a precious quote of wisdom from one of our liberators who came here only to solve our problems.

"Kirkuk could be the capstone in the house of freedom, or it can be the cheap thread that when you pull out unravels the entire suit," said Lt. Col. David Snodgrass, deputy commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, which oversees Kirkuk.

Wow, you such a wiseman Mr. liberator.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Who will help Marwa to find answers?

It could take the toddler Marwa years to figure out why she joined the army of orphans of this cursed country and why she lost her parents, brother and two sisters in a barbaric way. Big WHYs will keep hitting her little mind until she realizes that she was just a victim of a dirty play in which she and her family had no role and knew nothing about its rules.

It was the fourth and the last day of Eid al-Adha religious holiday when Marwa’s father decided to take his four kids and wife to the upscale Abdullah restaurant just outside the northern ethnically-mixed Kirkuk city in a bid to steal some time to escape from Iraq’s grim reality.

But neither they nor other families who were sitting around their tables chatting and enjoying their time while eating their favorite dishes heard or saw or even felt the devil when he sneaked to that restaurant as guiding a sick-minded man with explosive belt beneath.

As he entered the restaurant, the man set off his explosives, sending 55 souls to the heaven and other 120 bodies to different hospitals to treat their wounds. Marwa’s family was among the first 55 group while she was among the second one ended up in one hospital with severe wounds.

Police said the target was a meeting between Kirkuk’s three main ethnics_ Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen_ who are in deep conflict over who is the original inhabitant of the city and the best way to run this city, a tension never came to surface before the U.S.-led occupation that started in 2003 but instead it was buried and guarded by Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.

Kurds, who have been flexing their muscles since 2003, want to annex Kirkuk and surrounding Tamim province into their self-ruled region of northern Iraq. Most Turkomen and Arabs want the province to remain under central government control, fearing the Kurds would discriminate against them.

Minutes later and while Marwa was laying in the operation room, a heated race started between the leaders of these groups on the media outlets especially satellite channels, of course they were in elegant business suits with some of them were talking from London and other world capitals. Each one of them was eager to accuse the other of masterminding the attack against his community and demanding protection.

But the two-year old Marwa had a different demand when she was awake.

“I want mom, I want dad,” the panic crying girl said from her bed in the hospital with a tube runs into her bloody nose and a bandage on her forehead.

Wondering, who will help Marwa to find answers for her big WHYs in the future? What will Marwa say when she hears the word “sorry” or the sentence “we launched the war basing on false intelligence” that each American, European or may be UN official say when he leaves his office?

But what I’m sure of and have answer to is that Marwa’s face on AL-Sharqiyah TV will be a nightmare to all these officials who have brought these sufferings to her once-peaceful country.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Iraqi women drive again

Improved security situation in the capital, Baghdad, encourages Iraqi women drivers to take to the road again after being harassed by extremist insurgents who consider such action as "haram", or forbidden under Islam for women to drive Marwa Sabah reports for the Middle East Online.

Of course there is nothing in Islam that bans women from driving cars and it is only one of heir fantastic interpretations to Islam.

"They insulted me, and shouted at me never to drive a car again because it was 'haram'," Manal Hakim, a 38-year-old teacher recalled an experience she went through two years ago in western Baghdad which once was under control of Sunni extremists. "They said they'd kill me if I did it again. I was totally shocked," Hakim added.

But now, the mother-of-one is behind the wheel again with a smile on her face.

Sabah also makes available to us more interesting figures on how many cars in Baghdad and how many women are getting driving lessons in Baghdad, just read it.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Bush on the silver screen

America's filmmaker Oliver Stone on Friday joined hundreds of thousands of Americans whose aim is to fix the image of America in others' eyes, a picture which is heavily affected by the outgoing President George W. Bush policies outside the United States borders.

At the Mideast premiere of his movie "W." in Dubai
, Stone said the outgoing U.S. president is a man with "a giant ego" and "boneheaded arrogance," Barbara Surk writes for the Associated Press.

"I hope many people in the Middle East and in South East Asia see it and really understand how George Bush came to be and who he is, and understand the United States is not an enemy," Stone said at a press conference before the red-carpet gala showing of "W."

"He is not a nice man," Stone also said. "He's a man with a giant ego and boneheaded arrogance. I empathize with him, but I don't sympathize with him," he added.

I agree with you Stone, the United States is not an enemy, but at the same time you and other Americas have to excuse those who hate America and all Americans for the deep wounds and unbearable sufferings they have endured due to Bush's foolishness and some other U.S. officials.

It is your duty and the people like you to approach the world, especially the Middle East with such ideas to make them able to see and understand the other face of America and its people.

Wish your film all success and hope you can make it available to all Iraqis in Iraq although we don't have a big cinema to play it but I think there will be a solution for that.

Behind-the-scenes players

An interested and must-read article by the Mother Jones' Anthony Fenton on how Retired Lt. General Jay M. Garner, Iraq's first post-war U.S. administrator and a small group of former U.S. military leaders, officials, and lobbyists are pouring fuel to the fire in disagreements between the central government and the Kurds.

They are using their deep connections in Kurdistan to help Canadian companies to have access to some of the region's richest oil fields by mediating oil deals between these companies and the Kurds to whome Garner was charged after the 1991 Gulf War to secure their region, a position which enabled him to develop good relaions with the Kurds.

Since 1991, Garner was frequently seen on TV flanked by the two Kurdish guerrilla leaders, Jalal Talabani and Masoud Barzani as he was wearing their traditional flowing cloths.

The Kurds' oil deals, at least 20, with western oil companies have been since last year one of handfull sticking issues between the Kurds and central government and the main obstacle in adpoting Iraq's long-awaited oil and gas law which is designed to govern Iraq's oil and gas resources and to regulate the foreign investment in this field.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Iraq's oil reserves not for sell

A former Iraqi oil official and now an executive director of an energy studies center on Friday defended Iraq's first post-war oil bidding round as critics labeled it as selling of 40 percent of the country's 115-billion-barrel oil reserves to the international oil companies.

"Iraq has not put its oil reserves up for sale," Fadhil Chalabi, the executive director of the London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies and Iraq's former Oil Ministry's undersecretary, wrote in the UK's Guardian newspaper.

"Our contracts with oil companies will simply allow us to restore production levels," Chalabi added in response to a news report published by the daily on October 13 when Iraq kicked off his first oil bidding in London.

In his article, Chalabi made it clear that inernational oil companies will not have a share in Iraq's reserves under the proposed service contracts and what duties to be assigned to these oil companies in these contracts.

As I said in a previous post, critics have no right to attack the Oil Ministry step and that they have to fully understand these deals before making any statement.

I hope we will hear more voices from such famous experts from now on.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Congratulations Ratchet!!!

Is there still anyone in the world who deems U.S. troops in Iraq as occupiers or criminals who kill people with cold blood or at least as bad guys who crossed the oceans to invade a country and mess it up?

I don't think so.

Here is Kime Gamel of the Associated Press in Baghdad tells the world that these troops, who get their job done with the Iraqis after "liberating" them and bringing them a wonderful life, are now turning to Iraqi pets to help them and that they are here for these pets not for any other reasons!!!

Gamel did a story today on how a special relationship has been developed since May between an Iraqi street dog and a U.S. femal trooper after she and another soldier rescued the puppy from a burning pile of trash.

And despite the U.S. military rules that barring troops from caring for pets while in this country, Army Spc. Gwen Beberg, 28, of Minneapolis insisted to keep the dog.Today, he was collected by a "private security firm from the small base, put him into a pet carrier and transported him to the airport on Baghdad's western outskirts," and then he was boarded on a charter, which will also stop in Amsterdam and Washington, D.C., en route to Ratchet's new home.

Lucky you Mr. Ratchet.

You will be another pet unlike your fiends in Iraq; pets and human beings.You will walk on paved streets and greenish parks. You will have electricity 24 hours.You will eat special pets canned food and get safe drinking water.You will not dig in the garbages any more.You will take shower with special shampoos.

And the most important thing is that you will feel the security and will never hear the shit of our politicians.

But I'm afraid that this lavish life will let you yearn to your past days in Iraq like the other dog who decided once to leave Iraq when he fed up the living but returned few months later and when one of his friends asked him why he returned, he answered: "I fed up mate, no one treated me as a dog.Only in Iraq I can realize that I'm a dog."

We all do as well !!!

Congratulations Mr. Ratchet !!!

Friday, 17 October 2008

No budget surplus in 2009

Iraq is unlikly to witness a budget surplus this year and the next as oil prices are sliding, a lawmaker and a government spokesman told The Associated Press.

Abbas al-Bayati, a senior lawmaker of the United Iraqi Alliance, the largest Shiite bloc in parliament expected Friday the government to cut its budget next year by $15 billion because of falling oil prices.It was planned to stand at US$79 billion.

Al-Bayati's statement came two days after the spokesman of the Iraqi Finance Ministry, Adnan Abdul-Rahman also told The AP that his Ministry will reconsider a new average price per barrel of oil instead of the previously US$80.

But whatever the budget and the surplus will be, I'm confident that Iraqis' sufferings will not be eased and their needs will not met.

This government and its officials especially senior ones have approved that they are incapable to run this country properly by making use of its resources to put it on the track and get it out of its turmoil.

And this was clear when its Electricity Minister last month said that he would hire a British consultancy company to advice his Ministry how to implement projects !!!

And not only this. He also stated in a press conference that Iraqis should count two years from now when they will see improvement the electricity, throwing behind his back his first two years in office during which he was boasting his ambitious plans to get electricity back to normal.

This is only one of the example for the government's failure in spending this money and of course there are more and more....

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Bad luck or mismanagment?

As Iraqi Oil Minister, Hussein al-Shahristani declared last Monday his country's first oil bidding round to develop six oil fields and two gas fields, accusations of selling off more than one third of Iraq's 115-billion-barrel proven reserves to international oil companies were immediately made.

Until now, according to what was released by al-Shahristani and the Ministry's director-general of Licenses and Contracts Directorate_Natik al-Bayati_ there is no evidence that Iraq gives these companies the upper hand or offers them any production-sharing contracts, a model of contracts which is favored by oil giants.

In short, Iraq will pay them flat fee for their service under a proposed service contract.

So in light of what the two officials declared to media, I think no one has the right yet to make such accusations unless he has solid evidences and has to present them.

I don't know whether it was al-Shahristani's bad luck or mismanagement behind such accusations.

The day he kicked off the bidding round when he met with the representatives of the pre-qualified companies in London and then did a press a conference to declare Iraq's conditions was a busy day for mainstream media outlets with the approval of the bailout plan and that this issue didn't take the enough space to be explained and analyzed accurately.

Or it was the Minister's bad management as his Ministry still doesn't have an effective and clear media policy to deal accuratly with the local and international media outlets to make available their plans' details to protect him from such accusations.

For instance; few days ahead of Monday's meeting, the Ministery issued a briefed statement, saying that the Minister was heading to London too meet companies representatives.

And only today, which is Wednesday, another briefed statement was issued about the same meeting, saying that the Minister met with these companies without any details about the conditions and contract form.


-I advise those who want to criticize and make their points in linking the war with oil, an idea I agree with, to have a look on all the details and then issue their statements. I urge them to read the best two coverage for Monday's meeting: the first one was for Ruba Husari of Internationl Oil Daily and Raphael G. Satter of the Associated Press. Both were in London.

-I advise Iraqi Oil Minister to make available to all media outlets, whether local or international inside or outside Iraq, all the details about these plans and update them from time to time whether by press conferences or round table meetings or detailed statements otherwise he and then the government will face a lot of such accusations as he did few months ago when Iraq was negotiating Technical Service Contracts with majors.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The U.S. heroes

To anyone who hails the U.S. forces in Iraq as "liberators" for Iraqis or as "defenders" for their country, "the great and civilized United States of America," here is the New York Times' Paul Von Zielbauer in today's edition addresses them:

"In March or April 2007, three noncommissioned United States Army officers, including a first sergeant, a platoon sergeant and a senior medic, killed four Iraqi prisoners with pistol shots to the head as the men stood handcuffed and blindfolded beside a Baghdad canal," Zielbauer starts his article by citing a sworn statements made by two of the involved soldiers.

"After removing the blindfolds and handcuffs, the three soldiers shoved the four bodies into the canal, rejoined other members of their unit waiting in nearby vehicles and drove back to their combat outpost in southwest Baghdad," the article continues.

The bravest among the three was First Sgt. John E. Hatley, who the other soldiers said killed two of the detainees with pistol shots to the back of their you are such a brave man Mr. Hatly!!!

Now how many dead bodies like those were found dumped in the streets, garbage and canals in past years and reported by the U.S. forces as victims for the tit-for-tat killings between Iraq's Sunni and Shiite extremists while their stories were different???

Long live America, long live its brave army !!!!

Thanks Zeilbauer!

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Off to America...

The Christian Science Monitor's Stacy Teicher Khadaroo offers today a very nice piece about 15 Iraqi students on their way to the United States to join class of 2012 at colleges and universities that have waived tuition to help them become Iraq's future architects, teachers, psychologists.

With the help of the Iraqi Student Project, which was born of two American peace activists' desire to give something back to Iraqis in the wake of violence triggered by the US invasion in 2003, the students have resurrected their ambitions after shelving their dreams as they have forced to leave to Syria due to violence.

It is really something nice to find such Americans trying to fix what their country's army and policy have done to this country and its people and hope all Americans try to do the same.

One of these students, Ali Abdul Majeed, who is packing up for Fairfield University in Connecticut hopes to eventually to return to Iraq to treat children.

Well Majeed I wish you the best in your study but hope to honor your promise and go back to Iraq to treat its children not like other students who promised such things but they didn't make it to Iraq...but yet no one can blame them...

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Oil negotiations rported stalled

Negotiations between Iraqi Oil Ministry and oil majors over Technical Support Agreements, TSAs, have been stalled and one of these has been terminated, the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswire reported.

Hassan Hafidh of the Dow Jones Newswire reports that negotiations with an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. -led consortium for a short-term oil service contract to develop a major oil field in southern Iraq, have been terminated by the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

While Gina Chon of the Wall Street Journal says negotiations are going through hard path and are not likely to go through.

Haffidh also reported that Iraq has hired the U.K.-based Gaffney, Cline & Associates Ltd. to provide consultancy for the Oil Ministry on the first round of tenders to develop eight oil and gas fields.

"The company provides consultancy on contract models, how to submit tenders, which company should bid for this or that oil or gas field, and other suggestions," a sourace told Dow Jones Newswires.

The sources for these stories are Iraqi oil industry sources close to the Oil Ministry ( a reference which is mainly used to refer to former Iraqi oil officials) and a U.S. diplomat in Baghdad and I don't know why Iraqi Oil Ministry keeps mum on these negotiations as long as it is doing something correct...

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Resettlement Fever

A resettlement fever has spread recently in Iraq among Iraqis with U.S. affiliations as all of them are now eligible to apply directly from Baghdad to be refugees in the U.S. with less restrictions and they need only a recommendation letter from their employer and few other documents.

What a generosity from uncle Sam!!!

Early June, the American Embassy in Baghdad met with bureau managers of the U.S.-based companies who work in Iraq and have Iraqi employees, especially the media outlets, to tell them about the new resettlement program.

Some of these managers didn't tell their employers about this program, fearing their offices will be empty, while others did. And of course, like any city in world news spread quickly to reach those who don't know.

Now the majority of the Iraqi employers are applying for this program whatever they are from drivers to guards to cooks and senior employers while others are still reluctant including me as I fear to end up as a taxi driver or worker at a fuel station or vendor at a store...but still mulling it.

This fever is really frightenning some American companies especially those who depend a lot on Iraqis and that has forced some of these managers to spread rumors in their offices that the one who applies for this program will be eligible to be dismissed when they find an alternative for him because his company will no longer count on you believe that???

I have the names of these companies but didn't publish them...

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

A score for Muqtada al-Sadr

Iraq's anti-American radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr scores today when his followers killed four Americans including two soldiers and two U.S. government civilian employees, Sinan Salaheddin reports for the Associated Press.

The bomb struck a municipal council building in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City district where the Americans gathered inside to attend an election event for a new head for the local council, The AP reports.

Now let's see what will happen next...will the Americans score?

Monday, 2 June 2008

Conclusion: Saddam is better than you all

Iraq's May oil crud exports hit 2.11 million barrels a day, recording the highest export level since the U.S.-led invasion to this country in March 2003, an increase on the 1.90 million barrels a day exported in April, Hassan Hafidh reports for Dow Jones Newswire.

And that revenues from oil sales in May are expected to be more than April's figures, which reached $5.922 billion, bringing total oil revenues obtained during the first four months of this year to $21.416 billion, Dow Jones Newswire added added.


We are still have no electricity, no clean drinking water, no public services, no appropriate medical care, no education to our children, lines on fuel stations have returned, dirty food ration its items not fit even to animals and....and....and....

In the past, all the world was blaming Saddam Hussein for spending Iraq's oil money to fuel his wars and fill his pockets but we had all the above mentioned things and more.

And now we have our oil in our hands, as our respected officials say, and we sale it at least three folds more than Saddam's era prices but our life is not like the one which other human beings enjoy on this planet.

Conclusion: Saddam is better than you all.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Baghdad before and after

The BBC's Caroline Wyatt returns to Baghdad after a 10-year absence and is looking for a shoulder to cry on in this war-torn city.

"The Baghdad I remembered was a sprawling city, a place of honking horns and barely-controlled anarchy on the roads," Wyatt starts the story.

"Amid the narrow, uneven pavements of the gold market, I jostled for space with shoppers peering closely at the gold necklaces given to brides at their wedding," Wyatt says.

"As a Westerner, I felt safe."


Thursday, 29 May 2008

Russia's Lokoil struggles to revive oil deal

Russia's Lokoil oil firm delegation came back to Baghdad and held Wednesday a meeting with Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, to revive a Saddam-era oil deal for one of Iraq's 10 super giant fields with its reserves estimated over 4 billion barrels, Hassan Hafish reports for Dow Jones Newswire

In 1997, the oil giant Lukoil struck a $3.7 billion deal with former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to drill at the West Qurna field in Basra. However, Saddam canceled the contract in 2002 the Russians hoped they would be able to revive it when Moscow wrote off most of Iraq's $12.9 billion debt.

In February, Russia agreed to write off $12 billion, or 93%, of Iraq's $12.9 billion debts to Moscow, a gesture that appeared aimed at helping Russian companies win contracts in Iraq. The two sides also signed a separate deal opening up Iraq for $4 billion in investment from Russian firms, including Lukoil.

I hope that the Russians have not been fooled!!!

Sunday, 25 May 2008


There was no doubt that everyone in the Arab world was happy today as seeing the Lebanese parliament members electing their new president after a six-month stand off which was ended after exerting huge Arab and world efforts, the most fruitful one was led by Qatar.

It was a real moment of happiness, especially for me, when I was seeing the majority of the world leaders and senior officials, whether from Arab or Muslim or European countries or others, who were racing to solve the Lebanese problem came together today to harvest the fruits of their efforts.

At these moments, I was feeling a voice inside me wants to reach everyone of those leaders and senior officials to show the same determination they showed over the past six months to solve the Lebanese problem to our problem and help us to get out of our endless sufferings.

With that voice, questions were flowing inside me: tens of conferences were held for Iraq since 2003 what they yielded in? why we are not going forward? what we need to go forward?what we need to heal the past wounds? who can help us? what?....why?....who?.....

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Another black day to Iraqi media

Iraqi fledgling media witnesses today another black day with the death announcement of two local journalists: one in Baghdad and another in Diayala province, Aseel Kami and Khalid al-Ansary report for Reuters.

Wisam Ali Ouda, a 32-year old cameraman for Afaq TV channel, was shot to dead Wednesday in Baghdad's eastern Obaidi district by U.S. soldiers, according to the station's spokeswoman.

"We confirm one of our employees was killed by an American sniper," Bushra Abdul-Amir, head of public relations at the station told Reuters, citing testimonies given by witnesses to the station's managers.

It is an accusation echoed by Hadi Jalu, deputy director of NGO Iraq's Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. "They all said an American soldier killed him," he said.

U.S. army denied any civilians had been killed during military operations in Obaidi on Wednesday.

While the second journalist was Haidar Hashim al-Husseini, a reporter for the local al-Sharq newspaper who was found dumped in a field with nine other corpses in Diyala province, about 60 kilometer northeast of Baghdad, after being kidnapped on Tuesday.

When this ends for God sake?

Our government and the magic key

It sounds that our "national unity" government hoists now the white flag as it grows desperate for not reaching any agreement between all its political factions to have normalcy back to this war-torn country.

It now turns its eyes to beyond its borders to have somone with a magic key.

Today, our president Jalal Talabani sent a letter to Qatar's Emir, Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, in which he expresses his appreciation to the efforts he made to solve the crisis in Lebanon and invites him to visit Iraq.

I hope that Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani would accept Talabani's invitation to visit Iraq but with a magic key to get our country back on the track.

Do you think that Iraq's magic key is no long with the Iraqis?

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Iraqi sellers go online

I just found this new Web Site and I wanted to share it with you but unfortunately it's only in Arabic so that I advice those who do not speak Arabic to have someone to translate, although I did a little bit, because you will enjoy it.

It is , the first ever Iraqi buy-online Web Site just to imitate or although there are still ages ahead between them with no delivery available or guarantee which such sites offer to their costumers.

But instead if you are interested to buy something you have to get in touch with the seller either by phone of e-mail to arrange the deal.

I don't know why it is named after the name of Baghdad's notorious popular Mredy market which is located in its eastern slum of Sadr City where stolen staff, forged documents and other staff are being sold.

At this Web Site you will meet Laith al-Kadhimi , a Baghdad resident who offers a one-ton Renault van model 1995 "but it can take more than two tons."

He only asks for US $6,000.

And you can also call Alaa Naji from Baghdad if you are interested to buy his two-burner Italian made cooking stove which he doesn't "need it anymore and is in a very good condition."

The price is 50,000 Iraqi Dinnars (about US$ 42) and you can find it at " Abu Alaa shope for watches in al-Kubaisi building."

But the most distinguished seller is Abu Hassan who offers a "Taq (distinguished) mobile phone number for Asia Cell which has not registered yet to anyone."

The number is 07708 000 808 and the price for it is US$ 100 while Asia Cell SIM chip is sold at US$ 5 and I don't know why Abu Hassan sees his number is "Taq."

Anyway I hope that you will enjoy your tour and find what you need and most important thing is that I hope to see as a peer to amazon and you think so? why not let's see....

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

UN work nature, is it controversial?

I always see the work of the United Nations as a controversial one: it sometimes directly endorses the wars or it does it indirectly by turning its eyes, closing its ears and mouth while on the other side it helps the victims of these wars.

In 2003, it couldn't stop the U.S.-led invasion and now it begs to help Iraqis who are affected by this war.

In its recent appeal on 9 May, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called on international donors for more US $127 million to help continuing its assistance programs for Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees throughout the end of 2008.

The appeal was the second in this year as the first one was in January which was for US$261 million but it has so far received only US$134 million and spend them all.

But Iraqis, like
Basil al-Azawi who heads the Iraqi Commission for Civil Society Enterprises, a coalition of over 1,000 Iraqi non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are skeptical and demand the international body to cooperate with local NGOs and present detailed documents on their expendtures.

Al-Azawi told the UN IRINnews that local Iraqi NGOs "have no idea how this [aid] money is being spent. Some organisations present detailed documents on their expenditures, others do not.”

“There is a perception that huge sums are being paid as high salaries to these organisations’ employees or being paid as rent for their buildings,” al-Azawi added.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Iraqis face no danger in Lebanon !!! why???

As Arab governments and others around the world are either warning their citizens in Lebanon to be more cautious or helping them to leave the country or preventing those who want to head there, Iraqi Foreign Affairs Ministry came up today with this controversial statement:

"Iraqis in Lebanon are in good health and there is no fear on their lives," Foreign Undersecretary Labid Abawi told the US-funded Radio Sawa. "For the time being we don't have such a plan (to evacuate Iraqis from Lebanon), there is no necessity for this," Abawi added.

How lovely to hear the government says you agree?

No wonder to hear such thing as this government doesn't care about its citizens' lives inside Iraq who are being killed in tens everyday.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

What a shame...

I just heard from a friend of mine that the prestigious American news agency, the Associated Press (AP) still treats its Iraqi employees in Baghdad office with a very humiliated way: they have to get searched twice before they get inside the office and they have to bring food with them, like construction workers, as they are not allowed to enter the kitchen and eat like other foreign staff.

What a shame....such companies must be grateful to those Iraqi employees because they are the ones who are behind their success in this war-devastated country as they have the big role in the work as we all know that the foreign journalist can't go out and do stories except to the Green Zone area.

But fortunately this is not the case with all news companies.

For instance, at the one I work with there is food for all of the employees....don't get me wrong with this as it is not a matter of food but instead it is a matter of showing respect to the other and let those real heroes feel they are partners with their foreign colleagues and their employer is not an extension to the U.S. occupation on their land.

Moreover, none of those AP's Iraqi employees has a written contract but instead they only have vocal ones and of course the purpose of this is clear: AP wants to make its obligations toward those people unclear and leave these obligations be decided personally unlike the foreigners who have their employer's commitments clear in their contacts before going to this war-torn country.

Another thing I heard from my friend is that AP is facing a lawsuit which has been filed by two of its former Iraqi employees at an Iraqi court as they were not paid the appropriate compensation when AP dismissed them last year.It is because they had no contracts to protect their rights so that they have to fight.

It is something really hurtful and shameful that in addition to danger the Iraqi journalists face everyday, their rights are lost as such companies making use of the lawless situation in Iraq.

I say to such companies: this not the way to say "thank you" to those people whom support has been the main reason behind keeping your work up all these years in this country.

And to the Iraqi government, Association of Iraqi Journalists, local and international NGOs and organizations I say: you can't divert a bullet fired on an Iraqi journalist but you can protect his rights at least to keep the story of this country gets out to the world.

In another subject, the AP's Managing Editor for International News, John Daniszewski appointed Tuesday Robert H. Reid as Baghdad's new bureau chief.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Iraq loses its history as well

A hurtful and shameful story is brought today by Robert Fisk on how the cradle of civilization, Iraq, is losing its history as antiquities are being plundered for the pleasure of private collectors worldwide.

"The near total destruction of Iraq's historic past – the very cradle of human civilization – has emerged as one of the most shameful symbols of our disastrous occupation," Fisk says in Belfast Telegraph .

"The use of heritage sites as military bases is a breach of the Hague Convention and Protocol of 1954 (chapter 1, article 5) which covers periods of occupation; although the US did not ratify the Convention, Italy, Poland, Australia and Holland, all of whom sent forces to Iraq, are contracting parties" he adds.

Please join me in thanking our "liberators".....

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Disneyland in Baghdad is really chilly news The Times Online brought today to war-devastated Iraqi people and especially the children: an American company will pour millions of dollars to build a massive American-style amusment park in downtown Baghdad.

The Los Angeles-based C3 holding company has been sold a 50-year lease on the site by the Mayor of Baghdad for an undisclosed sum,

Who knows may be this project will let Iraqis see another face for America instead of its military arsenal we see everyday since 2003 and the killings and devastation they have brought.

I hope that this idea will be achieved and never finds its way to the corruption reports which are overwhelmed Iraq over the past five years and....and...and....

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Take it or leave it...

Iraq's top oil official on 22 April threatened oil majors, who are in negotiations with his war-torn country on deals to increase the country's oil output, that Iraq may abandon the deals if they fail to sign them by June, Spencer Swartz reports to Dow Jones Newswires.

Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani's latest threat is the first strong statement after many upbeat ones he and other oil officials used to state since these negotiations were declared in 2007. Officials predicted to sign these deals in March.

"Iraqi workers have already increased production by about 500,000 barrels a day over the past year and could continue adding capacity without the foreign companies, Shahristani said. However, he added, their know-how and technology would greatly facilitate the process of increasing production capacity there."

Do somthing...

Iraq's well known woman activist and lawmaker, Safia al-Suhailh, made today an appeal to the Iraqi government to act immediately to curb the killing of women in one of Baghdad's western neighborhoods by militant groups.

Although al-Suhail did not name these groups but residents told the UN IRINnews that Mahdi Army militiamen, the armed wing of Shiite radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr were behind such killing.

"Over the past six months 15 women were killed in al-Salam neighbourhood for religious reasons or because they had criticized the militants, or because of their previous affiliation to the Baath Party [disbanded party of ousted President Saddam Hussein]," al-Suhail told IRIN.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


Aha, what a brilliant idea is this.....Iraqi parliament mulls issuing a law banning imports of toy guns and fire works to protect children from developing aggressive behavior, Sinan Salaheddin reports to the Associated Press.

Samira al-Moussawi, head of the parliamentary committee on women and children said that her committee, which has drawn the draft bill, is planning to put it in front of the parliament on 23 April.

"The culture of violence has prevailed in our society and controlled the Iraqi family, and that has affected the culture of children," al-Moussawi said in her interview.

"It has become a habit among a majority of our children to take what they want by force and we want to change this culture," she added.

Wondering how many laws we need to protect the coming generations from this war impacts and is it only a matter of issuing laws....?

This is an example...

Iraq's self-ruled Kurdistan Regional Government has taken a fresh initiative with launching a new official Web Site for its Presidency Office. provides visitors with the latest news, press releases and speeches for its President Masoub Barzani in addition to a clear email addresses for him and other departments in his office.

This new Web Site will work in parallel to the official one which is already saw success in providing journalists and other visitors with up-to-date information.

As I hail this initiative, I'm really keen to see the Iraqi central government and its ministries to have their media offices to do such a step.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Seatbelt ??? what about other problems???

As if our Mr. Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, after "achieving victory on outlaws" in Basra and Baghdad thinks that law and security have been maintained and that Iraq "once insecure country" is now a normal one.

And for that he has ordered a law only implemented in normal countries: car drivers must wear seatbelt or face a 30,000 Iraqi dinar (about US$ 31).

It's fine and I'm not against it at all but this only works if our life conditions just like the ones in our neighboring countries at least.

I think the countless checkpoints and blast walls around Baghdad make it completely impossible to travel fast enough to cause accidents around the city.

When the government wants to maintain the law in streets, it first must impose it on its convoys and more importantly on the U.S. military and foreign security contractors ones who all show no respect to traffic rules and speed any way they want with sirens blaring and guns pointed.

So I advise my esteemed government to tackle the country's problems starting from the absent security to enable nearly 6 million Iraqis return to their homes and find solutions to our political and economic problems before imposing such laws.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Government Media Offices...

As a journalist works in Iraq, I do believe that the first thing the Iraqi statesman must do when he takes office is to set up a very professional media office by carefully picking up a spokesman who can actively get in touch with all media outlets who deal with the Iraqi story.

And through this spokesman, the governmental institution must get a very clear and rich Web Site where all the needed information (of course those are allowed to be published) are available for everyone such as press releases, reports, contacts to officials and so on.

And also, a weekly briefings must be held to help media outlets follow up with their achievements and future plans.

In my modest seven-year old experience in journalism with international media outlets, some of those Iraqi spokesmen and their offices are very very cooperative, try hard to keep media outlets updated with all their activities and spare no efforts to help them.

While others have become professionals in how keeping journalists in turmoil when they need anything: they rarely answer their phones and never call back later and their common pretext is " I'm in a meeting" or "I was busy with meetings".

An example for that, NO OFFENCE HERE, is the Oil Ministry Spokesman Mr. Assem Jihad who rarely helps journalists with Iraq's oil developments which I believe its the most important story now in Iraq.

I do believe that amid the huge oil developments in Iraq, Iraqi Oil Ministry must hold such weekly briefings to speak about, for examples, negotiations with majors to develop oil fields and other future plans.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani only appears before media when he leaves Iraq to take part in conferences and never invites journalists to his ministry.

I call on everybody not to be sensitive with this but I do believe that these spokesmen and media offices are the real forefront of their institutions.