Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Squatter officials

The Iraqi government offers US$850 to US$4,300 to homeless people who have been squatting in government buildings or on government lands since 2003 "liberation" when the United States led a coalition to topple Saddam Hussein's regime.

The government decision came into effect on January 1st and the squatters have 60 days to leave or face legal action, the UN IRINnews reports.

One squatter called, Hussein Awad Nasser, 38, refused to be evicted unless he gets a fair treatment just like majority of other Iraqi officials who as well live as squatters.

“Senior officials live in houses of former officials, and claim to be leasing them from the government, so why are we the only ones who should leave?” asked Nasser who lives in Baghdad's central Salihiyah residential complex where Saddam Hussein's elite Residential Guards used to live.

“I will pay as long as these officials pay and I will leave when these officials leave,” Nasser said.

I agree with Nasser, we are in a country enjoys democracy and the law above all as the government says everyday.

And that the law should not only be above Nasser while below Iraq's president, Jalal Talabani ,who lives in a palace belonged to Saddam's brother on the Tigris or Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, who lives in house belonged to Saddam's brother-in-law inside the Green Zone or the most influential Shiite cleric, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who lives next to Talabani in a palace belonged to Tariq Aziz.

There are tens other squatter officials not only these three men.

Monday, 5 January 2009

What did we see in 2008?

Iraq earned about US$60 billion in 2008 from selling crude oil at an average of 1.85 million barrels a day, Mariam Karouny reports for Reuters.

The Head of Iraq's State Oil Market Organization (SOMO), Falah Alamri, told Reuters: "Our target is 2 million (bpd) in January. If the weather is good and the tankers arrive on time, then we will reach two million bpd."

Where did this money go?

Did we see electricity 24 hours a day? NO. Did we see clean water coming out from the tap? NO. Did we see new hospitals? NO.Did we see new bridges and streets? NO.Did we see good food ration suitable for human beings and not only fit to chicken? NO.Did we see new residential compounds? NO and NO and NO and NO....

Did we see government officials in elegant western suits traveling in motorcades of modern armored vehicles? YES. Did we see new military vehicles and weapons? YES. Did we see more concrete walls? YES. Did we see sidewalks being built by Baghdad's Municipality workers and the next day the same workers demolish them to be built again the next day? YES and YES and YES and YES and YES...

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Financial incentives to marry Iraqi widows

Marry one Iraqi widow and you will get 10 million Iraqi dinars [about US$8,500] !!!

This is not an ad or a government decision yet but it could be seen soon if the government agrees on the plan being drawn by Mazin al-Shihan, head of Baghdad’s Displacement Committee, to help them cope with their plight.

“Iraqi widows, especially internally displaced widows in camps, are having a tough time. Most have more than one child and are finding it very hard to feed them,” al-Shihan, told the UN IRINnews.

“We have reports that some… are being harassed and blackmailed by government officials… More attention must be focused on this segment of the Iraqi people before it is too late,” he continued.

But his plan found tough opposition from
women’s activist Hanaa Adwar, who heads al-Amal NGO, saying it smacked of “cruelty as the widow must get married to another man to get the government help”.

And she brings another idea which is to rehabilitate them to be independent and productive elements of society and to be more self-reliant in terms of feeding their children.