Monday, April 19, 2004

Arabic newspapers of tomorrow (Tuesday) are talking about leaflets distributed around Baghdad with the signature of the `Awdah (Return) Party. This is an offshoot of the Ba`th Party of Iraq, and was formed before Saddam's capture. The party has a military wing, called Wihdat At-Tala'i` (Unit of The Vanguards). Apparently, those dudes want to return Saddam to power. It has been circulating flyers in Sunni areas of Iraq. I do not understand. Do they honestly think that Iraqis will allow the return of Saddam to power? Have they any clue to the depth of Iraqi detestation and contempt for Saddam? I am certain that if Saddam is released that he will not last (alive) for more than a few hours. In fact, I purchased a whole body of books from London last month about Iraq: there is a new body of literature by people who lived under Saddam talking about their experiences. I just finished reading Ibrahim Az-Zubaydi's book on Dawlat Al-Idha`ah (The Radio State). Another book describes the horror visited upon members of one family, some of whom were in their teens. But the US problem is bigger than they care to admit: I was reading a statement by the 85-year old Shi`ite member of the puppet council, Muhammad Bahr Al-`Ulum (he got his son to serve as minister of oil). This fellow has been the most loyal supporter of US project, but is now expressing strong criticisms of US and the suffering of Iraqi civilians. That tells you something about the Iraqi public mood. And who does Bush nominate to become the first US ambassador to Baghdad? A Spanish-speaking US diplomat with experience in covert operations in...Latin America. This is akin to me pontificating about Chinese affairs. Also, cronyism and nepotism are rampant in the new Iraq. When the US occupation authority was planning to appoint a "minister of defense" (with the power to move the new formidable Iraqi army units) puppet council members Ahmad Chalabi and Iyad `Allawi (the former is the international embezzler, and the latter a former functionary of Saddam's intelligence apparatus) got into a fight. Each wanted a relative. What did Bremer do? He appointed a `Allawi family member who was related by marriage to Chalabi. It is better for my nerves to write about peaches and mangoes.