But call it what you will...
Rumors, gossip, grapevine news, off the wires...does not matter...it's juicy and fits perfectly well into the overall picture...
The American ambassador, Khalilzad visited "Kurdistan" today. He was joyfully watching some kurdish folk dance and the american flag was waving next to the kurdish one in a tranquil pastoral scenery.
Everyone looked very happy and content. Mission accomplished.
I wonder why I have not read anyone from the "left" accusing Barazani or Talabani of being CIA agents propped by the American government? Ah, I remember they were oppressed...
Well,thought I would mention it "en passant"...just a detail, really.
Talking about the kurds again. My relative Mona came by for a cup of tea.
Mona is half kurdish, half arab. We talked about various subjects.
One of them, Kamel and Omar...and the discussion drifted to the first day of the invasion.
Mona revealed something to me she had not mentioned to me in past discussions. Namely, during the first week of the invasion, in the Hay al Dhubat, where she was visiting a friend, she saw with her own two eyes, 3 tanks. 2 kuwaitis and 1 american followed by a couple of humvees and around 30 iraqis brought in buses from Madinat Al Thawra (now known as the illuminated Sadr City).
She stopped and watched what they were doing.
A new multi speciality clinic had just opened next to her friend's house.
The guys from Sadr city protected by the Kuwaitis and the Americans went on a looting spree, stealing dental and surgical equipment which they have no use for, lab ustensils, ophthalmological machines and the like...
They then proceeded to smash them to pieces, tearing whatever they could tear apart...
Mona was surprised to see Kuwaitis there. Only today she learned that 48% of the Kuwaiti population is Shia too and very pro-Iran.
Still on Kuwait, another piece of gossip.
Fifi Abdo, the famous Egyptian belly dancer said in an interview the following:
" Listen darling, I am no politician. I was born a belly dancer and will die as a belly dancer...but I tell you one thing for Truth's sake, one highly prominent member of the Sheikh al Sabah family told me personally...of course darling I cannot reveal his exact name...but he said to me: We pay money for every Iraqi killed..."
I choose to believe Fifi Abdo the belly dancer over Bush and his stooges in the Gulf and in Kuwait. Mind you, this piece did not surprise me at all.
One saudi "diplomat" told me a few months before the 2003 invasion "we, saudis will not have peace until we see one dead in every single Iraqi family and the first dead one will have to be Saddam and his own..."
Back to Mona, she then gives me another story and she swears she saw it with her own eyes.
She saw again a couple of american tanks and a bunch of Iraqis from "illuminated" Sadr city.
This latter were trying to break into Baghdad Technology University.
The gates were locked with thick metal chains. The americans facilitated the job...They just rolled with their tanks into the gates, smashing them down...
Our brave iraqis then went onto another destruction rampage, looting the university, smashing all the furniture and computers, burning the books...
-What do you think is the reason behind all of this Mona?
-It is clear, they wanted to destroy Iraq and all the educated classes and take us back to the dark ages...That is also why they killed so many academics. You know I did not fear the Americans...my biggest fear during the first week of the invasion was Iran..I knew Iran was involved in all of this...and I am sure the Mossad was too.
Then our discussion moved to the Kurds.
-He did oppress kurds though...
-Who built Sulaymania University and the whole academic curriculum was in kurdish?
-Hmm... the previous regime, Saddam did
-Who forced secondary school students in Baghdad to learn kurdish as a second language?
- Well, yes, true...the previous regime.
- Was there forced arabization ?
- No of course not...a lot of my kurdish relatives cannot speak arabic.
- Where are the alleged mass graves of Al Anfal?
- Hmm, they are there...
- Where there? Who saw them?
- Well, they said they were there...but I also heard recently Iran used chemicals too.
- Who else gave autonomy rule to the kurds apart from Iraq? Iran? Turkey? Syria?
- No, no other country did...
I further confronted her with M.Barazani and Talabani's peshemergas being trained by the Mossad, Iran and the CIA. She could not refute it. Since it is not only common
knowledge but Massood Barazani himself never denied it and confirmed his secret agreements with the CIA back in the 70's.
- So why don't you call them CIA and Mossad agents as well?
She still could not answer me ... Oh well, just another detail.
At that point, Mona finished her tea quickly and left...I don't think I will be seeing Mona again. Not for quite some time at least.
An eventful week indeed. Uncle Zayd came by.
Now Uncle Zayd is well over 70 years old and he is known to be a walking encyclopedia.
He knows everything that needs to be known about "who is who" in Baghdad.
He can give you in an instant the full personal resume of X, tracing X's lineage from his ancestry till this very day.
Uncle Zayd is a very learned man and I usually listen to him intently when he talks...
Except he has this annoying habit of speaking in such a low voice, one has to practically sit in his lap to hear him...apart from this detail...when Uncle Zayd talks, I am full ears.
More tea was served and I don't know how but the discussion took a sudden bifurcation and landed on Muqtada al Sadr, Chubby checkers and his drill boys.
I remember now, it was Kamel's dissapearance that pushed the conversation in that direction...
Now the exciting bits. I nearly fell off my chair when I heard this.
Chubby checkers was never a mullah and had hardly studied theology.
Now Uncle Zayd is an old man and he has been around...and this is what he had to say.
" Muqtada's father was killed by the Iranians...They had this long conflict in the Hawza's amongst themselves. The Iranian wing of the Hawza (theological authority) wanted Qum to become the point of all ultimate reference (Marja'iah) whilst Muqtada's father and his branch believed that Najaf should remain the ultimate Marja'iah - Basically a clerical conflict...When Muqtada's father was killed...Muqtada had nothing to do with religion per se...He used to be a football addict, a street boy, a bully and a thug, hated reading or studying and was considered a spoiled brat by everyone...
When he became orphaned, Saddam took pity on him and spoiled him even more with gifts...Now he has become a mullah...How? Only Allah knows...I have studied law all my life and I still do not consider myself a judge..."
Aha! That explains Chubby Checkers hatred for football... Relieving his guilty conscience for all the days he wasted in the streets banging that ball instead of studying...and that also explains the nature of his disciples, the drills boys...
And to think that he is considered the great anti-imperialist, anti-occupation force in today's Iraq is beyond comical...
Incidentally, the number of tortured, drilled bodies has shot up from 7-15 bodies a day dumped in various parts of the city to 30-40 a day...
Seems Chubby and his drill boys have made a comeback after some intensive training in both Iran and Kurdistan...Oh well, yet another detail.
Now for another piece...
Ammar al Hakim, the golden child. Son of Al Hakim, the daddy of the Badr Brigades of the Ministry of Interior, the leader of Iraq's Islamic revolutionary Council, referred to as "your eminence" by Bush. The one who came from Teheran after 25 years of "exile" and is now considered a leading role player in the "new Iraqi democracy".
Well, Ammar is his son. The one who was a bit roughed by the americans upon his return from Iran. Yeah that's him.
Seems that Ammar al Hakim has turned Basrah into his own personal market playground.
He trades the oil with whomsoever he wants, selling it, giving it away, making contracts...and of course collecting the cash with absolutely no accountability...
So the story goes, a special pipeline has been constructed since the invasion to pump oil for free...in order to pay the costs of "operation freedom", i.e to cover the costs of our liberation.
So Iraqis are paying with their own blood and oil for their "liberating" death.
How about that for a new juicy piece of gossip for the coming week?
Do keep me informed if you hear more like the ones above and you are very welcome to drop by for a cup of tea as well...
And do check Fifi Abdo, the belly dancer...she is a mighty good dancer too.
And if that fails, you can always contact the Saudi diplomat, he must be gleeing with satisfaction by now.
P.S: I just remembered something else that completely slipped my mind.
Mona was talking about one of her best friends, a communist. She said:
Painting: Iraqi artist, Shakir Al-Alousi.