Inconclusive Elections Leave Iraqis Searching for Compromise

Inconclusive Elections Leave Iraqis Searching for Compromise by Hamid Alkifaey Although the May 12 Iraqi parliamentary election was the country’s fifth since 2005, it was remarkably different from the previous ones in many ways. For the first time since the beginning of the democratic process in Iraq following the removal of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in 2003, Iraqi electoral lists, by and large, did not use sectarian, tribal, or regional concerns for political advantage. According to the campaign rhetoric of all lists, even the previously sectarian ones, the election was about building a modern democratic Iraq that’s strong, civil, free of corruption, and fair to all its citizens. It’s questionable, however, if these groups will keep their promises, especially those known for corruption, if they do come to power once again.   Notwithstanding this shift, most of the Iraqi electorate decided not to vote, perhaps believing...  المزيد

Lisbon’s Sun

 The sun shines in Lisbon It emits light and heat on living creatures and other things; On trees and palms Yes, Palm trees in Lisbon! (Who smuggled this palm tree from my country?)*   Here, in the land of Portugal, the land of oranges** the land of Alberto the land of Alberta the land of Iberia the land of ab, as in the land of the Spanish and the Greeks, unlike the land of the English, the Americans, the Germans, the Italians, and the Iranians, and even perhaps the land of the Chinese, Japanese, and Indians, they respect you because you are an Arab. You always hear them say: We are like you and of you.   The sun loves us, Arabs. And it loves the Spanish, the Greeks and the people of Portugal It remains shinning throughout the day Its light brightens the sky It fills the gaps in the space In the summer time and winter It soars mountain summits and overwhelms the deepest valleys It feeds the bodies and minds It dispels boredom and idleness   *********   Sunlight...  المزيد

Our suffering will continue unless Extremism is uprooted

Our suffering will continue unless Extremism is uprooted   Hamid Alkifaey Extremists, with their religious ranting, are accustomed to confrontation with whomever they disagree with. The nature and degree of this disagreement are of secondary importance to them. The confrontation with their foes has not come out of nowhere. They firmly believe that they are able to defeat their enemies because they think they are on the right side while their enemies are on the wrong side. They also believe that they would win in either case. If they get killed, they will go to eternal heaven, and if they kill their enemies, they will send them to eternal torture in hell! This is their logic and rarely do they find it necessary to resort to diplomatic means to resolve matters with their foes, even if they feel the foe is stronger The other issue that they all agree on is that they hate the moderates more than the extremists among their foes, even though...  المزيد

Yes, there is discrimination in Britain

Open Democracy, 5th Nov 2016  I came to Britain from Iraq 36 years ago. I was running away for my life, so it didn’t really matter which country I go to, most important for me then was to leave Iraq before I meet the same fate as many of my relatives, friends and colleagues who were murdered by the regime. I remember I visited almost every foreign embassy in Baghdad to get a visa, including the embassy of the Republic of Afghanistan which was at war with itself then, perhaps worse than it is now, but I knew there was less chance of me getting killed there. But if I stayed in Iraq, I would either be killed by the regime for being critical of the ‘leader necessity,’ his Excellency the President of the Republic of Iraq, Secretary General of the Ba’ath Party, Chairman of the Revolution Command Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Saddam Hussein, or get killed in the war with Iran which had just started....  المزيد

The Islamic State that isn’t – Hamid Alkifaey

The Islamic State that isn’t OPenDemocracy 11/12/2015 ‘The Islamic State has taken the Iraqi city of Ramadi’. ‘The Islamic State beheaded British aid worker Alan Henning’. ‘The Islamic State beheaded American Journalist Steven Sotlof’. ‘The US discusses with its allies how to respond to the Islamic State’. ‘Russia is taking a tough stance against the Islamic State’. These are not made up phrases of any one’s imagination. They are headlines in news bulletins in the British and Western media. While other terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram and Al Qaeda, were referred to by their foreign names, this notorious group was given the honour of becoming both ‘Islamic’ and a ‘state’. The question is why have the Western media decided to brand a barbaric terrorist group first and foremost as ‘Islamic State’ when it is neither Islamic nor a state? I do not subscribe to any conspiracy theory. Nor am I one of those...  المزيد

Sectarianism in Iraq-Interview with Dr Khalil Osman

Please briefly describe your book for us – what are the key points covered? The book deals with an issue that is becoming more and more important in Iraq and the wider Middle East – that is the issue of sectarianism. The sectarian problem in Iraq, which had largely lain dormant since the establishment of the modern Iraqi state following World War I, forced its way onto the political scene, with a vengeance, so to speak, after the US-led war in 2003. The book seeks to fill a gaping hole in the scholarship and scholarly literature on Iraq by addressing the issue of sectarianism and its relationship to the making of state and nation in modern Iraq. That is not to say that the issue of sectarianism in Iraq was not dealed with at all before. One finds scattered references to sectarian issues, and sometimes tensions, dotting some writings on Iraq before, but the issue did not get any serious scholarly attention until after the post-Gulf...  المزيد

Food security in Iraq

Food security in Iraq Hamid Alkifaey Introduction This study will discuss the issue of food security in Iraq, but since the issue of food and hunger is a part of an international problem, the Iraqi food scene must be linked to the world at large and international efforts to counter the problem. I begin with the larger problem of old insecurity in the world, then I will talk specifically about Iraq and the challenges facing it in this regard. I will first look at concepts of food security the human right to food, and take a definition or description of food security as stated by an Iraqi international expert on food and water: Food Security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (Dr Hassan Janabi, Iraq’s former ‫ambassador to UN Food & Agricultural Organisation, Nov...  المزيد

Arab Americans Seek A Palestinian State Because It’s ‘In The US Interests’ Hamid Alkifaey

Al Hayat Wednesday 13 November 2013 For the last half century, Arab politicians and intellectuals have often talked about the need to create an Arab lobby in the United States to advocate for Arab issues. Often, they attributed the weakness of the Arab diplomatic position to the absence of Arab advocacy groups that explain and clarify the Arabs’ legitimate concerns and interests in the West, particularly in the United States. Often, they attributed the strength of Israel and the unwavering support it enjoys in the US to the strength of the American pro-Israel lobby and its ability to serve the Jewish state.   There is no doubt that this is all true. It is only recently that the Arabs have realized the importance of advocacy organizations in the West, and the influence they have on politicians, particularly in the United States. There are large numbers of Arabs living in Western countries, but they lack organizational capacity. They...  المزيد

Nightmare scenario: change in Syria may be detrimental to Iraq-Hamid Alkifaey

March 21, 2012 Edition 12 Bitterlemons International Syria and Iraq have been at odds for the last 50 years. Since the early 1960s, both countries have been ruled by two rival wings of the Baath Party. Both wings seized power in their respective countries via a military coup. This inter-party rivalry caused the two countries to be at each other’s throats for most of this period. Both countries nurtured opposition to the other’s regime. Bashar Assad’s Syria hosted the Iraqi opposition in all its political and religious colors in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, while Saddam Hussein’s Iraq hosted and supported the Syrian opposition, be they members of the rival Syrian Baath Party, pan-Arab nationalists or Sunni Islamists (usually members of the banned fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood). After the fall of the regime in Iraq in 2003 and the coming to power of Syrian and Iranian-backed, and later American-supported, Iraqi opposition...  المزيد

US may be withdrawing its military, but it is staying on – Hamid Alkifaey

December 15, 2011 Edition 37 Bitterlemons International After almost nine years in Iraq, the United States military is leaving. Not because it wants to, but because it has to. All Iraqi political groups–friends and foes–were united in demanding troop departure by the end of 2011. The Obama administration is not totally happy at this turn of events, since it wanted to keep 20,000 soldiers in the country to make sure its interests are not undermined. But it had to accept the Iraqi decision, since it promised American citizens it would withdraw from Iraq. Obama has a tough re-election battle next year and he doesn’t want Iraq to deprive him of a second term that he seeks in order to leave some imprint on American politics, apart from being the first black US president.  Do Iraqis still need Americans? Certainly. Not least because of distrust of one another. Fear is the order of the day in Iraq. Fear of uncertainty, violence,...  المزيد
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