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An Average Iraqi

An Average Iraqi is just a fictional character whose....well, fictional. I will use this character to make a comparison between him and real human beings like myself or any one else.

Location:Baghdad, Iraq

My name is Hassan Kharrufa. I am a 20 year old Iraqi student. I study civil engineering at the Department of Building and Construction at Al-Jami3a Al-Taknologia (The Tecknology Univirsity), Baghdad, Iraq.

Iraqi Bloggers BiographyUpdated November 11

Monday, December 26, 2005

Elections Aftermath

     So far, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq has not announced the final results of the elections. But the big success that the 555 list (An all Shia list) has achieved so far is creating doubts of the commission's integrity, especially in Baghdad. Accusations and even threats are flying around right now. Just a few days ago, Sunnis organized a massive demonstrations in a few provinces. Some of my friends participated in the Baghdad demonstration. They say that hundreds of thousands were there, and from the pictures I have seen of it, I think they are right. They are demanding that the elections are to be repeated in the provinces that has seen some of these very un-expected results. The un-verified results can be found at the commission's official site.

     Just a few days after the elections, the government decided to partially stop supporting the prices of oil. So the prices of benzene, gasoline and gas has went up 300%, tripled. This has left the Iraqi street in anger. So far, I have not seen a single Iraqi who had liked this decision. Although the price of Oil was very low in Iraq, cheapest than water to be frank, but the Average Iraqi has been used to this prices from the eighties. So the sudden rise in prices has left him raged. Some of the southern militia controlled provinces has even refused to implicate these prices. But I don't think they are going to last much, because the only big refineries capable of handling such massive amounts of oil, are only found in Baghdad, and Beji.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Trouble Ahead

     Yesterday, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq announced preliminary results of 10 provinces, partially. Baghdad results were 89% votes of total votes. So far the Unified Iraqi Coalition (the 555 all-Shia-list) is in the lead. Then there is the Tawafoq Iraqi Front (the 618 main Sunni list). Then the National Iraqi List (the 731 secular list). Right now, the 555 has 41% of the total votes, thank god, not yet above 50%. If they are above 50%, they can take the government all by themselves, but since they are not, they will have to share. Plus, these are yet preliminary results, the main Sunni provinces Anbar, Salah Al-Deen, Mosul, Diala and Kurkok are yet not accounted for. So I can safely presume that the 618 and 731 guys are going to rise in numbers, while the 555 is not going to rise but just a little.

     Right now, I am watching a press conference on TV. It seems that a lot of the other lists are accusing armed militias of faking results. It is said that in southern Iraq, people were threatened to vote for the 555 list. Although I can't say if this is true or not, but I wouldn't say it is unlikely. Because Badr Brigade is a very strong militia in the south, and is known for doing killing and kidnapping. Once again, the story of the trucks coming from Iran filled with false votes, surfaces again. I am beginning to think that it is more than a rumor, and it might just be true.

     The official spokesman for the committee Ferid Ayar, had announced that they have received almost a thousand complains. Twenty of them, as he said, are very serious, and need to be looked at immediately. Right now, a lot of the lists has demanded that the elections are made again, and with better supervision. I don't know what to think of this, I was very happy that I voted, and I think that doing it again, is going to mark this one as a failure. I don't want that. But again, I do not want to spend the next four years with a 555 government. Anyway, I guess that if they are to be repeated, it is going to be made for certain areas that has suffered from fraud.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Carnival of Voting

     It was not a normal day. Since the second I woke up, I had one thing on my mind. VOTING. Some of our relatives had already awoke early and went to vote. They said it was very safe, and so far no violence had happened. They also warned us not to take anything with us, except for IDs. So we left even our watches behind and went out to vote. There were four of us, plus two who had already voted. It was like Eid. Everyone was happy, people walking in the street saluted us even if they did not know us, we did the same. Even my 85 year old grandfather, who had much trouble walking, came with us to cast his vote. Although the walk was very hard on him, but he pulled himself together and managed to reach the poll centre. Later I went home, and took my camera. Going back to the poll centre, I took some pictures from afar so I don't get in trouble with the National Guards who were guarding the place.

You can see in this picture how many people are going to cast their votes.

Not my best shot, but yet worth going online.

These are our fingers. From left to right, me, my father, and my grandfather. My mother and grandmother voted too, but they have already found ways to wash the ink off. Women!!.

This is my 85 year old grandfather. He was treated like a king there. He sat in a chair, and they brought the pen and ballot paper to him. He chose his list, gave it to them, they folded it, and put it in the box. Then they brought him the ink pot.

     Now there is nothing more we can do. Except sit down and wait for the results. I have fulfilled my duties.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Baghdad with one day to the Elections

     In less than 12 hours the poll station will be open. Of course there is a curfew, so we have to walk. But who cares??. This is the biggest elections any Iraqi could ever participate in. Previous elections were important, but this is the big one. This is the one that everyone has been preparing for for at least a month before.

     These elections are different. Everyone is realizing how important it is. No one is boycotting them. Everybody is going to vote, the question is, who are they going to vote for. Sadly, people in Iraq are still thinking in the way I'm-a-Sunni-I-vote-for-a-Sunni way. You can replace Sunni for Shia or Kurd. This is how it is. But yes, except for the 555 guys, most of the others are making coalitions with not just their class, but with others, some lists have a fairly good mixture of Shias-Sunnis-Kurds in them.

     So I decided I would take a walk to the nearby street, and take a photo of it, so you can see what I mean by EMPTY. By the way, I am not going to host pictures on blogger anymore, just on flickr. So they can be linked from else where. Pictures hosted on blogger do not show if they are linked to from other sites. Oh and I have made them small for the purpose of fast load, if you want more detail click on them to see a larger image. See below the empty street:

     There is a scandal that has just happened in Iraq now. With only one day to the elections, a truck coming from Iran was discovered with a full load of forged votes for.. Guess who??. Well, they have not said who, but there is really no doubt about the 555 list. Since many of it's candidates are actually Iranians. Yes I know I am going hard on them, but I just feel angry about this. Mostly because they are supposed to be the most honest, since they are religious. But no, they are not. They are depending on the masses of un-educated Shias in their campaigns. Putting pictures of Sistani in their posters, since Shias do ANYTHING he tells them to do, they put his picture so that people might vote for them.

     Oh well, I still feel optimistic about the elections. This one is different. I know I have been saying that a lot. But yes it is different. Biggest elections any Iraqi can ever participate in. Right now I have little flyers of every major list in Iraq. Sometimes I go look for them, others I just find them in my lap. Anyway, tomorrow is still the big day, so please stay tuned for my tomorrow post. Of course I will not go vote fist thing in the morning. I will wait for at least 10 AM, to see how things are, and to be hones, if they were messy, I will not go vote, sad to say. So if I go vote tomorrow, I promise you will see my finger again. Peace.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

An Average Iraqi look at the Possible Winners

     Well, on this post I find it hard to be speaking for the Average Iraqi. Since no one knows what he want to vote for. Or else, the whole point of the elections will be gone. So what I am going to do, is put the names of the most popular lists, and what I think about them.

Unified Iraqi Coalition. Vote number 555: This list is very popular in southern Iraq, and mostly between Shias. But this list has a LOT of problems and bombs in it. If you check one of my previous posts where I listed the names of organizations and politician figures in each coalition. You can see the names under this coalitions. I would like to mention that all those names are Shias. This list is exclusively for Shias. I am not trying to propaganda against it, but seriously, who will represent the Kurds or Sunnis or any other minority. Who will represent the Average Iraqi. If that list is elected in Baghdad, I have to say that our lives might be very difficult. This list might do great to represent Najaf or Karbala, with it's Shia majority, but surely not the one for Baghdad, Sunni provinces, or Kurdistan. If this list gets more than 50% of the chairs. It will rule everything, and I have a feeling Iraq will be like a second Iran then. Needless to say, I am not giving them my votes.

Tawafoq Iraqi Front. Vote number 618: This list is probably representing the majority of Sunnis in Iraq. Better than the previous one since it has some Shia and Kurd members in it. Actually this is a very good list for Anbar and Mosul, with their Sunni majority, but still there are people who can represent Shias, Kurds, and even Christians. Although this list is better than the last one, but in my opinion, they will run things in a very similar way that Taliban used to do in Afghanistan. So I am not voting for this one either.

National Iraqi List. Vote number 731. This list is not supported by any religious faction, since it is mostly secular. That is why in my opinion, I think it will work for anyplace, since they do the representing in a politician view point instead of a religious, or in my eyes, racist way. Although I want Islam to be involved somehow in the system, but the way the two previous lists are doing it, is not my favorite. One more thing about this list, the 555 guys hate it very much. One more reason for me to vote for it.

Kurdistani Gathering. Vote number 730. This list has all the big shots of Kurdistan. Makes it perfect to represent the northern Iraq, or as they call it, Kurdistan. I have to say I am not very familiar with this list, they do not do a lot of publicizing in Baghdad, I think they are concentrating on the places where they can win. But from the names of the participants, I can see that there are a few Islamic and Turks in it. So as I said, perfect for northern Iraq.

     My next post, which I shall put tomorrow, will be describing how Baghdad looks during the day before the elections. Also I will tell you some stories about elections that happened.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

The Story of a Car Bomb

     Today a car bomb exploded at 14 St Ramadan. Which is a very busy street in Baghdad. This car bomb has a very interesting story, which might help you understand how those car bombs work. The car model was most likely a Toyota Corona 1981.

     The car was hijacked from it's owner a day earlier. And they killed it's owner so he cannot report it stolen and set the police in search for it. They put 4 explosive charges in it. The charges are not anything complicated. They are simple Gas cans. Which are sold by carts that roam the city, so it is easy to get.

     Then the car was placed near a very famous Ice Cream shop. The place becomes very crowded in the noon. I think they put it their to achieve highest kills. Disgusting. Luckily the police spotted it. They dragged it away into the middle of the street. Blocked the street from all directions and cleared it. Then they opened fire on the car. One of the charges exploded and the car was all in flames. Thinking that it is finished the police dragged the car aside and left it.

     This morning as life went on. A civilian inspecting the car discovered that there were three more charges. So he called the police. The police came a few minutes later and took the charges away. Rendering the car harmless at last.

     Look at these pictures you can see the charges put in the car

Spot the black markings on the street. These are the marks of dragging.

The yellow plate is or was the charge. It is a simple Gas can which can be found easily in Baghdad. Not even worth stealing.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Elections Fever

     When I go out these days. I see no empty wall. They are all covered in posters. Sometimes there would be layers of them. As competition rises. No empty spot is left. So posters are being put above others. The fever has reached the TV and radio too. As the commercials between shows and songs are being filled up by election commercials. Right now the different candidates and organizations have allied with each other. Creating what is called here "Coalitions". Reducing the number of candidates from a couple of hundreds to only nineteen. We will vote for these coalitions. Each one of them has a vote number. If I want to vote for a certain coalition. I would write the vote number of that coalition on the ballot sheet. You will find below a list of all these coalitions and the names of the different organizations they consist of.

Tawafoq Iraqi Front. Vote number 618. Consists of:

  • The Iraqi Islamic Party.

  • The General Council For Iraqi People.

  • Al Hewar National Iraqi Council.

Arabic List. Vote number 615. Consists of:

  • The Arabic Unifying Front.

  • National Solidarity Movement.

Kurdistani Gathering. Vote number 730. Consists of:

  • Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

  • Labor Party of Kurdistan.

  • Islamic Group of Kurdistan/Iraq.

  • Al Kaldani Democratic United Party.

  • Communist Party of Kurdistan.

  • Socialist Democratic Party of Kurdistan.

  • Democratic Party of Kurdistan.

  • Iraqi Turkman Brotherhood Party.

Independent Karbala Coalition. Vote number 533. Consists of:

  • Dr. Abbass Naser Hasani Al Hasnawi.

  • National Gathering For Karbala Iraqi Tribes.

Brotherhood and Peace List. Vote number 737. Consists of:

  • Brotherhood Independent Gathering.

  • AL Sheikh Ali Abd Al Husain Kamouneh.

Unified Iraqi Coalition. Vote number 555. Consists of:

  • Islamic Da'awa Party.

  • Islamic Virtue Party.

  • Centrist Coalition Party

  • Bader Organization.

  • Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution In Iraq.

  • Turkman Islamic Union of Iraq.

  • Justice and Equality Assembly.

  • Iraqi Democratic Movement.

  • Movement of Hizbullah in Iraq.

  • Turkmen Loyalty Movement.

  • Saed Al Shuhada Islamic Movement.

  • Al Shabak Democratic Gathering.

  • Malhan Al Mkoter-Mr.

  • Islamic Da'awa Party-Iraq Organization.

  • Reform And Building Meeting.

  • Al Sadriah Advertising.

  • The Justice Community.

  • Iraq Ahrar.

National Iraqi List. Vote number 731. Consists of:

  • Iraqi Communist Party.

  • Union Party.

  • Al-Qasimy Democratic Assembly.

  • Iraqi Republican Group.

  • Arab Socialist Movement.

  • Independent Democratic Gathering.

  • Iraqi National Accord.

  • Society of Turkman Tribes and Elites.

  • Alfurat Al Awsat Assemblage.

  • Iraqis.

  • Loyalty For Iraq Coalation.

  • Independent Iraqi Alliance.

  • Independent Iraqi Sheikhs Council.

  • The National List.

  • Ahrar.

National Iraqi Council List. Vote number 569. Consists of:

  • Democratic Iraqi Gathering.

  • The First Democratic National Party.

  • Iraqi Conference National Party.

  • United Labor Democratic Front.

  • Turkuman Act Party.

  • The Iraqi Constitutional Party.

  • Tareq Abd Al Kareem Al Shahd Al Budairi.

  • Genral Secretary Advertising For The south Sectional of Iraq.

  • The National List.

  • Constitutionality Al Shareef Ali Abd Al Hussein Movement.

Islamic Coalition. Vote number 549. Consists of:

  • Islamic Action Organization.

  • Faili Islamic Gathering In Iraq.

  • Religious Communwealth In Iraq.

  • Islamic Commonwealth For Iraqi Students.

  • Hussaini Cultural Organizations Union.

  • Rafah And Freedom Movement.

Justice and Future Coalition. Vote number 517. Consists of:

  • The Democratic Progress And Justice Party.

  • Dr.Khaled Hmoud Abdalla Al Sa'adoon.

Al Nahrain National List. Vote number 752.

  • Assyrian Patriotic Party.

  • Beith Nehrain National Union.

  • Assyrian Independent Gathering Movement.

  • National Caldani Council.

  • Hikmat Dawod Hakeem.

  • Kildani Democratic Rostrum.

Al Wafaa For Basrah Gathering. Vote number 512.

  • Loyalty to Najaf.

  • Ramadan Al Badran, Basrah Son.

Hewar National Iraqi Front. Vote number 667. Consists of:

  • Iraqi Christian Democratic Party.

  • Democratic Arab Front.

  • National Front For the United Free Iraq.

  • The Iraqi Sons Unified Movement.

  • The National Iraqi Front.

Furation- Human Rights. Vote number 647. Consists of:

  • Babil People Gathering.

  • Human Rights and Civilian United.

Mithal Al Aloosi List For Iraqi Nation. Vote number 620. Consists of:

  • Iraqi Federalist Gathering.

  • The Iraqi Ummah Party.

Watanion Gathering. Vote number 814. Consists of:

  • Iraqi National Movement.

  • Iraqi Unite Council.

Iraq Sun. Vote number 652. Consists of:

  • Islamic Tallea'a Party.

  • Democratic National Coalition.

  • United-Democratic-Free Iraq.

Al Khalas National Front. Vote number 798. Consists of:

  • Democratic Reconstruction And Justice Party.

  • Nasiri Forefront Socialist Party.

  • Sawamerah Lords Gathering.

Unified National List. Vote number 829. Consists of:

  • The Iraqi National Movement.

  • Iraqi Political Gathering.

  • Iraqi National Union.

The source of this list is the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq. Which has both English and Arabic. It was originally in a PDF formatted document. Which has both English and Arabic names of the candidates. The Arabic format was being displayed backwards for me so I did not copy any Arabic. Just English. You can download the file from this address.

Right now my favorite candidate is Dr. Iyad Allawi. Who is the leader of the Iraqi National List..

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