Securing The Iraqi Homeland: The Differing Faces Of Security | General News & Politics | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Securing The Iraqi Homeland: The Differing Faces Of Security 

Last Updated: 08/13/2013 4:20 pm

Page 5 of 7

I ask him if he dreams of someday living outside the wall.  "I don't dream this way but I do dream that one day Iraq will get back to normal without cement barriers and guards everywhere.  I would like to see a country where skyscrapers are being built and life is flourishing.  The wealth of Iraq is all under the ground.  We are in real need of loyal and honest people to dig up the ground, extract the oil and begin building."

Does he think the elections will occur as mandated - no later than the end of January?  "If the election happens and people are impressed by it," Farhad says, "security will follow."

PART III.
A VISIT TO THE COURTHOUSE


"How could I sleep at night if I forced even 100 people to leave a place without their having anywhere to go - while allowing one man, who the American government brought into Iraq after a long absence and who now occupies a 7,000 square meter government property and refuses to pay rent, to stay?
- Judge Zuhair al-Maliky, August 12, 2004

The excerpt is from my last-day-in-Iraq interview with Zuhair al-Maliky, a Baghdad University-educated lawyer and Iraq's chief investigating judge, just two days before he issued a warrant for the arrest of Ahmad Chalabi on charges of money laundering.  Our discussion centered around two seemingly unrelated topics: the money laundering issue and the plight of tens of thousands of homeless Iraqi people, mostly Shi'ites terribly brutalized and disenfranchised by Saddam's regime, who now occupy various properties owned by the Iraqi government.  Back in February I visited several of these camps and was told there were approximately 30 of them in Baghdad alone, and another 267 such camps spread across the whole of Iraq.

"Once the safety and security is back in this country, jobs will be looking for people, they won't be looking for jobs."
One camp, a large parcel formerly housing Uday Hussein's stable club - complete with Olympic-sized swimming pool and theater - is located in between the buildings housing the Ministry's of Oil and the Interior.  During interviews with squatters - 650 families totaling approximately 6 to 7000 people live here.  I have been told that every once in a while "someone" comes from the Ministry of the Interior and threatens them with eviction.  The property was heavily bombed during the war and is slated to be used as a training academy for the Iraqi Police Dept.  But squatters say they have nowhere to go and some have said they will "suicide" themselves if forced to leave.  So far, each time an Interior Ministry official has threatened eviction, an American MP has saved the day by authorizing squatters cannot be moved unless "alternative housing" is supplied.

At no time did al-Maliky let on that a warrant was in the works for Chalabi.  But it was very apparent, during our discussion, that the actions of Chalabi and others brought into Iraq by the Bush administration was very much on the mind of this young judge.  As was the plight of the squatters.

Al-Maliky has getting quite a bit of media attention.  Critics have labeled him an instrument of the "America puppet-government" and those served with warrants have called into question al-Maliky's credentials.  Officials in the latest American-backed government are failing to support him by refusing to arrest Chalabi, his nephew Salem Chalabi, and others al-Maliky has issued warrants against - 17 who are associated with Chalabi's political party, the Iraqi National Congress (INC).

Ahmad Chalabi, a 59-year-old Shi'ite who was in exile for 45 years, is one of the most brilliant purveyors of misinformation and perhaps the most well-known puppeteer of the American government to date.  Chalabi, along with members of the INC, fed a series of lies speaking of intimate knowledge of Saddam's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction - complete with fictional reports from eye-witness defectors - into the waiting ears of their friends in the Bush administration: Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Lewis Libby, and Chalabi's occasional dinner companion, Richard Perle.  Chalabi also reportedly suggested to these neocons that Iraq would be a country friendly to Israel.  It is now general knowledge that the US went to war against Iraq based on this erroneous information.  More recently, Chalabi, realizing that those perceived as being handpicked by the Americans would be sidelined, if not killed, has reinvented himself in Iraq as anti-American.  Regardless, many on the street in Iraq express a deep dislike of Chalabi.

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