neurotic Iraqi wife
April 24, 2008
My Authentic Smelly Greek Outing...
For the first time ever, I didnt buy the lonely planet book when I travelled. In every country we visit I always have a book with me, but this time it completely surpassed my mind. I guess the whooshes of the GZ scrambled my thoughts :)
I started rummaging through my wardrobe for dirty clothes, unfortunately, I didnt have any, so instead I opted out for my khakis and a simple top. I wasnt sure where HUBBY was taking me but I kinda had an inkling. We left our hotel and on our way we went. We walked through Ermo street which is the shopping galore street. Then we took Athinas street. Athinas street reminded me so much of covent garden in London. All kinda shops you see there from hardware stores, to cheap tshirts to bags and wallets. I think we were the only tourists walking in that area.
Then just before we reach the so called "authentic" place, HUBBY turned to me and said, ok Neurotica, get ready, cuff your pants up, hold on to your bag, and close your nose because we are here. I looked around and I could see in the distance crowds and crowds of people entering this place. Then all of a sudden a whiff trespassed my nostrils and OMG, I was going to gag. HUBBY took me to where the action is. The market, the food market. The real food market. With fresh meat hanging from rods. Intestines being rolled up. Liver and kidneys hanging. HUBBY looked at me making sure if Im still conscious. I just smiled making sure not a single breath escapes me.
Isnt this fun Neurotica he says. This is as authentic as it gets, HUBBY tells me. I just nod, smile and click away with my cam. It WAS fun I have to admit. I mean listening to the sellers shouting in Greek was nice. Each one trying to sell his produce. Then we made our way to the fish market. Even without breathing the fishy smell magically found its way to my nose. I pulled my scarf to my nose and starting following HUBBY. The floor is all wet and gooey. People pushing and shoving trying to get the best fresh shrimps or squids.
After that we went to the vegetables market. Such beautiful colours decorating the stalls. You can even smell the fresh strawberries in the air. Wow. HUBBY looked at me again and said smiling, see, this is authentic. Didnt you say you wanted authentic. This is it. I just laughed. I couldnt help myself. Yes it is authentic, thats true. After walking through the stalls, we found a quaint little restaurant. We looked at the menu and finally it had "REAL" greek food. We sat down and had yummy lunch. I kept smelling something fishy though. I asked HUBBY if he can smell it? He shakes his head, HUBBY's sense of smell is second to none, unlike mine where my nose is extremely sensitive.
Well I finally saw the Authentic Athens. On our way back to the hotel, we saw a group of probably 8 or 10 african guys selling fake brand name bags. Ive been seeing them in the streets every time we go out. Im not much of a brands person. I hate carrying a bag that has Louis Vitton all over it or Gucci. I hate that kinda stuff. I may buy it if I like the style and the brand name is on the inside, but not flaunting it, not my style what so ever. But just out of curiousity, I looked at one of the bags to see the price.
A fake LV sets you back about 25 Euros, not bad at all. And thats without even haggling. He thought I was interested, I just walked away. Then he followed me, Ok how much you want he says, how much. I just shook my head. Then out of the blue, the guys packed everything up like a bolt of lightening and ran. I didnt know what was going on until I looked around and noticed 2 police men walking in the distance. Lol. After getting inside the room, I can still smell that annoying fishy stench. Turns out, ITS MY HAAAAAAAAAIR....Ewwwww...
Oh well, this is it for today. I better go take a good shower and start packing. Where the hell am I gonna put all those shoes???Aaaaaaah I have an idea, for $5,995 I can buy a Tumi shoe compartment bag!!!Yeah right! Who the hell will buy something like that for THAT crazy price???OMG.
I saw it featured in the RJ magazine on the plane from Baghdad to Amman, while I was trying to block R's nagging from my ears. I remember I started jumping up and down like a little girl when I saw it, it didnt have the price in the magazine. R looked at me and said, whats wrong, did the plane move? I said, Nooooooooo, look they have a bag specially made for shoes. I think he was so ready to slap my face, hehe.
Im gonna leave you with some pictures of today's "Authentic" outing. My Authentic Smelly Greek Outing...
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April 23, 2008
A Blazing Inferno...
The scenery along the way was absolutely breathtaking. You dont wanna take your eyes off of the window. I really did enjoy todays tour albeit it was tiresome. As we sat for lunch in one of the tavernas as they call it, we shared the table with all the other tourists who surprise surprise turned out to be all from the States. Btw, just a small info, the difference between a taverna and a restaurant is, tavernas offer only greek food, while restaurants offer a combination of both greek and International. I cant say the food was great, we had Moussaka for starters, which wasnt bad, then the main course was souvlaki. Pork souvlaki which ofcourse we didnt have.
The tourists with us were far more friendlier than the other day. But funny enough, the conversation didnt revolve about Iraq what so ever, instead it revolved about the housing market back in the States. Although they did ask us about how we felt going back to Baghdad after all these years. But that was that. Tomorrow is our final day here and we are thinking of just relaxing, maybe visit the museum which apparantly is a must. And ofcourse I will spend some time shoe shopping!!! Yaaaaaaaaaay. Ive already bought 4 pairs, but I liked a few more which I will definitely be getting. I think Im competing with Emelda Marcus, hehe.
I didnt know that Orthodox Easter is this coming Sunday. While on our tour today, our guide stated that many Athenians have started to leave the city for the holidays. And true enough, traffic was pretty bad. Whenever we are walking in Plaka with all the cafes and restaurants scattered around us and we see young people laughing and enjoying themselves, HUBBY turns to me and asks "Why isnt Iraq like this, do you think it will ever be like that?". I shake my head and simply say Unfortunately No, not in our lifetime. Its a pity how the cradle of civilization has now become an inferno. A Blazing Inferno...
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April 22, 2008
Authentic Food with Crazy Plate Breaking
I also blame my uninterest in the few columns here and there to our trip last year to Italy. Now thats one place I cannot compare history to. Maybe we should have come to Greece first then see Italy, I dunno. Tomorrow is a big day, we are going to visit one of the islands, and Im kinda excited. Athens is nice. Athens is nice and is full of shoe shops, woooooooohooooo...The street right next to our hotel is shoes galore. I just love it.
We have been taking things easy which is exactly what I want and need. We sit at cafes and PW (People watch). I mean just doing something as simple as that is a blessing. Drinking yummy lattes and enjoying the beatiful weather with HUBBY is by itself WOW. I cant believe that 4 days ago I was stuck in an airport in Baghdad...Infact I dont wanna even think about it.
Our day tour yesterday was quite fun. The visit to the Acropolis was amazing, but nobody warns you that you will be using alot of your calf muscles on the way!!! Yup...After being stuck in an office sitting on my ass for the past three and a half months, I cant really say my muscles were happy bunnies...I woke up today suffering, but hey I aint complaining. We have also been doing alot of walking in Plaka and Psiri. Plaka is very touristy though, full of cafes and restaurants. As we walk around we get mobbed by the waiters "Sir, sir, we are the best in town. Sir, Sir we offer the best authentic greek food at reasonable prices". Yup turns out all of them are the "best" in town and all of the offer 'authentic" food. :)
We saw a gyro shop, and since gyro is exactly like the shawirma HUBBY loves, we sat there. Apparantely the Greeks pronounce it "geeros". Something I always wanted to find out about. I was so excited to have some but then got disappointed as it was a choice of either pork or chicken. Neither of which we eat, so instead we settled for some lamb kababs...Cant say it was tasty, infact, it was tasteless. Everything we ate needed loads of salt which kinda shocked me. Ive had Greek food in the States, and I remember it as being extremely yummy...Oh well, again I aint complaining.
I do feel abit guilty for some odd reason with all thats happening back in Baghdad. I need to completely switch off. There arent many channels on TV that we can understand except for CNN, euronews and Jazeera. So all we do if we are in the room is watch news, NOT GOOD. Today as I was lying next to HUBBY, which I have to say is just bliss, watching CNN with Obama and Hilary, I asked him who he would vote for. McCain, he said. I couldnt believe it. I jolted up and said, say again? McCain???How could you HUBBY. The guy is an idiot. He is the best out of these three HUBBY said.
I dont agree at all. HUBBY then asked who would I vote for if I had the chance, None was my answer. Obama and Hilary wanna get the troops out and dont wanna have anything to do with Iraq. McCain is a crook. He is just dillusional. So for me none of these are good enough. Ughhh, I still cant believe he said McCain...
Oh forgot to mention something. Yesterday on the tour bus, an older couple started talking to us. They were from the States. They asked us where we were from. I dunno why HUBBY at first said Florida. Then as the conversation deepened, he told them we are originally Iraqis. All of a sudden the conversation came to a halt. That just cracked me up. I told HUBBY now we know if we aint in the mood to socialize we will just say Baghdad and that will shut people up, I like that. Besides, I scream Iraq. I mean Im wearing my Iraq map necklace, Im wearing my 2 Iraq bracelates, people should figure it out by themsleves dont you think?
Apart from that, after almost four months of being a single neurotic wife, I almsot forgot what it feels like to be married again. So when we both need to pee, we both scram to the bathroom. Me first I say, no me first he says. And we push each other to see who gets to sit on the reign first. Too funny. Or at bed time. Im used to being alone. HUBBY loves to hug me, so he rolls over to my side, leaving all the half of his side of the bed empty and sticks himself to me. I end up right at the edge ready to fall anytime,lol. Then I remember, Hey Im married. Again things like these make me smile. Its an odd feeling having to switch off then on again. But I Love it. I love being pampered and showered by kisses out of the blue.
Well I better go now, its time for dinner and Im famished. Not sure whats on the menu for tonight, but I really really do feel like having something authentic. I mean REALLY authentic. Authentic food with crazy plate breaking. I love breaking plates. Its very therapeutic. Havent seen restaurants that offer that kinda thing... I wanna break some plates!!! I want Authentic Food with Crazy Plate Breaking...
April 20, 2008
The Athenian Civilization...
BIAP was just a nightmare, people pushing and shoving, One old lady, actually fell because of it, poor thing. And no one helped her. Instead they started pushing even more just to get in line. By 830 am we called the guy, he took our papers and disappeared. One of my coworkers, R, or maybe I should say excoworker cause he got laid off killed me. The guy literally was talking non stop to me, complaining about the organization, about the airport, about EVERYTHING. He was soooooooooooooo negative, I knew the day will not go as smoothly as I want it to be.
A, the guy that took our papers reappeared again with our boarding passes and we managed to have a place on that flight. Then it was time for that dreaded passport control. The guy kept looking at my Iraqi passport and my face. Then he said, you arent Iraqi. I laughed, I said, if Im not Iraqi what am I? Indian? He kept shaking his head, no, no you are not Iraqi. I was gonna say something smart like, If I wanna fake a passport, why the hell should I choose an Iraqi one to begin with, but I kept my mouth shut, and said I assure you, I am Iraqi 100%. He then asked me if I hold another passport, and ofcourse the answer was yes. I was finally let go.
We sat in the lobby waiting for our flight to be announced. It was supposed to leave at 1130am. And sure enough, we lined up, we had our bags checked again, and we took the bus, and before boarding the plane we had our bags checked AGAIN. Like I have no idea what the hell can we put in our bags during the 5 minute bus trip to the plane??? We finally boarded the plane and thats when the nightmare started.
We could see the sky is getting hazier and hazier by the minute. An hour passed, 2 hours, 3 hours, and the plane became like one box of sardines. The pilot announced that we were waiting for the weather to clear. You can hear the passengers talking, all of a sudden everyone became an expert on flying, visibility and weather!!!It was kinda funny...
There we were sitting for 3 hours in that darn thing, and Im right next to R, my excoworker, who just wouldnt stop complaining. OMG. By the fourth hour, I needed to smoke, and asked one of the flight attendants if we can disembark for a smoke. The answer was ofcurse no. A few minutes later and we were asked to grab our belongings and go back to the airport. I was soooo ready to cry. One of RJ's crew, knows me as Ive been travelling with them a long time. I asked him, do you think I will be outta here today? He smiled and said, I guarantee you, today you will be having dinner in Amman.
You could hear everyone's moans when the annoncement was made. Everyone was just so eager to leave. There were people who were waiting from the night before. So not a nice sight. Everyone kept asking whether we were actually gonna travel or not. Nobody knew. All the officials said was inshallah, if the weather clears. As we loooked through the window, we can see the dust. The dust turning orange. NOT GOOD. Everytime an announcement was made Id jump. And everyone else would gather around me asking me what was said, since I can understand arabic. And then one by one, airlines started getting cancelled. We found out that for insurance purposes, RJ does not keep its aircraft overnight in Baghdad, so we were all hoping that that will be the case. It was our only hope.
I went to some of teh security guards and asked if there was any other way out. Even a taxi, I dont care I just wanna leaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave!!! They all laughed, and asked me to be patient. They said as long as they did not unload our bags yet, then theres a chance.
5 Pm passed, then 6. Then 7 and 8 pm. They told us by 9 pm things will be more clearer and they will have more info. In the mean time, I was worried about HUBBY. He too was travelling that day. Lucky bastard, he made it to Kuwait. 9pm came and everyone was anxious. Still no word. 10 pm, and everyone just became antsy. The weather was still dusty outside. And we had a few blackouts in the airport. I kept thinking I would be really lucky if I made it. 11 Pm and still no word. We would see the officials walking and Id jump and ask them the latest news. I just gave up. I sat on the floor waiting. Waiting for anything. By 1 am, the passport control guy passed by me, looked down and saw that it was me. He couldnt believe that almost 13 hours ago he stamped my passport and I was still here.
When they announced that RJ was boarding, OMG. Everyone scrammed to the gate. the Passport guy ushered to me and pulled me to the top of the line. I said, I cant, Im with my coworkers. He called them to join me. You can imagine the stares I got from everyone. I felt really embarrased, but hey I will do anything just to leave!!! We had to go through the whole process of security checks, and the guys there recognized me. They said, see had you taken a taxi, you wouldnt have made it.
Ofcourse everyone knew where they were sitting so that didnt take much time. Everyone had their fingers crossed. Again things were taking longer than should be. Then the dreaded announcement. The pilot said, we are still waiting for a final weather check, and things dont loook that good. To say people started cursing, would be an understatement. R was ready to go strangle the pilot. I just couldnt believe my luck. I was tired, sleepy, and desperate. Half an hour later and the plane started moving. We held our breaths. Once it took off, and it was actually in the air, OMGGGGGGGGG, The clapping and the cheers were just inbelievable.
Once in Amman airport, I could barely open my eyes. One of the officials asked me something, I had no friggin clue what it was. I just looked at him like a lost puppy and said, Look, Im sorry, I dont know what you just said. Im tired, Im sleepy and I can barely concentrate. He smiled. Wow first time ever I see a jordanian offical smile. He said its ok, you can go, welcome to Amman.
I have more to say, but tomorrow is a long day. I finally made it. I finally saw HUBBY, and I finally got out of that prison. We arrived in Athens today, and I cant wait to just relax and see some civilization!!! The Athenian Civilization...
April 13, 2008
There are some who refuse to come out of the closet though and instead hide behind their cigars. Cigs are bad but smoking cigars isn’t, what BS. But recently I have started seeing both men and women in uniform hiding in the courtyard corner smoking. The courtyard that was once filled with just us “contractors” is now being invaded. Is it the stress that drive people to smoke? I think that’s what it is. I know a few who told me they had quit smoking for 15 or 20 years and started again when they came here. Yup, this place makes you pick up a lot of “bad” habits. I guess I need to get used to seeing smoke in camouflage.
Its been an odd and depressing two days since Col M left. Or maybe its me getting too antsy before I leave for my vacation. The worst part of travelling is the packing and unpacking. Although I have to admit I have become a pro. Ummm cant say that about HUBBY. This is us usually hours before we travel.
Me: HUBBY when will you pack
HUBBY: When is our flight?
Me: Hmm, in like 7 hours
HUBBY: Oh we have plenty of time
HUBBY: Sweetie, why panic. Packing is a piece of cake, all I need is five minutes before we leave. I will just throw the stuff in.
ME wishing theres like a real hard wall so I can bang my head on.
And true to his word, HUBBY does EXACTLY what he says. While I pack everything so neatly hours and sometimes a day before then check the room a few times more if I had forgotten anything, HUBBY just sits there, smoking his cig, sipping his coke and checking emails!!! A few minutes before our ride, he finally realizes that its time to pack his stuff, he just gathers everything in his arm, throws it in the suitcase and voila, he is ready to rock and roll!!! Wowww!!! That actually impresses me. It really does :)
Funny how people change. I used to be just like HUBBY before I got married. But I would start packing an hour or two before going to the airport and continue packing till the cab calls me informing he is downstairs waiting. One of the many things I adore about HUBBY though is his coolness. At first, it used to drive me nuts. But now, I realized what a great combination we have. Im extremely bad tempered and I do lose it at times, but HUBBY, HUBBY is just cool. I used to think it’s the age but Im definitely convinced its not after seeing a few people in HUBBY’s same age group that totally lose their temper over the most trivial things. I mean please cmon, give me a break.
Anyhow, I will end this post with a picture of Col M and the abbaya and yeshmakh we presented him at his farewell lunch. He looked very nice. When we took some group pictures, he pulled me next to him since Im one of those whose growth was stunted :) And no, it wasn’t because of smoking, I blame it on my vegetarianism at a very sensitive age. Lol. While standing next to Col M, I said “Col M, you know, you look so much like the Awakening with this” Cuz he really did. He laughed...Hmmm, can I call this post the Awakening? The American Awakening?
Uhoh I feel another post is coming through my head, but you know what, I will give it a rest today. And instead Im gonna call this just The Awakening...
April 11, 2008
The Hearts and Minds Award...
The CAPT has replaced our Col. And this post is not about Baghdad, nor my Amazing Baghdadi Day, nor is it about the new Captain. This post is going to be about something, or rather someone, someone who really cared, yet you will never read about anywhere in the media. Nor will you see it all over the news. You know why? Because its done with real genuine feelings.
Its not like what you watch on the AFN channels trying to market the “US Military Love” to the Iraqis by distributing school bags to children. Or Generals sipping Iraqi chai with local tribes and pretending to smile into the cameras. Oh no, this is not like that. This is not like that because this is REAL. This is not for the cameras waiting for the man behind it to say, one, two three action. Or for the interviewer to edit what he likes and adds what makes things look rosy or muddy depending on his/her affiliations. No. This is something I have seen in my own eyes and I have felt in my own heart.
I was asked to work with Col M about 8 months ago. When I was told the news, I was extremely flabbergasted and very disappointed. First off I felt I was being clutched from an environment I knew too well, knew by heart, to an environment that I had no clue about. It’s the same place, same job, but different program, different people. Secondly, from having to work with AF COL’s for almost 2 years, I wasn’t really sure that Id be able to deal with an Army guy. To me Air Force was the epitome of perfection. I just loved that “umph” they emitted. Not only Col M was known for his bad temper but he was also notoriously known for his honest bluntness, kinda like me. Hmm, maybe that’s why we got along afterall!!!
But little did I know then, that I will be working with one of the greatest men ever. Col M, (just like Col K, who I worked with 2 and a half years ago) may not have achieved what he came here for in the first place, but I believe he achieved something far beyond the so called reconstruction efforts. Not only achieved but gained the love of every Iraqi he worked with. And I emphasize IRAQIS because he went out of his way to get them the US visas. He reviewed each and every one of those packages. He assisted them in providing the correct info. He hand carried them himself to the General for the signature. He did a lot for them. He encouraged them continuously, always took the time to ask how they are and how their families are. And you know what, he was never obliged to do that. Not obliged at all. Nor did he do it for his personal gains, cuz that definitely wont get him a star.
Unlike many who work here, be it both military or civilians, he is one of the very few people that I have seen and met that genuinely cared and not “pretended” to care. And because he was against the bureaucracy that we work in, and because he made it obvious how wrong they are, people couldn’t accept his views lightly, hence he wasn’t that much liked. But to me, he was a real gentleman. He was never afraid to say his opinion, and he was never afraid to show his affections to his wife through the phonecalls he shared with her. I just love it when a man as stern as him, can be so soft, so soft and loving. Im sorry HUBBY but that just melts me :)
So no, you will not read about Col M’s small treats he leaves on the Iraqis desks from time to time in the NY times or the Washington Post. Nor will you hear the admiration and love my Iraqi coworkers have for this man on CNN or BBC. Oh no. You will never sense the aura he emits when he enters a room, nor feel the charisma in his voice when he encourages the Iraqis for their hard work. And although I know he will never get to see these words, I write them with great sadness. Theres like a heavy feeling in the air. I see people coming and saying bye to him, and I just cant stop myself from staring at this man. I just cant stop thinking how much he will be really missed.
Now that’s what I call winning the hearts and minds. That’s exactly what it is. He found the secret that both the US and Coaltion forces failed to find. Because Col M won both the hearts and the minds of all the Iraqis without any exceptions. He won the hearts and minds of all the Iraqis no matter what their sect is, their religion is and most of all what their political views are about this war. Col M, deserves not only one star or two or three stars, he deserves an Award. Simply, The Hearts and Minds Award…
April 09, 2008
Nine Lives in the GZ...
I was abit thrown off side with some odd policies that came about regarding blogs. Apparently someone somewhere, most probably a military person, has been giving too much info on the operations that was going on lately that now there is an SOP and some kinda registration of blogs. But since mine represents MY OWN personal views and my own PERSONAL LIFE, then Im fine. I probably should stop mentioning whooshes and booms from now on though. And since Im so fed up with politics, Im gonna give it a miss this time and talk about personal stuff. So if youre looking for exciting news that marks the 5th anniversary of the "fall" of Baghdad, then look elsewhere. Im in my unphased mood…
We have finally finalized our R&R. I have completed all the flights and hotel bookings. HUBBY and I finally agreed on the itinerary. Amman, Greece, Cyprus, Beirut and ofcourse AD. Yup, we are going to be boarding 5 different planes in twelve days!!! Not sure how we went from just wanting to relax and stay in one place, to travelling to 5 places. Umm it wasn’t my decision, so must be one of HUBBY’s bright ideas!!! Ok, a small synopsis about HUBBY. HUBBY LOVES FOOD!!! No I really MEAN he LOVES food. My family and I have a nickname for him (Abu Batnee) which is usually used on people who concentrate their attention on their palate, hehe. I guess his love and addiction of Iraqi or Arabic food transpires from the 25 years he spent in the US without it.
This is HUBBY before we even got married. It was when I first met him and he took me on a date. Umm, you’d think he would take me somewhere romantic, somewhere nice and quiet filled with scented candles. WRONG! It was September 2003. We were in London. Neurotica he says, do you know this place which sells this really unique kind of falafel in Piccadilly? Even though I lived in London for about 13 years, I cant say Piccadilly was a place I usually hanged out in. And you can find falafel kiosks littered all over that place.
So HUBBY, began his search quest for that special Falafel kiosk. Needless to say, after three hours of roaming aimlessly in Piccadilly with my high heeled shoes, I asked HUBBY when was the last time he actually saw that place? 1980 he said with a smirky smile on his face. My face just froze. TWENTY THREE YEARS AGO!!! An important piece of info he kinda forgot to mention at the beginning of our search. OMG, I was soooooooooo ready to slap the crap outta him!!! I should have known then, lol.
Cyprus and Beirut have the same story to them. In Cyprus, there is this ice cream which HUBBY apparently found orgasmic, twenty years ago. Yup. And umm Beirut has shawirma which he remembers having when he was about 10!!! Yes when he was 10, must have been one helluva shawirma to have left such an impression on a 10 year old, don’t you think. But because I love HUBBY and because I don’t want him to blame me in the future for not letting him “relive” the “good old” days, I agreed. Actually Im lying. I only agreed because in Cyprus I can bask in the sun while he goes and looks for that icecream on his own. And in Beirut, I will be shoe shopping while he goes to Hamra district and tastes every single shawirma stall to find that particular one he had 37 years ago!!!! Good luck to him.
That’s about it for now. Im so ready to leave, but yet again, its NOT soon enough!!! And as for umm the “Whooshy fireworks” don’t worry about me, Im just like a cat I have seven lives, or is it nine? Nine Lives. Nine Lives in the GZ…
Footnote: Some of the IT guys told me that because of the curfew today. they are not allowing anyone aged between 16 and 35 to leave the GZ. So those who actually made it on foot today, are stuck for the night
April 01, 2008
April Fools Trophy of the Century...
Candidate Number One
Al Maliki, who I cannot Friggin believe just stated today that Last week’s battles IS A SUCCESS!!! Is he pulling an April Fools on us??? Is that possible? Article
BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister says the military operation to clear the southern city of Basra of Shiite militia violence has been a "success."
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in a statement Tuesday that his office will recruit 10,000 more police and army forces and will move to enhance public services in Iraq's second-largest city.
His comments come after a peace deal between radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the Iraqi government has brought a tense calm following a week of clashes.
The ferocious resistance by militia fighters has left the U.S.-backed prime minister politically battered and humbled within his own Shiite power base.
But he says the crackdown achieved "security, stability and success" in Basra.
Candidate Number Two:
Bush, who back in May 2003, stated that “We have prevailed”
Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.
Candidate Number Three:
McCain: Back in March 2006
"There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today," he said, when asked to highlight something positive about what American forces have been able to accomplish in Iraq.
Yup, he forgot to mention he was there wearing his high tech bullet proof vest, and twenty or so security guards and tanks!!!
Candidate Number Four:
The one and only Muqtada aka Muti, aka "Sayder" who in February said he wants to concentrate on his studies!!!
Al-Sadr said his withdrawal from public view was motivated in part by his desire to focus on his studies to become a mujtahid, or a religious authority.
But he made clear that he remained in charge of his political movement — his loyalists have 30 of parliament's 275 seats — by personally overseeing the work of a ruling committee."Who among you doesn't want me to be a mujtahid?" he said. "I have given the community five years (of my life), now I want a few years to study."