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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 2-Apr-07
Sentimental Iraqi pop singer wins Arab 'Idol' contest, uniting Iraqis

Web Log - April, 2007

Sentimental Iraqi pop singer wins Arab 'Idol' contest, uniting Iraqis

Shada Hassoun has an Iraqi father and a Moroccan mother, and lives in France.

Shada Hassoun
Shada Hassoun

But she captivated the hearts of all Iraqis and won the crown as most popular singer on the TV show "Star Academy," the Arab version of American Idol.

As I understand it (but cannot verify), her final song was a very sentimental song about Baghdad from several decades ago. She has spoken frequently about her love for Iraq and Iraqis. It's not known whether she's Sunni or Shia, and so both sides have claimed her. In war-torn Iraq, she became a symbol that everyone could love, and her victory on Friday was celebrated across the country.

This is a video of one of her appearances on Star Academy (I'm not sure which one). She's singing along with another contestant, an Egyptian girl named Sally Ahmad. Shada is wearing the white dress.

I've just posted a lengthy analysis of the current situation in Iraq, emphasizing the fact that Iraqi citizens are turning against the foreign jihadist organization, "al-Qaeda in Iraq." Iraqi nationalism is beginning to re-assert itself, as it always has in times of war in the past.

The country-wide support for Shada, and the shared joy in her victory, are part of the resurgence of Iraqi nationalism.

This is a particularly sad time for Iraqis, after the events in Tal Afar last week, as I explained in that article. First, on Tuesday, al-Qaeda in Iraq launched two truck suicide bombs in a Shia neighborhood; then, on Wednesday, Shia gunmen killed numerous Sunni civilians in random gunfire. A total of 152 people were killed.

The mainstream media have been gloating about this all week, proclaiming triumphantly that it proves that the "surge" is failing. Actually, as I explain in the article, just the opposite is almost certainly true, as the citizens of Tal Afar have now united against their common enemy, al-Qaeda in Iraq.

As I've said before, it's a national disgrace that so many politicians, journalists and pundits have committed their careers and reputations to an American loss and humiliation in Iraq. Things have gotten to the point where almost everything that the BBC and American journalists say cannot be trusted. When you go deeply into foreign sources, as I did, and describe in my analysis, then you find that things are different.

And now we see this: If there were a massive civil war between Sunnis and Shia, then the national shared joy and unity over Shada would be impossible.

On Sunday, a Times Online article provides additional information:

"Sunnis try to blast Al-Qaeda out of Iraq

Late last year Salam al-Zubaie, Iraq’s deputy prime minister, began secret talks with the Sunni groups with the aim of coaxing them away from Al-Qaeda. He held meetings with commanders of groups including the 20th Revolutionary Brigade, the general command of the Iraqi armed forces, the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Ba’ath party and the Salah al-Deen al-Ayyubi Brigade.

He encouraged them to form a unified Sunni alliance that could fight Al-Qaeda and attack Iranian influence. They proved receptive to his arguments.

"Both Al-Qaeda and Iran seem to have an identical agenda to try to widen the sectarian split between Sunnis and Shi’ites, maintaining instability," Abu Baker, a commander in the 20th Revolutionary Brigade, told The Sunday Times last week. "They stepped up their attacks on innocent Iraqi people and we could not accept that."

A senior commander in the Islamic Army said Zubaie had promised not only to help to unify the Sunni groups but also to provide them with financial and logistical support to stop Iranian infiltration.

The insurgents demanded assurances from the government that they would not be arrested or attacked by the security forces. They also asked for promises that they could eventually join the security forces.

There was one sticking point. "We insisted that our fight with the occupying forces would continue as they are to blame for our current situation," the Islamic Army commander claimed.

"Zubaie’s response was that first we had to get rid of Al-Qaeda and turn ourselves into a strong legal force to be reckoned with. Then we’d be in a position to negotiate with the occupying forces and demand their withdrawal. This was something we could not accept."

Within weeks, however, the insurgent groups set out to "cleanse" parts of Baghdad of Al-Qaeda influence. Shaker Zuwaini, an Al-Qaeda emir, was assassinated by the 20th Revolutionary Brigade in the Adel district of Baghdad. The emir of the Amiriya district was also killed and another commander was chased away from the Khadra district.

Abu Omar, leader of a Ba’ath insurgent group and military commander in Amouriya, said: "Al-Qaeda have turned into a bunch of criminals and gangsters up to their eyes in kidnapping and robberies. We resolved to put an end to them."

This is a significant change in Iraq -- something that hasn't been seen before.

Will it last? That remains to be seen. But for the time being, at least, the disgraceful politicians and journalists who are hoping for an Iraqi disaster should be getting worried.

For everyone else, the victory of Shada Hassoun provides hope for a better Iraqi future. (2-Apr-07) Permanent Link
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