Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Mother Teresa and Iraq

I bet few of you know Mother Teresa opened an orphanage in Baghdad after the first Gulf War. The orphanage is called "Dar al-Mahabha," which means "House of Love" in English. The orphanage takes care of 22 handicapped children. It's run by three courageous Indian nuns. The nuns refused to leave Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. They stayed with the children and never went to bomb shelters because it would've been hard to evacuate the handicapped children to the shelters. I salute those three nuns for their commitment to their mission and to those children.

Last week, the insurgents decided to pay a visit to this orphanage. The 22 orphans were playing when a bomb exploded. The bomb was hidden between the sidewalk, on which the residence is located, and a car parked some six meters from the entrance. All the orphanage's windows were shattered except in the room where the children were playing. I think Mother Teresa's spirit was somewhere around that room at the time.

One of the Indian nuns said after the explosion:
What do these innocent children have to do with what is going on?

I think the insurgents want to see how far they can go into the dark side. Lord Voldemort is still ruling their dark souls.

Arabic Word of The Post:

orphan: يتيم - / yateem /
orphans: أيتام - / aytam /

Post Links:
Indian doves fly high in Iraq
Bomb Rattles Catholic Orphanage in Baghdad

Monday, September 27, 2004

Frustration of The Iraqi Person

A few days ago, I read a good article written by Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashid, manager of Al-Arabya TV station. The article was published on Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper last week. Here's the translation:

Frustration of the Iraqi Person

The divider between hope and hopelessness is very thin in a country like Iraq. For a moment, the future looks wonderful and promises really good things. In another moment, it looks disappointing because of the current events. Whenever a riot dies, another one raises its head.

The emergence of Al-Najaf crisis and the call to open fire were real desperate moments for many people. Before this time, things were going wonderful with the resolve of the new parliament’s members, who risked their lives to pursue the new National Assembly. Suddenly, however, the fighting started in Al-Najaf. The bombs and statements warned of a civil war, which looked like it was capable. This dread started to spread geographically and publicly to a degree that pushed many to declare the burial of the new Iraq. To our surprise, two weeks passed with extreme violence and suddenly the war was put out. Muqtada A-Sadr’s group announced its withdrawal from the fight and the government entered Al-Najaf representing all Iraqis. Also, the government troops opened successively the fortresses in cities of Al-Sadr, Basra and Kufa. It became clear that all Iraqis won -- including the ones who fought on the other side.

The moment of satisfaction did not pass completely before queues of death cars appeared everywhere. They struck at schools, recruitment centers, embassies and popular suburbs. Typical kidnappings of foreigners have risen for all citizenships and professions. Also, more university professors were kidnapped and killed. It’s a war against Iraq and Iraqis because those targeted were not officials in the government or American and British troops. Rather, they were ordinary citizens or foreigners in development and important sectors to the ordinary people. This war means only one thing: it’s not resistance, but a deliberate destroyable operation that wants to turn Iraq into ruins.

We must ask who has an interest in committing this crime. It can’t be an Iraqi resistance -- even if it wanted to overthrow the regime or to cause harm to the foreign troops. If this was the goal, it wasn’t going to explode cars at the ordinary people’s bodies. Further, it wouldn’t kidnap and kill university professors in an organized way. Also, it’s impossible to be a local resistance while it targets students only because they are Shia.

Despite many dangerous, frustrating moments that we can’t be allowed to underestimate its influence, I bet on the Iraqi insistence to build their promised country as it holds the secret of the possible success. They have more abilities to bear everything happening and continue looking forward to see this darkness driven away. They would have their country as they dreamed of it for the last 30 years, and not like some Arabs and others want to see it.

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashid

I'll try to translate more articles whenever I have time. No arabic word of the post. I did my homework by translating the article.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Good Will of an Iraqi-American

Abud Al-Jiboury, an Iraqi-American Businessman from Bowling Green, Ohio had a fundraiser last weekend at a branch of his Mediterranean restaurants. He sold dinner tickets for $9 per person for all-you-can-eat food at the restaurant on September 15, 2004. The proceeds are going to the Iraqi people living in poor parts of Baghdad.

He said in a newspaper interview:
"A dollar here doesn't mean a lot, but for an Iraqi, it means a lot. For $9, we can help a family for a week."

Dave McCoy, a friend of Al-Jiboury's family said about the fundraiser:
"We have a direct connection because Abud knows people over there. I think it's sad that the whole situation is overshadowed by the political situation here...The people of Iraq need to know the people of America do care, and this is a chance to help them individual to individual, not government to government, or government to individual."

This is probably the best non-political statement I've heard in a while.

Off topic. I have 6 Gmail invitations. Gmail is the new internet e-mail from Google. It gives you 1000 MB of space compared to 2 MB of space from Hotmail. Drop me an e-mail if interested in getting one.

Arabic Word of The Post:

businessman: رجل أعمال - / rajul 'a-MAL /

Friday, September 24, 2004

Iraq on American TV

I haven't been watching much of TV lately, except for "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and Mark Cuban's reality show "The Benefactor." Yesterday, I decided to watch some TV. I didn't know I'd get nothing but Iraqi issues when I switched on the TV. It's kind of weird.

First, I watched Nightly News with Tom Brokaw on NBC. He had an interview with Iyad Allawi, who said Iraqi Justice minister made a mistake by announcing the Iraqi government will release the two women on Iraq's most wanted list. But, he said they may release eight people, who were on the Iraqi most wanted list. I'm not sure who those lucky eight are. If you can think of the eight most innocent people on the list, let me know because I can't think of anyone.

Second, I watched the season premier of Law and Order on NBC. Now, that was an interesting show to watch. An Iraqi-American woman got prosecuted for killing an American ex-reservist, who tortured soldiers at Abu-Ghraib prison. The episode debated the issues of the Iraq war from different views, which was good. But, I kept wondering all night if Hollywood sees all Iraqi-Americans as potential killers. No Hollywood; Iraqi-Americans are like the Iraqi bloggers. They may not agree with what's happening in Iraq. But, they won't ask for revenge by killing American soldiers. So, don't even try it.

Third, I watched Oprah Winfrey today on ABC. Now, that was more interesting. She interviewed an Iraqi teen who risked his life to help American troops capture the Mujahedeen in his area. It was a great story. At least Oprah thinks Iraqis are heroes.

What I like the most about her show is to watch her audiences with tears in their eyes. She somehow finds these tragic stories that make you cry. Of course, that's after you watched Dr. Phil who makes you feel bad about yourself because you're such a loser. I think Dr. Phil's show is more realistic.

Now, I'm afraid to switch to CBS. After my last three experiences with watching TV, I have no idea what to expect next. I guess I can watch the Travel channel. It's more entertaining.

Arabic Word of The Post:

television: تلفزيون - / til-fiz-yon /
radio: راديو - / Rad-yoo /

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Snowball Started Rolling

You may have noticed I made some changes to my sidebar. I put a section for Fr. Yousif's project and related articles at the top of my sidebar. I believe this project is more important than my personal information, which I pushed beneath that section.

I made an arrangement with Fr. Yousif to wire the money to his account in Jordan at the end of the month. So far, I've collected a gross total amount of $315. It's a small amount. But, it means too much for the people who are trying to make a difference in the new Iraq. I hope more people will contribute to the project.

The most recent good news is that a NGO is willing to pay 30 percent of the project expenses. Fr. Yousif is very happy with the offer. He and his team are studying other offers. He thinks the snowball is rolling faster. I was happy to hear this news from him.

The university may offer some of the courses online. Then students won't need to be on campus while the security situation is bad in Baghdad. I'm really impressed by their logical plans. I was telling a reader, who offered to help with the web hosting and implementation, about the online courses. The reader happened to have worked on the development of the first completely web-distributed class at the University of Arizona in the late 90s. So, I'm either lucky or the snowball is really rolling very fast.

Thank you to the bloggers, who wrote about the project on their blogs. It really helped. I was lucky enough to have the posts live before Arthur published his latest article on his "Opinion Journal" entry. His link to the project introduced many people to the project, who e-mailed me about their efforts to spread the news to their local churches, family and friends.

Thank you to the wonderful people who contributed to the project in different ways without question. It made me happy.

Arabic Word of The Post:

snow: ثلج - / thalij /
rain: مطر - / ma'tar /

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Hope Through Heartsongs

Thank you to Jane Lynch, who sent me "Hope Through Heartsongs," a poetry book by Mattie J. T. Stepanek. It was a very nice early birthday gift. I think there's a lot to learn from Mattie's short life on planet earth. I believe everyone need to read his books and learn to have peace with themselves and the world. I chose this poem from the book to share with you:

For Our World

We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment...
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment...
Before we forever lose
The blessing of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment...
Before the future slips away
into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.

Read the rest of the poem here.

My birthday is next Friday, and I'm expecting many cards from my readers. So, you better start looking online for some nice e-cards.

I have some good news regarding Fr. Yousif Thomas project. I'll post them either tonight or tomorrow. My husband gave me an important task, which I need to finish tonight or I'll be in trouble. So, you have to wait a bit longer to hear the good news. Till then, browse the new section about Fr. Yousif Thomas on my sidebar.

Arabic Word of The Post:

Thank you: شكرا - / shu-kran /

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Fr. Yousif - Q&A Session

In response to e-mails I've received since yesterday regarding Fr. Yousif Thomas, I'll answer the questions publicly to benefit everyone who reads this blog. Thank you for the debate in these e-mails. I hope I didn't upset anyone with my replies. If I did, I send my apology.

This weekend's events in Iraq are taking a toll on Fr. Yousif emotionally. He would like me to coordinate project-related inquiries from this end. Please, pray for things to get better soon. Also, our wonderful Ghaith got wounded yesterday. That's the life of photojournalists.

  • Q: Why I'm so passionate about this project?

    A: Since the attacks on the Iraqi churches last August, more than 40,000 Iraqi Christians left the country. This community is not feeling safe under the continuous harassment from Al-Mahdi army and other thugs. Our only weapon is education and tolerance. That's how we survived for hundreds of years among our fellow Muslim citizens.

    Those people need your help. Yesterday, in a surprise move, Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk asked the American people to help the Iraqi Christian community. His message tells me this community is very desperate for your help.

  • Q: Can you post more information about the Popular University Project?

    A: I posted the proposal for the university here. It's a very long document. I hope you can at least scan it if you don't have enough time to read the whole document.

  • Q: What difference would my $10-$25 make to this project considering the high cost of the project?

    A: Each drop of water counts toward filling the ocean. That's all I can say.

  • Q: How can we help other than financially?

    A: The university needs books, a website and a hosting server. If you can help with any of the these things, it will make Fr. Thomas' life easier.

    You can tell your church pastor about the project. You can post it on your blog and other blogs who may have an interest in this kind of subject.

  • Q: How can I contact Fr. Yousif Thomas?

    A: Fr. Yousif Thomas sent me an e-mail today to coordinate all project-related inquiries from this end. So, please forward your inquiries to me and if I can't answer them, I'll e-mail Fr. Yousif for advice. Thank you.

  • Q: Where to find more articles by Fr. Yousif Thomas?

    A: If you Google "yousif thomas" (with quotes), you'll find other articles and mentions of him. I have his complete lectures on tapes in Arabic. I'm not sure if he translated them to English or French.

  • Q: Where can I find Christian Thought magazine?

    A: The magazine has a Web site. It's new and needs more development. But, it's a good start. They post in Arabic, English and French. The Web site also needs technical help from volunteers.

Arabic Word of The Post:

question: سؤال - / sou-'aal /
answer: جواب - / jawab /

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Father Yousif Thomas - Part III

Please, read part I and part II of this subject before you continue reading this post. Thank you.

I'm going to put this in simple words as I'm not sure how many people are interested in this subject. I promised Fr. Yousif to ask for help from my readers. He needs help for the magazine and the Popular University. Your help can be financial or educational. I hope you can assist him either way.

Fr. Yousif sent me the full proposal of the university. If you're interested in more details before you commit to help, e-mail me and I'll send you the document. If you want to e-mail Fr. Yousif to further discuss this subject, e-mail me and I'll send you his e-mail address. I don't want to put his e-mail address on this post as I know how spammers work.

On the right sidebar of my blog you'll find the donation button. You can pledge your donation using that button. Please, send me an e-mail notifying me the money is for Fr. Yousif.

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer. Let's all try to help.

university: جامعة - / ja-mee'a /
universities: جامعات - / ja-mee-at /

Monday, September 06, 2004

Father Yousif Thomas - Part II

Please, read part I of this subject before you continue reading this post. Thank you.

The article continues with Fr. Yousif Thomas thoughts:
Thirty-five years of a Baathist dictatorship have changed the Christians of Iraq in a very deep way. Our Dominican priest tells us in a matter-of-fact and frank way, "It's not right to claim that Saddam Hussein supported the Christians. But it was certainly true that he, like most other dictators, used the fears of a small community to manipulate them so cleverly that he seemed to be their protector!"

During the last 20 years some 250,000 Christians, a quarter of the Iraqi Christian population, have left the country and most of them after the Gulf War in 1991.

"The 'flower' of the Christian population has emigrated and the ones who are left have fallen from a good life to poverty. When it comes to me, I've lived during the repression of this regime since my youth. As I had the great privilege of pursuing my studies in France, I was able to acquire a culture that has given me a point of reference in my life. I've constantly been trying to go against the stream encouraging people to stay on in their home-country instead of 'running away.'"

"All through these years I've preferred to stay in the background in order not to have to make serious concessions to a very powerful state machine. During those years of repression we were not allowed to have satellite dishes and our phones were being tapped. The censorship was harsh on our magazine. Every new issue gave me knots in my stomach when I knew that there was some word that could rub the authorities the wrong way. To me the poster with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a way of healing people from fear!"

As an all-time visionary, Fr. Yousif Thomas is now all afire for a new project with a completely different scope; that of "recreating people's souls and spirits." His dream is to create a "Popular University" in Baghdad that will give courses in the humanities. These courses will be held on five afternoons of the week.

So what is the goal of this?

"It is to train a new generation of leaders," he said.

"Knowledge is something that will save us, and it cannot be imitated and taken in a superficial way. It must be received as something that will affect body, soul and mind. The generation between ages 20 to 50 years, which hasn't known anything except Saddam Hussein, has already been destroyed and it has been thrown into a cultural void. Now we must give them the means of analyzing themselves and the way they are living and eventually give them the true meaning of their existence."

Fr Yousif Thomas' Popular University will not be asking for any fees and will be open to "all adults regardless of social or religious status and with no personal restrictions nor fear for taboos." Yes, this "University of St. Thomas Aquinas for Humanistic Studies" will teach philosophy, psychology, history, the history of religions, languages, the history of languages, linguistics and sociology. In this way, the Dominican Fathers of Iraq will be able to continue to develop and also make use of their extensive experience with "Theological Circles" held for 20 years in both Baghdad and Mosul. Now the most pressing need is to find the funding estimated to USD $2.1 million.

The Christian community certainly is in a state of change. Despite almost daily attacks from cells of criminals and local mafias that take people hostage this Christian community already shows signs of newly won vitality. It's not a coincidence that during the last 10 years the Dominican Fathers of Iraq have tripled their numbers.

At the end of the month of August this year, four young people will start their monastic training and formation. On our short visit to Iraq we also met up with Alhan Nahab, 30, and Anwar Nadhim, 42, who are two very active lay-people in the church. Their "House of Bethany" has just celebrated its 10th anniversary as a home for severely handicapped women.

Qais Isa Goga, 35, is a young Christian artist, who has just defended his doctoral thesis on "The Architecture of the Christian Monasteries and Convents in Iraq." Rita Hikmat Audish, 21, graduated as a scholarship student in Trieste in Italy and is now looking forward to further her studies at the University of Louisiana.

By launching a "new way of thinking," Fr. Yousif Thomas is going against the usual trend among Middle Eastern Christians in general and Iraqi Christians in particular to constantly be on the defensive and lose sight of their objectives and very often eventually give in to their desire of running away from this part of the world altogether.

Francois d'Alancon concludes the article with the following statistics regarding the Christian Iraqi community:
Iraq counts a Christian population of 800,000 to a million out of a population of 24 million. It is very diverse and among the churches you find the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East (both better known as Assyrians or sometimes Nestorians) as well as a small minority of Evangelicals. The number of Christians hasn't stopped declining since the Gulf War in 1991, when there were 1.2 million Christians in the country. The newly appointed government counts one representative from the Christian community, Ms Pascale Isho, Minister of Emigration and the Displaced.

I hope these two posts answer many questions I frequently receive by e-mail. There's more to come. Actually, the next post is the most important post for me and Fr. Yousif regarding his project. I had to split this subject into more than one post so I could get your attention.

To be continued in the next post.

Father: أب - / ebb /
Joseph: يوسف - / yousif /

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Father Yousif Thomas - Part I

There are five people who influenced my Catholic beliefs during the years. These people are:
Pope John II
Mother Teresa
Father Gatt, my church's pastor in Sydney
Monsignor Glenn Duffy Gardner, my church's pastor in Dallas
Father Yousif Thomas from Baghdad

Father Yousif Thomas has been my inspiration for many years. He's someone who describes himself as "a person who swims against the tides." He has:
Ph.D. degree in Theology (University of Strasbourg - France)
M Sc. degree in Ethnology (College of Nanter-Paris 10 - France)

Father Yousif Thomas is the editor-in-chief of "Christian Thought" magazine published by the Dominican Friars in Iraq. As far as I know, it's the only Christian magazine published under Saddam's regime. Fr. Thomas still lives in Iraq. I've corresponded with him by e-mail for more than a week now. I needed his words to assure me there's hope left for the Iraqi people in general and Iraqi Christians specifically. I took his permission to publish his thoughts about the future. These thoughts were part of an article written by Francois d'Alancon:

"Last summer after having spent some weeks in France I said to myself: 'The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is something very nice, but how much do people know of its contents?'" said Father Yousif Thomas Mirkis, a Dominican priest, in charge of the Roman Catholic Church of St. Joseph and the editor of the Alfikr-AlMasihi" (Christian Thought) Magazine in Baghdad. To find out for himself Fr. Yousif Thomas started a small inquiry among some well-selected Christians and Muslims.

"It was shocking to realize that not even one of these people had ever read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations back in 1948," he said. "As a result of this, we decided to get in touch with the Iraqi Minister of the recently created ministry of Human Rights and asked him to distribute the text of this same Declaration, of which Iraq was a co-signatory."
"Certain articles had been put aside, like the right to choose where to live within a state, or the right for a man and a woman to get married" explains Fr. Yousif Thomas. "The Iraqi Minister of Human Rights told us that he was considering an adaptation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which would suit Iraq, something like a Charter of Iraqi Human Rights."

Fr. Yousif Thomas, 55, didn't allow himself to be discouraged by the response at the Ministry, but instead decided to take it upon himself to publish the Arabic version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a poster.

"I made a print-run of 14,000 copies, of which I mailed 10,000 to our subscribers as a supplement to our Christmas edition of AlFikr-AlMasihi. Some weeks later on we received news that the poster was hanging on walls all over the University of Baghdad. The text has even been seen on walls of several mosques, although the name of our magazine has at times been crossed out. A few months later two employees of the Ministry of Education came to tell me that they were interested in seeing 'my' poster take the place of the portrait of the former president Saddam Hussein in primary schools in the Baghdad region. This would be done in an effort to promote the teaching of Civics at these schools. I willingly gave them 1,000 copies."

Fr. Yousif Thomas' personal initiative ought to encourage other Christians to take an active role in the building of the new Iraq.

"Since the fall of the former regime, the Iraqi Christians have had to face up to the challenge of freedom and liberty. We must experience the necessity of taking personal initiatives without expecting the state to do everything for us. It's very difficult to go through the experience of having been totally dependent on the state and then suddenly becoming totally independent. But not only this, we are also facing tremendous challenges when it comes to new structures, and with the opportunities of dialogue and even discussion between people of different opinions, as well as being able to hold meetings and seminars where we must accept that people think differently. For many years we have been isolated from the rest of the world and we must start to reopen our relations with the outside world. During the last 35 years we as people were brought back to the Stone Age. So, by now, most people don't even understand why they need to change. The perversities of the old regime created us into people who were completely dependent on the State, like sheep following blindly. The price we have had to pay is very high: We were told 'Do not think. We will do the thinking for you.' Just like the slogan of the years of Stalin 'Just try some more, comrades!' we had fallen into a society that was depressive. Today when people tell me; 'Earlier it was so much better when the government decided everything for us.' Then I tell them; 'Today it's up to us to take the decisions'."

To be continued in the next post.

Arabic Word of The Post:

church : كنيسة - / kanee-sa /
churches : كنائس - / kana-iss /

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Iran and Al-Zarqawi

Baghdadi brought this article to my attention. The article is written by Ali Nori Zada and was published on Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper. It's a very interesting report. Here's the English translation of the article:

Iran admits it provides facilities to Al-Zarqawi to conduct his operations in Iraq

A reliable Iranian source confirmed that Brig. Gen. Qassim Sullaimani, the commander of Al-Quds corps in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, told a closed seminar that Iran provides facilities to the Jordanian extremist scholar, Abu Mosaab Al-Zarqawi. Al-Zarqawi is accused of conducting most of the suicide operations and attacks in Iraq. Sullaimani justified this cooperation because Al-Zarqawi's activities in Iraq "serve the high interests of the Islamic Republic." Among these interests is the prevention of a federalist secular regime in Iraq that cooperates with the United States.

The source, who attended the closed seminar for students of strategic and defense studies at the university of Imam Al-Hussein told "Al-Sharq Al-Awsat" newspaper that Brig. Gen. Sullaimani said, "Al-Zarqawi and members of his organization (Ansar Al-Islam) don't need prior permission to enter Iran. There are specific border points which stretch from Halabja in the north to Elam in the south where Al-Zarqawi and more than 20 Ansar Al-Islam commanders can enter Iran whenever they want."

The source said Brig. Gen. Sullaimani, who oversees the activities of the revolutionary guards intelligence units and Al-Quds corps operating in Iraq, answered questions from students about why Iran supports a person who is anti-Shia, like Al-Zarqawi, who previously was accused of his involvement in the killing of Ayet Allah Mohammed Baqir Al-Hakim, president of the high council of Islamic revolution in Iraq.

Despite the accusation coming from close circles to the Iranian regime leader Ali Kham'ani, Sullaimani considers Al-Zarqawi's involvement in Al-Hakim's killing unconfirmed. Instead, he said Al-Zarqawi's activities now serve the high interests of the Islamic Republic. The establishment of a secular Iraq that cooperates with the United States is more dangerous than the former Baath regime. The new regime will form – according to Al-Sullaimani – a real threat to the pure revolutionary Mohamedi Islam and the scholars' state – according to the source.

"Al-Sharq Al-Awsat" newspaper was told that Al-Zarqawi moved to Iran a few months after events in Falluja. He spent a few weeks in a military camp, subjoined to the revolutionary guards in Mahran on the border with Iraq, before he left it to go to the city of Baquba with the help of Al-Quds corps.

It's worth mentioning Al-Quds corps was formed toward the end of Al-Khumaini era to hunt for opposition personalities and powers inside and outside Iran. Their jobs and responsibilities changed during the last few years. Today, it is responsible for Iraq, Afghanistan, Arab and Islamic countries with indirect connections to the United States.

A former corps chief said Abu-Mosaab Al-Zarqawi escaped to Turkey last year, after being in Iran and entered Iraq more than a year ago. He confirmed to the newspaper that a meeting was held last June between Al-Zarqawi and a Lebanese fugitive, Emad Mughania, at one of Al-Quds corps centers in Kermanshah providence in western Iran. The source said Mughania played an influential role in forming the Al-Mahdi Army. Al-Mahdi Army belongs to the strict Shia religious cleric, Muqtada Al-Sadr, and trains its members in camps inside Iran. He also mentioned the entrance of Shia fighters from Lebanon to Iraq dressed as religious studies students. These fighters then join Al-Madi Army under the supervision of Emad Mughania. Mughania underwent a cosmetic surgery recently in a sanitarium for the revolutionary guards in northern Iran to change his face. This is the 5th surgery for Mughania, who's been chased by Western and Arabic intelligence organizations for a number of years now.

The source said Mughania kept his relationships with Aymen Al-Thawahiri, the number-two man in Al-Qaida organization despite the difficulty of contacting him lately. He added that Mughania submitted a report early this year to chief of the revolutionary guards intelligence after a visit to Iraq. The report outlined the importance of expanding a framework of collaboration between Al-Mahdi Army and Al-Zarqawi's group. Muqtada has lost his standing among the Iraqi shia, especially Al-Najaf, while gaining more supporters in the Sunni triangle.

The source also said Iranian president Mohammed Khatemi objects strongly to the interference of the revolutionary guards in Iraq's interior affair. He said he was surprised lately by a report he received from an official in the Iraqi government, who is a friend of Iran. It included detailed information consolidated with numbers on the wide involvement of Al-Quds corps and revolutionary intelligence in the terror operations that targets the Iraqi people and government in addition to its infrastructure.

No "Arabic Word of The Post" today. I did my homework by translating this article.