Party political broadcasts: Saddam’s FA to New Iraq’s FA

Today, reports that national hero Hakim Shaker has taken it upon himself to solve the issue over the issuance of Justin Meram’s identity papers in order for the player to gain his Iraqi passport. Bravo, you might say.

Here’s the brief summary.

An unnamed source (“Who’s this guy? He always speaks the kind of words that fans love to hear but days later we find that his words hold NO TRUTH, why doesn’t he give his name?”) from the Iraq FA claims that the Iraqi coach went to the Iraqi FA headquarters on Tuesday morning and took all papers of the MLS-based player and began to process his papers at the Department of Naturalisation in Mosul, where Meram’s parents originate from, to obtain his passport.

This comes a day after the same website published an article mentioning that Meram’s papers, which team manager Basil Gorgis had collected from his long trip to the United States to visit the player and his parents, had been discarded at the Iraq FA’s office.

Was the second article a kind of damage limitations statement from the FA, again to deceive the short-minded Iraqi fans? There’s also the endless statements over Iraq’s friendly matches and the ban on home internationals held inside of Iraq. But how can the FA continue to make so many decisions, statements and rulings when it’s illegitimate and dissolved?

It’s quite hard to swallow what today’s article on reported, considering we all know what Hakim Shaker and the Iraq FA’s attitude has been over the past two years on the issue of the expatriate players. Their using this issue as a political game. Since 2011, only Murad Gerdi (1 game), Osama Rashid (6 games), David Haider (1 unofficial game), Ahmed Yasin (23 games) and Yaser Kasim (1 game) have been given a chance, and all through the gritted teeth of the FA. Look at how these players have been treated by the FA members. Now do you still believe these reports of calling up Anmar Al-Mubaraki, Rawez Lawan, Justin Meram and Osama Rashid? It’s all a little game, it’s election time and the FA is playing its game with the emotions of the fans, to advertise their ‘changing’ their ways.  What’s that saying ‘Fool me once….’


All Iraqis must be asking themselves if they’re cursed or something, anything that they try to do always seems to fail, daily power-cuts, open sewers, floods, clean running water, lack of basic services to a citizen, to the uneven pavements on the streets, or the piles of dirt gathering in the local neighbourhoods, even the Basra Sports City stadium, the first international stadium built since 1966, inaugurated a few months ago, is left unused because of a cordial working relationship between the Iraq FA and the Ministry of Youth & Sports.

It’s funny that there are so many parallels between the current Iraqi government and the Iraq FA – Iraq’s President the comatose PUK leader Jalal Talabani (a man who is still officially Iraq’s President) despite no one having seen him publically since his stroke in late 2012 (though he’s still getting paid). Nice job if you can get it, however you might say that his productiveness in his presidency has been the same before he was hospitalised, so nothing has changed, the people getting the same for their Iraqi dinars from their leader whether he’s in a coma or not. And then there’s FA president Najih Humoud, who lost the legitimacy to rule the Iraq Football Association after the 2011 elections were annulled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, however he continues to make public statements and decisions as if he holds office (much like Mam Jalal). A comatose leader is head of a country and a person who is considered illegitimate to administer the football association, both getting paid and continue to hold office. Only in Iraq.


If you don’t hold these people to account than there’ll never be any change. Don’t look or read at what these people at the top say, but what they deliver. Iraq goes to the polls soon, but it’s fractured ‘unity’ government where the ministries (administered by various rival parties) control the country, will make it impossible for any progress, as each party have different aspirations, and you just have to look at the history of all these parties to see how this unity government would never work. Sports in Iraq is exactly in the same position, the Iraqi Olympic Committee and the Youth Ministry, and the Iraq FA aren’t on the same page. How can anything work when three bodies cannot work together and cooperate on the simple things?

Under Saddam, we knew Al-Malaab, Al-Rasheed and the rest of the newspapers were just the mouth-pieces of the Baathists, and the Olympic Committee and the Iraq FA run by Uday (They were all run by the same people, which made it so obvious) But why do we have newspapers continuing to pay lip-service to people at the top? And why do people go against a policy or party because they disagree with their politics. Question a person’s decisions and actions, they shouldn’t be whitewashed because of their family name or if they had strong-links to powerful people.

The people carrying the pictures of our glorified leaders

There’s no investigative journalism in Iraq, and if someone does uncover corruption or fraud, it would be swept under the rug if the corrupt person or party knew the right people at the top or if the allegations harmed the ‘reputation’ of the country. We expected it under Saddam but not today. People should be held to account and at anytime, don’t believe the nonsense that it’s an important time that any criticism or question should be delayed until a later date, like when the Iraqi national team has a key game and people have to side with the FA and back them without question, and then when the national team wins, all is forgotten until the next time.

Since the day I was born, I’ve heard the same thing ‘Iraq has everything, fertile land, educated professionals, and oil, everything for the country to become a successful thriving nation’ so why do we continue to go around in circles? We have to stop the graceful and glorified klawat speeches and statements, if I actually believed what some Iraqi politicians say in the press and on TV and had a look out of the window, I’d think I was crazy or that the politician were delusional, because what they say and what’s happening on the ground are two very different things. People have to start talking about what is really happening on the ground because until then, nothing will change. Correct a wrong, don’t congratulate failure. The media should be in pole position regarding this, they should question what these people at the top say, not just report it. Some of the things I’ve read and found out later were 100% fabricated makes me angry, but what makes me angrier is that people continue to believe it again and again.

The Iraqi FA will continue to make mistakes in its administration because no one takes its members to task, neither the media nor the fans. The FA or anyone in the Olympic Committee and Ministry says one thing, and does something else. Boo them at matches, strike, or protest, make your voice heard, things have to change because the country has been stagnating for too long that we’re starting to believe that change is not possible. If you believe you can’t make a difference than this life is not worth living, either do the pushing or be prepared to be rolled over. It’s clear the decorated and educated people at the top (with their doctorates and PhDs) don’t know what they’re doing. 11 years after Saddam and the only thing we hear are excuses. Don’t let these well-paid and ‘respected’ political and religious dinosaurs continue to allow us to sleepwalk into many more years of failure. These people are nothing without the support of the masses. In the 40s and 50s political change was made, not through protest, but national strikes. One public sector worker striking by not going to work is more powerful than a million banners at a protest rally. Chants and slogans don’t change anything without some kind of force behind it, voting with our feet is more powerful.

Ask yourselves, is this the best they can offer? So many lives have been wasted, millions of shohudas, but for what?

Politicians are nothing without the support of the masses.

Actions speak more than words. Expect more from our leaders not less.

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