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Friday, November 11, 2005 

Oil Coupons

Saddam was a dictator, people agree on that, but what does dictatorship means? From my point of view, the dictator is always trying to do thing his way, to serve the goal that he has in his mind, and he does not accept any second thought.

This is why Saddam made many mistakes, and he tried to fix them with temporary solutions that led him to more mistakes.

He was the cause behind the embargo that left Iraq isolated; Iraqis suffered, they could not get things they needed in their normal daily life from outside, so Saddam looked for temporary solutions to go over that period, he lured those people outside Iraq who were able to help Iraqis; some of them helped because they wanted to help Iraqis but the others did it for money, but Saddam reward them all, and from here came the idea of the famous OIL COUPONS.

Some of those people deserve those coupons because they were helping the Iraqis, and they did not help because of the money just like the one I will tell you about now; I will not tell you if this person was a woman or a man but I will talk about him just like if he was a man, and I will not give the names of the countries or the officials because it is not important, what is important is to say that not all the people who took those coupons did not deserve it.

The national Air Carrier suffered, just like the other Iraqis, from the embargo, it was very hard to receive any spare parts for the planes that where jailed in some airports outside Iraq, those countries did not allow those planes to fly back to Iraq; Saddam wanted those planes, he want the Iraqis to have planes that they can use to fly out, he wanted to do the Hajj that year by air.

A technical team sent to one of the countries that had some of these planes, “Make the planes ready, we will bring them back, there will be a plan for that after we receive a call from you says that they are technically ready to fly”, this was the order they received.

“Three pressure gas lamps we need, Mama still sick”, that is what the technical team leader told his boss in Iraq on the mobile phone while he was looking at the airplanes; ‘pressure gas lamps’ was the code that the team used on the phone, it meant ‘the engines’, and ‘Mama’ is ‘the plane’, as the instructions were to use codes during the phone calls incase that the phone lines were bugged.

“We have the engines they need, but how could we send them?” That was what the technical management in Iraq said in a highly secret meeting; they will need a cargo plane to take the engines out to the technical team, and it was imposable to do that from Iraq because of the embargo, no planes were allowed to fly from Iraq, and they could not find some one who agreed on selling them these engines and transfer them direct to the team.

Few days later, in Iraq, “An aircraft will land at the airport, take it to the hangar and converted to half cargo and half passengers”, an official in the government told the technical management.

The team started with the work, “Convert the aircraft in a way that no one can discover it is half cargo, let them think that it is passengers only”, the official told the technical team who was converting the aircraft.

Two days later, the aircraft was ready with full tanks fuel; “Put the engines you want to take there onboard,” the official said; three hours later, all the engines were on board and secured, doors were closed, and if any one looked to or inside the aircraft will never tell that the engines were inside.

No one knew what the next step was; few hours later, “Bring the Aircraft, it will fly now” one of the officials told the Engineering Department; the aircraft was not one of the national air carrier’s aircrafts but now it looks like one of them after the paint job that was carried on.

All of the sudden, many cars and busses arrived, stopped by the plane, many VIP's has arrived, and number of kids everywhere raised banners and Saddam posters; “What is going on?” one of the aircraft engineers asked.

………, the famous Arab actor, will take those kids to ……, for a medical treatment, we can not save those kids lives because of the embargo, so we have to send them outside, and this actor arranged every thing for them and now they will be taken by this aircraft there” a medical official replied.

“The aircraft will take the kids with the actor, after landing in ……, many officials will be waiting for them there, they will take the kids, and the aircraft will fly back, few minutes after take off, they will have a technical problem and they will need to do a force landing, they will land where the other aircrafts are waiting for those engines, you will have one hour to take the engines out of the aircraft but you will not have time to put the other engines which they are installed on the other aircrafts on board this aircraft, but no problem, leave them there, just make those aircrafts ready to fly and later on we will think about a way to bring the other engines back from there” one of the officials told the team in charge of the aircraft before take off.

“So this is the plan,” one of the aircraft technical team said; “This actor really deserve a reward by risking his name and reputation for us, for Iraq, and for the Iraqis” the technical team leader replied.

When the aircraft landed with the kids, the actor stepped outside the aircraft before any one of the officials at that airport entered the aircraft, otherwise they would discover that the cabin inside this aircraft was shorter than the similar aircraft; the actor helped the kids out, and closed the doors so no one was able to enter the aircraft.

According to the plan, the aircraft landed at the other airport where the other technical team who was waiting there for the aircraft, took the engines out, and helped the aircraft to leave the airport so fast before any one discovered the plan; the team later on installed the new engines on the aircrafts and call the base, “Mama is ready to come back now” the technical team leader told the base on the phone while he was laughing; both ends on the phone line consider this as a big victory.

“We would never be able to do this if this actor did not help us; this actor did a big favor for Iraq”, one of the officials at that room where they received this phone call replied.

The government of the country where the aircrafts were, did not allow the team to take the aircrafts home, so the aircrafts still there with the engines, and every body kept the secret.

Later on, when some of the names in the lists involved in the oil coupons were announced, this actor name was there, “This actor deserve every thing Saddam gave him, I do not know about the others, but some of the names, like this one, deserve it because they did things to help some Iraqis or to save some other Iraqis, it was never wrong giving them a reward” one of the technical team members who worked on that aircrafts replied.

I know about that because,

I was there....

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About me

  • I'm I was there..
  • From Baghdad, Iraq
  • I'm a pilot and an Aircraft Engineer who born in Iraq and spent half of his life flying to every country in the world but the Invasion of my country at 2003 turned me to a journalist who is sharing the others in writing the History of Iraq..
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