The Olivebranch Network is 6 months old!

So 6 months ago today the Olivebranch Network had it’s first post published. Six months on and the project is a huge success both for me personally and for all the other contributors involved. As a result of this project (which, in itself is due to the kind generosity of one Antony Loewenstein) I have now been offered a position on the blogcritics team.

Today I will publish my first post on, and in that way gain more exposure for the Olivebranch Network than any other single event I have done to this day. have over 50,000 hits a day; whereas the OB network averages only 50.

On top of this great achievement the OB network has become the largest running Iraqi group blog, a feat in itself to gather so many views in one place; with the full support of each involved writer.

Today I’m over the moon.

In the first 6 months of it’s existence the OB network has gone further than my own blog has in over a year, to the extent I have even been asked to go participate in a blogging convention as part of a Young Australian Writers convention in New South Wales (Newcastle). Of course I accepted, despite it being in the middle of my uni study – how could I not?

If anything I have ever done is going to push forward my chances as making it as a journalist it’s seizing opportunities like these. So in the words of George W Bush I say “BRING EM ON” 🙂

p.s this site will be receiving a major overhaul over the next couple of months so expect lots of changes! 🙂

Religious extremism in post-Saddam Iraq

As a result of the US-lead invasion of 2003, religious extremism has become prominent in Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein religions were oppressed and all voices of opposition silenced. Religious extremism did not have a chance to receive the popular support it claims today (2006). Under the Coalition occupation much of Baghdad has fallen under the control of religious extremists, as has much of the Shiite-dominated south.

In other parts of Baghdad “neighbourhood watch” groups and resistance fighters’ man checkpoints to deter militiamen and “government forces” (23) from entering the area. Some of Islam’s worst extremist groups including “Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia” managed to infiltrate the resistance under the guise of fighting the occupation. However their strategy of targeting Iraqi civilians made them extremely unpopular.

It was only by standing against the occupation that these religious extremist groups managed to establish themselves in Iraq. Given Iraq’s complex multi-cultural history, it is likely that had the occupation brought progress or not occurred at all these groups would never have risen to the level of prominence they hold in Iraq today.
Continue reading Religious extremism in post-Saddam Iraq

Lebanon – why don’t people care?

So Lebanon is being invaded by Israel, or should I say bombed? Or should I say “turned backward by 20 years”? Yet who really seems to give a rats ass? Who here in Perth, Western Australia even gives 1/10th of a shit? Other than our large Lebanese population, or someone whose’ relatives are stuck there on a holiday- it seems like no one.

The news here concentrates on the evacuation of Australian citizens who are terrified by bombs falling all around them. Oh poor them. They are in a protected international zone where Israel would never dare drop a bomb, and Hezbollah are not that stupid; while they have some international attention and even limited support they will make the most of it. They will try their best to impress.

They will turn people against Israel by both inflicting damage on the Israeli Defence Force, and by showing the world the damage Israel is inflicting upon the Lebanese civilian populations and infrastructure. Continue reading Lebanon – why don’t people care?