Monday, September 18, 2006

NYT: Caught in the spin

Khalid al-Ansary and Ali Adeeb have an article in the New York Times which recounts some of yesterday's violence (violence already noted in last night's "And the war drags on") and also states that 25 of 31 tribes in Al Anbar have formed an agreement of some kind. What kind? Who knows? Maybe someone got paid off to make a statement?

Congratulations to the two writers for finally getting their own byline. But the article defies disbelief. The spokesperson doesn't seem to be describing reality so much as saying what the US military would want people to believe.

Pay off, deal to leave or just blowing hot air is the consensus on his statements from everyone I spoke to this morning (the reason this entry is started so late) that has served in the province or reported from it. No one's buying it.

I'm not quoting from the article or even noting's it's title. When I read it this morning, I reached for the phone. Again, congratulations on the long deserved byline without any American listed (see Friday's entry for Dexy's talk) but I have no faith in that article.

Martha notes Amit R. Paley's "Blasts in Kirkuk Kill 26; Police Bureau Destroyed" (Washington Post):

A wave of seven suicide car bombs and explosions rocked the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Sunday, killing at least 26 people and wounding 85 others, police said.
The restive northern city -- considered a likely flash point for sectarian violence because of its combustible mix of Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens -- declared a state of emergency and hastily put up dozens of checkpoints to thwart further attacks, police Maj. Jalal Mahmood Aras said.

And, most importantly:

Also on Sunday, tribal leaders in Anbar province denied news reports that local chieftains had gathered recently and agreed to join forces to fight al-Qaeda.
"All the talk and rumors that you may hear about alliances or new initiatives to wipe out al-Qaeda by the tribes in Anbar is all pure nonsense," Sheik Faraj Khalid Essawi said. "We wish that we could build a strong tribal alliance against al-Qaeda to defeat them and reestablish security in our area and rebuild the dignity and the stature of the tribal sheiks. But frankly, we are unable to stand up to or to confront al-Qaeda because even the American army itself has not succeed in defeating it."

The thing being denied is what the Times is reporting. We won't note it. It makes no sense. Even without the Post's denial. It's a pay off, it's a deal or it's hot air. It's not reality. You have to wonder how it became the focus for an article in the New York Times because red flags went up for me just reading it. Why they didn't for anyone at the Times is a question to ponder. But everyone I spoke to snorted or laughed at the article the Times runs before I could finish reading the first paragraph to them.

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