Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NYT: "Bomb Blasts Speaker's Car in Green Zone" (Edward Wong)

A bomb exploded in an armored car among those belonging to the speaker of Parliament, wounding the American security guard who was driving it out of a parking area in the government Green Zone and disrupting a meeting of lawmakers nearby, a parliamentary aide said.
Though the speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, was not in the vehicle and was unscathed, the assassination attempt was one of the most serious breaches of security yet within the Green Zone, the heavily fortified government district on the west bank of the Tigris River.

The above is from Edward Wong's "Bomb Blasts Speaker's Car in Green Zone" in this morning's New York Times. The breach.

Two other items from the article. First:

In the summer, senior Shiite and Kurdish leaders, backed by some American officials, called for his ouster because of inflammatory comments he had made about various groups in Iraq and about the American presence.

I believe Wong leaves out an important "various group" -- the press. Including the Times. The Times wrote his obit. They didn't do it once, but they did do a smear campaign. The last article was probably the worst because it left readers with the impression that he was so upset, so wounded, that while he licked his wounds he couldn't even speak to the press and his father had to take his calls. That wasn't reality. He wasn't wounded. He wasn't harmed by it (despite gas baggery passing for reporting). He also wasn't in Iraq.

He was in Jordan. And you could read about that in the Arab press, just not the American press. (And forget indymedai, it was summer when they had no interest in Iraq.) So the impression was that he'd be stepping down, that it was over for him.

In reality, he was in Jordan (a scheduled trip, planned and announced in advance) working on issues like trade.

Second thing from the article:

The most serious breach of security inside the Green Zone occurred in October 2004, when insurgents set off two bombs in crowded areas that killed at least five people, including three Americans. Individuals have also been attacked there: at least one foreign jogger was reportedly stabbed, and another intentionally hit by a vehicle.

That's not the one that rocked the Green Zone. The breach that was the most serious happened in June, when people attempted to storm the Green Zone. That's what led to the 'crackdown.'
The bombing yesterday?

It's caused far less ripples due to the number of enemies Mahmoud al-Mashhadani has. Speculation of who was behind it is the focus, not the fact that the Green Zone was breached. October 2004 barely caused a ripple. The June storming resulted in the 'crackdown' (still ongoing -- still unsuccssful). If the target had been seen as anyone else, the bombing would be much bigger news within the Green Zone; however, due to the fact that al-Massadani has enemies outside and inside the Green Zone, the breach registers far less than it would have had someone been seen as the intended target.

Martha notes Nancy Trejos' "Iraqi Parliament Speaker Escapes Car Bombing" (Washington Post) on the same topic:

[Christopher] Garver [US military flack] said he was not sure how the explosives made it so far into the Green Zone, which houses the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British embassies and thousands of foreign troops and private contractors. Anyone trying to enter the zone must pass through several checkpoints -- first to get into the complex, then to enter individual buildings.
The Green Zone has been a frequent target of mortar and rocket attacks, but although bombs have exploded at checkpoints at entrances to the zone, they rarely infiltrate the fortresslike compound. "Obviously, there is an investigation going on," Garver said.
Mashhadani is the fifth high-ranking Iraqi government official to be targeted in recent days. An outspoken Sunni Arab, Mashhadani last summer called the U.S. occupation "the work of butchers." Shiite and Kurdish groups called for his ouster after that and other provocative comments.
On Tuesday, his supporters reacted angrily to news that he had been targeted for assassination.
"We condemn and denounce this act, and we consider this as a criminal act, for Dr. Mashhadani is valuable to us," said Ammar Wajih, director of the media office at the Iraqi Islamic Party, a leading Sunni Arab group.

And we'll close with this from CBS -- "U.S. Troops Ill-Prepared To Train Iraqis?" -- which goes to the 'planning' all these years after the illegal war began:

Of the 140,000 American troops in Iraq, 5,000 of them are training and advising Iraqi forces. But according to the trainers themselves, the army did not prepare them to accomplish their mission, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.
Training is what counter insurgency warfare is all about -- training local forces to take over the fighting -- and the linchpin of the American exit strategy. But in reports recording their experiences in Iraq, advisors like Colonel Nicholas Demas said the training he received before leaving the U.S. "was a phenomenal waste of time ... nearly irrelevant to the current situation" in Iraq.

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