Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia

For those who still don't get how bad Elise Labott's CNN 'report' we noted in yesterday's snapshot was, contrast her endless babble with the first sentence in Matt Bradley and Ghassan Adnan's WALL ST. JOURNAL report:

Shiite politicians and religious leaders urged their followers to take to the streets of Baghdad on Wednesday to protest Saudi Arabia’s execution of a dissident Shiite cleric as the prime minister appealed for calm amid a threat of fresh sectarian violence.

If you've forgotten Elise's hideous report, here's the start of it:


Tonight, Saudi Arabia canceled al fights to and from Iran after cutting diplomatic ties over the attack on its embassy. As the region's two biggest powerhouses ramp up their diplomatic standoff, tonight, fears in Washington the fallout could set the entire region on a collision course.


LABOTT (voice-over): In Baghdad today, protesters chanted "No to Sau" -- as they stormed the Saudi ambassador's residence.

A similar scene in Tehran, where protesters there returned to the Saudi Embassy after ransacking and torching it over the weekend, what is quickly becoming a crisis that could pull America further into a centuries-old Middle East conflict. Tonight, one of America's most entrenched foes is in a showdown with one of its staunchest allies.

Iran is promising vengeance after the Saudi government beheaded this cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, who it called a terrorist. He, like much of Iran's population, was a Shiite Muslim. And his killing inflamed that country, leading to protests and the brutal attack on the Saudi Embassy.

ADEL AL-JUBEIR, SAUDI ARABIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We will not allow Iran to destabilize our region.

LABOTT: Tonight, the backlash against Iran is growing. Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations with Tehran. And, today, three Sunni- Arab countries, Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, joined them, severing or downgrading ties with Tehran and recalling their ambassadors.

AL-JUBEIR: The cutting off of diplomatic ties with Iran is in reaction to Iran's aggressive policies over the years and in particular over the past few months.

LABOTT: Since the American-led nuclear deal with Iran this spring, tensions between the countries have boiled over, each backing opposite factions in conflicts throughout the region, from Yemen to the bloody civil war in Syria, where Iran's support for Syrian President Assad has fueled Saudi anger.  

It's sentence 8 before Elise can note that the cleric was Shi'ite.

And all the sentences later, she's yet to note who is protesting in Iraq (Shi'ites).

She wastes a whole lot of time with words that do not convey or capture.

Was she told to ad lib and milk the report?

Because otherwise she was just offering confusing and misguided nonsense.

Iraq is bordered by both Iran and Saudi Arabia. (It also shares borders with Jordan, Syria and Turkey.)  And some are worried that being caught between the two will mean an increase in strife within Iraq.

AFP notes the fear that things could return to the 2007 standard in Iraq, "The civil war saw the reign of death squads and horrific communal violence that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than four million, reshaping the confessional map of a country in which up to 65 percent of the Muslim population is Shiite."

This was the period of ethnic cleansing -- which few ever want to discuss honestly.

The over four million refugees are largely forgotten today as people regularly note 3 million refugees from Syria and Iraq and the last years and bill it as the biggest refugee crisis.

Not yet.

The over four million refugees remains the biggest refugee crisis in the region since 1948.

Ali Akbar Dareini and Jon Gambrell (AP) note the proposal (ridiculous proposal) being offered: Iraq will serve as mediator and help Iran and Saudi Arabia come to an understanding.

The Iraqi government can't (or won't) even implement reconciliation in its own country.  The Sunnis of Iraq still feel persecuted (for good reason).  But Iraq's going to be successful as a mediator?

The reporters explain:

The offer by Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, made during a news conference in the Iranian capital, included the diplomat referring to the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr as a "crime," a description that raised questions as to whether Saudi officials would even consider such an offer. The kingdom and its allies say that al-Nimr was executed after being tried and sentenced to death under Saudi law.

No one would believe the Shi'ite based government could be impartial.

Not with its close ties to Iran and its history of public rebukes against Saudi Arabia dating back to Nouri al-Maliki's second term as prime minister of Iraq (2010 to 2014).

Here's one reaction to the proposal on Twitter:

  • Same Iraq that allows Shia Militias to murder Sunnis.

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