If reporting can't provide context, what good is it?
No good at all.
Reporting is more than a headline crawl across the bottom of a screen.
Today, we're informed two things in a long AFP article (it's two short articles in many western outlets or one short article just featuring Nouri but we're using it as it appears in the Saudi Gazette). First, we're informed 'acting' Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi made statements today. There's no such position created by the Constitution but if AFP had to be factual they'd never file anything from Iraq. Second, we're informed chief thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki made a statement today.
Let's start with Nouri. He declares of the 'magic' wands that are supposed to detect bombs and do not that they are not being used in Iraq anymore: "We took the necessary measures in a timely manner on this file, a long time ago."
In Friday's snapshot, we noted the 'magic' wands and the major discovery AFP had made:
Nouri's got a lot of blood on his hands. Ammar Karim (AFP) reported this morning that the 'magic' wands to 'detect' bombs (and drugs and, no doubt, spirits from the other world) are still being used in Iraq. He speaks with a police officer in Baghdad who admits that everyone knows that they don't work but that the police are under orders to use the wands.
Between Friday and Sunday something happened. Which AFP fails to note.
Saturday, NINA reported, "Leader of the Sadrist Trend, Muqtada al-Sadr, demanded Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to apologize and stand before Parliament to answer about the deal of the explosives detection instruments." Moqtada suspects some Iraqis were bribed in this deal and wants names he also demands that the 'magic' wands stop being used immediately stating that they are "an insult to the Iraqis' intelligence."
Why did Nouri issue his lie today -- and it is a lie? Basic cause and effect. He spoke today because Moqtada spoke yesterday. He spoke today because of what Moqtada said yesterday. Life does not take place in a vacuum. The failure to provide the context is a failure in reporting.
Reading AFP's nonsense (and again, most western outlets are just running the Nouri nonsense and leaving out the other half), it appears Nouri is responding to a story, to a report. In fact, he's responding to the threat of being called before Parliament (don't forget a few weeks ago he was refusing to appear before Parliament) by one of his main Shi'ite rivals.
Let's move on to the second item which actually comes first.
Let's set aside the issue of Saadun al-Dulaimi not having control in the Cabinet or even a real position because that's been too much for the news outlets -- not just AFP -- to handle. Let's instead focus on what he's saying.
The protesters? They are controlled by foreign forces, he insists.
Yes, Nouri and all of his boyfriends have repeatedly stated this. They're controlled by Syria, they're controlled by Jordan (the border to Jordan has been shut down by Iraq twice in the last few weeks -- first during elections, then again last week), they're controlled by Saudi Arabia, they're controlled by Syria, it never stops, these attempts to portray Iraqi people protesting Nouri as somehow 'foreign' controlled.
But al-Dulaimi reaches a little further back than that, he goes to Turkey. It's been awhile since Nouri's slammed Turkey himself. It was explained to him that not only did the charge look stupid but that also it hurt Iraq's business interests (Turkey's one of its biggest trading partners).
al-Dulaimi's either acting on his own or Nouri plans to insist he is.
The recent war of words Nouri had with Turkey are swept aside as AFP insists this is all about "former vice president' Tareq al-Hashemi.
Well that's a double lie.
It's not all about Tareq. Let's come back to that. It's also true, he's not former.
Tareq al-Hashemi has not been stripped of office.
Parliament can strip of office. Parliament's refused to.
Tareq al-Hashemi remains vice president. That's why the Kurds walked away proud last week from Baghdad. They walked in holding all the cards on Nouri.
Nouri's backup plan, suspected by the State Dept and the British government, was early elections would be a breeze. He'd have the last remaining vice president in Iraq act as president (Jalal Talabani remains in Germany still recovering from his stroke) and the terms would be very favorable to Nouri.
But April 10th, all hell broke loose though the western outlets apparently all agreed to ignore it.
That's when the Kurds floated Tareq would be returning to Iraq.
If he returned to Baghdad, he'd be arrested by Nouri's forces. But he was going to return to the KRG where KRG President Massoud Barzani had previously protected him.
As Nouri is so fond of reminding, the KRG is still part of Iraq.
As such, Tareq would return to governance. The Parliament didn't strip him of his post. He is Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. (Equally true, since he was never stripped of his post, the trial legally never took place.) Unlike Nouri's flunky, Tareq al-Hashemi has a long history as Vice President that dates back to Nouri's first term. Therefore, he also has the experience that Nouri's newbie lacks.
If Tareq returned to the KRG, Tareq would be in charge of any early elections in the absence of Jalal Talabani.
And that's why the KRG walked away victors from Baghdad last week -- though AFP didn't tell you about that.
AFP wants to appease a tyrant instead of reporting the truth. That cowering posture only rewards Nouri who, just last week, was ordering the closures of satellite TV stations.
What did Baghdad's central government complain about last week with regards to Turkey?
You won't find it in AFP's article. Turkish planes entered Iraqi airspace again.
What are their other beefs with Turkey? The close relationship with the KRG.
In May of last year, Turkey and the KRG signed off on a deal for three pipelines running from the KRG to Turkey. Two will carry oil, one will carry gas.
These are facts and they're absent from AFP's 'reporting.'
When al-Dulaimi begins attacking the protesters, AFP does note, "On April 23, security forces moved on protesters near the town of Hawijah in Kirkuk province, sparking clashes that killed 53 people."
Good for AFP. Many other outlets struggle with that reality. It would be "great for AFP" if this were Friday or earlier.
But again, context.
Yesterday UNICEF announced that 8 children died in the Hawija slaughter on April 23rd and twelve more were left injured ("seriously injured"). So the accurate statement would be, "On April 23, security forces moved on protesters near the town of Hawijah in Kirkuk province, sparking clashes that killed 53 people -- 8 of which, UNICEF has revealed, were children."
Let's move over to today's violence. National Iraqi News Agency reports a Mosul roadside bombing left one Iraqi soldier and one civilian injured, a Kirkuk bombing left one police officer and one civilian wounded, a sticky bombing injured Sofouk al-Rawi in Anbar Province (he is the Director of Qai'm Passport Department), a Baghdad mortar attack left 2 dead and ten injured, Mazin Abu Kulal was killed by bombings as he left the Wifaq Movement office in Kirkuk today -- also killed were two of his bodyguards -- (along with being one of the leaders of the Wifaq Movement, he was also a member of Iraqiya), a Baghdad bombing in an outdoor cafe left 1 person dead and four more injured, an armed attack in Tikrit left 1 police officer dead and another injured, a Baghdad home invasion left 2 people dead, a Baghdad roadside bombing (Abu Ghraib) left 1 person dead and four more injured, and a Mosul grenade attack left 1 police officer dead and another injured,
I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name
The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.
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ADDED: Not yet working on Isaiah's comic. Sorry. Isaiah told me about Ann's comment regarding WMC selling war on Syria. I wasn't aware of it. I've just done an intro for Ann's comments and made them a piece entitled "Ann calls out Women's Media Center and Lauren War Wolfe" at Third.