Monday, October 14, 2013

The al Qaeda catch all

The word on Iraq today, at least in the western press, is "al Qaeda."

Dan Kedmey (Time magazine) notes:

A series of bomb blasts in Iraq killed at least 42 people on Sunday, but the story could have been ripped from last week’s papers (12 killed) or those from two weeks ago (51 killed) or repeatedly from the month of September (979 killed). Iraqis have not seen death tolls this high since the 2008 insurgency. “It seems like al-Qaeda is running the country,” one government employee told the Associated Press.

Adam Schreck wrote the AP article.  There are various versions of it -- here, here and here.  Last one contains Ali Nasser's quote of al Qaeda running the country. Who is he?  "A government employee."  I'd like to see something a little more specific when someone makes an assertion like that to the Associated Press.

Schreck does note:

Al-Qaida does not have a monopoly on violence in Iraq, a country where most households have at least one assault rifle tucked away. Other Sunni militants, including the Army of the Men of the Naqshabandi Order, which has ties to members of Saddam Hussein’s now-outlawed Baath party, also carry out attacks, as do Shiite militias that are remobilizing as the violence escalates.

al Qaeda in Iraq begins because of the US-invasion of Iraq.  The Iraq War creates the group.

They've existed throughout the war.  They've basically made claims that they were responsible for the bulk of the violence.  And that's true -- if you're lazy.  If you're lazy and throw every group using violence against Nouri's government under the "al Qaeda" umbrella, then they are growing.

Starting in 2009, regular press reports pop up about how Nouri's failure to pay or create other jobs for Sahwa (Sunnis and a few Shi'ites paid to stop attacking US forces and US equipment) was leading them to join rebel groups or terrorist groups or other groups.

al Qaeda in Iraq or al Qaeda in Mesopotamia?  It's existed for a decade now and what's really shabby is the press knows so damn little about it.

Ten years of attacks -- maybe not all the attacks they claim to have made (as a general rule, any group that waits over a week to claim credit for an attack is probably not responsible for that attack but sees no one else is going to claim it so they grab it) -- and the press knows so little.

In part because they listen to Rita Katz.  Well, not everyone.  She'll probably never be asked back by 60 Minutes because you can't lie in a story they're doing on you.  Katz is untruthful.  Smart outlets grasped that a long time ago.

Too many still sneak her into their reports.

And that's why everything tends to get labeled as "al Qaeda" and why so little is known after all these years.

Sometimes the press will tell you "al Qaeda linked" but usually they just use the term "al Qaeda."  It's a stupid term.  It has no real meaning and instead, for Americans, suggests connections that don't exist.

At this point, the Iraq War could last another ten years and US outlets could just keep repeating "al Qaeda."  It wouldn't enlighten or inform -- but that would be keeping with the last ten years.

"al Qaeda!" In the US, it's a cover to hide Nouri al-Maliki's failures.  American readers read the term and picture the Twin Towers falling while thinking Nouri's up against that.  al Qaeda in Iraq is a homegrown group with the occasional foreign fighter (supposedly, last week, a Chechen).  The term stupfies the US.  It really needs to be limited in its use -- applied only when it can be backed up.

Moqtada al-Sadr's granted an interview on terrorism and Iraq.  Note that he doesn't bandy about the term.  From Asharq Al-Awsat:

In an exclusive interview with Asharq Al-Awsat the head of Shi’ite Sadr Movement Moqtada Al-Sadr said that Iraq is ruled by terrorism, and predicted that the situation will worsen in the near future.
“Iraq today is at the height of danger and has become a prisoner of terrorism, extremism and violence,” Sadr told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“Iraq is under the rule of terrorism, bombing cars, murder and bloodshed,” he said, adding, “This is how Iraq is and this is the situation it is in.”
The Shi’ite leader accused the country’s prime minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, of being a failure, claiming that Iraq needs a “father-like ruler,” instead of Maliki whom he expected would attempt to remain in power for a “third or perhaps fourth term… or even forever.”

And Nouri is a failure.  And Moqtada's probably correct about Nouri wanting a "fourth term . . . or even forever."  (We already know he wants a third term and part of his scheduled trip to DC this month is about making promises to receive the White House's blessing.)

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Snipper" went up last night.

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