Huhn? The Real Iraq
The unfortunate tendency in the United States to evaluate all statements about Iraq with regard to whether they are “optimistic” (i.e. pro-Bush) or “pessimistic” (i.e. anti-Bush) makes it difficult for those who just want to understand what is going on. I get slammed by the Jeff Jarvis’s for reporting bad news (shouldn’t it be reported?) or I get cited by rightwing bloggers when I say things like that the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement cannot win.
If you spend any time reading Arabic newspapers, the main conclusion you draw about Iraq is that it just isn’t like the typical American imagination of it. I’ve extracted a few paras. (from a long set of summaries) from the BBC World Monitoring for April 3 and 4 from the Iraqi press below. Each of the entries has a “what in the world?” factor as I read them, just because you don’t see this sort of thing in the US media.
Al-Furat publishes on page 3 a 1,200-word report citing a number of people expressing their opinion on the “occupation” of Iraq at its 2nd anniversary. Most people interviewed believe that the “occupation” forces plan to remain in Iraq as long as possible and that disputes among Iraqis prolong their presence in the country.
When and if the divisions lessen, I expect to see a popular movement to get US troops out of Iraq.
Al-Ufuq reveals that there was a serious assassination attempt on Jalal Talabani (the new president) on March 9.
‘Al-Da’wah publishes on the front page a 300-word report on the statement issued by the Al-Da’wah Party, Iraq Organization, on the 40th anniversary of the Imam Al-Husayn martyrdom saying that our people are being subjected to a large scale conspiracy by the US allies and agents in the region . . .’
The new prime minister, Ibrahim Jaafari, is the leader of the Dawa Party. He is well spoken in English, and says mollifying things to the US and the UK, but the Dawa Party which he leads is an old-time revolutionary Shiite Party, and here is the statement of the Party organization itself, on the front page of the party newspaper. I don’t think they like us very much. If you read between the lines, they are clearly afraid that the Kurds have a tacit alliance with the Israelis.
‘Al-Ufuq publishes on the front page a 250-word follow-up report citing the Association of Muslim Scholars denying that it has issued a fatwa permitting recruitment in the Iraqi Army and police . . .’
Well, we saw the original announcement in the US press, prominently displayed alongside talking head comments about tipping points. But somehow we missed the subsequent disavowal (no doubt by a different section of AMS).
Al-Ittijah al-Akhar on 2 April publishes on page 4 a 700-word report citing Habib Jabir Habib, an Iranian researcher, as saying, in a seminar organized by the Strategic and Political Researches Gulf Centre in Dubai, that his country still regards Iraq as a possible enemy, adding that it has been working to prevent the US from controlling Iraq . . . ‘
‘Al-Ittijah al-Akhar on 2 April publishes on page 7 a 750-word letter by an Islamic group to National Assembly Sunni member Misha’n al-Juburi accusing him of liberalism and secularism and urging him to adopt Islam teachings . . . ‘
Ex-Baathists are caught between the hatred for them of religious Shiites and of Kurds, and the hatred of them by Sunni fundamentalists within their own ethnic group.
Al-Manarah publishes on the front page a 750-word editorial by Khalaf al-Munshidi in which he criticizes the British forces in Basra for launching raids on the Tamim Tribe in Basra.
If it can’t be found at google.news, did it happen?
‘ Al-Bayan carries on page 4 a 1,200-word report citing a number of university professors who returned home after the downfall of the former regime to contribute to the construction of Iraq, complaining that they are unable to find jobs.
Al-Ufuq publishes on page 4 a 150-word report citing an official source at the Health Ministry informing the newspaper that according to the latest survey conducted by his ministry in cooperation with an international organization there are over one million handicapped in Iraq.
Al-Ufuq devotes all of page 6 to a report discussing the poor emergency health care services in Iraq.
Al-Ittijah al-Akhar on 2 April publishes on page 9 a 150-word letter by an Iraqi citizen criticizing the US forces for torturing Iraqi detainees in Mosul. The letter includes pictures of tortured Iraqi prisoners . . .
Al-Bayan publishes on page 4 a 400-word column by Zaynab al-Khafaji commenting on the Pentagon’s recent announcement that it plans to reevaluate the US military presence in Iraq next summer. The writer urges the Iraqi Government to boost the capabilities, training and performance of the Iraqi security forces, which have proved their efficiency in confronting terrorism, in order to provide the appropriate grounds for the departure of foreign forces from Iraq.
Al-Ittijah al-Akhar on 2 April publishes on page 6 a 750-word article by Abd-al-Sattar Ramadan criticizing the US for not punishing the US soldiers responsible for abusing Iraqi detainees in a US-run prison in Mosul . . .
Al-Mashriq runs on page 2 a 1000-word article saying that the “lukewarm” relations between Gulf Cooperation Council member countries and Iraq are due to the fact that these countries have fears from the Shi’i identity of the new Iraqi political system and the prominent role being played by the religious authority in the political life of Iraq.
Al-Mashriq runs on page 2 a 200-word commentary saying that the military experts’ emphasis on the current situation in Iraq has created tension in the relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia and as the latter fears that Al-Qa’idah may make of Iraq a new bases, thus countering Saudi Arabia’s efforts to destroy Al-Qa’idah . . .
Al-Furat carries on page 5 a 700-word article by Ahmad al-Murshid in which he comments on the US question that has recently been raised: “Why do they hate us in the Arab and Islamic world?” The writer says that not only people in the Middle East hate the United States, but people all over the world.
Al-Zaman publishes on page 13 a 400-word article by Mundir al-A’sam warning against adopting federalism and dividing Iraq into small states. The writer says that this is an “imperialistic and Israeli scheme”. ‘