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April 26, 2005


Ghurab al-Bain

Everything Abu Aardvark says about Smith and his idiotic screed is true. The fact that totally unqualified and ignorant people like him, and there were lots of them, were in charge of anything in Iraq is a big reason why things are so screwed up in Iraq today. It is only the profound and utter failure of CPA and the kooks at Defense and the White House that led them to hand over the Iraqi tarbaby over to the poor State Department which has been playing catch up ever since. But let's be realistic, Dorrance's article has more to do with Dorrance looking for a job in the USG than with Al-Jazeera. Those folks do love to get a government paycheck.


GB: Maybe, but it does raise an interesting question.

Jazeera has had some pretty big scoops and exclusives re Bin Laden, the Iraqi insurgents, etc.

Once, OK. Everybody gets lucky once.

Twice, hm.

But this often? The only reasonable explanation would seem to be that they're in a quid pro quo with Bin Laden and the insurgents.


Or maybe these guys just know that Jazeera will keep their sources confidential and has an audience. Once upon a time that was called journalism.

David W

it's not all that suprising--the WSJ op-ed page has a split personality from its parent publication--while the WSJ journalism operation is a solid, respected news organization, the op-ed page is closer in spirit and accuracy to FOX news--the op-ed page is basically a right-wing bully pulpit.

my thinking is that this is a convenient topic to help blunt the recent Republican controversies (Tom DeLay, et al), and put the conservatives back on the offensive...


If I'm not mistaken, the scoops in question are by Yusri Fouda and Taysir Alluni. So I think that you have to be specific if you want to level charges like that.

Issandr El Amrani

Aardvark, did you find in the research for your book on Al J that it had journalists on the Al Qaeda/Afghan Arab beat a long time before 9/11? My guess is that compared to any other news network, Al J was simply there covering the story way before anyone else found it interesting -- that and the obvious linguistic/ethnic affinity it would have with sources.

The only damning story I've heard about Al J's coverage of Iraq is by an Egyptian fixer who was working in Baghdad at the beginning of the war who told me that Al J was giving satphones to people who were organizing anti-US demonstrations so that they could warn them ahead of time. But yaani, it's not that bad...


actually, now that I think about it, Yusri Fouda probably played an inadvertent role in getting some of the big AQ honchos arrested in Pakistan.

the aardvark

praktike - yes, Fouda did (inadvertently) contribute to getting those guys arrested, from what I've heard.

Issandr - yes, AJ was the only station with people on the ground in Afghanistan pre-9/11, and Alouni in particular appears to have had good sources in the AQ base camps.


How dare you question such a figure? We can be assured that though the details are "virtually unknown," they have been spelled out somewhere north, south, east, or west of Baghdad, and therefore, are knowable unknown knowns.


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