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April 01, 2008



One of my motto's to the limited extent any are relevant is; when an outsider gets to the point where he or she is trying to participate, TO ANY EXTENT, in the doling out of jobs to the locals, you know you have hit bottom in the long journey down to prove one's ignorance about another's society. It all sounds nice....but some things are beyond one's already severely strained, capabilities.

Start getting out, and start getting out now. Pay no attention to those who consul otherwise...the American people will stand behind the individual who does so.

Nur al-Cubicle

Gee, those refusing thousands of police and officers cost $1,000,000 a head to train -by NYPD, NATO the Jordanians and others no less! Now they are tossed out?


If one faction of the Shia is willing to work with the Sunni then this is good news, not bad. That is: it's bad for the occupation and American interests but not for the people of iraq.


Anomalous hits on a question I was too embarrassed to ask. Which side is likely to have better relations with the Sunnis?


Nothing that az-Zamán propagandizes can be evidential. On the other hand, here is Aswát al-‘Iráq (set up originally by some Reuters people with westoxicated notions about journalism) saying something comparable. No mention of a mutiny, but

Al-Maliki ordered to support police and army forces in Basra with 10,000 new members of the province's residents, who volunteered to serve in the governmental forces.

(1) A mass of ten thousand warm bodies hired in the governate of Basra is not likely to include very many oppressed Sunnis, is it?

(2) Supposing them to be really volunteer warm bodies, one might guess that a fair number of them belong to whichever armed bands of Twelvers were not doing so well locally before M. al-Málikí's epoch-making Campaign to Impose Law. Say mostly Da‘wa fans and Supremes of Badr, as opposed to Sadristas and Virtutites. So the al-Bazzáz rag may have deviated into accuracy for once.

(3) The usual invasion-language suspects, NYT and WP and LAT and USAT, all dateline Wednesday 2 April 2008 stories from New Baghdád. It would be kind of fun, though, if M. al-Málikí decides to rule his "state" from Basra on the grounds that the International Zone is inadequately secured .

Happy days.


An oddity I just noticed at VOI: "Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi informed the ambassadors of the United States of America (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (U.K) in Iraq that he is "disappointed" with the security situations that Basra city experienced during the last week."

(Mightn't he have complained to his own President of the Council of Ministers instead?)


"Anomalous hits on a question I was too embarrassed to ask. Which side is likely to have better relations with the Sunnis?"



Maliki is now bravado again about launching more Basra-style assaults in Baghdad proper, to liberate the people of Sadr City.

I have little doubt that Sadrist power is going to diminish very much in Basra, they are impopular and Maliki has the resources to pin them down. Of course the Sadrists can hang around there forever and be a constant source of trouble with the government, but really which side is going to win in the end is pretty clear. In any case if the offensive continues we´re going to see more troubles for the residents who just want to live in peace.

An assault on Sadr City would be Maliki´s worst mistake. Sadr would immediately declare Jihad, Intifada et al and throw everything he has at the Americans and his government. Casualties of every kind would be appalling.

Even if Maliki restrains from all-out assaults, the situation is still unsettled with reports of clashes here and there throughout the shia areas, and the Sadrists have been quite clear that they intend to attack the Americans anyway.

In the end the Americans must depart, they´re a constant source of problems and of course their presence makes Maliki make as many "bold blunders" as he can think of.

PS: perhaps backing the "state vs militias" theory i said in another post, which is more or less like the "Sadr is weak so let´s take him out now that we can", Iraqi raided today the house of Thar Allah´s leader in Basra. Thar Allah had been an Islamist, Iranian-backed militia involved in violence of every kind, including against British forces; however politically it was NOT aligned with Sadr and a few months ago was somehow allied with ISCI against Fadhila. Yet it seems that the Iraqi Army is simply not going to tolerate old-style militias, the central state simply doesn´t want competitors (Badr doesn´t count as a militia in the traditional sense because it seems to be totally integrated in the government apparatus)


I was reading Nibras Kazimi's latest postings at Talisman Gate and in one para he provided thumbnail sketches of some of the major players in the Iraq military - the Defense minister, the Army Chief of Staff and others - who played a big role in Cavalry charge. Presto - they were instantly turned into human beings as opposed to the faceless incompetent sectarian stooges the western media portrays them to be.

The deep disgrace of the western journos reporting out of Iraq seems to be their complete lack of contacts with the Iraqi government, military and public service. Cultivating such sources is the first job of any bureau head setting up in a foreign country, but if this has been done in Baghdad it is certainly not being reflected in the reporting.

How else to describe the extraordinary misreporting of the events in Basra which the NYT and Wapo are only now starting to adjust, somewhat shamefacedly. It appears the journos contacts are completely limited to US sources in the Green Zone and even they are mostly nameless.

And yet many of the senior Iraqi government and military people must speak good English and have decent education and a high degree of sophistication? So what is stopping the western media from doings its job professionally in Iraq? Laziness? Desire for wilfull ignorance? Cultural ego-centrism? Or is it that the honchos on the editorial desks back home are decreeing the narrative must be uniformly one of Big Bad Iraqis?

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