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June 27, 2008



jeez louise, why would anyone bother to read Kazimi? the only thing he is proficient in is being an pompous ass who pushes the neonut agenda. it's a valuable site if you want to find out the latest propaganda spin, other than that.. worthless. plus, the added bonus of full ego on display.

hmm, obviously what this worthless ego thinks you is somehow important to you, why i am not so sure. perhaps you are a glutton for punishment and respond favorably to abuse. this is a common theme for people who think abuse is a replacement for love, or better than nothing. not worth the time of day marc.

how you could lump this rude overfed ego creep in w/badger is one weird way to kick off your sixth year but it begs the question...why??


I think the graciousness of Lynch versus Kazimi's (wholly unjustified) arrogance in these comments speaks volumes. Kazimi's got no class.

Eric Martin


I understand your point about being lumped in with Kazimi based on personal attacks. His response in the comments here, as opposed to yours, certainly illustrates major differences between you both.

I don't think that you're wrong to point this out.


I've had some of the same issues with "Badger" and Nibras. There are analyses of the day's events that can be very interesting by both of them, but I always feel I'm getting a canned version.

Unlike most readers, however, I can read the same sources they translate or analyze for their blog's visitors. While I admire the hard work they do, maybe I come away with concerns about how course their discourse can be and how biased some of their resulting arguments become.

No one has an unimpeachable version of the truth, but there's an essentialism that seems to pervade both the blogs. I worry that people seek them out to confirm apriori perspectives on the Middle East, and get trapped.

What I like about this blog -- although there's much with which I've disagreed -- is that the author is willing to bring in challenging perspectives and turn over his press to them. That doesn't happen all that often.

Also, I don't know either "Badger" or Nibras personally. While they might have lashed out on their blogs or in communication to you, typically I find that it's not really them but their acolytes, who can be defensive and protective.

What I've been wondering about is different: Unlike these two bloggers, you are a published academic, a scholar at a major American institution of learning. I've noted that Martin Kramer and Juan Cole also have made the plunge into daily online op-ed writing. But at what cost?

How does this affect your scholarship? Does it diminish your voice? Do the scrapes, often sparked by heated exchanges, with other bloggers harm your standing in the academic community? Or are you boosted by a popular audience?


soldier While they might have lashed out on their blogs or in communication to you, typically I find that it's not really them but their acolytes, who can be defensive and protective.

might? dude, get real. in this comment section alone we have excellent examples of the way both these bloggers interact. one lashes, the other doesn't. don't deal w/hypitheticals when the reality is present. how can you say 'it's not really them but their acolytes' when examples such as this are present.

you are a dishonest academic

you're a poser

bred out of a sense of insecurity

your alleged 'expertise', mislead those who think that you're the real thing. You're not. And you know it.

you're pining to impress

inherent fakeness and fraudulent vaidation.

somebodies a shrink on the side who thinks his job is to 'cut-you(him)-down to size'. this from a poster who claims "I think he's nuts" is a sign of "little hostile quips". personally, i don't find calling someone nuts is hostile in the least, unlike the hostility spewing like venom from the examples in this thread alone. so take your 'might' wrt badger and back it up please. or at least acknowledge lumping these two posters into the same category is disingenuous.

how course their discourse can be and how biased some of their resulting arguments become.

i've read badger for a long time, he doesn't argue. perhaps you can link to an example of what you consider to be coarse discourse rather than making unsupported allegations.


Well hello readers of the Abu Aarvark blog. It seems that Lynch's dishonest misrepresentation of the views and work of others has rubbed off on some of you too. And a special hello to that boy wonder, the Ralphie Wiggum of Iraq commentary; whew, it's been a while since I've subjected myself to your narratives.

But let's just consider this: what if Lynch's post about Talisman Gate was a smokescreen? What if he was just trying to dodge this challenge that had been put forward to him on the comments section concerning his "special" relationship with Aljazeera and whether this relationship affects his bias for Aljazeera while bashing other Arab media channels:

"Then again, I wouldn't have to assume anything if Lynch would publicly and unequivocally clarify his years-long relationship with Aljazeera and whether he's ever accepted favors/compensation/special access from them. This is pertinent too because I've heard that Lynch is ingratiating himself with the Obama campaign, and there are funny pictures with weird facial contortions to prove it!"


PS: how come no one brings up the fact that Badger is hiding behind a pseudonym? Since he attacks persons based on what he thinks are their dubious pasts, shouldn't the folks out there know something about his own past before taking him seriously?


Well, it's one of degrees, isn't it, Annie? I mean, Nibras Kazimi might choose one form of (sustained) vitriol to make his points, and Badger selectively, such as when he called Spencer Ackerman "an ass-kissing little chicken-shit."

That seemed odd to me, considering that Spencer and "Badger" probably share many of the same perspectives on Iraq and US military policy applied therein, but I would submit that as a fairly nasty put down.

But it also seemed "course."

One also might be tempted to suggest that someone might be coming off a tad like one of those "acolytes, who can be defensive and protective."

But I shall not do so.

The prosecution rests.


Well, I've been offline for a few days and come back to see this discussion going around in circles.

Nibras, this was not a "smokescreen". It was exactly what I said it was, an attempt to clear the air and hopefully allow for productive engagement around the Iraq-oriented blogosphere. But I'm happy to answer your challenge: I have no relationship whatsoever with al-Jazeera and never have had one. I attended one conference in Doha that they hosted and was not paid for it at all other than the travel expenses (which is standard at every such conference I've ever attended). I appeared on one program, when I was at that forum. And that's it. So there you go: you asked a question, I answered it. Will this change what you write?

Badger, I found the response that you posted in the comments here encouraging, and then the one on your blog a bit depressing. If you go back and read what you just wrote, it might help you to understand why you were included in this post in the first place.

Now everyone, can we give this a rest now? No more Badger-bashing or Kazimi-bashing here, please.


Marc, yes, that does help in clarifying your stance.

And since you've already apologized for the quips/responses that I didn't like, and you've openly expressed your support for Obama which clarifies where you stand on the left-side of politics, there's only one thing remaining: your erroneous interpretation of Daniel Kimmage's report back in July 2007 and your evasiveness about re-addrssing it ever since, which lies at the root of why I look at you the way I do, that is, with suspicion and negativity. Correct the record that you set on this blog and on multiple media appearances, and your academic and personal esteem would be restored in my eyes.

And I still think that you misrepresented my criticism of you, back when our back-n-forth began in Nov 07. I admit, the tone was un-nice but hey that's me, but the points I criticized you on were valid in my opinion:


"And who has set himself up as the ‘available-for-media-comment’ fount of all wisdom when it comes to the follies of federalism? That would be Marc Lynch, of the Abu Aardvark blog, who is quoted in the Ricks piece.

"Prof. Lynch seems like a genuinely nice guy who puts plenty of energy into his blog and keeps it lively. But I can discern two eras that color his blog in very different hues: pre-Washington and post-Washington. About six months ago, Lynch moved from his New England idyll and took a job at the George Washington University in DC, but it seems that the changed and charged atmosphere of his new locale has infected him with an ideological exuberance whereby his rhetoric got ahead of his knowledge—a transformation that's being egged-on by fellow travelers like Ricks through the flattery of attention.

"The heady vapors of ‘Famous-for-DC’ eminence have gone to Lynch’s head, exposing him to the mistake of unintentional intellectual mendacity. Case in point, Lynch misread the research done by Daniel Kimmage back in July and barnstormed through the media proselytizing for his misinterpretation. When I challenged him on this point, he promised to look into it but never did, and I believe that he allowed the record to remain skewed lest his stardom dims a bit.

"Lynch’s expertise is on Jordan and Aljazeera (…he’s a card carrying member of the ‘Friends of Aljazeera’ network!) but not on Iraq. He’s far more qualified to comment on Iraq than the other bozos out there, but still I get queasy when he markets himself as an Iraq expert.

"Lynch often links to my work from time to time through his ‘del.icio.us’ margin and adds little quips such as referring to me as “totally nuts”—not that I’m disputing that! But there’s one thing that he did that still bothers me: when linking to my column ‘Jihadist Meltdown’ on March 12, 2007, he had this little line to add “The reason the press isn't reporting it is that it isn't right” but then, a few weeks later, he adopts my points and passes them off as his own. That too makes me queasy."


Merci papa. Thanks again for lumping me with Kazimi. I am confident the thinking behind it will not be lost on people.


What in Kazimi's background makes him a prime candidate to be considered an honest, relatively non-biased commentator on Iraq? His stint as director of the Iraqi National Congress' "research bureau" or his advisory role on the de-Ba'thification Higher National Commission?



My apologies for the offense of including you in a single comment instead of individual comments.

But the way you have leapt to conclusions about the intent behind this post is exactly what I meant above. Instead, you could try to find out the intent by, say, asking. For example, you observed that I had not written about the Sadr City attacks, and made a number of rather strong conclusions about it. You might have first asked me why I wasn't writing about it. I might have responded that I wasn't writing about Iraq at all because I had to give five different presentations about Islamist movements in a six week span and that this was taking up all of my time in what was already a very busy stretch. I might have then said, but you're right - I really need to take a look at this, and then have done so. You might not have been satisfied with this response, but at least then you would have been proceeding from more solid footing.

Or, for example, for quite a while you were convinced that Amb. Murphy's track 2 reconciliation initiative contained the secrets to American plans for Iraq. I did look into that one, and found out that it was exceedingly unlikely. I told you that over email, but you didn't incorporate it into your analysis - and then implied, repeatedly, that I was involved in some sort of cover-up. Now that his initiative has gone public, does it not seem likely that what I told you was in fact true?

Look: I did not write this post in order to insult or to demean you. That should be obvious. I wrote it as a sincere attempt to improve the general atmosphere of the blogospheric discussions of Iraq. The course of this comments thread should suggest that I am not the only one to feel the need for this. I hope that you will take all of this in that spirit - sincerely, not with a hidden agenda.

And with that, I'm again off. Cheers to all.


"Badger, I found the response that you posted in the comments here encouraging,"
Unearned condescension.

Aardvark, I read badger for what I won't find here.
I read Helena Cobban for what I won't find here.
I read Reidar Visser for what I won't find here.
I read Tony Karon and and As'ad AbuKhalil and browse Gorilla's Guides for what I don't find here.

I want democracy peace and stability in the middle east and everywhere else, and I don't give a god damn whether America "wins" or "loses" if that short list of desires is met.
And don't tell me Abu Muqawama and "Dr Irack" with their first editions of the works of Kipling and George MacDonald Fraser in their rucksacks have the same priorities as I do. And don't tell me that the call for military and political competence makes any of them, or you, standard bearers of civilization.
Hooray! You're not an idiot.
Now cure yourself of that bad case of Potomac Fever and maybe you'll write something someone who doesn't share you disease might find interesting. It's a big world. Why don't you join it?


I agree with the above person that you would be well advised to drop the condescension. I and others do not find you an object of emulation, as you seem to think you are. It is lost on no one that the "atmosphere" you complain of has to do exclusively with criticism of you and your failure to reply to it.

Btw, in the email you refer to (which I want anyone who is interested to know was and will be my last private communication with you of any kind, for the reason explained below) you told me in confidence what Amb Murphy had told you. You now say what I should have done was to "incorporate" that, meaning to pass on the contents of that to my readers without attributing it to anyone, in effect becoming a mouthpiece for the government via you. I respected the confidentiality of that email and diregarded it, not being in the government-mouthpiece business, and knowing the nil value of such off-record "nothing to see here" assertions. Why would he say anything else? Now you disclose that email because you think it convenient to do so. (And you say you are vindicated because you have swallowed a second official account that accords with what you heard from Murphy in your year-long discussions with him!)

This issue of self-serving "confidentiality" is one of the reasons I did not email you for your "explanation" for your silence on the Sadr City bombing. To me the news was that you as a center-left "expert" and Democratic Party groupie had nothing to say about it, and to elicit from you a public, not a private, response to that. Your reply was the publicly extended middle finger. And you still have not come up with anything, except "I would probably have told you I was too busy, or maybe that I would look into it". And then you lecture me.


director of the Iraqi National Congress' "research bureau"

Isn't that kind of like being the fact-checker for the Weekly World News?


Badger -

I see no real way to proceed when politeness is interpreted as condescension, a public outreach as an insult, and a request for common courtesy as a demand that you become complicit in conspiracy. I guess such things are poor form. Sorry about that. Carry on.

seth edenbaum

"Badger, I found the response that you posted in the comments here encouraging,"
"I see no real way to proceed when politeness is interpreted as condescension,"

Aardvark, you confuse politeness with noblesse oblige. Forests have been cut to fill libraries with books on the need to tell one from the other. But those are books Americans don't seem to read.
You're digging the hole deeper and deeper.
Just stop

Big V

"one of which is the tendency of others to cut-you-down to size."

What a douche bag. Yeah, go get 'em there, ace, cut that blog-inflated ego of his down to size! Thank goodness you're around!

so weak. so lame.


Isn't that kind of like being the fact-checker for the Weekly World News?

lol! perfect. i have always loved the name, iraqi national congress! rendon was good for something. being a fact checker (xcuse me research bureau director),for a vital psyops/propaganda tool in such an important endeavor comes w/so many perks ie being taken seriously by people who respect mouthpieces for unitary executive fascist regimes.

sorry, i couldn't resist haider's comment. speaking of another rendon project...

remember this (Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking records under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. ' 552, from the Department of Defense concerning Pentagon funded programs engaged in “strategic influence, perception management, strategic information warfare and/or strategic psychological operations” through media consultants, “think tanks,” foreign expatriate political organizations and Internet sites.

hosting psyops blogs?? shocking!

Annie Seems Deranged

I think that's a fair question. Who is this "Badger?"

Lynch says he's met him (or her), and they obviously exchange emails. So who is this person?

It wouldn't be an issue, except for his/her assertions that he/she isn't in the "government mouthpiece business." Fair enough, but are you a mouthpiece for someone or an institution we should know about?

Nibras Kazimi seems like he can be a real jerk, but he's a jerk who signs his name to his statements. Marc Lynch might be a toadie for the Bush administration or an Obamaphile, but he puts his name on this blog.

Who is this "Badger," and why should I give a rat's ass about what he or she says or purports to say about Lynch's website? Is "Badger" also "Annie?"

The bio on the "Badger" site claims the author is in "accounting" in "Canada." Has this animal noun been to Iraq? Does he or she actually know any Iraqis?

Say what you want about Nibras, but he's Iraqi, has been involved with many of the players there and, again, puts his name on his hit jobs.

If you know who this "Badger" is, Professor Lynch, you have a duty to just out him or her. If he (or she) is going to question your integrity and impugn your motives, then let's find out who this "Badger" is.


For whatever it's worth, Marc, I'm a non-specialist who stumbled on your site by accident about 18 months ago. I've found it a great resource, providing depth and context for things I read in the NYT/WSJ/Economist. Thanks for providing it.

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