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    30 June 2007

    Al Qaeda Enjoys US Propaganda Machine?

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    Since the second bombing of the Shi'ite Askariya shrine in Samarra, Iraq the Bush Administration has been quick to blame al Qaeda. It seemed logical and, more importantly, fit their choice of rhetoric for the upcoming Congressional battle over Iraq in the House and Senate this July. The plan is to promote al Qaeda as the centerpiece of this war in hopes of placing the Bush Administrations policy in Iraq on the remaining coattails of 9/11. This new rhetoric is a strategic semantic shift made in preparation for September's assessment of the "new way forward."

    But whether or not al Qaeda is second biggest force in Iraq behind that of the Americans, I'm skeptical that this assertion of al Qaeda involvement of either attack on the Askariya shrine. A pragmatic view fingers numerous potential culprits of such an attack such as baathists or numerous other Sunni nationalist groups. There is also the viable contention that al Qaeda in Iraq operates parallel to or independent of the international terrorist organization, al Qaeda and doesn't deserve the elevation (though they'll happily accept it). But what makes me the most skeptical is that al Qaeda has never claimed to be responsible (something that they traditionally bask in as an organization) All accounts of their culpability made by the Iraqi government are inconclusive and no US governmental agency or official (military or civilian) is able to provide proof of such a connection. Secretary of Defense Gates Friday highlighted this seemingly baseless shift in rhetoric nicely.
    "I believe that it is al Qaida that has done the most in terms of trying to stoke sectarian violence, from the bombing of the Samarra mosque a year ago February to the second bombing of the mosque just a couple of weeks ago, and to try and provoke exactly the kind of reaction that happened after February of last year," Gates said. "So I think that at least in terms of the combat operations that we're conducting now, the principal enemy that they are facing is in fact al Qaida."

    But when a McClatchy reporter asked him about the assertion, Gates said that he knew of no hard evidence linking al Qaida in Iraq to the explosion.

    So I guess the facts don't really matter now, it's what fits. Hopefully the media will continue to point out these inconsistencies. McClatchy certainly leads in that category. Additionally, hopefully the American people will have curious and open minds as this debate continues. Unfortunately they've both failed in the past, especially in the presence of choice rhetoric and constructed misperceptions. Such a point of view that condenses all the blame for Iraq's problems onto al Qaeda is fatility obscuring the realities there.

    But perhaps the most alarming attribute of this trend is it's effect on al Qaeda, which is probably joyful accepting blame for both potentially incorrect accusations surrounding the bombing of the Askariya shrine in Samarra.

    Posted by Geoff

    The London bombers?

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    Two men rammed a Jeep with flames pouring from it into the main terminal of Glasgow airport today, crashing into the glass doors at the entrance and sparking a fire, witnesses said. Police said two suspects were arrested.

    Posted by Geoff

    29 June 2007

    What if Saudi Arabia supported Hamas?

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    I stated in a post below that the situation in Palestine and in the debate surrounding it is often (conveniently) incomplete
    [s]trangely missing is all the evidence that exists that fingers Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as supporting Hamas. I guess that isn't convenient for DC punditry or the Bush administrations foreign policy ... but it's a salient point nonetheless.

    Here is another bit of evidence:
    Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has skipped a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on a visit to Jordan, Al Jazeera reported on Friday.

    Abbas was reportedly kept waiting at a palace room for a telephone call that never came. Al Jazeera said the move appeared "deliberate".

    It's not an endorsement of "Hamastan" but says a lot about the status of Fatah and Abbas in Riyadh.

    Posted by Geoff

    Foreign Policy 101

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    Never say this when your speaking of the future of the Iraqis or any Muslim country:
    In Israel, Bush said, "terrorists have taken innocent human life for years in suicide attacks. The difference is that Israel is a functioning democracy and it's not prevented from carrying out its responsibilities. And that's a good indicator of success that we're looking for in Iraq."

    If "Israel" is going to be used when describing the model for the "Freedom Agenda" then we've lost. The fact that Bush said this may ensure it never happens.

    Posted by Geoff


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