Wednesday, November 08, 2006

News for kids !

Remember Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri ? Vaguely ?

A Saddam crony, with his likeness on one of those most-wanted playing cards, he was captured on September 5 2004. But it wasn't him! Then to top that, he died on November 11, 2005. But not really! The reports of these events were what they call in the business ...actually I'm not sure what they call these reports. There is probably a technical name. They are reports of what should have happened. The news agencies that reported these events only meant that he should have been captured and he deserved to die. You have to know how to read these things.

Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri was back in the news yesterday. AP said four unnamed people told its reporter that al-Duri had issued a secret order to the armed Baathist resistance groups to lay down their arms following the Saddam death-sentence. Actually, he didn't. But he should have. That was all they meant. You have to know how to read these things.

You have to understand context and mood. What the AP reported was a collection of three very gratifying events following the sentence of death by hanging for Saddam. First, Saddam told everyone to shake hands. Actually he told the Arabs and the Kurds to shake hands, no mention of anyone with Persian blood like a lot of Shiites in the south, but you know, he should have, he probably meant to. Next was the al-Duri story, which as you can see fits right in with the new softer mood. And finally, the AP reporter noted the announcement on Monday of a "major concession to insurgents and the Sunni community..." Whereas the de-Baathification program had put 30,000 government and quasi-government workers on the street in 2003, this was now going to be scaled back so that all but 1500 of them could return to work or at least get a retirement pension. Maybe. The newspaper Azzaman, had a few questions about this on its Tuesday front page. If this is actually going to happen, why wasn't there an announcement by someone more senior in the government than the number two person in the de-Baathification council? What kind of work would these people be permitted to return to? Would military personnel be included? And then they really threw cold water on the whole nice mood with this: They headed the story "Liquidation of 1556 Baathists in the south of Iraq since the beginning of the year: Promise of permission to retire accompanies murders and the expulsion of families", citing a recent report that also reported there have been no prosecutions in connection with these 1556 liquidations.

When the AP talked about a "major concession to insurgents and the Sunni community", they did not really mean such a thing occurred, only that it should occur. They suggest you might like to imagine it happening. Just like the capture, death, and then the surrender yesterday of Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outstanding analysis! Thank You.

I have long grown tired of J.Cole's and H. Cobban's cliches that pass for anaylsis. Your blog is refreshing.

4:25 AM  
Blogger badger said...

nice to hear, thank you !

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This remind sme of the post-war films and tv show that come out of the USA- the post-vietnam films are all well known. We can add the likes of navy seals which try to efface the mess that the USA got into in Lebanon, black hawk down after somalia and all these post 9/11, post iraq tv shows that try to make everyone feel better about more miserable failures.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous zig said...

Outstanding analysis!

I absolutely second that, in fact I'd go even further — yours is simply the best analysis about Iraq available anywhere, and the writing is excellent too. So you won't be surprised to know that, being one of the editors at the war news blog, I've been using a lot of your stuff on my posts, duly credited and linked, since someone recommended your blog to me recently.

12:39 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Very kind of you, both for the generous remarks and for the links. Just doing my best here.

4:13 PM  

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