Monday, April 28, 2008

Cross-party group called for a human-rights investigation into the Sadr City attacks

There has been unusually blatant mis-representation of the parliamentary sit-in in Sadr City yesterday in the corporate media and elsewhere, the gist of the media strategy being to leave out three key points.

(1) The group included members of every major parliamentary political party except for the Supreme Council, and the Dawa Party, which are the main Shiite parties supporting the Maliki administration.

(2) The delegation, in its final statement, called not only for an end to the military operations against Sadr City, and a lifting of the blockade. It also called for an investigation into the human-rights violations that Sadr City residents have been subjected to.

(3) The delegation said the government should coordinate with the Sadrist organization in any arrest operations it wants to carry out in Sadr City, rather than attacking them.

AlQabas writes:
An Iraqi parliamentary delegation visited Sadr City yesterday and demanded of Maliki that he "end the military operations and lift the blockade of the City, stressing the need for an investigation into the violations that have been perpetrated on against human rights."

In their final statement, after meeting with Sadr trend officials and deputies in the Sadr office in the City, the members demanded that the government and the American forces work toward "stopping their military operations and raids in Sadr City".

And the delegation, which was missing representation from the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and the Dawa Party, to which Maliki belongs, demanded "coordination with the Sadr trend in operations for the arrest of wanted persons in the City.
The reasons for leaving out the demand for a human-rights investigation is clear. It is the same reason that led to non-reporting of the cluster-bomb allegation and minimal reporting of the whole program of airstrikes in this densely populated area.

The reason for leaving out the point about the composition of the group is also fairly clear. It indicates a degree of broad-based support for the Sadrist trend, even among the other GreenZone parties, in the face of Sadr's declaration of open war against the occupation. This raises that not only is the Sadr-on-the-ropes theme not right, but that conversely, the Americans' GreenZone political-party support could be starting to erode.

As for leaving out the part about coordinating with the Sadr trend in law-enforcement in Sadr City, the point is basically the same. Sadr has called for solidarity among Iraqis and a halting of bloodshed, and this is would be a logical application of that principle.

I won't waste time showing the various types of misrepresentation in the various media accounts, except to note that wonderful McClatchy also participated in this, leaving out the demand for a human-rights investigation, and reporting point (3) above as an agreement to work together "for the removal of insurgents and weapons from the area". They arbitrarily added the "insurgents" expression in order to make this look a little like a Sadrist surrender. The actual point was to work together where there are bona fide cases where "wanted persons" are to be arrested.


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