Wednesday, December 20, 2006

American readers finally hear about the Istanbul conference

Aswat al-Iraq says the statements of Adnan al-Dulaimi (head of the Iraqi Accord Front) and others at the Istanbul conference last week triggered a storm of criticism at a parliamentary session yesterday, adding this was only a consultative session with 85 members present, lacking the quorum of half the full membership (which is 275) plus one. Vice-speaker Khalid al-Ateya, referred in particular to a reported statement by Dulaimi about Sunnis being wiped out in Iraq and asking for the intervention of neighboring countries. He said unless Dulaimi apologizes to the people of Iraq for this shameful statement, steps should be taken to revoke his parliamentary immunity. Another member proposed a committee of inquiry to find out what his views are.

The reporter reminds readers that already last week, the official government spokesman Ali al-Dabagh had criticised Turkey for hosting this conference, because statements like these translate into further violence within Iraq.

Salim Abdullah, an Accord Front member who was present at the session yesterday, said Dulaimi's statements at Istanbul were his own personal opinion and not those of the party, whose charter expressly forbids making provocative statements. A member from the UIA (the main Shiite coalition) said you can't make that kind of excuse in th case of the leader of a party. Outside the session a Kurdish member told the reporter members of parliament should be careful not to make the kinds of statements that would highlight internal struggles. A member representing SCIRI (the biggest parliamentary component of the UAI) spoke about the need to restore balance in the institutions of the state. And so it went.

Americans got their first report about the Istanbul conference this morning, via Juan Cole, who (1) called statements of Dulaimi "incendiary", but failed to mention the more enlightened comments that Harith al-Dhari made in rebuttal; (2) quotes a Shiite website that reported allegations about an arrest-warrant against Dulaimi, without telling readers that this was false; (3) failed to pay any attention to the more balanced Al-Jazeera summary of the Istanbul proceedings (mentioned here in a prior post). Cole presents a one-sided account, followed up with something equally incendiary (and false to boot). It is a case study in how to go about taking a contentious event, and instead of explaining the dynamics in an even-handed way, using it instead in a partisan way to fan the flames higher.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conference website is here:

Global Anti-Aggression Campaign homepage is here:

Note the transliteration...

Happy Holidays

2:43 PM  
Blogger badger said...

thank you kindly

3:20 PM  

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