Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Disinformation officers on the job

Yesterday's attack in Adhamiya, killing the head of the Adhamiya awakening council and a large number of others, represented an escalation in the campaign of ISI attacks on the awakening groups, a campaign launched by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi with his strange early-December speech (calling for three hits per ISI fighter, campaign to last until January 29), further juiced up by the latest Bin Laden speech also attacking the awakening groups by name.

This campaign of attacks by the ISI on the awakening groups follows a period of relative calm, and it is perhaps natural that the retailers of various sectarian points of view would not waste any time in trying to tell the story their way. Here are two examples: Juan Cole trying to implicate the "neo-Baathists" (!!) and (according to Nahrainnet) AlJazeera trying to implicate the Maliki government!

For instance, this morning Juan Cole writes that the attacks yesterday were "a further sign of a determined new-years attack by the radical Salafis and/or neo-Baathists..." He made up the part about "neo-Baathists" out of whole cloth, citing no evidence that the recent wave of attacks has been anything but ISI. It is part of his overall idea of discrediting any Sunni group as indistinguishable from the takfiiris. It is an old story, but it is worth pointing it out again this morning.

Interestingly, the Sadrist news-site Nahrainnet.net sees the same thing happening from the other side of the sectarian battlefield. Their reporter was watching AlJazeera and heard the AlJazeera reporter say from Baghdad: "There is a good possibility that it is the Maliki government that is behind these two explosions [yesterday in Adhamiya] and the [other] attacks on the awakening councils." To which the Nahrainnet reporter adds two exclamation points.

The Al-Jazeera reporter (Nahrainnet says) went on to "assert that a Friday sermon a couple of weeks ago in Karbala by a Sistani spokesman attacking the awakening councils, along with statements by representatives of some of the Shiite parties, support his opinion that the government was behind these attacks!!" This was an insult to the intelligence of viewers, the Nahrainnet reporter adds, because in fact there isn't any Iraqi party or group, no matter how anti-government, that suggests that the government could have been behind these attacks. [Actually, another Awakening leader did make that very accusation: see next post].

The Nahrainnet reporter suggests this strange episode reflects American policy, which is to strengthen the Awakenings to make them "an alternate army in Iraq...to make them proxies for American in the control of Iraq...in case they have to withdraw under pressure..."

Nahrainnet is suggesting that AJ smearing the government in this way is part of the ideological "Sunni army versus government army" balance-of-power struggle that the US has undertaken to rein in the Shiite government.

Just as from the other end of the sectarian battlefield, Juan Cole is dusting off his "Salafi--Baathist, what's the difference" propaganda weapon against the Sunni opponents of the government.


Post a Comment

<< Home