Monday, July 21, 2008

The two solitudes

I don't know if anyone is interested what Iraqi news-sites have picked up the story about US government pressure leading to the famous Dabbagh/Spiegel "misunderstanding/mistranslation" episode, but as far as I can tell the only reference to this--certainly the only one reported with any enthusiasm--is the Sadrist site They posted an item today under this heading:
After the Republicans manifested their irritation--Dabbagh: Maliki's statements supporting Obama's plan in Iraq were misunderstood !!
And it talks about complaints from the US embassy in Baghdad and Republican party leaders having led to the issuance of the Dabbagh statement.

It isn't hard to see why a Sadrist site would be interested in this, given that the movement is continuing to organize Friday demonstrations against any bilateral security agreement with the Americans that doesn't include a withdrawal schedule. It's possible that for other Iraqi news organizations the intricacies of American pressure-tactics are in some way beyond their ability to handle, much as in America the netroots have difficulty conveying anything meaningful about domestic Iraqi politics.

Netroots, meet the Sadr Trend.


Blogger Bruno said...

Juan Cole has dissected the story well. Here are some excerpts:

"As is usual with news it does not like, the Bush administration attempted to muddy the waters this weekend regarding the interview of PM Nuri al-Maliki with Der Spiegel in which he expressed approval of Barack Obama's plan to get US troops out of Iraq within 16 months of next January. [...] Ali al-Dabbagh, who is usually described as al-Maliki's spokesman but actually seems to work for the CENTCOM or Pentagon Middle East command, was trotted out to make vague statements about Der Spiegel's having mistranslated or misinterpreted what al-Maliki said. This denial was issued through CENTCOM![...] Der Spiegel stood by its story. The text of Der Spiegel's statement is here. It turns out that the translator involved works for al-Maliki, not for Der Spiegel [...] But you see, it does not matter that al-Maliki actually said what he said. It does not matter that Der Spiegel can prove it. All that matters is that the Goebbelses around Bush and Cheney have managed to muddy the waters and produce doubt, taking the hard edge off the interview."

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nahrainnet have done a fair bit of good coverage on the whole SOFA/withdrawal saga?? shenanigans??? imbroglio???? lately.

I thought their headline describing the "horizon" weaselwordery as a "Trojan Horse" to allow the American forces to stay indefinitely said a hell of a lot in very few words.

11:56 PM  
Blogger badger said...

I missed the Trojan Horse piece and I can't find it now. If you had a link handy...

9:09 AM  

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