Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Horizon for reduction and redeployment" = "timeline for withdrawal" ?!!

It was noted earlier here that foreign minister Zebari's widely-publicized remark about a demand for a "very clear ufuq" (horizon: same meaning in Arabic as in English: range of vision) for the withdrawal of the American troops, was rendered "ufuq" in Reuters Arabic, but "timeline" in Reuters English, then "timeline" in the AP version, and "timeline" in the reports by Juan and Marc. And our friends at GG located and posted on Flikr a message from a Reuters Arabic editor to please make it clear in the story that "ufuq" is not "schedule" (see comments toward the end of the "Dhari speaks up..." post). So the uniform use of "timeline" in all the English language versions, and the fact that the issue was raised by a Reuters editor, suggest a decision by the important people reporting in English that in fact "ufuq", or "range of vision" is actually "timeline".

But apparently the "timeline" exaggeration, while swallowed without a problem in the Anglosphere, proved to be something of a PR bridge too far for the Iraqi market. Zebari is quoted today in AlQuds alArabi as follows:
Zebari denied that there is talk of a "time schedule" for the withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq, saying: "What Baghdad is demanding is a time-ufuq [time horizon, or range of vision with respect to timing] for the reduction of the forces, and their re-deployment, according to conditions in the field". Adding that he expects an agreement "soon".

With respect to what has been attributed to remarks of his about an agreement being expected soon with the United States that will define a time-schedule for the withdrawal from Iraq of the American troops, Zebari said, "We are not demanding a time schedule. What we are talking about in some of the announcements is a time horizon for the reduction of the forces and their re-deployment. This [latest] statement was reported in a mistaken way by some of the news agencies and newspapers.

The negotiations are still going on...

For English-language readers, It doesn't matter. The anglo expert/media megaphone has decided and established that the Maliki administration is demanding a "timeline for withdrawal". (Juan, for instance, still refers this morning to
PM Nuri al-Maliki's demand that the US set a timeline for the withdrawal of US troops.
without any reference to Zebari's clarifiation.)


One other note before I head out to enjoy one of our few nice days this summer: The July 22 group is brought together by a number of common policy positions, nicely summarized by Reidar Visser in a comment to the prior post.

Spokespeople for the Kurdish parties and the SupremeCouncil have lost no time in replying to yesterday's AlHayat piece on the July 22 group, the gist of which is that what happened July 22 was a result of failures of coordination between the SupremeCouncil and the Kurdish parties, and these will have to be fixed. But the July 22 movement either doesn't really exist, or else is an attempt to bring down the political process.


Blogger rmwarnick said...

If al-Maliki really endorsed Senator Obama's 16-month withdrawal time line, then as far as the media are concerned that bridge has been crossed. There will be a time line, whether or not it is acknowledged as such.

But time lines can be changed at any point, so there might really be no actual difference between a time line and a time horizon. For Bush, the term "horizon" offers a fig leaf because he vetoed a perfectly good Iraq withdrawal time line last year.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except that Obama's definition of "withdrawal" is not really withdrawal, but a reconfiguring of the occupation.

3:53 PM  

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