Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dirtier by the Minute…

All of a sudden, a newspaper emerges called “Al-Bayyna Al-Jadidah”, or New Bayyna, that replicates the layout of the ‘old’ Bayyna. The latter is owned and managed by Hizbullah Iraq under the leadership of Hassan Al-Sari. The New Bayyna is staffed by some defectors from the ‘old’ Bayyna, and seems to be aligned with Jawad Al-Bolani, a member of the National Assembly from the UIA List, who is currently running—as head of the Iraqi Constitutional Party—on Ahmad Chalabi’s list. Al-Bolani used to be Abu Hatem Al-Muhammadawi’s deputy on the Governing Council, and previously (during the regime days) held a low rank in the Iraqi Air force. Al-Muhammadawi heads an organization called Hizbullah, which should not be confused with Al-Sari’s Hizbullah-Iraq.

Still with me? This info matters because of an interview with Laith Kubba that the New Bayyna ran last week. This was paraphrased by Usama Mahdi in Elaph today. Kubba, who is Prime Minister Jafarri’s spokesman and is fielding his own National Peace list for the elections, is quoted as saying things like, “the Kurds want to destroy Iraq” and “Mithal Alusi tortured me in the mid-1970s.” This would be dynamite stuff, except that Kubba has issued a denial stating that he only spoke to the New Bayyna’s correspondent in passing and did not give an interview, and that what was attributed to him was distorted and made-up. Kubba asserts that he does not indulge in character assassinations.

Well, if Laith Kubba is telling the truth by denying that he had made these comments, then who is putting words in his mouth and why? Most of the other headlines in this issue of New Bayyna are pro-Chalabi. Furthermore, I would doubt that Usama Mahdi of Elaph (who used to work for Chalabi) would have had access to it from London; someone must have called him up and told him about the content…

Kubba used to be Chalabi’s right-hand man, but they separated on hostile terms in 1992. Again, who would want to make Kubba look bad?

I guess some mysteries are just never going to be solved…