Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Numbers, Accounts Get Disputed (Updated)

The Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Armed Services, Lt. Gen. Babekr Zebari (Kurd), disputed the numbers of “deserters” that was first announced by an Interior Ministry spokesman five days ago. Zebari, speaking to Radio Sawa yesterday (Arabic), alleged that only 144 soldiers had “fled from their duties” in the initial stages of the fighting—Operation Cavalry Charge is still in effect three weeks after its launch—adding that, in his opinion, this is a very low number that surprised the commanders who had anticipated larger numbers of desertions.

Furthermore, the spokesman for the Baghdad Security Plan (Operation Rule of Law) disputed Michael Gordon’s story for the New York Times about a company of Iraqi soldiers that had abandoned its forward positions in Sadr City. According to Gordon, some 80 freshly-arrived troops had replaced the company that had been fighting in that area for two weeks earlier, and after 48 hours of fighting, the Iraqi major newly in charge decided to pull his soldiers back. The NYTimes pegged the story as the collapse of the Iraqi Army. But in today’s edition, the same paper seems to play down the events reported by Gordon, claiming that the Iraqi Army quickly addressed the security gap without needing the aid of US soldiers. But the spokesman, Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta, dismissed Gordon’s story out of hand in an interview yesterday with Voices of Iraq (Arabic), claiming that by his reading only three soldiers fled from their duties during the fighting on Wednesday in Sadr City.

I think herein lies the quandary: there’s a divergence between those who see these problems as fixable, which they are, and between those using them as evidence that the sky is falling. Surely, there are many things that need to be fixed in Iraq, but one should take heart that there are those working very hard to fix them and they are succeeding. But then there are others who’re holding their breaths for any trip-ups so that they can scream that things are hopeless. Within this latter category one can place all the recent reporting from Basra.

But isn’t it odd that instead of focusing on the fact that the Iraqi Army is stepping-up to the plate and taking the initiative, which would mean that the Unites States can pull its forces out quicker, the Democrats—who’ve made troop withdrawal their sacred raison d’être—have failed to seize upon the positive while inexplicably playing-up the negative, to the detriment of their own policy recommendations. I think they are doing that because there’s an election to win in November and the Republican candidate has staked his run on conditions in Iraq. So if things improve there and troops can come home, then that’s bad for the Democrats because it authenticates the Bush administration’s contention that the fight in Iraq can be won, and is being won.

But hey, things in Basra went south from what we’ve been told, so that’s why the Iraqi Army is evicting the Sadrists from their office today (Arabic). Maliki has signed an order that all government buildings in Basra currently occupied by political parties or squatters must revert back to the state within 48 hours. The Sadrists now occupy a former Iraqi Olympics Committee complex in the heart of Basra and have been told that they must vacate the premises immediately. It seems that other political parties such as the Supreme Council and the Da’awa Party have also been told to vacate the government buildings they now occupy.

Doesn’t this story conflict with the false narrative of the ‘fiasco’ that was Operation Cavalry Charge, as peddled by western journalists and ‘analysts’?

Weren't we told that the Sadrists had won, and that the Iraqi Army had collapsed? So how come Iraqi soldiers are throwing the Sadrists out on their asses?

What's funnier is that these western reports are re-hashed and further mutilated in their Arabic translations, ending-up in openly-hostile newspapers like Azzaman, but these damaged goods are then recycled and cited by the fake 'experts' in the west, the ones that can barely speak Arabic, as first-hand accounts that filter back to lend added legitimacy to the existing false narrative! So the English-to-Arabic-to-English Chinese telephone that stands in for an analytical look at Basra only manages to further distort the facts.

I should also note that it’s been three weeks since Basra began to dominate the headlines, yet neither the New York Times or the Washington Post have sent a serious reporter down there. Why report the facts on the ground when you can make them up, eh?

UPDATE: this story from the Associated Press, the first to be written from Basra itself, contradicts itself through and through: How can things have improved so much if Operation Cavalry Charge had been a failure?


Blogger bg said...


thanks for the update TG..

seems everyone "gets it" except for the
Soros MSM & their Dhimmicrat stooges!!


3:38 PM, April 18, 2008

Blogger bg said...


my apologies for going OT TG..

just had to share!! :)

HT : Middle East Journal (Micheal J. Totten)

Now They Have Turned to the Tribes


[Sheikh Sattar Abu Risha, leader of the Iraq’s Anbar Salvation Council before he was murdered by a car bomb in front of his house in late 2007, summed up the Anbar Awakening movement in a few concise sentences to Johns Hopkins University Professor Fouad Ajami. “Our American friends had not understood us when they came,” he said. “They were proud, stubborn people and so were we. They worked with the opportunists, now they have turned to the tribes, and this is as it should be. The tribes hate religious parties and religious fakers.” The tribal system in Anbar Province is ancient. Attempts to overthrow it are not wise. Both Americans and Al Qaeda learned that the hard way.]

[MJT: Anything you'd like to add that I didn't ask you about? Anything you wish Americans knew about this place and don't know?

Captain Jones: I wish more Americans knew about the good things Marines are doing at the lower levels. They see a lot of things we're doing at the general level, but they don't see what the privates and lance corporals are doing to further this relationship with the Iraqis and help the Iraqi people. We came here in part to liberate the Iraqi people and help the Iraqi people. And truly we have, at the lowest level. As we move away from kinetic warfare, we have those diplomats if you will, the strategic corporals, who is out there every day, helping Iraqis paint their businesses, helping Iraqis open their businesses, helping disabled people out of their own pockets, starting the Adopt a School programs because they can't get school supplies through the Iraqi chain.

Schools back in the States, through family members, adopt some of these schools and they send school supplies out. Those kinds of things I wish the Americans could see. The actual good things. The progress. I wish Americans could see the number of kids who attached to you today. They were happy, they weren't throwing rocks at you. They were happy to see you and talk to you. They probably asked you for chocolate, but you know, still, they talk to you. That's the message. That's what I want them to know about.

Not all Iraqi people are bad. There are some really truly good people. The fact that they would not let you leave their house today until you ate their food, until you were full, things like that. A lot of people open up their homes when they see that Americans are actually here to help them.]


4:02 PM, April 18, 2008

Anonymous Kafir said...

there are others who’re holding their breaths for any trip-ups so that they can scream that things are hopeless. Within this latter category one can place all the recent reporting from Basra.

Reminds me of Chicken Little.

10:03 PM, April 18, 2008

Blogger BrianFH said...

"So the English-to-Arabic-to-English Chinese telephone that stands in for an analytical look at Basra only manages to further distort the facts."

Classic, absolutely classic. Great observation, AT. Does "drinking your own urine" come to mind? ;)

10:29 PM, April 18, 2008

Blogger Cyberhillbilly said...


What do you make of this:

"Iran's Ambassador to Baghdad strongly endorsed the Iraqi government's month long military operations..."

Is this just the Iranians recognizing the writing on the wall? Or are they talking out both sides of their mouth?

2:08 PM, April 21, 2008

Anonymous Ali said...

The NYT's reckless reporting is an unmitigated disaster for Iraq. The EU bowed to mainly Austrian pressure to freeze 40% of its funding towards the World Health Organization's Iraq programme based SOLELY on one NYT article that made several "stab in the dark" unquantifiable accusations.

So thank you NYT for inadvertently jeopardizing the health of Iraqi civilians in order to pursue shallow agendas.

3:29 PM, April 22, 2008


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