Appearance on Aljazeera
iI appeared live on Aljazeera Satellite Channel this morning to comment on the U.S. troop withdrawal from the remaining Iraqi cities along with 'Ibrahim al-Shimmeri', the spokesman for the 'Islamic Army in Iraq' insurgent group, and Liqa' Makki, an Iraqi analyst based in Qatar, who seems sympathetic to the insurgents.
The fourth guest was supposed to be 'Abu Muhammad', the spokesman for the Ba'ath Party, but he pulled out for some reason.
Al-Shimmeri was introduced as speaking from Baghdad, although I doubt it. Together with Makki, the two other guests tried to chalk up the withdrawal to the victory of the 'resistance'. They are even under the impression that the 'resistance' brought President Obama to power.
Whereas I said that the troop withdrawal today is the result of a U.S. and Iraqi victory against the 'mutinous' insurgents (...yeah, it sounds worse in Arabic). I added that groups like the Islamic Army, contrary to groups like Al-Qaeda, didn't have an agenda other than bringing back a system that gives Sunnis unrepresentational power. The violence they unleashed was designed to twist the arm of the Americans so as to negotiate. The end result is that the demands were too unrealistic and the insurgency was militarily depleted, diminished and defeated. The story of the Iraqi insurgency and its end is one of defeat by attrition, more than any other factor such as political reconciliation.
Anyway, I thought it was funny that I was openly speaking from Baghdad, from Abu Nawwas Street, while the mouth organs for the 'resistance' were in exile or in hiding. Oh, and I got a free PhD to boot, 'Dr. Nibras' this and 'Dr. Nibras' that. Grad school is for suckers.
UPDATE: My mom made this point about the four U.S. soldiers who were killed last night: it's extra saddening because they were so close to finishing up their duties in Iraq, and their families were expecting back home soon. I'm not sure whether this is the same event, but there was a 15 minute fire fight yesterday in the Binook area (northeastern Baghdad) after someone opened fire on a congregation of American soldiers. They were there to check out a site where only the day before a car bomb had gone off targeting a U.S. vehicle patrol. I know this place very well. On one side of the street are long established middle class residents, while on the other is an illegal slum built up within half-finished apartment blocks that were supposed to be distributed to academics. The slum is rife with organized crime rings (drugs, kidnappings, prostitution) associated with the Mahdi Army. The Americans had conducted several security sweeps of the area in the past few years, but the only solution is to mass evict the squatters.
UPDATE (Wednesday, July 1, 2009): I received some more information about the incident at Binook and it seems that it was not the spot where the four U.S. soldiers were killed. The incident occurred after an elderly civil servant living in a row of houses opposite the slum spotted some movement on a nearby rooftop which he took for a burglary, so he started shooting in the air to ward off what he believed were thieves. It turned out they were U.S. soldiers who began to shoot back, and this lasted for a while. The man was arrested.