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August 10, 2009
String of blasts kills scores in Iraq

For months, the Iraqi government and the U.S. have been sending the message that the security situation has steadily improved. American troops — 132,000 of them — are now in a support role. In recent days, the government has relaxed security in Baghdad.

But on Monday, after a double truck bombing tore through a Shiite village in northern Iraq and a string of nine blasts hit Baghdad, at least 48 people were dead and more than 250 were injured.

Douglas Ollivant, who served two tours in Iraq and was the director for Iraq policy at the National Security Council, joins Martin Savidge to discuss the timetable for U.S. withdrawal and consider if the focus on Afghanistan is premature.

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To further underscore the fact that Ollivant was spouting propaganda, here’s the title of an article in today’s New York Times:

“Shiites in Iraq Show Restraint as Sunnis Keep Attacking”

In other words, not only were the attacks not “certainly al-Qa’ida”, as Ollivant asserted confidently, but there is no credible evidence of any al-Qa’ida involvement.

Does anyone at World Focus care about this? Mr. Savidge?


This interview is an excellent illustration of just how outrageously biased World Focus can be. Either that or incompetent – take your choice.

Ollivant, who, according to the WAPO’s Tom Ricks, is, among other things, an important advisor David Petraeus (not mentioned by Savidge), is quite obviously spewing Administration propaganda. (He served in the Bush administration as well.)

So who, asks Savidge, is responsible for these latest bombings? “Almost certainly al-Qa’ida”, recites the well-rehearsed Ollivant. And does Savidge challenge that suspicious assertion? No. Is there another guest with a different perspective? No.

What a disgrace.

For those who are interested in the truth (unlike Savidge and the World Focus producers, apparently), here’s some of what the objective expert Juan Cole had to say about the incidents:

“This attack was not just mindless violence. Khazna is inhabited by the Shabak, a Kurdish people with their own dialect and their own form of religion, a form of folk Shiism. An attack on Khazna at the present juncture suggests an attempt by the Sunni Arab guerrillas based in Mosul to ethnically cleanse Shiites in Ninevah Province, and possibly to begin the long-feared Arab-Kurdish civil war.

Likewise, the bombings in Baghdad of day laborers targeted Shiites in neighborhoods like Amil that had been mixed but from which the Sunni Arabs had been subjected to ethnic cleansing. These attacks, in short, were revenge by displaced Sunni Arab guerrillas for the loss of their neighborhoods to Shiites who had advanced west and north. (Update Xinhua is now reporting later further bombings in Sunni Adhamiya (north) and Saadiya (southwest), suggesting Shiite reprisals for the morning’s carnage.)

The bombings tell two different kinds of story. The one in Khazna near Mosul signals a low-intensity Sunni-Shiite and Arab-Kurdish struggle in Ninevah province, from which some Sunni Arabs would like to ethnically cleanse other groups. Minority Shiites in Ninevah form a support group for the influence in the north of the Shiite government of Nuri al-Maliki in Baghdad. And expansionist Kurds want to annex Ninevah to the Kurdistan Regional Government, or at least the parts of it (like Khazna) that have a largely Kurdish population (about a quarter of the province).”



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