Monday, June 05, 2006


"Sectarian" Violence?

The Associated Press (AP) continues to carry water for al-Zarqawi and Al Qaeda, demonstrated in the way in which they frame today’s report of ongoing violence.

This time, it’s to juxtapose the killing of 21 Shiite students north of Baghdad, killed in the “name of Islam” according to a witness, with an earlier police raid and gun battle with insurgents in a Sunni mosque.

When is violence just violence, terror attacks, just acts of terror, and when do they represent “sectarian tensions?” When the AP has a storyline to reinforce, of course. Odd that it completely support media objectives of al-Zarqawi and Al Qaeda. You’d think it was…planned that way, or something.

Would it be possible for the AP to realize how they play right into the hands of the terrorists in Iraq? Not anytime soon, apparently. Sure, Al Qaeda doesn’t prepare press releases quite the way a Western democracy would. They use bombs and indiscriminate brutality as their means of tipping off the media to a story they’d like in print, and Western media eagerly complies.

It’s nice, too, how they make the direct reference to the most recent military communiqué from Zarqawi. Perhaps that’s to make sure they get credit for running the AQ “press release”:

Violence linked to Shiite and Sunni Arab animosity has grown increasingly worse since Feb. 22, when bombs ravaged the golden dome of a revered Shiite mosque in predominantly Sunni Arab Samarra.

Sectarian tensions have run particularly high in Baghdad, Basra and Diyala province, a mixed Sunni Arab-Shiite region. And Sunday's attacks came just days after terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi renewed his call for Sunni Arabs to take up arms against Shiites, whom he often vilifies as infidels.

In no way do I want to suggest that continued violence isn’t newsworthy, or worrisome. But to the extent that the AP, NY Times, and other Western media insist on describing this as sectarian violence, they aid and abet the Al Qaeda propaganda and Information Operations campaign.

For if violence against one ethnic or religious faction is all that is required to equate to sectarian violence, all AQ needs to do is keep killing Shia and Sunni in separate attacks.

I guess I expect too much nuance from mainstream media (MSM), but come on. Are religious or sectarian differences the real motivation behind these attacks? Or is that assessment somewhat disingenuous?

Think about all the much simpler, more direct motivations of those who mean us harm in Iraq.

Those out of power (Baathists) want the Iraqi experiment in Democracy to fail. Iran (through Intelligence Service and terrorist proxies) want the Americans out; for that matter, they don’t like Democracy either. Al Qaeda shares those objectives, and their image has been badly tattered in recent months, and need some operational successes (at least favorable press reporting that portrays their sporadic violence as “growing success.” Some disenfranchised Sunnis and disgruntled Shia no doubt think there are advantages to continued reluctance to fully engage in Democratic processes, and so sit on the sidelines at times when unity is most in need.

But “sectarian” violence? Just because one group is singled out for attack in any specific attack? That’s a far cry from the you killed some of us, we kill some of you, you respond, and we retaliate kind of sectarian warfare that is being ginned up -- ginned up by AQ and the unwitting proponents of the civil war theme in the media.

(Cross-posted over at Milblogs)

Linked also at The Strata-Sphere.

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