Monday, October 18, 2004

I read several Arabic newspapers a day. I cannot believe how much the gap between Arab reportage on Iraq and American reportage on Iraq has been increasingly expanding as of late. In fact, a WP (see yesterday) reporter admitted that American reporters in Iraq can no longer report from the country. What you get in US newspapers on Iraq these days is exactly what Cheney wants you to know about the developments there. I read in AlHayat yesterday about the US ambassador in Iraq, John Negroponte. Apparently, he went to Najaf hoping to meet with the Grand Ayatollahs in the city. Not even the tiny Ayatollahs were willing to meet with him. And a spokesperson for one of the four Grand Ayatollahs (Ishaq Fayyad) reiterated the collective position of the senior Shi`ite clergy in rejecting any meetings with any representatives of the US occupation in Iraq. I had read about Powell (and Bremer repeatedly) also trying to meet with Sistani to no avail. Also, apparently the attack inside the Green Zone a few days ago was worse than what was reported. AlQuds Al-`Arabi (tomorrow's edition) is reporting that one of the three attackers who managed to sneak into the Green Zone survived and took American hostages, but was later shot by an American sniper. In other news, and as Bush keeps bragging about the highly inflated numbers of Iraqi (puppet) security and army forces, Iyad `Allawi announced that some 40,000 Iraqi puppet troops have been relieved of their duties due to "suspicions about their backgrounds" according to one Arabic TV news report. `Allawi (the former Ba`thist henchman of Saddam) also announced that Ba`thists will be allowed to run for (puppet) elections.