Monday, January 30, 2006

Exclusive: Direct Talks�U.S. Officials and Iraqi Insurgents - Newsweek Politics -

While I'm in the middle of writing something that may get a fatwa on me (inspired by "It's in the Koran"), I have suggested reading as a continuation of the information from Iraq the Model and the Newsweek article that continues to see the Sunni insurgency in Iraq being delicately sliced away from the foreign jihadists:

Feb. 6, 2006 issue - American officials in Iraq are in face-to-face talks with high-level Iraqi Sunni insurgents, NEWSWEEK has learned. Americans are sitting down with "senior members of the leadership" of the Iraqi insurgency, according to Americans and Iraqis with knowledge of the talks (who did not want to be identified when discussing a sensitive and ongoing matter). The talks are taking place at U.S. military bases in Anbar province, as well as in Jordan and Syria. "Now we have won over the Sunni political leadership," says U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. "The next step is to win over the insurgents."

Exclusive: Direct Talks�U.S. Officials and Iraqi Insurgents - Newsweek Politics -

In the mean time, the people getting hit the most are the Iraqi police and Army with a few sectarian attacks continuing.

The current attacks are going against Christians who have not suffered as often, but have suffered much compared to the size of their community in Iraq. Fayrouz has talked about it often and has had several fund raising drives trying to assist the Christian community in Iraq.

It's likely that the Christians are now the new targets because this is the group that both the native and foreign born insurgency can agree on as enemies of Islam as opposed to picking out the Shia or other "collaborationist" Sunni, who are Muslim. I would agree with the speculation in the article that it is likely Al Qaida because they are in a bind with the rest of the insurgency who are talking with the Americans and the Iraqi government. If they start killing more of the people they want to keep on their side, then they will have even more people after them.

The Christian community is sadly a soft, non-Muslim, safe victim. The sad thing is, besides getting more assistance from outside Christian churches to help feed, clothe and protect their community, they've pretty much stayed out of the lime light and out of the way of the warring parties. But, in the ME, that doesn't buy your protection no matter what your race, creed or religion.

Other things of interest, via Fayrouz:

Al Jazeera's Editorial Policy on Airing Terrorist and Kidnapping videos.

In the case of the bin Laden message broadcast Thursday, the station played only a few minutes of the 10-minute tape, based on what it considered important, he said. The entire tape was transcribed and posted on Al-Jazeera's Web site.

Tapes of kidnap victims are the most problematic. When they arrive, the station gets in touch with the hostage's embassy and asks a representative to view the tape and contact the family. Only when the family is notified does Al-Jazeera air any footage, al-Sheikh said.

I think that it is interesting that they have recently changed their policies which means that they are considering the effect of news, the difference between reporting information and fulfilling a role in the Islamist propaganda machine. I still don't care for their content on most occasions, though, I suppose if I lived and came from there, the guests would sound about on par as some of the idiots we get on CNN, MSNBC and even Fox talking crazy stuff.

Still, as often as I have bashed Al Jazeera, I thought it was only fair to bring to light what appears to be a maturation of journalistic skills.

Although, Fayrouz had this to say about Al Jazeera:

Why bother asking Al-Jazeera who deliver these tapes. We all know they magically fall from the sky into the studios of Al-Jazeera.

No further comment is necessary.

In the meantime, the news organizations keep reporting the release of Iraqi women along with 419 other male detainees as if it was part of a bargain for Jill Caroll's release even though the US keeps denying it, even though it's probable that several women are released every month along with the other detainees as a normal part of business. Not that it will keep them from trying to tie it in anymore than some blogs supposition that the Hamas character was released for Osterhoff (whom, I think was more likely ransomed with a straight up cash transaction, but you never know). Let's not let reality get in the way of good reporting.

On another note, there are several journalists still missing including Jill Caroll and Bob Woodruff and his cameraman were severely injured when the Iraqi police unit they were riding with came under attack.

I have harsh words for the coverage sometimes, but you've got to give it up for the ones that get in the nitty gritty and come up in a bad position even when trying to stay safe with armed forces. I'll say a prayer for them, jus the same.

It may surprise some folks, but journalists are people, too.

Stand by for the first installment of, "A Middle East Story" or "Jihad Johnny on Broadway".

That is all.

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