Thursday, April 24, 2008

The New York Times is at it again, with a twist.

Here is the New York Times describing Al Qaeda in Iraq [or Mesopotamia] today:

American intelligence says the group is homegrown but foreign-led.

This is a new twist. Previously, they always said something like this:

the homegrown Sunni militant group that American intelligence believes has foreign leadership.

So now the Times is attributing both the "homegrown" and "foreign led" to American intelligence. Is this simply an editing error? Or has the Times changed its line?

Meanwhile, in case you are still unclear on whether or not the "homegrown" descriptor is accurate, I decided to take a look at a few homegrown organizations here in the USA to see how many of them have foreign leadership:

United States Golf Association
American Contract Bridge League
United States Army
National Restaurant Association

After perusing all four websites for a while, I found names, addresses, and biographies of leaders of each of the four organizations. Strangely, not one of these four homegrown American organizations has any foreign leadership at all. Not only could I not find any top leaders who were from (say) Canada or England, but even when I looked at the second tier, I couldn't find any foreigners there, either.

In case you are still in doubt, here is some more evidence. The Islamic Army in Iraq was a legitimately homegrown Iraqi insurgent group. I haven't heard much from them lately. I'm not sure if joined the Awakening Councils, or even if they are still active at all. At any rate, back in 2007, they broke relations with the Islamic State in Iraq, an Al Qaeda front group. This conflict is described here. The two organizations had a shooting war back in 2007. Now that in and of itself doesn't prove anything. It is perfectly possible for two groups of Iraqis to have a war.

But what is interesting is the nature of the Islamic Army's complaints about the Islamic State. From the link above:

• al Qaeda in Iraq has divided the Iraqi people, failed to protect the Sunnis and brought the Shia death squads down on the Sunnis by inciting sectarian violence through mass suicide attacks.
• The Islamic State of Iraq in Iraq wants the Sunni groups to "pledge allegiance" to leaders, ministers and emirs whose identities are unknown, including Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
• Islamic State of Iraq has continued to conduct an extensive campaign of assassination against rival sheikhs, emirs and insurgent group leaders, and in many cases added insult to injury by failing to give the bodies back to the families. One of al-Jabouri's own messengers was executed.
• The Islamic State of Iraq has no system of law or justice.
• Weapons and ammunition are being confiscated from insurgent groups that do not support the Islamic State.
• al Qaeda in Iraq is intentionally targeting members of the Iraqi Army and police forces, who al-Jabouri and other insurgents believe are acting in the best interest of Iraqis.
• The goal of the Islamic State of Iraq is to serve as a stepping stone to attack other nations, which endangers the Iraqi people.

Notice that several of these complaints are basically saying that the Islamic State is not working for Iraqis at all. The last two points are particularly notable in this regard.

It would be strange for a "homegrown" Iraqi insurgent group, which the New York Times wants us to believe Al Qaeda is, to do things like that. Very strange indeed.

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