Friday, December 14, 2007

Al Qaeda in Iraq -- The NYT still can't admit it

From a New York Times Baghdad report:

Three days ago, a prominent Sunni extremist, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, called for an escalation of attacks against local residents who aligned themselves with American forces.

Mr. Baghdadi is the purported leader of the Islamic State in Iraq, a militant group linked with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a homegrown Sunni Arab extremist group that American intelligence agencies have concluded is foreign led.
Cliff May, a former Times reporter, notes at National Review Online that the NYT just can't stop its weasel wording:

Maj. Gen Kevin Bergner has repeatedly said that--based on intelligence obtained from the captured al-Qaeda leader Khalid al-Mashhadani--it is clear that Omar al-Baghdadi is only "the fictional head" of al-Qaeda in Iraq, a character played by an "actor . . . they use another individual to be his voice."

Why does al-Qaeda do that? Bergner says: "To put an Iraqi face on the leadership of al-Qaeda" in Iraq. Bergner adds: 'The Islamic State of Iraq is a front organization that masks the foreign influence and leadership within al Qaeda in Iraq . . ."

Here’s the kicker: It appears the fictional character of Omar al-Baghdadi was created by the al-Qaeada leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri. Know what al-Masri means? It means “the Egyptian.”

It’s hard to believe that Times editors are ignorant of all this. More plausibly, like many opponents of the war, the Times is invested in the narrative that the U.S. is a foreign occupier being fought by an indigenous Iraqi resistance movement. Evidence
contrary to that narrative is not fit to print.
Of course, the New York Times has decreed, as a matter of editorial style, that al Qaeda in Iraq--which it insists on calling "al Qaeda in Mesopotamia"--is a "homegrown" Iraqi group that has nothing to do with al Qaeda, which has nothing to do with Iraq, uh, Mesopotamia.

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