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Catfish and Cod
Monday, September 01, 2003
As usual, the Footballs misses the point.
(Link path: the Footballs of Rabid Pro-Semitism, MEMRI/al-Ahram)

The Footballs uses an al-Ahram editorial to build bile and venom up towards the Egyptian government. Emotionally satisfying, yes, but what's really going on? Let's look at the whole thing before we draw conclusions, yes? Fire up the griddle: time for a Catfish 'n Cod Deep Fried Fisking.

The holy city of Najaf, the site of the tomb of the Imam 'Ali, witnessed a horrible terrorist crime which claimed the lives of nearly 120 victims – and at the top of the list was Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir Al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Nearly 200 more were wounded. This [happened] when a car bomb, parked near the entrance to the tomb of the Imam 'Ali, went off as the worshipers were coming out.

Straight reporting. No problems yet...

Although those responsible for this tragic event have not yet been apprehended, [we can say] that this is one of three incidents carried out in the same way – [the other two being] the bombing of the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad and the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in the Iraqi capital – all carried out by exploding a car bomb.

Anyone can see that the three bombings are linked. But who's behind it?

They were all aimed at parties that irked the occupation forces, such as Jordan , following the hospitality it gave Saddam's daughters,...

Warning! Warning! Conspiracy theory detected! We like Jordan; we'd never bomb their embassy. As for Saddam's daughters, if we cared, we'd raise hell and demand to allow us to 'interview' them. We have no need to capture them (they weren't involved in Saddam's crimes, and indeed were kept out of most of the governmental process), and we certainly have no desire to take revenge on them.

...and the U.N., after a representative of its secretary-general announced in Iraq that the American occupation of Iraq humiliates and wounds the Iraqis.

We have our differences with the U.N., it's true. But we have better ways to express our displeasure than blowing up their offices. Like, you know, diplomacy. Or withholding dues. Stuff like that.

And, finally, [aimed] at Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir Al-Hakim, following the beginning of resistance operations in the Shiite regions, where the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution enjoys obvious influence.

Once again: we liked al-Hakim. Sure, there has been resistance, but al-Hakim was trying to get Shi'ites to work with the Iraqi Governing Council, saying that his desired Islamic state was best acheived through peaceful means. We certainly liked al-Hakim better than his rival, al-Sadr, who has been agitating for jihad for weeks.

While some members of the so-called transitional Governing Council, such as Ahmad Chalabi, blamed some of those who belong to the former Iraqi regime [for the bombing], the popular demonstrations seen in the Iraqi streets following this criminal act were all in agreement that the occupation forces were responsible for this incident,...

In Iraq, "responsibility" meant that we didn't provide enough security. But to the pan-Arabist propagandists at al-Ahram, "responsibility" means masterminding. See how screwy these guys are?

...as part of their effort to provoke conflict among the Shiites and between the Shiites and the Sunnis. This is a [policy] of 'divide and rule,' which occupation forces have used throughout history to rip apart the unity of peoples in countries under occupation.

Which assumes we want conflict... which, in turn, assumes that we intend to rule Iraq in opposition to the wishes of the Iraqi people. While there are certain policies that might be more friendly to Iraqis, we are definitely not interested in ruling with an iron fist. That's what Saddam did, and the last we want to do is look like "the new Saddam".

It is strange that the occupation forces, which are considered to have the most to gain from the incident,...

No, we have the most to lose!

...have as usual blamed Islamic terrorists. This is propaganda aimed at causing world-wide damage to Muslims,...

Only those Muslims that are trying to kill us.

...especially since no one denies that some of the Islamic extremists who carry out terrorist acts flourished under and were financed by some Western apparatuses during the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

At which time, both the Arab Afghans and the Egyptians thought we were the bee's knees for donating to the jihad against godless atheists. It's only later that they thought of attacking fellow Muslims and Americans.

In other words, responsibility for this very act of terrorism is Western responsibility – and, more specifically, American.

The obvious implication: America is financing al-Qaeda. The obvious fact being covered up: The Saudi Arabian government is financing al-Qaeda.

Regardless of the details of the terrorist crime in Najaf, it is essential that the Iraqi people and its true religious and political leaderships, not those imported from abroad, be wary of slipping into internal conflict. They must close ranks to work for the liberation and independence of their country on a general national basis, removed from any elements and factors that rip apart their national unity – [the unity] that is the most important pillar in regaining their independence and building a democratic state in the Land of the Tigris and the Euphrates.

While al-Ahram and its pan-Arabist masters think this should apply to opposing American influence in Iraq, it equally applies to attempts by other Muslim governments -- Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia -- to influence Iraq's domestic policy. And look at that last line: Egypt is now officially in favor of a democratic Iraq! Considering Egypt's socialist past, that's got to be good news.

The Footballs can only see the negative news: Egypt spews anti-American rhetoric. The Footballs can't see the good news: Egypt is having more and more trouble explaining away inconvienent facts, and now feels it necessary to support a democratic Iraq. How much longer before Egyptians demand a democracy of their own?

(Why do I call Charles Johnson the Footballs of Rabid Pro-Semitism?)

UPDATE: Transterrestrial Musings echoes the Footballs. Oh, and why do we pay Egypt anyway? Because it's the bribe we pay as part of the Camp David Accords to keep Egypt from attacking Israel. The real question that should be asked is, should we get more for our money?