The Associated Press, in this piece on Yahoo! News, takes a look at the failure of the insurgents in Iraq to live up to their threats. The piece is authored by one Sally Buzbee, credited as an AP writer but actually apparently the AP’s chief of Middle East News. Let’s take a look at her look.
They sent nine suicide bombers, killed more than 40 people, claimed to have shot down a British military plane and threatened to wash the streets with blood.
Insurgents’ threats against Iraq’s historic election appeared to have some impact, keeping Sunni Arab turnout low in certain areas when Iraqis voted Sunday. Yet the rebels did not stop the balloting altogether, raising questions of just how much ability and influence they have.
Yes, it does raise questions. However, the article will go on later to effectively not pursue those questions in any significant depth.
“There will still be some acts of violence,” Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said Monday, claiming the elections had dealt the insurgency a major blow. “But the terrorists now know that they cannot win.”
The elections were hailed as a success around the world, including in Sunni Arab countries like Jordan.
The elections may have been hailed world-wide as a success, but this article will instead turn it’s aim to undermining this assessment, as I will show later.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw suggested the elections dealt a psychological setback to the insurgents because it demonstrated Iraqis were committed to democracy.
“Yesterday’s elections represent a real blow to this disgusting campaign of violence and intimidation,” Straw said in London. “These elections were a moving demonstration that democracy and freedom are universal values, to which people everywhere aspire.”
Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s militant group also pledged Monday to continue its attacks in Iraq despite the election. In a statement published on the Internet, the al-Qaida group in Iraq said the elections “will increase our strength and intention to get rid of injustice.”
“Let Bush, Blair … know that we are the enemies of democracy,” the group said of the American president and British prime minister.
Taking the focus off the article, let’s look at al-Zarqawi’s spin. His insurgency, the self-acclaimed enemies of rule by the people, finds itself facing the overwhelming desire of the people and thinks that its strength will increase? Who believes that, especially immediately after the elections themselves show al-Zarqawi to be a lying braggart? Yes, they are still dangerous and, yes, they still have some internal and much external support. However, they failed to show the world, especially the Arab and Iraqi world, that they had the strength to affect the tide of history when the spotlight on them was never brighter.
Nevertheless, the insurgents’ failure to launch a catastrophic attack on election day may be a sign their power “has been more localized than thought previously,” said Paul Sullivan, an Iraq expert at the U.S.-funded National Defense University in Washington.
Question to Buzbee: why does this seem surprising? I seem to recall a great many statements by the president, members of his administration and representatives of the DoD pointing out repeatedly that the terrorist activities have been generally focused in a very limited number of provinces.
It’s possible insurgency leaders will lay low for a while. Or they may try for a quick, big attack to prove they are still potent, Sullivan said.
Another quick question: this is worth including? The terrorists may do nothing soon or they may do something soon. Are you trying to reach a word count for a class assignment?
Quick, let’s look for excuses for the terrorists’ impotence and try to find reasons it may be an aberration.
A higher-than-usual U.S. troop presence and extremely tight security may have helped tamp down the violence.
But many of the most extreme security measures — like a ban on most private driving and the closing of the country’s borders and airport — are only temporary, said Jeremy Binnie, a London-based analyst for Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center.
The number of U.S. troops, now at 150,000 because of rotation overlap, already is scheduled to drop soon to 138,000.
C’mon, one more reason. Please.
It’s also possible the insurgents simply chose not to strike, worried they would get caught, Binnie said.
Look, you cannot excuse a failure to live up to a promise to make the streets run with blood simply because the terrorists chose not to do so. You can say they couldn’t. You can say they were cowards. But you can’t imply that they chose to order a pizza and kick back with the PlayStation2.
They threatened. They failed. There is simply no “choosing not to strike” in this game if the terrorists want to maintain a substantial air of fear among the now-jubilant populace.
Now, I said earlier that the piece will try to cut into the success of the election. Let’s see how it does so over the final roughly one-fifth of the story.
But a U.S. diplomat in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Iraqi troops’ success on election day doesn’t necessarily mean they can defeat the insurgency going forward. The official predicted some insurgents may decide to ratchet up attacks.
He also noted that “anecdotal evidence” indicates Sunni participation was “considerably lower” than other groups.
That means the insurgents may have largely succeeded at their main election day goal — suppressing Sunni turnout, said Ken Katzman, an Iraq expert at the Congressional Research Service in Washington.
The main Shiite faction is likely to win the most votes and take the biggest role in the new government. Because of that, Sunnis “now feel certain that they are at the mercy of the Shiites,” who comprise 60 percent of the population, Katzman said.
And that means the election, despite relatively low violence, probably will not “produce the factional reconciliation” hoped for, he said.
Get that? Despite the terrorists’ failed threats, despite the fact that, at worst, the elections went as thought in some Sunni areas and better than could be imagined everywhere else, despite the hope and self-determination the overwhelming bulk of Iraq is embracing, the terrorists “may have largely succeeded.”
My ass they may have, Sally Buzbee. That is, unless you and you like-minded colleagues get your way, unless y’all can dim the shining city on the hill that is being built in the Arab world.