Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Quagmire," the Revolutionary Guard, and the News

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami is an Iranian cleric who gives the official Friday sermon once a month.

This time, he told thousands of Muslims at Tehran University, and anyone who would listen on the radio, what they should think about news that the United States may name Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist group.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said that this would show that the Guards were doing something right.

U.S. officials have said that Iran's Revolutionary Guard has been involved in attacks inside Iraq. Iran's leaders say 'did not!'

In the real world, if the Revolutionary Guard is put on Washington's official list of terrorist groups, it will be the first time a foreign military unit will share the sort of fame that Hamas and al Qaeda have earned.

The significance of putting the Revolutionary Guard on the terror list would be that the U.S. could then legally interfere with the military unit's finances, Reuters pointed out.

In the news, it's been interesting to note differences between the Associated Press and Reuters coverage. The AP says that the cleric "warned the U.S. that confronting the Guard would lead it into a quagmire."

"Quagmire" doesn't appear in the Reuters article. Reuters does, however, identify Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami "a member of the Assembly of Experts, an influential clerical body which has the power to appoint or dismiss Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei."

AP identified him as "a senior Iranian cleric ... who does not hold a government post but once a month delivers the official Friday prayer sermon," giving a somewhat different impression of his position.

I haven't found a transcript of what the "senior cleric" said, and couldn't read it if I did, since I don't know Persian.

Which brings up an interesting question: did the cleric use a term which can reasonably be translated as "quagmire," as in the AP, but not the Reuters, report of his sermon?

One way or another, "quagmire" seems to be a popular word.

Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.