Not this time.
Near Samara, in northern Iraq, imams stated that Al Qaeda should be expelled from the area. They said that members of Al Qaeda were false mujahadeens, or false holy warriors. Fighting broke out after that, killing 16 terrorists.
Ideally, after being identified as false holy warriors, the Al Qaeda fighters would have had a sort of epiphany and renounced terrorism: somewhat along the lines of Jamal al-Badawi in Yemen, but with more plausibility.
That didn't happen, but there are at least 16 of Al Qaeda who won't kill again.
And, there's another part of the Islamic world where imams have spoken out against Al Qaeda.
I'd say this is good news.
Elsewhere in Iraq, responsibility for handling security has been handed off to the Iraqi government or the Kurdish regional government in seven provinces. Karbala will be the eighth province this Monday.
That makes eight handed off, ten to go.
Provinces handed off to Iraqi control:
- Dhi Qar
- Dahuk (1)
- Irbil (1)
- Sulaimaniyah (1)
President Bush said that security for all the provinces would be in Iraqi hands by November. That isn't going to happen.
This post has two purposes.
- Point out that there has been real progress. It hasn't happened as fast as I'd like, but it's still good news.
- Briefly discuss reality, editors, and what we see in the news.
However, Iraqi imams preaching against Al Qaeda, and a steady progression of Iraqi provinces being turned over to Iraqi authorities is not the emphasis of the article.
These three paragraphs, leading the article, set the tone. And, for someone skimming through the news, it might be all that was read.
"U.S. forces will turn over security to Iraqi authorities in the southern Shiite province of Karbala on Monday, the American commander for the area said, despite fighting between rival militia factions that has killed dozens.
"Karbala will become only the eighth of Iraq's 18 provinces to revert to Iraqi control, despite President Bush's prediction in January that the Iraqi government would have responsibility for security in all of the provinces by November.
"But the target date has slipped repeatedly, highlighting the difficulties in developing Iraqi police forces and the slow pace of economic and political progress in areas still troubled by daily violence."
Take a look at these phrases:
- "...despite fighting between rival militia factions that has killed dozens."
- "...only the eighth of Iraq's 18 provinces"
- "...despite President Bush's prediction in January that the Iraqi government would have responsibility for security in all of the provinces by November."
One argument is that the AP has merely presented the facts. Just facts. And, that it's mere happenstance that a discussion of White House failures and a death toll of dozens leads the article.
Another is that those "despite," "only," "despite" phrases are intended to denigrate American accomplishments in Iraq, and emphasize the problems that still exist.
Take your pick.