Posted by Curt on 3 January, 2007 at 11:13 am. 4 comments already!

MIchelle Malkin’s latest on the trip to Iraq is great news.  She will do a great job getting to the bottom of the Jamil Hussein story. 

There is one interesting aspect to her post tho.  She linked to two articles (Part 1 here, Part 2 here)  written by Bill Ardolino who interviewed a Iraqi reporter named Quais Abdul Raazzaq.  Bill describes him as so:

Quais Abdul Raazzaq is a 41 year-old correspondent for Reporters without Borders (among other outlets) who is well known to Western reporters in Baghdad, one of whom described him as a frank, honest man. All called him likable. I suspect that this status among foreign correspondents lends him significant influence to build the media’s narrative about Iraq, as both an information source and a reporter in his own right. He is a Sunni, though he bristles at the popular characterization of this fact, which rigidly demarcates him from his Iraqi "Shia brothers" in the public’s perception of a bloody sectarian conflict. Prior to the war, Raazzaq was a cameraman for Iraq Satellite TV, an arm of the government’s information ministry, but he stresses that he was "not a member of the Baath."

Why is this intriguing?

Recall that the MoI had issued a warrant for the arrest of this man:

Of note, we definitely know that one IP spokesman – Lt. Maithem Abdul Razzaq of the city’s Yarmouk police station (a.k.a. police Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq) is not authorized to speak on behalf of the IP and the MOI supposedly issued a warrant for his questioning. That happened a couple of weeks ago and I haven’t seen his name recently.

Abdul Razzaq.  The name of the reporter Bill interviews is Quais Abdul Raazzaq.  Additionally, the name of the reporter who used Jamil Hussein as a source most of the time:

Qais al-Bashir. 

Something is beginning to smell fishy here.



Check out some more of his interview:

And while he has significant criticisms of Saddam Hussein’s regime, if forced to simply categorize his perspective, I’d label him an educated Sunni who believes Iraq was better off under the former dictator, and one who greatly fears the Iranian and Shiite militia influence in Iraq’s politics and current violence.

In his own words:

Raazzaq: "I tell you, Saddam was stupid about his rule, but this does not mean all the Shia suffered during his rule; Saddam punished everyone who stood up against his society. I am not a member of his Baath Party, but this does not mean I should hate him or love him."

"I swear, you can talk with many people, he didn’t kill any Shia people (for being Shia), all the people in Mosul and South Iraq when he visited any town, the people make a demonstration and say ‘welcome Saddam’ and (are) very happy and sometimes dancing. That mean Saddam not hate all Shia people. Saddam hate anyone who stand up against his society."

"Some parties in Iraq have a bad history here in Iraq. That’s why we feel today, now we have more than 50 parties since 2003, and what’s happened to us? You see sectarian violence, people killed, ministry killed, the gunman kill, the criminal kill, but where is the law within our country? Saddam give us one thing: he protected all the Iraqis with good security. And during Saddam’s rule you could go anywhere. He who live in Basra, he can work in Mosul. He who live in Mosul could work in Baghdad. (Now) you cannot go to Mosul. (Not) because that is ‘a place (only) for Sunni,’ (but) because there is big trouble."

INDC: But when you say that Saddam only killed those who opposed him – much of it goes a lot farther than that; he killed quite a lot of innocents who weren’t politically active …

Raazzaq: "In Saddam rule there were many parties he stand against … and killed and put them in prison, like Islamic Party and … other parties, those also from Sunni, (in addition to) Shia, Christian, and others."

We danced a rhetorical circle around this issue several times, but only after listening to the interview on tape did I grasp our disconnect: while Raazzaq was glossing over some of Saddam’s crimes for nostalgia or the sake of expedience, he was also trying to express that Saddam did not persecute and was not in turn hated primarily because of the division between the sects of Islam. Saddam exercised Stalinesque violence against all perceived as a threat, regardless of religious identification. Cutting the other way, it is a mistake to perceive Sunnis as automatically sympathetic towards the dictator, because all ethnic groups suffered to some extent under his rule.

INDC: So do you think that the security was worth (the level of) violence under Saddam, or do you think things may turn out better now, even though security and violence are terrible …

Raazzaq: "Listen my friend, we don’t have choice, we just (have to) see what happens with our eyes. We didn’t see anything good for us until this moment. Our leadership today they say ‘give us the time, in just one hour or two hours we (will rebuild), with a revolution of construction, we will bring back the electricity.’ (But) what’s happened now? It’s nothing. The example is you can’t see the traffic lights on the street, so people have to control (it) themselves."

See a bit of bias against the coalition and the war itself?

Another sentence which betrays his bias:

"Ask the people: even under Saddam rule we have 5 or 6 hours (of) electricity. Now, ask the people: they just have one maybe two hours."

And finally:

INDC: Yes, but let me clarify my earlier question – as a secular country, I tend to believe you that Sunni and Shia identity isn’t primarily important to all or even most Iraqis – for example, even US troops training the Army say that the two groups get along ok within Army units – but within this year there’s been this bloody sectarian conflict going, where people are found beheaded or tortured. And those killed are Shia by Sunni and Sunni by Shia. So assuming most Iraqis don’t have a problem with the other group, what percentage of the population are extremists and what motivates them to kill? Why do they think differently than the harmony that you’re talking about?

Razzaq: "I tell you, after the war since two years, 2003, nothing happened like that, nothing happened like that. (But) I think US troops … asked people to use their eyes to see what was going on around the town."

INDC: US troops asked people to gather intelligence? You blame this?

Razzaq: "Yes, intelligence. And the Coalition Forces arrested many civilian people and the problem with the Iraqi is that they see their brother or cousin killed or detained, they don’t just sit and watch. They get revenge. This is the problem."

INDC: But if what you say caused this, that US troops caused this, or even the Iraqi government, why would individuals take revenge on a neighborhood full of Sunnis, kidnap a bunch of people and kill them? I’m talking about the militia activity – the Shiite militias loosely under Sadr have been out of control and committing violence, for example. They’re not fighting the US or even Iraqi troops so much as fighting a religious war against other Iraqis. Why?

Razzaq: "The coalition forces arrest some. You know the battle of Fallujah. I don’t need to see Al Qaeda with my eyes to know there is Al Qaeda – we know there is Al Qaeda in west and north Iraq. They are called "real Islamic." I am real Islamic. But I am not real Islamic to believe that because you are foreign that means I should beat you. I would like to meet you and shake your hand and to make with you a good relationship, but others, because they really suffered, (because) the coalition forces … attack their house or kill some civilian people and detain many, many people, that’s why it (makes the) people very, very nervous and they started to attack US troops."

INDC: Again, you talk about motivations to attack coalition forces. What I don’t understand is why they are attacking other Iraqis…

Razzaq: "Because they think they help the coalition forces. And those who fight now, some of them were old Saddam rule, some old Saddam guards, and some are revenge (killings) because relatives were killed. And that’s why I say the Coalition did not come to help our country, they come to destroy it. The coalition forces (bring some) parties who want to be our leaders, (parties who) didn’t come to help us, they want to destroy us."

If there is any chance that this Quais Abdul Raazzaq is in fact is also Qais al-Bashir and Lt. Maithem Abdul Razzaq then the AP is in for a s&^t storm they will not believe.

Thanks to Michelle for noticing this in the first place.  Another reason I know she will get to the bottom of this in Iraq.

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