Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Tidal Wave of Support for France's Arab Policy, Except from…

The French do not take Fox News seriously. It is all base propaganda. Fox Television, moreover, is a perfect example of the prejudice present in all American media, which blindly follows George W Bush in whatever he does and believes everything his administration says.

Don't worry, thought. There are TV stations and news offices the French do take seriously.

…Like Al-Jazeera.

Take Tewfik Hakem's Le Monde article:

Although Al-Jazeera's journalists avoid carefully to guess the kidnappers' identity, they do not hesitate to interview Arabs, who, in front of Al-Jazeera's cameras, wonder who profits from the crime [of kidnapping two Frenchmen]. "Had one wanted to break the resistance in Iraq and in the Arab world, one would not have acted differently", says one female militant. "In whose interest is it to force France to cut its ties with Iraq?" asks another.

What Al-Jazeera, which is more careful now, is subtly suggesting, other Arab media are clamoring aloud without the slightest proof. Like the columnist from Algeria's El-Watan daily, who writes: "Nobody will be surprized if one day it is leared that this so-called — Iraqi Islamic — army is in reality a collection of individuals acting for the CIA or Mossad. The American agency must be rejoicing in the difficulties which the French government is encountering."

"Without the slightest proof", indeed. If someone is to say that Americans are treacherous (or simple-minded or reactionary or stupid or simplistic), who is a lucid European to say the opposite? If someone includes evil Americans in their unsubstatiated rumors, who is anybody to try and check out the source? If someone brings up the CIA bogeyman, who is anybody to point tout at least two valid sources with solid evidence for what they claim are necessary for publication?

Certainly not Le Monde, aka the "organ of official opinion and of the ruling class".

Slip in that four-word phrase ("Without the slightest proof") and then devote two entire paragraphs to the matter. And if possible, make the rumor grow.

Cécile Hennion ends an article concerning Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's assault on Latifiya with a quote from a sheikh by the name of Hicham Najim Al-Hassan Al-Douleïmi:

…the armed intervention at Latifiya has put a stop to the negotiations and cut off the contacts. I can't say whether the Americans did that on purpose […] but it has created a climate of generalized panic, at the moment when the kidnappers were trying to obtain security guarantees.
Oh! The Americans created the climate of generalized panic! Okay. I see. (Of course, he says that he can't say whether the treacherous Americans did it on purpose, but we know what that is supposed to mean…) If only those simple-minded Americans would keep their busy noses out of everybody's affairs, the peace-loving negotiators would obtain goodwill from everybody and bring about a solution which would please everyone. What a shame…

Oh, and of course, the new Iraqi government and America's military have nothing better to do than to base their military strategy on a desire to prevent two French hostages from being freed!

(Who is it — is it really the Americans?— who are always being depicted as paranoiacs? Imagine this scene:
Sergeant: Okay, get your gear together, send an email to your loved ones, and say a prayer. We're heading into battle…
G.I.: What's the cause this time, Sarge?
Sergeant: To prevent the Islamic Army in Iraq from releasing Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot…
Gung-ho GI: Alright, let's roll!… Whoop!
Oh, I forgot how my irony is out of place: Americans are obviously too stupid to realize to what extent they are being manipulated by their evil overlords…)

But otherwise, Mouna Naïm writes, the French authorities "have been — pleasantly — surprised" (one should almost use the word "overwhelmed") by the tidal wave of sympathy that encompasses the entire Arab world. It is all the more remarkable, we learn, because it includes all parties, "paying more or less strong supported homage to Paris's policies in that part of the world". "The movement of sympathy for France is all the more remarkable in that it includes Islamist groups and persons", purrs Mouna Naïm, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah group's television station, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, and Palestine's Hamas and Islamic Jihad factions.

In the second paragraph, however, Mouna Naïm downgrades the term to a "quasi-tidal wave", since there are two "exceptions": the silence of the Gulf's oil monarchies (except for Qatar and Saudi Arabia) and the declaration of the prime minister of… Iraq…

Oh, right! In their conquest of Arab hearts vis-à-vis the Iraqi crisis, the French just happened to forget about those members of the Arab/Muslim family who are primairly concerned about the American presence in Iraq: the people of Iraq. Who, in their overwhelming majority, have said they felt little more than disgust towards the peace camp's viewpoints and actions during the Iraq war, not to mention towards the "support" of their Arab brethren…

But not to worry: taking its cues from the French foreign ministry, the independent newspaper knows how to deal with that, using all the vocabulary in its arsenal to show what a base man Iyad Allawi (or any ally of the Americans) is…

Dipping into into the resentment that he visibly is feeling [of course, Allawi lacks lucidité and is incapable of reasoning] because of France's refusal to take part in the war against Iraq [I thought it was the war against Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist thugs], Iyad Allawi had not a kind word to say about the fate of the two journalists.
And how much sympathy did France and the French show towards Nick Berg and the others whose heads were separated from their bodies? Mouna Naïm goes on to quote from Allawi's interview, but instead of ending with a simple "he said" of journalistic tradition, she writes "he said with a total lack of consideration, if only for the gravity of the moment." Of course, until Frenchmen were touched by the events in Iraq, the situation was not grave enough to warrant consideration in one's speeches. (And it turns out Allawi says exactly the same thing…)

I seem to remember articles and editorials in Le Monde, as well as talks with Frenchmen, in which there was not much consideration for, say, the victims of 911.

As far as Iyad Allawi is concerned, perhaps he does not enjoy being called a CIA stooge, which he may think shows a lack of consideration, but of course, that is something entirely different, n'est-ce pas?

Anyway, here is an editorial he had printed in his daily called Baghdad and entitled Chirac Did You Not Hear Our Cries for Help? (Don't be surprized if the independent newspaper entitled the article devoted to the editorial More Anti-French Diatribes from Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.)

The kidnapping of the French journalists […] is one of the results of Chirac's objections in aiding the [Iraqi] government to reestablish inland security and of Chirac's "No's" everytime a proposition of international aid was presented in the Security Council.

[Mr Chirac] wants to show the Iraqis that they have lost the advantages of the former régime […] Jacques Chirac, who wants to present himself as an honorable man, bears part of the responsability in the kidnapping of his two fellow citizens because he opposed all the international resolutions whose object was to bring Iraqis security.

Here, Mouna Naïm quickly intervenes. That's not true, she seems to be saying. France voted for resolutions 1546 (June 2004) and 1511 (October 2003), although, of course, it threatened to use its veto — it didn't actually do it, see — on the Spring 2003 resolution authorizing war against Saddam Hussein — sorry, against Iraq (her actual words are "authorizing the war in Iraq").

Well, now. Isn't that nice? The French journalists, who do not see it fit to counter voices (Arab or other) that it was actually CIA operatives who kidnapped the two Frenchmen, sees fit to set the the reader straight where France is concerned. How nice of the independent newspaper.

Here is a second editorial of the Baghdad daily's:

…the French government praised itself on being far removed from the suffering of the Iraqi people and on having refused to participate in the toppling of the former régime of Saddam Hussein, its main ally for its interests in Iraq.

…This attitude gave the impression that France was bestowing its blessing on all that was happening in Iraq, whether it be the car bombs, the kidnappings, or the slowing of the reconstruction campaign.

…During the terrorist attacks that his Iraq's people and infrastructures, nobody heard the calls from France for these crimes to stop until the terrorists took on its citizens. Now, its emissaries are all over the place […] asking the different Iraqi parties to intervene in the freeing of its two countrymen.

The following day, we are told that a meeting between Chirac and Iraq's president Ghazi Al-Yaour has been postponed. The title of the Le Monde article seems put the fault on Iraq's prime minister (remember, the guy who "dips into the resentment that he is visibly feeling"?): The diatribes of Iyad Allawi have contributed to the postponement of the Iraqi president's visit to France.

But Mouna Naïm knows whom she is working for. She speaks of the "anger" of the French authorities who qualify his words as "inadmissable". Compare the image of collective — and justified— anger with the image of a single guy who, rather irrationally, "dips into the resentment that he is visibly feeling" — All we need now is the CIA stooge imagery (don't worry, it's right around the corner).

Next comes the Baghdad daily's "vicious anti-French diatribe" and its "overwhelming of President Chirac with accusations". These accusations are unfounded, states Mouna ïm without further ado (again quoting the UN resolutions). Whether "France was bestowing its blessing on all that was happening in Iraq", such as the Abu Ghraib pictures, she does not touch upon. Instead, she prepares a broadside against Illawi:

A former member of the Ba'ath party — which has since been dissolved — who became a dissident in the 1970s, Mr Allawi, who is a Shi'ite, has been, since the mid-1990s, the "filly" of the CIA and the State Department, who put him in competition with Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon's "protégé". …
Translation: there is nothing at all democratic in Allawi's appointment, who is just as bad as all the other Ba'ath party members. (By all means, refrain from indicating what kind of position IA had in the Ba'ath party, and whether it involved murdering dissidents or being in charge of a local town's electrical grid.)
It is in the light of this strange American-Ba'athist chemistry that one must read his declarations and comments. It's probably also because of this chemistry that he has never had any affinities with France, which knows this without having made a casus belli about it. …
Allawi, like the treacherous Americans he is allied to, cannot be expected to reason rationally or to speak truthfully. The French, however, are ready to stoically accept this.
Contrary to Mr Allawi, with whom he has tense relations, according to some Iraqis, President Ghazi Al-Yaouar, whose functions are essentially honorary, is a moderate Sunni, accepted by the Kurds and the Shi'ites, and more conscious than his prmie minister of the political and social reality of his country.
In other words, the moderate and rational president is much more lucide than the irrational prime minister. Just like the French.
It cannot be excluded, according to the same Iraqis, that the anti-French diatribe was aimed at torpedoing Mr Al-Yaouar's visit to Paris and to protest against what the prime minister considered French leaning towards the Sunnites.
You know what this is called, right? A complete whitewash of French foreign policy and of the human beings who stand behind it.

Interestingly, none of the articles on the spat between Paris and Baghdad are among the website readers' 10 top choices (who by far prefer such fare as Multinational Companies On Their Piles of Gold).

Of course, if beyond one single Iraqi voice, Le Monde had found more locals who voiced disapproval with this statement of Allawi's, or with the Bagdad editorials, it might, it just might be, a bit more convincing. Then again, the Al-Jazeera interviews on the CIA connections might have been more convincing, had they been made with a large swath of Iraqis…

No comments: