Matt Frei, the BBC’s new man in America, has noticed the lack of Iraq news once permeating the US media. In his latest report, he notes the reduction in murder and mayhem in that country, or at least, the drop in news coverage of such events.
Frei puts it all down to the “surge”, that influx of US military might into Baghdad of an additional 30,000 or so troops. He’s probably right. Swamp any city with sufficient armor and you’ll get a reduction in enemy action. That’s exactly what the “surge”was all about.
The main BBC news headline tonight (Frei is the anchor) showed scenes of Iraqis returning from exile to the new ‘peace and tranquility’ of the Baghdad suburbs. In fairness, the report highlighted most Iraqis as returning from Syria, a country that is refusing to renew visas for Iraqi refugees, forcing them to return to their home country.
By contrast, NBC led with the rise in political fortunes of Mike Huckabee, ex-governor of Arkansas and Republican hopeful for presidential nomination. Huckabee, it seems, is preferred by Iowa evangelicals to that multi-divorcee and gun control freak (God have mercy on his soul!) Rudi Guiliani, or the cult follower from Utah (Damn him to Hell!) Mitt Romney.
Iraq, it seems, no longer exists for the US media or the White House.
America is holding its breath; afraid to pronounce judgment, even whisper the possibility of any improvement in that arena of unmitigated disasters long ago proven the stumbling block of a great nation, and the further undoing of a US president always unfit for public service.
Baghdad is certainly quieter. Iraqis generally had no love for al Qaeda, and some Sunni insurgents have been prepared to temporarily join forces with the US military to drive them out. Equally certain is the knowledge that both Sunnis and Shias are keen to see the Americans leave Iraq. It begs the question of how they will react when the Americans don’t go.
For, of course, the US is going nowhere. There may well be a troop reduction next year, it is an election year after all, but a substantial military and political presence will remain in Iraq permanently. Of that, as Gilbert & Sullivan’s Don Alhambra sang in the Gondoliers, “…..there is no manner of doubt, no probable, possible shadow of doubt, no possible doubt whatever.”
The race for the US Presidency is proving a timely diversion from the awkward, unanswered questions about Iraq. While Baghdad is quiet, turmoil still continues to reign elsewhere. Sunni and Shia, when not separated by American-built concrete walls, continue to kill each other with mundane regularity. Al Qaeda is still active outside Baghdad, and for a realistic insight into the problems occurring on a daily basis there is no finer website than “Iraq Today”.
The BBC’s Matt Frei may see hope in the returning refugees from Syria; George W Bush and his media supporters may wish the squabbling politicians preparing for Iowa continue to distract their compliant populace, but the stark truth is that Iraqis are still dying in large numbers, whether from bombs, revenge killings, or just inadequate essential services.
The day must surely come when Iraqis, both Sunni and Shia, will realize their country is to be permanently occupied by US Christian forces. On that day, it is likely the worm will turn with a vengeance, just as it did against the British in 1920.
For those who still doubt, read Robert Fisk’s June 2004 article in the Independent, entitled simply, “Iraq, 1917”.
As George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Read Matt Frei’s article on Iraq HERE.
Filed under: Forlorn hopes