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Iraq, the hidden story

#1
Did anyone happen to see this last night? There has been a few of these types of shows on of late, but this one was presented by Jon Snow who, in my opinion, provides some very well balanced & thoughtful news stories.

If you didn't see it, the gist was that it is too dangerous for Western Journalists to leave the Green Zone (the American controlled zone) in Baghdad due to the real fear of kidnapping/execution, so they have to rely on news filtered through official channels, or from local sources within the country (journalists, bloggers), who though talented & brave, are not asking the questions required for analysis & to develop a true picture. It would seem that the real truth & public opinion cannot come to the fore, so nobody really knows what is happening out there
 
#3
I also watched it last night and thought the subject presented by Jon Snow was a brilliant well balanced programme. It certainly demonstrated that the majority of the material obtained by sources other than investigatorial journalists showed a skewed coverage.

I certainly agreed with his parting shot when he said that if the rest of the world, and in particular the people within those countries that have occupying troops in Iraq, knew more about what really was going on then the support for those governments would probably dwindle. I reckon that he may have been directing that towards the hods of US Citizens that really don't have a clue about the real world.
 
#4
I must agree. John Snow got his point over about the reporters getting the real facts. and pointing out to us that the American propaganda machine was and still is evident in Iraq.The Americans can't handle the truth so they distort it to suit the brain dead president back in Washington.It also showed us how volatile Iraq is with insurgents running the place.No doubt,Iran has a greater influence over Iraq than we realise.
 
#5
It was interesting watching the Dispatches programme - C4 last night, for a slightly more one sided view of Iraq. Although accepting that no western journalist could go where the reporter went, the commentry from the Iraqi (Sunni - I assume) journalist was very negative.

Notwithstanding this, there were number of interesting observations that could drawn from the programme.

The US forces may be proving effective at removing AQ elements from W Iraq, but at what cost? The Al Qaim op was a microcosum of what has gone wrong in terms of the wider war. If you are going to use heavy fire power to remove AQ and anti-government elemnets, you have to follow it up with lots of cash and lots of jobs (rebuilding) to help win some degree of support or at worst limit the anger towrds your forces. Bombing the Hospital may be perfectly reasonable in terms of the operation, but the failure to help facitate its replacement is just plain foulish.

There are always losers in a war, virtually everyone filmed I suspect had links to the Ba'athist regime, but again without a safety net and government or coalition support in terms of work and money. The loser with get angry and retiliate.

The Islamification in both the Basrah and Baghdad was very apparent, and this is probably the greatest concern, as it is the middle class, who in theory will help create a secular opposition parties, are at the mercies of the radical extremists. Further as they are middle class (proffesionals) they have the most gian and least to lose by leaving Iraq. Net result, iraq suffers, the coalition is blamed, the radical garner more support and the viccous circle begins.
 
#6
I saw that too, it backed up what Jon Snow was saying; without a balanced analysis, only one-sided views are emerging from Iraq. Plus without a western influence on the streets (barring troops), no-one really knows how people really feel, nor can they add temperance to extreme views. The piece documenting the Martyrs graves was enlightening; the Iraqi journalist interviewed a widow who blamed American backed forces for killing her son, yet didn't ask how she knew this. The worrying thing is that now the occupying forces are blamed for everything, and no-one is able to portray a balanced view to counter the fears.
 
#7
This may tie into this thread, This document was released by Centcom apparently al Qaida is having its problems

After discovering these documents, the translated versions were sent to Coalition Forces’ leadership for analysis, said a Multi-National Force spokesman. Specifically, the al Qaida author of the “Baghdad Strategy” and the “Baghdad State of Affairs” is unknown, but officials assess he is of significance within the terrorist organization. The latter memorandum outlines that al Qaida in Iraq presently has no strategy, that the ‘…mujahideen are not considered more than a daily annoyance to the Shiite government…’, and that the ‘…mujahideen in Baghdad are generally groups of assassins without any organized military capabilities

The policy followed by the brothers in Baghdad is a media oriented policy without a clear comprehensive plan to capture an area or an enemy center. Other word, the significance of the strategy of their work is to show in the media that the American and the government do not control the situation and there is resistance against them. This policy dragged us to the type of operations that are attracted to the media, and we go to the streets from time to time for more possible noisy operations which follow the same direction.
http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Shared%20Documents/Extremist%20Page/Baghdad%20State%20of%20Affairs.aspx
 
#8
Although yes plenty of examples of crap US behaviour...

You don't see many western reporters stop to try to recruit some passing ~ 10 year old boys to fight the americans, someone should tell her its just going to make their lives worse

edited to add that on the other hand if they get into a bit of smuggling and what have you maybe they'll do alright in their terms......
 
#9
I tried to explain to locals in Basra during Telic 4 (when it started to go downhill- no relation to us I hope) that the sooner the area was stable and we could bring in the NGOs into a safe environment, instead of worrying about their protection etc, the sooner the money could be better spent on decent long term projects leading to a better standard of life for all Iraqis in Basra and the sooner all us lot in uniform could leave. I was quite bored saying it over and over again to cheese filled ears. If only Iraqis didn't knee jerk react to situations reported by poorly informed journos and actually sat down with a brew and thought about it for a while.
 
#10
Agreed Hescohead - the lack of NGO's in the British sector and in particular North of Basrah, has had a very negative impact since May 2003.

At first their reluctance was defined as understandable concerns about security. As the months went by and TELIC 1 became TELIC 2, other reasons for non-NGO involvement, were quite often centered around the lack of exposure for the NGO. NGO's (whether we like it or not) are run as businesses and require good publicity to ensure that their' incomes can be proven to be used well. Most of the NGO's that I spoke to, had difficulty in commencing projects because of the lack of interest from journalists, who had now returned to the US or UK. This meant that many NGO's would effectively dump aid in Safwan (take the obligatory photos) and then return over the border back into Q8. The other factor influencing NGO's that I have spoken to in relation to this, is the number of NGO financiers / sources of income that "disagree with the military action" and are therefore not encouraged to participate by their' principals. Given this scenario, it is likely that the coming few years will see more NGO's leaving Iraq for projects in Africa / Asia, where their' actions are not deemed so dangerous.

The problem now facing all parties, is that the IO / NGO community is in a number of cases loathed to participate in Iraq, for the reasons above. So, as the number of non-military personnel in Iraq decreases, the Iraqi people become more and more distrusting of the military / or at least really question the reasons for the continued occupation of their country, when they continue to see an increase in terrorist / insurgent acts.
 
#11
I know its not quite as black and white as this but i think it sums it up in a simplified way:

"Iraqis have the majority of the current problems to blame on themselves"

There I've said it!

If they'd all just cease fire and smile nicely at us, let us think we have done a good job so we come home and then they can have their little civil war unopposed by coalition troops.

I had lots of meetings with the municipalities and governorate people about how to spend the money through QIPS and CERTS and introduced many of the NGOs to the right personalites so we could all work together. All the Iraqis wanted was to spend our money, but when i found out the budget they had from Baghdad I made them spend that first and manage that before supplementing any short fall with our cash. I kept telling them that as soon as we leave and or the money dris up and they can't budget with their own cash then they'd be stuffed. But then i found out that they all had brothers/relatives who were the contractors that we had been using for projects. No wnder they wanted to spend our money and not theirs. This was an additional reason why some of the NGOs started pulling out, in addition to the security threats.

It would be great to get all the shinanigans like that reported by Jon Snow or someone like him who can give an unbiased account.

I came back thinking i had achieved something until i heard from a mate, who had gone out after me, that as soon as i was out the door the governorate and municipality tried to deny some of the projects had worked or even taken place and wanted more money for others.

I now feel that my whole tour was a complete waste of time.
 
#13
Of course, your "western investigative journalists" are totally impartial and unbiased, and never have their own agenda to push. Robert Fisk is a prime example. John Pilger another. Let's not forget the BBC 'journalist' who cried when Yasserr Arafat's body was flown out.

As for the prog last night, anyone care to take my bet that the 'reporter' visiting the cemetary was a Sunni? It seems to be only the Sunni Arabs who claim to be 'Iraqi first', the Kurds and Shia much less so.
 
#15
NEO_CON said:
The policy followed by the brothers in Baghdad is a media oriented policy without a clear comprehensive plan to capture an area or an enemy center. Other word, the significance of the strategy of their work is to show in the media that the American and the government do not control the situation and there is resistance against them. This policy dragged us to the type of operations that are attracted to the media, and we go to the streets from time to time for more possible noisy operations which follow the same direction.
I would have thought that this is exactly the correct concept of operations for the Sunni insurgents whether the AQ leadership are happy with it or not. There are different agendas at work and while the AQ leadership do not seem too pleased the local leadership believe it is working for them. Witness how far support for the war has diminished in the main Coalition countries over the past 2 years almost entirely due to the media coverage influencing perceptions. Whether the media is biased or otherwise does not really matter it is what the population at home are willing to believe. I do not think anyone should be convinced that AQ are the ones who are really pulling the strings - at least as far as the Sunni insurgent groups are concerned.
 
#16
The Kurds and, increasingly, the Shia, somewhat less so, PTP.

Wouldn't surprise me if a three-way split was the US's intention all the time, only they couldn't admit it because it would make their regional allies kack their pants. This is also, apparently, one of the stratagems being discussed in certain DC circles for dealing with Iran as well - witness the recent incidents in Iranian Kurdistan, Baluchistan and Khuzestan. A succession of quarelling little statelets would find it a lot harder to develop nukes than a single large unified state.

The tactic seems to have worked quite well in the former USSR as well, albeit the remaining rump Russia is still quite powerful (but not enough to seriously threaten the USA).
 
#17
And futher distabilised the whole region? And how much you think the oild price going to be? Don't forget that Europe and depend on the Middle East oil as much as the US did! The only one benefit from that will be the Russia.
 
#18
NEO_CON said:
This may tie into this thread, This document was released by Centcom apparently al Qaida is having its problems
http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Shared%20Documents/Extremist%20Page/Baghdad%20State%20of%20Affairs.aspx
Apart from the location, Iraq, I do not see any link between the C4 Dispatches programme "Iraq, the hidden story" and the Centcom newsbrief.

Please enlighten me as to how the two are connected - or are you just trying to divert the thread elsewhere?
 
#19
If they'd all just cease fire and smile nicely at us, let us think we have done a good job so we come home and then they can have their little civil war unopposed by coalition troops.
We came to a similar conclusion during our patrols in the middle of nowhere...

Americans can't handle the truth so they distort it to suit the brain dead president back in Washington
Curiously, those of us Americans who are over there believe that the truth is distorted the other way. There was a classic comment on live TV about a year ago by a US Army Captain when the journalist asked him that 'given all the negative news in the press, how come your morale isn't low?' (It was obviously a fishing expedition, the journalist was trying to play a low morale of the troops angle for the previous few questions). The response was "If I got my news from the American newspapers, I'd be pretty depressed as well"

NTM
 
#20
Apart from the location, Iraq, I do not see any link between the C4 Dispatches programme "Iraq, the hidden story" and the Centcom newsbrief.

Please enlighten me as to how the two are connected - or are you just trying to divert the thread elsewhere?
As i was Reading the thread the posters seem to be going on about all the problems we were having and how bad the information was. I had read earlier the centcom al Qaeda doc where al Qaeda were talking about their problems. Both sides were doing the same thing, It occurred that it might be a good Idea to look at the problems of the other side in order to get a more accurate view as to what was happen in Iraq. So I posted the doc.
 

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