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Is Jubilation In Iraqi Streets Whole Story? What Comes Next? (Flashpoints Analysis)

by flashpoints repost Thursday, Apr. 10, 2003 at 8:48 PM

Dennis Bernstein hosts three scholars to discuss recent events in Iraq and what comes next. mp3 of program segment attached. Runtime: 28:55, and 6.8 megs. Access to full program stream (lower quality) in real audio too

Flashpoints producer Dennis Bernstein interviewed Professor Elaine Hagopian, writer and investigative author Larry Everest and A'sad Abu-Khalil, professor of political science.  They discussed a variety of issues facing Iraq and the U.S. at the current stage of the conflict.  The Flashpoints program summary for the day's program will give you some idea for the sweeping scope of their analysis.  It's worth listening to in full, and this segment of the program is attached as a standalone mp3 file.  

  • download, click here

  • stream mp3, click here

At about the 8 minute, 49 second mark, A'sad Abu-Khalil addresses Dennis Bernstein's questions about the scenes we are seeing in Western TV reports in the last two days.  While he acknowledges that his concern is a conspiracy theory, he offers his analysis in the spirit of being skeptical of what we are seeing:    

"I think that a lot of people will disagree with me when I say this, and I didn't see anybody saying that even in the Arabic media this morning.  And I usually do not resort to conspiracy theorists.  But let me say this.  Don't be surprised (that) if in a year or two or three Bob Woodward comes out with a book in which we learn that the scenes today -- as I was watching on Al-Jazeera this morning -- struck me as too theatrical, too orchestrated, and not really genuine.  And I really believe -- personally, I have no evidence of course -- I would not be surprised if this was arranged by the CIA and some of the people from the Iraqi national congress.  Because it's symbolic effect will be grave, to basically send a message that the regime is crumbling. 

 "And I also noted … how did this occur?  People were walking spontaneously, and there were in their back pockets had hammers and sledge hammers because whenever they stroll down the street they do that.  And there were all these findings in Baghdad, and people saying let us just gather … pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein. ... That's not to say that there's not relief for people to get rid of a brutal dictatorship.  I'm not saying that.  But I also want to say that when people live under a brutal occupation like this one is, after being bombed from the air and sea and everywhere else for 21 days, I mean, of course they're going to be intimidated and  they're going to kiss the shoes -- literally -- of their occupiers.  I've seen those scenes myself in South Lebanon, when the Israelis came. Within one year, instead of showering them with praise, they were tossing grenades at their convoys.

" last point.  As I was watching interviews with people in Basra, for example, whenever they are interviewed by Western journalists who are always embedded and surrounded by heavily armed US troops they say rather cautious nice things like "really happy, there's no problem."  But I notice when they speak to Abu Dhabi TV and Al-Jazeera TV, they are very critical of the Americans and British.  And some of them… Just yesterday, I was watching this on Abu Dhabi TV … some of the interviewed were saying this is getting worse than times under Saddam Hussein.  … This is not to say that we should go back to the kind of Saddam tyranny.  But I'm saying that I think -- very quickly -- the Iraqis will come the realization, inevitable, that the United States absolutely doesn't have the true interests of the Iraqi people at heart."



Program summary for April 9, 2003, lifted from the Flashpoints website:


Wednesday, Apr 9, 2003  stream / download
-00:00 Dennis Bernstein: introduction:
-00:50 Robert Knight and the Knight Report.. Robert: Saddam Hussein to be denied medical care, says Rumsfeld.. hopes that the Iraqi people have a happy life.. Palestine Hotel reports looting and vandalism.. as US troops destroy statues and posters of Saddam Hussein.. snipers still active.. IRC suspends humanitarian aid to Baghdad because of chaos.. still no WMD found.. oil fields found.. US Senate resolution seeks to 'democratize' Iran.. US under Sec of State, John Bolton issues warning to Iran and Syria against possessing WMDs.. no mention of Israel's many WMDs.. Al Jazeera TV says Saddam may be under protection of the Russians.
-06:41 Dennis: now to Amman, Jordan with Flashpoints special correspondent, Ziad Abbas (link2) (link3).. sadness around the killing of Tareq Ayoub.. Ziad: all the morning newspapers have big pictures of Al-Jazeera reporter, Tareq.. articles about how the US army targeting the Arab journalists.. in this war the Arab media become more independent, more important.. people very angry, big march and rally.. many journalists speaking.. Tareq's family said we reject the American message of condolence.. the body on the way to Jordan, tomorrow the funeral.. Dennis: Ziad, you are from Palestine, do you see parellels with how the Israelis target journalists?.. Ziad: sure.. Tareq is from Palestine.. his uncle still lives there.. more than 170 journalists have been (killed) in Palestine, some international.. the Palestinian journalists do not have free movement.. about the first intifada.. tens of us journalists were jailed, were tortured.. even in this intifada, many of the Palestinian journalists.. shot and killed, injured, jailed.. the Israeli journalists they have special passes.. not easy to be a Palestinian journalists.. Dennis: even the Palestinian journalists working for Reuters or AP?.. Ziad: absolutely, they are shot by the army or settlers.. they even shoot now the international activists, the ISM members, like Rachel Corrie in Gaza.. like in Jenin a few days ago (Brian Avery).. how the US media plays with the facts to (justify the occupation).. about the two times that Ziad was arrested and tortured.. first time in March 1988.. (he describes).. two lines of soldiers from the bus to the jail, the prisoners had to pass between the lines, each soldiers had a stick.. hit us, as we tried to pass, I will never forget it.. this kind of torture.. try to hurt the dignity of the people.. the second time.. we used the small cameras to take pictures of what the soldiers were doing in the refugee camps..
-20:25 Dennis: US media gushing over the fall of Iraq.. Bush hawks and Ariel Sharon calling for an attack on Iran.. and Syria..

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