web counter Media Lies: Now I'm really confused

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

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Now I'm really confused

Imagine my surprise when I read this today, after having written about his claim of 200,000 terrorists in Iraq just yesterday. I almost feel like saying, will the real Al-Shahwani please stand up?
Between 20,000 and 30,000 terrorists are operating throughout Iraq, led by Syria-based former regime leaders, Iraq's intelligence chief told Wednesday's edition of a pan-Arab newspaper.

Maj. Gen. Mohammed Abdullah al-Shahwani told Asharq Al-Awsat that he expected the armed attacks would decrease and end within a year.

"We officially call them terrorists," he said. "They are between 20,000 and 30,000 armed men operating all over Iraq, mainly in the Sunni areas where they receive moral support from about 200,000 people."
Yesterday it was "40,000 hard-core fighters". Today it's half to three quarters that many, and they're no longer "fighters" or "resistance", they're "terrorists".

Not only that, but he now thinks the violence will end this year.
Al-Shahwani said terrorist attacks would negatively affect the Jan. 30 election because some people would not be able to reach polling stations.

"Whether these attacks would increase or decrease, this depends on the elections result, but our expectation, as a security organ, is that the attacks will recede and end in one year," he said.
Yesterday they had more numbers than the US military in "the bleakest assessment to date". Today the terrorists will stop fighting by years end. Either someone took Al-Shahwani to the woodshed or we're getting two entirely different accounts of the same press conference.

Given that the first story was published by AFP and the second by AP, it's hard to figure out what's going on. If there's a transcript, I imagine it's in Arabic. I'd love to see a translation. It might be quite revealing. I'm inclined to think that Al-Shahwani gave one press conference and we're getting two versions of it.