al Qaeda where?

“Al Qaeda in Iraq” has become just “al Qaeda”.

Both Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus systematically referred to “Al Qaeda” in their statements, not “al Qaeda in Iraq”. One “al Qaeda-Iraq” in Petraeus’ written statement slipped through the White House screeners, tut tut.

Petraeus’ headquarters used the long form in its press releases until September 7, then dropped “in Iraq”, so the switch is recent (just do a search for both forms). But Crocker, more of a team player, was already using the newly correct short form in an interview on September 2 . Even Fox News isn’t on message yet.

If the Administration had real intelligence that the franchise relationship between bin Laden and the organisation created by his deceased rival Zarqawi has just grown closer, I think they would have made the claim publicly. Absent such intelligence, the change is just deception.

These people surely get their priorities straight. Kirkuk, the oil centre coveted by the Kurds, where the breakup of the Iraqi state can go public at any time, didn’t rate a mention.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web