Change in Alghad’s editorial line?

My near daily reading of Al Ghad’s coverage of regional news over the last few months has prompted me to believe that the paper might have changed its editorial policy after its March “faux pas,” which caused a national scandal and marred Jordanian-Iraqi relations. The headline on this morning’s cover story read: Explosive-laden car explodes, fierce fighting between American forces and rebels.

Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t al-Ghad previously refer to American forces as “American occupying forces” and to insurgents as “resistance fighters” or Muqawmeen in Arabic instead of rebels? What I deduce from this is the following: the new editorial management of Al Ghad is following a less sensational line and adopting, in my humble opinion, a more objective approach.

9 thoughts on “Change in Alghad’s editorial line?”

  1. Linguistically and/ or semantically speaking : What difference does it make if we refer to them as rebels, gorillas, juntas, commandos, insurgents, or freedom fighters . Does one label legitimizes the action taken by them while the other label delegitimizes it ? Is it not true that one man freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. I always thought that is is sort an axiomatic when there is no balance of power, the weaker party usually tries to use whatever means available at its disposal in order for it to inflict the maximum level of damage on the opposing and more stronger party.

  2. Natasha, nice blog you have, please allow me to comment.
    It is an interesting observation that you make, but I think you’re reading too much into this change. I don’t think omitting the word “Occupying” from the description of American forces in Iraq is a more objective approach. It just omits a small and maybe realistically not so significant fact that is attached to the presence of the US forces in Iraq. Afterall, who are we all kidding by not calling it an occupation? Anyone can refer to the definition of the word in the dictionary and see that the US army’s presence in Iraq qualifies as such. Also, one shouldn’t need it to be explicitly called out as an “occupation” to realize that it is as such. So with or without the word, I see no difference in objectivity.
    As for the words “insurgents”, “rebels” and “resistance fighters”, I believe those are all synonyms and nothing can be deduced from using one term over the other.

  3. Natasha, you know it, you worked for the Jordan times!
    I guess this is what happens when a government-backed editor in cheif takes seat, the whole newspaper must become in total agreement with government policy.
    Can’t wait for the national agenda recommendations!
    best, rami

  4. Hate to say it, but the Iraqis I know in Amman and Iraq don’t considered themselves occupied and don’t want the soldiers to leave. They would like meddling neighbors like Zarqawi to leave, though.

  5. kinzi, it is an occupation by virtue of the definition of the word, not how many people think so.
    To occupy is to invade, conquer and control by foreign military force. I think the fact that all of these elements apply to the US military presence in Iraq is rather indisputable. Stick to the definition of the word.

  6. And what will you call them when they leave? Most occupiers don’t, right?
    How about another definition? My Iraqi friends call the shabaab from Jordan, Yemen, Saudi and Syria ‘terrorists’ rather than ‘freedom fighters’. Funny how they go to help Iraqis and kill them off in the process.
    I agree with Natasha. Call a spade a spade.

  7. Actually, since we are being definitive, the US forces are no longer an occupying force, by definition. When there was a US governing force controlling them, then headed up by Bremer, they were by definition ‘occupying.’
    Now, while many may dispute the amount of control, there is an Iraqi government in place that has input into the work of US forces. As has been said time again by US commanders “If they want us to leave, we will.”
    By the UN’s own definition the US is no longer an occupying force. And it would be worth noting that the Iraqi government is not impotent, not entirely under the US goverment’s thumb. There have been some debates and decisions that don’t jibe with US interests. There are likely to be greater divisions. The US current interest is in getting a permanent constitution in place. Once that is done, it would be reasonable to expect a major dialing down of US troop presence to reduce the feeling — albeit mistaken by definition — that the US is occupying Iraq.

  8. kinzi, calling a spade a spade is exactly what I was telling you. And I agree, those insurgents are terrorists by definition since they do everything that the definition of the word terrorist says. However, they are too Islamic militants, insurgents, and rebels. “Freedom fighters”, now that might be the one word that people will differ about, as each will apply it according to his/her own assesment of the “freedom” we’re talking about.
    Thomas, first, an occupation doesn’t have to last forever, the description only applies to the presence of the foreign military force, regardless of the period of time the force remains in the land. Second, your first statement is incorrect, it implies that the US forces in Iraq are no longer an occupying force because the forces themselves are not under foreign control which is not correct. So nothing really changed when it comes to who controls the US forces, it’s always been the US. Now I hope you’re not saying that the current US forces in Iraq are not under US control. Third, it’s true that there is an Iraqi government in place today, but keep in mind this government is a result of the invasion and the presence of the foreign military force in the country. Finally, what are the US forces doing in Iraq today? Are they not helping “control” the situation? What is “preserving security”? What is “fighting the insurgency”? What is “protecting the elections”? They are all forms of control.
    One last note, I am talking about plain English here, not UN English. I don’t know why a UN definition should matter here anyway. The funny thing is, this war has taught me personally not to take the UN seriously, and has showed how US adminstrations couldn’t care less what the UN thinks. So why should I?
    It’s not a big deal, I’m only asking that people call it what is is. You don’t have to hate it because it’s an occupation.

  9. Despite the official defination, (and I agree on the UN comment), I would still like to see Iraqis voice the primary one. It bothers me (and many Iraqis I know) to lump it together with the Palestinian occupation which is very different.

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