CNN Downplays Significance of Death of #2 Al Qaeda Member in Iraq

On CNN's “American Morning” today, host Miles O’Brien and correspondent Aneesh Raman downplayed the significance of the announcement that the number 2 al Qaeda operative in Iraq was killed on Sunday by a joint Iraq/U.S. maneuver.  In fact, their exchange suggested that even if the head of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, was killed or captured, things still wouldn’t improve in that country:

RAMAN: But, Miles, it's always unclear whether the capture of anyone outside of the Zarqawi himself, will really impede this organization.M. O'BRIEN: Well, you have to ask the question, if they get Zarqawi, will that stop it either?

Yet, maybe more interesting is that the report began with Raman discussing a suicide bombing in Baqubah that killed nine innocent Iraqis rather than the news about the death of the #2 al Qaeda operative.What follows is a complete transcript of this report, and a video link.ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, Iraqi police yet again the target this morning. A suicide bomber wearing an explosives vest detonating outside and Iraqi police recruitment center, in the town of Baqubah. It's about 35 miles north of the Iraqi capital. The explosion took place amid a large number of recruits. We know at least nine people were killed, over 20 others wounded. The police, of course, perennial victims of insurgent attacks, Miles, but yesterday a disturbing new possibility. Six teachers shot to death in the town of Iskandariyah, south of Baghdad.It happened after insurgents disguised as Iraqi police went into an elementary school as the kids were leaving. They took the teachers aside and opened fire. It's really rare, if ever, that we've seen teachers targeted in this fashion. It's, of course, raising concerns not just about security of Iraq schools but also about the possibility this might not be an isolated incident, and whether we will see more types of these types of crimes in the weeks to come. M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh, tell us about this Al Qaeda operative, high-ranking, apparently, killed in Iraq. What do we know about this? RAMAN: The U.S. military is saying it is, quote, "A very important development." Abu Azzam was the second most-wanted man in Al Qaeda in Iraq, second to the group's leader, Abu Musab al Zarqawi. He was killed on Sunday in the capital during a joint operation by both the U.S. and Iraqi military. The military says Azzam was behind a number of car bombs throughout Iraq, also and responsible for financing and organizing money for the Al Qaeda in Iraq organization. But, Miles, it's always unclear whether the capture of anyone outside of the Zarqawi himself, will really impede this organization.M. O'BRIEN: Well, you have to ask the question, if they get Zarqawi, will that stop it either? RAMAN: Exactly. That is the perennial issue that forces here are dealing with. An incredibly adaptive enemy that is able to reallocate resources. You'll recall, we just had that offensive in Tel Afar, where they were able to recapture an area that was previously under resurgent control. That was immediately followed by a string of suicide bombings in the Iraqi capital that killed well over a hundred people. This enemy is incredibly adaptive and that is something that they are always having to deal with, Miles. M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh Raman in Baghdad, thanks.Video Link

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.