Iraq Truck Bombings: Who Was Responsible?

From the Telegraph:

“We’re looking at al-Qa’eda as the prime suspect,” Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver, US military spokesman, said.

As soon as I read that, I was suspicious.  Al-Qa’eda, or Al-Qa’eda in Iraq?  There is a significant difference, and the Bush administration is known for trying to conflate the two, just like their efforts with 9/11 and Saddam Hussein.

Let’s see what the BBC has to say:

Al-Qaeda blamed

Al-Qaeda in Iraq was suspected of carrying out the bus attack, and is now the chief suspect in the truck bombings.

The group is reported to have distributed leaflets denouncing Yazidis as “anti-Islamic”.

Al-Qaeda may also have logistical reasons for launching such attacks.

Well that’s confusing.  The BBC seems to be actively mixing the two together as if they were the same group.

Bloomberg just blames Al-Qaeda:

The method of the attack was “consistent” with al-Qaeda tactics, U.S. military spokesman Brigadier-General Kevin Bergner said at a televised news conference in Baghdad today.

The LA-Times is a bit more specific:

“The car bombs that were used all had the consistent profile of Al Qaeda in Iraq violence,” said Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, U.S. military spokesman, adding that the group’s signature was evident in its “complete disregard for human life.”

So we have Brig Gen Kevin Bergner saying “Al Qaeda in Iraq”, and Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Garver saying “al Qa’eda”.  Just based on rank I’d be tempted to go with the General.  Certainly, given that Al-Qaeda is based in Afhganistan/Pakistan, Al-Qaeda in Iraq would be the far more likely suspect. But most outlets seem to have the opposite inclination.   Forbes is another good example:

Rescuers dug through the muddy wreckage of collapsed clay houses in northwest Iraq on Wednesday, uncovering at least 250 bodies from suicide truck bombings the U.S. military blamed on al-Qaida, making it the deadliest attack since the war began.

With such a deadly attack, getting the perpetrators right is all the more essential.  Instead we are stuck with what looks like really sloppy journalism.

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