December 8, 2005

Iraq Poster Wars: A Peeling Candidate


It seems Ayad Allawi continues to take punishment on the broadsheet front.  A WAPO article, for instance, featured a shot of Mahdi Army members flagellating themselves during a walking trip to allegedly go stomp Allawi posters.

According to iraqrebel, rumor has it that “contractors” are being paid up to 25,000 dinars per day to “clean” particular Baghdad neighborhoods of campaign posters.  Allawi material is said to be a main target.  According to the al-Badeel newspaper (via iraqvote), Interior Ministry employees were tearing down Allawi posters and replacing them with UIA material in three Baghdad locations, Palestine Street, al-Qanat and Sadr city.  The NYT reports that a rocket propelled grenade was fired into Allawi’s Najaf headquarters on Tuesday evening (although no perpetrators were named).

There are any number of images circulating right now showing torn, marked or otherwise defaced Allawi posters.  This one is especially visceral.  It’s just a kid pick-pick-picking away at Allawi’s face.  Still, I wouldn’t buy the impression that Allawi is suffering just because his face has become such a target.  If anything, it suggests that the other slates believe he is a credible threat.

I have a couple follow ups to recent Poster War posts…..

Regarding the Tuesday post depicting al-Sadr loyalists running Allawi and his contingent out of Najaf’s Shrine of Ali under a hail of shoes:  Buried deep in Wednesday’s article (mentioned above) on the bombing of a Baghdad police academy, the NYT reported that Allawi unwittingly made the visit on the anniversary of the death of al-Sadr’s father who was killed by Saddam Hussein in 1999.

Regarding the American-sponsored campaign services I discussed on Monday, the WAPO piece mentioned above is basically a promo for the U.S. sponsored National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.  Frankly, the story line that ‘supposedly backward people can suddenly learn to act like us’ reeks of racism and patronization.  (Did you know, by the way, that many of those disgruntled Sunnis we’ve been so concerned about are now putting in 14 hour shifts, pounding away at computer screens and munching kebabs, while running their own American style campaign war rooms!)  We must be winning again.

(image: Ali Yussef/AFP.  December 6, 2005.  Baquba, Iraq.  Via YahooNews.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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