Al-Zawraa's fare includes programs such as "Juba: Baghdad Sniper," chilling footage of unsuspecting US soldiers caught by the camera in the seconds before - and during - their assassination, complete with slow-motion, instant replay of the blood-spray at the moment of impact; montages of American military vehicles and civilian tanker trucks as they approach and are destroyed by roadside bombs; and behind-the-scenes shots of insurgents preparing and firing missiles.
In one English-language hour-long program, aired a week before Christmas but not seen since, the narrator addresses himself to President George W. Bush, referring to dead US soldiers in Iraq as "miserable nobodies." The program combines scenes of the preparation of car bombs, missile attacks and comments from alleged insurgent commanders with footage of US soldiers storming homes, torture at Abu Ghraib, scenes from "Top Gun," Bush's "mission accomplished" speech, Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" and the final evacuation of Vietnam. The narration mixes warnings ("From now on, we are focusing our efforts on specific targets" including "high-ranking officers and VIPs to make you bleed to death") and sarcasm ("Your enlistment qualifications are kind of comical. Thirty-nine years old? You're recruiting nannies?") Somewhat bizarrely, video "bumpers" between segments feature actor Anthony Quinn in his role as the uncle of the Prophet Mohammad in the 1976 movie "The Message."
The failure of US officials to get the Egyptians to pull the plug on Al-Zawraa underlines the complicated nature of the US-Egyptian relationship and the limits of American influence in the new regional equation. It is also another example of the emerging Cold War between Iran and Sunni Arab powers in the region.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment