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This morning, a diary reached the reclist, a diary which was in part based on a totally misattributed quotation. The quotation that formed the first part of the title, and which appeared in block form at the top of the diary, was attributed to Egyptian president Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, supposedly coming from el-Sisi's New Year's Day speech at Al-Azhar university in Cairo.

Today, the Arab World is composed of twenty-one failed states which are bereft, for the most part, of progressive leaders. We are unable to produce one single manufactured product that competes successfully on world markets.
-- Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt
In fact, as Angry Marmot first pointed out, the quotation comes from an op-ed by Mark Silverberg at
Today, the Arab world is constituted by a series of twenty-one failed states bereft, for the most part, of progressive leaders and unable to produce one single manufactured product that can compete on world markets.
The wording has been subtly changed from its original form to make it seem like it came from el-Sisi. I don't know if the diarist is the one who made these changes, but his/her diary is the only place online it appears that way (the diary was also reposted on a few other sites).

When alerted to the misattribution, the diarist claimed that it was due to a translation error and that critics pointing it out hadn't watched the videos. However, nothing remotely resembling this quotation appears in either video, nor in any online transcript of the January 1st speech.

The diary was also misleading in other ways - the second half of the title, "a source of danger, killing, destruction," does come from el-Sisi's speech, but reads differently in context. He doesn't say that the Arab world is a source of danger, killing and destruction, he says that it's inconceivable that militant Islamist ideology is making it that way, which to me reads as a much more nuanced and less of a total indictment of the Arab world.

I don't know why the initial quotation was misattributed or altered in that way, but it seems that since being called out, the diarist has slightly altered the original false attribution, removing "carried over live national TV" from it.

I know this will likely not be widely recced, but I think such shoddy and misleading "reportage" deserves a fully fleshed out response. It should seem immediately ridiculous to any student of Middle East politics that anyone in el-Sisi's diplomatic position would refer to the Arab world as "twenty-one failed states," but it seems like many readers here are eager to swallow any line that fits with their preconceived narrative, and that's too bad. Be skeptical!

EDIT 1: The diarist has just corrected the diary (actually, there is no correction within the actual diary, the misattributed quotation was just removed from the title and body), claiming that the original altered and misattributed quotation came to him/her "as a quote," whatever that means.


BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi state TV: Nouri al-Maliki has given up the post of prime minister to Haider al-Abadi.
I know everyone is rightly focused on the events in Ferguson, but it's important to correct some misinformation from earlier in the week. This is just breaking, so I'm sure updates will be forthcoming.

Update 1:

Nuri al-Maliki has stepped down as Iraq's prime minister, making way for Prime Minister-designate Haider al-Abadi to become the leader, Iraqi State Television reported in a urgent banner on Thursday.
Update 2, thanks to Mokurai. Looks like Maliki will back his replacement.
The Iraqi government says embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is to address the nation, as Shiite lawmakers say he has agreed to step aside and support his nominated replacement in the post.
A note of caution - this news is breaking within just the last twenty minutes or so. It seems that major news agencies and Iraqi lawmakers are going on the record that this is true, but of course the situation in Iraq is very volatile and many of the people speaking on this matter may have a political stake in what they say. Please be wary of unconfirmed reports and speculation.

Update 3: Maliki's announcement live on Iraq state TV.

Update 4, from Al Jazeera:

"Maliki will withdraw the complaint against the president and will back the prime minister designate," Ali Mussawi, Maliki's spokesman, told the AFP news agency, referring to a lawsuit the outgoing premier had vowed to file.
I am looking for an English transcript of Maliki's remarks, which just finished.

Update 5: John Harwood of CNBC says Maliki has resigned, but before the actual speech was made.

Update 6: Some quotations from Bloomberg:

“In order to ease the political process and the formation of the new government, I announce in front of you today that I am withdrawing my bid for prime minister,” Maliki said in a televised address last night with Abadi standing at his side.
Maliki said last night that he didn’t want to be the reason for a drop of blood to be spilled and called on other lawmakers to back Iraq’s constitution as they confronted the terror group. Referring to Abadi by name, he said the decision was “for the higher benefit of the country.”
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