RealNews

Sordid Images on TV Repel the Kurds, but They Raise Some Skepticism, Too

Each night at 10 p.m. this week, Kurds in Erbil, a northern Iraqi city, have gathered in front of their televisions to watch the videotaped confessions of a man known simply as Sheik Zana. A local shopkeeper and mechanical engineer, the sheik says he and his followers beheaded, dismembered, gunned down, blackmailed and raped fellow citizens here in Iraqi Kurdistan for as long as a decade, until he was found out and arrested. For months, Arabic-language channels have been broadcasting confessions of terrorist suspects that have at once increased ratings and raised suspicions that the statements may have been coerced or staged. But Sheik Zana’s confessions, delivered in Kurdish, stand out because he and his followers had a habit of videotaping not only what appear to be horrific murders and rapes, but also sex among themselves and with the young men whom they were trying to recruit for their cause. Full Story

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