Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show US Spokesperson Announcing Second Chance For Ba'ath Party Participation In Iraqi Politics

Fact Check

  • by: Rebaz Majeed
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show US Spokesperson Announcing Second Chance For Ba'ath Party Participation In Iraqi Politics Altered Audio

Does this video on TikTok portray a U.S. official acting as a spokesperson and announcing a second chance for the Ba'ath Party in Iraq to participate in politics? No, that's not true: The person in the video is U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, speaking at President Joe Biden's inauguration. The original video focuses solely on the official announcement of Biden as the new president of the U.S., without any reference to Iraq or the Ba'ath Party.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @news_ajel (an account no longer available) on November 27, 2023. Its caption (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff) read:

The spokesperson for the United States of America is giving another chance to the Ba'ath Party to work in Iraq.

The audio in the video on TikTok features two voiceovers: The one in the background is in English but is not Klobuchar's voice and does not synchronize with her lip movements and expressions; it sounds computer-generated. The second voiceover is in Arabic, functioning as a dubbed version. The Arabic voiceover states (as translated):

We, the United States of America, have decided to give the Arab Ba'ath Party a second opportunity to work in Iraq, rebuild its military again, and enter ... Iraq today needs statesmen like Saddam Hussein to restore Iraq's prestige again.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-01-03 at 09.34.40.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Jan 3 08:34:08 2024 UTC)

The assertion gained widespread traction on TikTok, as evidenced by multiple posts found here, here and here. The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party in Iraq (archived here) was a nationalist pan-Arab party that governed Iraq from 1968 to 2003, culminating in the downfall of Saddam Hussein during the U.S. invasion in 2003. The prohibition of the party was formalized in Article 7 of the Iraqi constitution (archived here) in 2005. Subsequently, the Iraqi parliament ratified a law (archived here) in 2016, criminalizing both membership in and the promotion of the Ba'ath Party.

The English text overlay on the video states "The Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr." along with a watermark featuring the NBC News logo. On January 4, 2024, Lead Stories conducted a Google search (archived here) using the keywords "The Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr." and "NBC." The search results led to the original video (archived here) on YouTube, which was livestreamed by NBC News on January 20, 2021, titled "The Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. | NBC News." The speaker is identified as Klobuchar.

This is what the video looked like on YouTube at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-01-04 at 15.14.05.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thu Jan 4 14:14:05 2024 UTC)

The clip used on TikTok is at the 4:50:53 mark of the nearly 12-hour YouTube video. During this segment, Klobuchar stated:

My fellow Americans, a moment we have all been waiting for. It is now my great privilege and high honor to be the first person to officially introduce the 46th president ...

As can also be seen in her office's press release of her portion of the speeches (archived here), Klobuchar does not mention anything about Iraq or the Ba'ath Party during Biden's inauguration. Additionally, a search on the Google News Index (archived here) on January 4, 2024, using the keywords "US," "Spokesperson," "Iraq," "Ba'ath," "Party" and "chance" yielded no reports substantiating the claim that a U.S. official in the role of a spokesperson had issued such a statement.

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  Rebaz Majeed

Rebaz Majeed is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. He is a multilingual freelance journalist and researcher. He worked for five years as a reporter for Voice of America (VOANews) in Iraq. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East at Free Berlin University. Rebaz brings extensive knowledge and expertise to his role at LeadStories.

Read more about or contact Rebaz Majeed

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